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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tuesday, November 19 2019

Kaltbach Alpine Extra

By: Allison Spurrell
The cold river cave cheese.

Kaltbach is known as a cold river cheese because it is aged in caves whose terrain is a lot like a cold river.

Cheese Name: Kaltbach Alpine Extra

Origin: Switzerland

Milk Type: Raw cow’s milk

Style: Firm mountain cheese

Description: The Kaltbach name is used by the Swiss Company Emmi to denote cheeses that are aged in their natural caves in Switzerland. The word Kaltbach means “cold river” and that is a description of the terrain inside the caves. The river creates the natural humidity in the caves that is beneficial for ageing cheeses as the wheels can mature for longer without cracking or splitting due to drying of the crust. Also, the natural microflora that exists inside the caves lends a unique element to the taste of the finished wheels. 

Kaltbach Alpine Extra (called Extra Spicy in Swiss-German, and sometimes called Intense in the US market) is a six-kilo wheel that ages in the caves for seven months. The raw milk used is silage free. Silage is slightly fermented hay, used often to feed cows in winter, but it can cause gases to form inside the cheese that creates cracking and other flaws, so it isn’t used for these cheeses at all. 

The finished wheels have a dark, almost black outside crust. The inside paste is a dark ivory colour, with a dense even texture, and small eyes dotting the surface very infrequently.

Tasting Notes: Kaltbach Alpine Extra has a lovely flavour of hay and toasted nuts, with a surprisingly creamy texture on the palate. Although the cheese is aged for only a minimum of seven months, the sharpness is a pleasant surprise.

Pairing: This is a great cheese for a cheese board as it compliments so many other styles without overpowering them. It can stand up to stronger cheeses and is a great addition to charcuterie items, even pairing well with spicy salami, or richer pâtés and terrines.

GOW's suggested wine pairings 

Written By: Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell

les amis du FROMAGE is a family owned and operated specialty cheese store with two locations in Vancouver. With a carefully curated selection of local and imported cheeses, charcuterie and accompaniments, they also specialize in frozen soups and meals, all made in house using top quality ingredients. Founded in 1985 by the mother and daughter team of Alice and Allison Spurrell, les amis du FROMAGE is proud to still remain a family owned and operated Vancouver company after over 30 years in business. Current owners Allison Spurrell and Joe Chaput have come a long way since the original shoe-box sized store opened in Vancouver’s Point Grey neighborhood. You can rest assured that their mission is to continue the company’s reputation of offering the highest quality cheeses, cut to order, along with one-to-one customer service. Vancouver - 1752 West 2nd Avenue, BC V6J H6 Tel (604) 732-4218; Strathcona 843 East Hastings Street.V6A 1R8 Tel 604-253-4218. www.buycheese.com.