Tuesday, January 29

Tete de Moine (Bern, Switzerland)

a.k.a. Bellelay
Served with Tuscan pepper honey

They say: "Tete de Moine, also known as Bellelay, has been around for a long time. The monastery of Bellelay was established in 1136 and confirmed by Pope Innozenz II six years later. As early as 1192, or one century before the beginnings of the Swiss Confederation, the monks of the monastery Bellelay were first mentioned in connection with cheese. At that time they paid the annual rent on various properties with cheese made in their abbey. Time and again documents from subsequent centuries mention the use of the valuable cheese as a means of payment. The oldest description of the Bellelay cheese dates from 1628 and states that a 'very fatty milk of impeccable quality from the best grasses and berbs of the country is used'. Tete de Moine means the 'head of the monk' and resembles a balding monk's receding hairline."

Cmoore says: Please note that the name "Monk's Head" has double meaning: both the physical resemblance and the barter for paying taxes. This has been on our menu for nearly the entire duration of my employment at Tria, and it remains my number one recommendation to all my tables. Everyone loves it! To serve, we use a girolle (pictured) to shave off florets of cheese -- people compare it to carnations, coral, ginger in a sushi restaurant. One table even looked at me confusedly when I proudly presented the cheese board and queried, "Where's the cheese?" The presentation is fun, and the sharp, strong flavor is balanced by the delicate texture. Definitely a favorite, and highly recommended.

Suggested Pairings: Gewurtztraminer, Zweigelt, medium-bodied and spicy reds, stout, Tripel, Duvel

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