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Back-to-school is just around the corner, signaling the end of summer. But it’s not too late to enjoy the best summer cheeses and the gorgeous fruits and vegetables of the season. We’re sampling three delicious end-of-summer cheeses at perfect ripeness to enjoy right now.

Alp Tiny Blossom - Tastings Gourmet MarketAlp Blossom

It looks like a party for your mouth. This stunning cheese is thickly coated with a mix of dried edible flowers and herbs, including lavender, marigold, rose petals, cornflower, and chervil. Beneath the flowery exterior, lurks an amazing cheese with a robust, beefy flavor.

Alp Blossom is created from a cheese known as Hubaner, which is similar to Gruyere or Comte in taste but a bit sweeter. At the age of 4 months, it is dressed up for the party: A dozen varieties of delicate flowers and herbs are applied by hand to the cheese. The flowers grow in nearby Alpine meadows and create a show-stopper cheese out of an already delicious one.

Origin: Austria (Vorarlberg region)
Producer: Sennerei Huban
Milk: Pasteurized cow
Rennet type: Animal
Rind: Natural
Age: 6 months
Look: Cream-colored paste
Feel: Firm but supple
Smell: Herbaceous, milky
Taste: Creamy, beefy umami flavors with a slight sweetness from the flowers and herbs as well as the milk
Pairs well with: Almonds, baguette
Tastes good with: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Rosés, wheat beers

Smoking Cow - Tastings Gourmet MarketSmoking Cow Artikaas

A premier smoked Gouda, Smoking Cow comes from a single family farm and is naturally smoked in ancient brick ovens over hickory chips. Check out the super cool logo above of the cow puffing on a pipe.

Gouda, or “How-da” as the locals say, is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the world’s cheese consumption. Smoked Gouda gets its extra flavor from being cold-smoked over embers. It is delicious in sandwiches and the smokiness gives a special zip to burgers.

Origin: Holland
Producer: Artikaas
Milk: Raw cow
Rennet type: Animal
Rind: Waxed
Age: 60 days
Look: Pale yellow paste
Feel: Hard, crumbly
Smell: Sweet
Taste: Buttery, smoky
Pairs well with: Fruits, nuts, dark chocolate
Tastes good with: Beer

Roth Grand Cru Reserve - Tastings Gourmet MarketRoth Grand Cru Reserve

This is a cheese that makes everything better. Use it in fondues, omelets, frittatas, or atop green salads. It makes exceptional “grown-up” mac and cheese. You’ll find a whole host of recipes here.

It’s gluten free, RBST free, and it’s vegetarian.

Grand Cru Reserve is handcrafted in large copper vats, which are essential to the taste and texture of the cheese. Copper is prized as the best material for cheesemaking, and copper vats have been used in Alpine cheese production for thousands of years. In fact, a cheese cannot be labeled Gruyere unless it was made in a copper vessel. The copper allows the vat to heat quickly and equally throughout the surface, and the result is a sublime taste you can’t get from stainless steel.

The cheesemakers create Grand Cru Reserve by curing hand-selected wheels of Roth’s Grand Cru Original for 6-9 months. That extra time adds a savory and earthy flavor to the already yummy cheese. The resulting firm texture and complex taste make it one of Wisconsin’s best cheeses. No surprise it has racked up rewards around the world.

Origin: Wisconsin (Monroe)
Producer: Emmi Roth USA
Milk: Raw cow
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: Washed
Age: 6+ months
Look: Pale yellow paste
Feel: Semi-hard, compact
Smell: Earthy, fruity, nutty
Taste: Bold, savory, earthy, nutty
Pairs well with: Fruit jam, apricots (dried or fresh)
Tastes good with: Riesling, Bock beer, Amber Ale

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