As most cheese lovers know, fabulous fromage does not come cheap and with good reason. The care, effort and timing that go into a single wheel of cheese can make the difference between a splendid table cheese and a complete disaster. For the most part, the cost per pound of cheese reflects that quality and care, but sometimes a cheese is so pricey even the most enthusiastic turophile has to ask why. One such cheese is the rare Blaui Geiss ringing in at $78.00 per six-inch wheel.
I discovered Blaui Geiss on the Artisanal Cheese website and was just floored by the asking price. A blue that costs this much should be big news, yet I couldn’t find out much about it anywhere. A quick call to Artisanal and I was connected with Maître Fromager and Dean of Curriculum, Max McCalman who gave me the lowdown on this rare fromage.
Produced in Switzerland by Willi Schmid, Blaui Geiss is a distinct and unique blue made with unpasteurized goat’s milk. This is no pretty cheese in the traditional sense, but for those who like blue it is rather impressive. Covered in a rainbow of blue molds and bacteria and an interior paste that resembles something seen under a microscope, the casual diner may be turned off. Get past the appearance and be rewarded with some intense and intricate flavors. Calm and creamy at first bite and then Blaui Geiss shows its true colors, exploding with sharp peppery goodness. The texture is semi-soft with some good crumble and just a hint of calcium crystals. Overall a fantastically assertive sample of goat gone wild, but is it worth the price tag?
Blaui Geiss has a very short availability, from October through January and has to travel quite a ways to get to our tables here in the states. We aren’t talking coach seating here, but trains, plains and automobiles and all first class. Blues are temperamental beasts and have to be handled with care. Too much moisture and bad mold infects the good, too little and it becomes a dried, discolored mess. Sure there are other blues available that are pretty darn good and more affordable, but none are as distinct as this one.
So, should there be a desire to try this rare beauty but funds are low, maybe pool together with some other cheese geeks and invest in a wheel. Order while supplies last only at Artisanal Cheese.
For more on Blaui Geiss and other cheeses, be sure to check out Max McCalman’s book Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager.