When all of your friends know you love cheese, they start buying it for you when they go on vacation. Sometimes they bring back good cheese. And sometimes they bring you home something that will become one of your favorites.
Such was the case when my friends Jack and Lisa brought me home a wedge of Berggenuss they purchased while taking a weekend trip in Napa, California.
This raw cow's milk cheese from the tiny village of Entlebuch, Switzerland was a rare treat that didn't last too long after I unwrapped it.
Berggenuss has a thin, natural rind surrounding a light golden-yellow paste. The interior of the cheese has a few holes in it, and every once in a while a few cassein crystals.
The nutty, grassy smell, that, while definitely present, isn't overpowering.
The cheese is drier closer to the rind (but not too dry), and stronger tasting closer to the center. (I liked the taste close to the rind; the center almost had a barn-yardy taste to it.) Even in the center where the taste was stronger, Berggenuss is still pretty mellow, and will please most cheese lovers.
Berggenuss' texture is firm, but not too hard. A small piece will break easily, but the cheese is not crumbly.
Bergenuss is made into wheels that weigh about 9 pounds. It is aged at least 4 months.
Where to buy Bergenuss
I searched for a source for Berggenuss online, but didn't find any. And I haven't seen any locally, so the only place I know where to find it is at the Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant in Napa, California.
Know of another place? Tell us in the comments.
Especially tell us if you know of a place in Sacramento. This is one of those cheeses I'd buy over and over again.