I was recently reminded of how fabulous and wonderful Winnemere is when it showed up on our cheeseboard again at work a month or so ago. As usual it came and went very quickly, but I did manage to sneak a few bits in here and there before it all went to the guests. It’s simply delicious with a meaty smoky funky finish and a creamy butter paste that reminds me of thick mayonnaise. It tastes like eating a really good ham sandwich.
Winnemere comes from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont which many consider to be among the best in New England. It’s their version of Forsterkase, which is a washed rind wheel of cheese that is bound with a strip of Spruce bark. It’s something the woodsmen would take into the forest to work in Northern Switzerland. The Kehler brothers of Jasper Hill use their top quality raw Ayrshire cow milk as well as a Lambic beer made right at the dairy to make this delicious domestic version.
The Kehlers have done a lot to promote dairy farming in Vermont. They have built a cave where cheeses are aged for neighboring dairy farmers. They also act as affineurs, or folks who buy cheese from farms, age it, and then take care of distribution. Most notably, they age Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar. They also make a number of other excellent cheeses of their own such as Constant Bliss, Moses Sleeper, and Bayley Hazen. All are wonderful and if you see something from Jasper Hill be sure to pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.
With wine I recommend something with plenty of aroma and body to stand up to this full-flavored beast! I like a late harvest Gewurztraminer from Alsace, or a seriously dry Riesling from a top quality producer like Trimbach or Zind-Humbrecht. If you’re splurging on this special cheese, I would advise you to get a wine that is equally as decadent for the ultimate experience.