Fall is my favorite time of the year. The nights become crisp, the leaves turn brilliantly red and orange, and most importantly, I am able to enjoy soup and hot grilled cheese without the consternation of others for eating it in ninety degree weather. But I digress!
When tasked with coming up with a fall cheese recommendation, it is only right that I bring attention to a cheese I adore: Scharfe Maxx 365. There’s something to be said about a cheese with a raging red bull on its label; not to be confused with a certain energy drink of course. (Side note: I advise not mixing the two. Not dangerous, just foul tasting.)
Maxx 365 is the elder brother of Scharfe Maxx an Alpine cheese from Toggenburg, Switzerland. The first thing that sets it apart from other Swiss cheese is that it’s not made from part-skim, or even full fat raw milk; it’s actually classified as a double crème. This essentially means they add cream to the milk to increase the richness of the cheese. This is what gives Scharfe Maxx and Maxx365 their unrivaled richness and depth.
They test every batch of Scharfe Maxx with a cheese iron to see the quality and decide if it will be aged longer. Using lower temperature and humidity help it along and the outcome is very surprising. Its flavors intensify and develop beautiful crystallization and seem to almost peak and never becoming overwhelming as I find even in its younger brother. It’s as if age has taught Maxx subtlety.
Let’s be blunt: I love this cheese! It has seriously become my favorite. As a cheesemonger, I know I’m not supposed to pick one. But out of the several hundred cheeses I’ve tried in my tenure at Di Bruno Bros., Scharfe Maxx 365 is the perfect cheese in my opinion: texture, flavor, and adaptability in recipes and pairings.
This cheese can do everything but your taxes! Try it in a grilled cheese, as a topping for cheeseburgers, in macaroni and cheese, or paired with Serrano ham and strawberry balsamic jam.
Come and get it while we’ve got it, folks.
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