For about six months now (perseverance being the dark side of patience) I’ve been looking for some mouth-wateringly sharp Swiss Cheese. None of that “mild, nutty taste” for me. I like Swiss Cheese that has some burn to it; that stays in your mouth for a few minutes like a good pepper.
I probably enjoyed sharp Swiss cheese the most during my years in Cleveland, Ohio, at various delicatessens there, when I was less health conscious and ordered authentic Reubens more often. On such a strong tasting sandwich a good sharp Swiss can hold its own. When the urge struck me for a strong Swiss Cheese and I couldn’t find any near my home in Florida, my Cheese Quest was born.
At the outset I have to note that none of the cheeses I’ve bought so far look exactly like their photos, including the best sharp cheese I’ve found so far, Middlefield Sharp Swiss from Middlefield Cheese in (where else?) Middlefield, Ohio.
The eyes in this cheese are smaller that pictured, but the cheese is pretty sharp and has a “real” Swiss cheese taste.
But neither of these has the bite that I’m looking for, nor the iconic large eyes, so the Quest goes on. By all means contact me with sources of good sharp Swiss Cheese, especially in cooler months when they can be most readily shipped to warmer climes.
(next: a few notes and two sharp cheese I won’t buy again)
On the Internet the best search terms appear to be “aged Swiss Cheese”, “2 year aged Swiss Cheese” and “Sharp Swiss Cheese”. Until you consider the fact that I haven’t found that “ideal” cheese yet, so perhaps there are even better search terms.
I’ve learned that the size of the “eyes” (the holes in Swiss Cheese) are one sign of aging, and therefore possibly also of sharpness. However, because these large eyed cheeses don’t slice well for mass market packaging, they have been discouraged in America.
There are two cheeses I won’t order again.
Sharp Swiss from Shisler’s Cheese House is one of the stronger cheeses, but tastes and looks the least like archetypal Swiss Cheese (it doesn’t look at all like their website photo; instead having nearly nonexistent eyes). Nice people, by the way, but this cheese isn’t what I’m looking for.