Ya, stole that tag line from the official AOC overseeing this cheese,
Here is a block of Berner Hobelkäse (A Berner Alpkäse that is more than 24 months old) This one, judging by the intensity of the flavor and hardness of the cheese is probably nearly 3 years old.
I received this in the mail from Switzerland a few weeks ago, a wonderful surprise to be sure.
The first 2 pictures show the cheese, the second a close up to demonstrate the crystallization that occurs when the cheese is this old. Gives it a slightly gritty/crunchy texture. The third is to show the character of the rind. Doesn't do it justice.
Th next pictures demonstrate the traditional way to eat this cheese. This is super hard cheese, difficult to cut with a knife. So we would use what is called a Käsehobel, or cheese plane. I don't have one at home, so instead I used the Krauthobel, or cabbage cutter that we use for making sauerkraut.
For a nice presentation, the slices would be rolled up into nice little tubes. But the krauthobel doesn't cut the cheese right so I can't do that with these slices very well.
This is a very good example of this cheese, well formed rind, flawless interior, well developed flavor. It is very strong in flavor, much more than most Americans would be accustomed to. A very little bit is quite satisfying, and the flavor will linger for hours (pleasantly)
It is a great table cheese, suitable to eat by itself as a snack or it can be served with almost any food. In the Berner Oberland, this is eaten with every meal and sometimes it is the meal. I had many a meal that was no more than bread and cheese. Once you eat this cheese once, you understand that is not a bad meal!