Monday, October 4, 2010

A Fromage-filled visit to Alsace

When I first mentioned to my chef friend Andrew that I wanted to come visit him in Luzern, he said “Oh, perhaps we could drive to Alsace and visit my affineur…” Perhaps we could drive to Alsace and visit your affineur? I booked my plane ticket pronto and asked him to arrange that visit.

We hopped in the car at 10 am on a Monday morning and after yet another scenic drive through Western Switzerland, by Noon we were in Vieux-Ferrette, a tiny Alsatian town that is the home of Maitre Antony

We were given a tour of the incredible aging caves by Bernard Antony's son, Jean Francois.

The cheeses, all from France, were separated by type, from bloomy rinds

and washed rinds, to tommes, cooked curds, pressed curds, and blues. They are aged to perfection and sold to restaurants all over Europe.
He also showed off his immaculate cheese truck, a Peugeot. They use it to sell cheese at market. I want one, Uncle Ken.
After the behind the scenes tour, we admired the Antony cheese case, which is open to the public. I bought a 3 year aged Beaufort that made me weak in the knees.

Then Jean Francois invited us into the tasting room where he presented this:

and this:
This lovely Domaine Albert Boxler riesling is made just an hour away in Niedermorschwir, and we loved it so much that Jean Francois called the winemaker for us and we arranged an impromptu tasting in this quaint old town with a view of the steeply pitched vineyards of Sommerberg.

But I digress. For all you cheese geeks out there I will list the cheeses on our tasting plate.
For the rest of you, I bid you adieu, with the recommendation to visit Maitre Antony and Son if you ever find yourself in the Haut Rhins region of Alsace.

Clockwise starting at bottom:
Tomme d'Augine, a fresh chevre from the Auvergne
a Vacherin Mont d'Or from Savoie
Ardi Gasna
Tomme Girassou, a 6 month aged goat
Chaource, from Champagne of course
A raw farmstead Pont l'Eveque from Normandy
That Beaufort from the Alpes Savoie
and the blue, Fourme d'Ambert

Please forgive my spellings--as you can see the case has no signage and I had to go by the verbal descriptions.
-Lisa Futterman