TĂȘte de Moine AOP with La Girolle Grater | 🩆The Bow Tie Duck Manila
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TĂȘte de Moine AOP with La Girolle Grater

Scraped to Perfection

With a name that lit­er­al­ly means ​“monk’s head”, the TĂȘte de Moine from Jura in Bearn has a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion. This cheese gains new tex­ture and fla­vor as it is scraped, turn­ing it into the star of any cheese­board. We also offer it with the spi­ral-scrap­ing La Girolle cheese grater, its own fame syn­ony­mous with the TĂȘte de Moine itself!

TAST­ING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR

Such a curios­i­ty the TĂȘte de Moine is! This semi-hard raw cow’s milk cheese has been around for almost a mil­len­ni­um, and it boasts a fine, melt-in-the-mouth con­sis­ten­cy. Only 10 cream­eries in Switzer­land are allowed to make this cheese, which is matured on spruce wood boards for at least 2 and a half months. Part of its rep­u­ta­tion comes from the way it is served. This cheese is not cut, but scraped with a girolle (spi­ral grater) that churns out beau­ti­ful rosettes of deli­cious cheese. As the cheese is scraped and comes into con­tact with air, its aro­mat­ic, gen­tly melt­ing fla­vor is allowed to devel­op to the fullest.

PREPA­RA­TION OR PAIRINGS

The TĂȘte de Moine can be had as either an apĂ©ri­tif, a dessert, or a snack. It’s best when scraped into rosettes with a girolle as soon as it is tak­en out of the fridge. To use the girolle, cut off the top and press the cheese down onto the instrument’s met­al rod. Attach the blade and let it spin out del­i­cate, mouth­wa­ter­ing rosettes.

This Alpine cheese goes with fruits — both fresh and dried — and a love­ly full-bod­ied Bur­gundy or Caber­net Sauvi­gnon. If you pre­fer white wines, go for a Pinot Gri­gio. And if you’re look­ing to do a Swiss cheese tast­ing flight, cir­cle your TĂȘte de Moine with slices of GruyĂšre, Appen­zeller, and Emmenthaler. 

AN ABBEY’S CURRENCY

The way this cheese is sliced, it’s rem­i­nis­cent of the way monks shave the tops of their heads in their sig­na­ture ton­sure. A more inter­est­ing fact, though, is that this cheese, invent­ed in the 12th cen­tu­ry, was once used as cur­ren­cy in the abbeys of Bearn. The monks would pay the annu­al rent on their prop­er­ties with cheese made from their abbey. Over and over, his­tor­i­cal records show TĂȘte de Moine list­ed as their method of payment!

Storage Instructions

Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the but­ter draw­er of a refrig­er­a­tor, not on the shelves them­selves. This is to help reg­u­late their tem­per­a­ture and humid­i­ty lev­els — and pre­vents the for­ma­tion of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing. Semi-hard cheeses (includ­ing blues) should ide­al­ly be wrapped in cheese paper after open­ing. An alter­na­tive is to wrap them tight­ly in parch­ment paper to allow them to breathe, then loose­ly in alu­minum foil to keep mois­ture out. Don’t for­get to write up a label with the date you first opened the pack­age. Replace the parch­ment paper every time you open the cheese, and it will be fine for up to one month.

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