A characterful cheese in name and nature from Jumi Cheese
There is a reassuring consistency to the names of cheeses: an evocation of place, of peaceful rurality, family or heritage. Their characters may vary hugely—the people and creatures that produced them as many as they are diverse—but there is across the board a certain romanticism to their name.
Not so Dr 65: a hard cheese from Switzerland made—unusually—from sheep’s milk, despite its being definitively cow country. Its name seems incongruous among the emmental and schlossbergers at Jumi Cheese—until you remember its producers, cheesemakers Jurg Wyss and Mike Glauser, who have invited mad scientist comparisons before. Last summer their ‘brain’ cheese, an accident turned best-selling blue, hit national headlines for its thick mould, powerful flavour and resemblance to cerebral matter. Dr 65 is no brain cheese: it’s hard, crystalline and dry in texture—but its eccentricity is by no means confined to its name.
For one thing, this is an old cheese. Really old. “This was made in 2015,” says Jumi’s manager, Marcello, gesturing. “The 65 refers to the number of days it spends in the cellar.” In the cellar it’s pierced with peppercorns, imbuing the cheese with piquant flavour. After the requisite 65 days have passed, it is transferred to Jurg and Mike’s maturing rooms to be rubbed with a special oil. It remains there for three to four years, being periodically oiled and turned over until it is ready. “It is a special cheese because it has such a long, careful process,” says Marcello, “and because it is made with two different sheep’s milks: the German ostfrisian sheep and one the French lacaune.”
The result is an intense, sharp-sweet, parmesan like number that is “a bit aniseedy. A bit nutty,” says Marcello. It’s manchego for grown-ups: a sheep’s cheese in wolf’s clothes. It’s a tad eye-watering on its own—the perfect gift for a hardcore cheese fan—but perfect on pasta, says Marcello. Pair with a glass of red wine, and some kind of science fiction film.