Appenzeller, which hails from the Appenzellerland region of northeast Switzerland, is often described as the tastiest of Swiss cheeses.
Wildwood, which hails from St. Marys in southwest Ontario, is certainly the tastiest of the Swiss or Alpine cheese produced by Stonetown Artisan Cheese.
“A true taste of the Swiss Alps, creamy and herbaceous, reminiscent of Appenzeller,” that’s how Wendy Furtenbacher, who looks after marketing and business development for Stonetown, describes Wildwood.
“It has a silky texture and flavours of brown butter and nuts,” says Tammy Miller, owner of Country Cheese Company in Ajax, my neighbourhood cheese shop, where I sourced the wedge shown in the video.
Me, I only have three words for Wildwood: delicious, delicious, delicious.
The cheese, named after the Wildwood Dam in St. Marys, is rich and creamy on the palate with a nice balance of salt. It’s really quite unique in taste and appearance.
Not only does Wildwood have a distinctive flavour, it also has a rustic and appealing appearance. The dark aromatic rind gives the cheese a contrasting texture to the interior and generates aromas typically associated with washed-rind cheeses.
Wildwood tastes excellent in sandwiches or on a cheese platter with fruits, dried meat and bread. It also melts well and and can used in grilled cheese sandwiches, or to make an easy cheesy quesadilla for a quick lunch.
Tammy Miller recommends serving Wildwood with a cherry jam like Provisions Montmorency Cherry and Merlot Wine Jam.
Wildwood pairs well with red wine.
Aged 12 months. Ingredients: Unpasteurized milk, salt, rennet, bacterial culture.
Wildwood has won many awards, most recently being named Grand Champion at the 2023 SIAL International Cheese Competition.
Cheesemakers Jolanda and Hans Weber came to Canada in 1996 from their native Switzerland, with three children in tow, to begin a new life in St. Marys on their own dairy farm.
“Having previously worked in the Swiss Alps, it was always our dream to produce delicious, high quality cheese reminiscent of the renowned Swiss mountains and made from our own milk,” the Webers explain. “With a profound commitment to creating cheese of the highest quality, and the support of our family, as well as Ramon Eberle, a Master Cheesemaker from Switzerland, our humble dream became a reality.”
Fresh milk comes from 250 Holstein cows—who sleep on beach sand all year round. Two sons, together with their families, look after the cows while Jolanda and Hans handcraft the farmstead cheese: “In order to obtain a great taste, the milk is unpasteurized and has no additives. This ensures the cheese is pure and natural.”
The milk is thermized, which means its heated to reduce spoilage bacteria with minimum collateral heat damage to milk components. Artisan cheesemakers prefer thermization to pasteurization as the former does not cause changes in flavour.
Wendy Furtenbacher Madonna, a certified cheese professional widely known in a cheese circles as Curdy Girl, regularly samples Stonetown cheeses in Toronto-area supermarkets and cheese shops. Next week she’ll be sampling at Queensway Sobeys and the following week at Todmorden Sobeys, followed by Pantry Fine Cheese on Gerrard Street in Toronto. Details are generally posted on her Facebook page.
She also represents Mountainoak Cheese of New Hamburg, Ontario.
Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a cheese he didn’t like . . . well, hardly ever. Follow him on his adventures at On the Road, Across the Sea on Substack.