Caves of Faribault
St. Helga Swiss
Caves of Faribault St. Helga Swiss is made made in Wisconsin and aged to perfection in the St. Peter's Sandstone caves of Faribault. Its a semi-hard cheese. It springs back when you press in with your thumb. The paste is ivory white with a few pencil eraser sized eyes on each side. There is no rind and the surface is slightly sticky. The smell is rich and nutty with a little tang and a trace of funk. As soon as you put the cheese in your mouth, you notice the difference between this cheese and commercial "Swiss cheese" and Emmental or Jarlsberg. First, the texture is different. It is not as waxy and elastic. You can roll a bit of the cheese into a ball between your thumb and finger. This cheese is creamier, butterier, softer and a little grainier. The rich nutty, creamy flavors set it apart from American versions of Swiss cheese. I am eating the cheese with a Beaver Island Oktoberfest Märzen Lager and the beer's rich malty flavors match the cheese perfectly. The cheese has a light bitter note on the finish that brings out the same note in the beer. The beer's light bready flavors eliminate the need for bread or crackers when eating the cheese. The cheese coats the mouth and the beer interacts with the cheese's flavors and cleanses off some flavors while leaving others. It is an excellent pairing that will stay with you for a long time. The cheese is good enough to encourage me to seek out other cheeses by the creamery. I rate the cheese 83 and the pairing 85.