Tête de Moine Swiss Cheese 850g

£45.00

Description

Tête de Moine Swiss Cheese. 850gms sold individually whole.

Tête de Moine, which translates as “monk’s head” is a type of cheese manufactured in Switzerland. It was invented and initially produced more than eight centuries ago by the monks of the abbey of Bellelay, located in the community of Saicourt, district of Moutier, in the mountainous zone of the Bernese Jura, the French-speaking area of the Canton of Bern.

The cheese is made from unpasteurized, whole cow’s milk and is a semi-hard cheese. It is cylindrical in shape, with a height typically equal to 70 to 100% of its diameter. The average weight of a single cheese is 850g. It is aged for a minimum of 2½ months on a small spruce plank and is typically paired with a dry, white wine. Traditionally, the cheese is prepared for eating in an unusual way: the cheese is carefully scraped with a knife to produce thin shavings, which is said to help develop the odour and flavour by allowing oxygen to reach more of the surface.

There are two explanations for the origin of the name Tête de Moine, which translates literally as “monk’s head”. The name was first documented in the records of Mont-Terrible, a Department established by the French when they annexed the region from 1793 to 1799 at the time of the French Revolution. The first theory is that it is a mocking name bestowed by French occupation soldiers who compared the method of serving the cheese to shaving the top of a skull to create a monk’s tonsure. The second explanation is based on tales from the Jura region which refer to the number of cheeses stored at the cloister “per tonsure”, or per resident monk.

Texts from as far back as 1192 attest to the cheese-making skill of the monks of Bellelay. Over time, the cheese was used by tenant farmers as payment to landowners, as well as figuring in legal settlements, being offered as a gift to the prince-bishops of Basel, and even serving as a currency.

The cheese is made from unpasteurized, whole cow’s milk and is a semi-hard cheese. It is cylindrical in shape, with a height typically equal to 70 to 100% of its diameter. The average weight of a single cheese is 850 g. It is aged for a minimum of 2½ months on a small spruce plank and is typically paired with a dry, white wine.

Tête de Moine has appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) status. In 2013, it was replaced by the appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) certification.

More Swiss Cheeses at Sagebury Fine Foods of Frome, Somerset