We’re not trying to pull a fast one on you. If you’re a long-time C+C reader, you might remember that we wrote about Tarentaise back in the summer of 2009, when we had it as part of a seasonal cheese plate at Artisanal Cheese as part of #chzday09. But there are two big differences between the cheese we sampled that day and today’s feature.
First of all, today we’re talking about Tarentaise Reserve, an extra-aged version of this Alpine-style cheese. And second, this specimen comes from Spring Brook Farm, while the previous one was made by Thistle Hill Farm. The two Vermont cheesemakers actually share the name – according to acclaimed cheese columnist Janet Fletcher, Thistle Hill licensed the name to Spring Brook when demand for the cheese outpaced what Thistle Hill could supply. Isn’t it nice when cheesemakers cooperate for the good of the greater cheese-loving community?
Especially because I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t love Tarentaise Reserve. Like many Alpine-style cheeses, it’s made with raw milk and washed with brine during the aging process. The reserve edition is aged 12 months rather than the typical nine, which heightens the cheese’s natural nutty flavor with a extra jolt of spice. I also tasted a hint of pineapple in my sample, which made the pairing with chocolate chunks even more pleasing. The crystals appearing throughout the semi-firm paste add an extra dimension to the snacking experience.
A juicy red would amplify Tarentaise Reserve’s fruity undertones. I know I sound like a broken record recommending Pinot Noir, but it is quite versatile if you enjoy red wines with cheese. A full-bodied Chardonnay would work as well. But whichever wine you choose, don’t forget the chocolate.