It’s the game of world domination — Risk. And it’s a classic amongst my friends and I. So when it came time to do Cheese of the Week, and it was also our not-as-regular-as-it-used-to-be Risk Night, I decided to combine the two. But, hmmm, I thought, what cheese would go best with a game of military might, strategic ebb and flow, and intricate negotiation.
That’s right, the neutral Swiss!
But the store I was at had only large bricks of expensive, imported Swiss cheese, and I don’t really like my Risk friends that much. So “Swiss Knight” brand cheese was my, um, white knight to the rescue.
This is actually a gruyere cheese, which is a semi-favourite of mine. It melts really nicely, so it’s a good cheese to have in fondues or on sandwiches, if you liked melted cheese on your sandwiches (I do!). But it’s not gruyere the way I normally do it. Nope, it’s individually wrapped in foil! Take a look:
As you can see, the red armies (that’s me) are not doing too well — we’ve got our backs up against the wall in South Africa and Madagascar. Luckily, we still have armies in the southern part of North America. (That won’t last long.)
Now, about the cheese: In each wheel, there are two layers, with six foil-wrapped wedges in each layer. This makes it perfect for hands-on events like a games night, since you don’t have to bother with cutting the cheese, and you don’t get greasy cheese-leavings all over your hand as you also try to pick up cards, roll the dice, and move your men.
It’s also kind of fun to play with.
It’s an invincible border between the Middle East and the Ukraine!
“Alright, men — we’re going to have to eat our way through!”
Despite the neat-looking bite marks on this unwrapped wedge, the foil is insanely difficult to peel off. If you have fillings, you might end up not enjoying this cheese at all, since there is a high probability of foil pieces remaining stuck to your cheese.
There is a red plastic ribbon to help you peel it off, but it doesn’t work very well. There’s always lots of cheese still stuck to the foil, and you always feel that you’re wasting cheese. But unless you want to scrape it off with your teeth you’re best off just crumpling it up and throwing it away.
That’s another thing — this is an astonishingly wasteful cheese. It’s very much overpackaged.
And how does it taste? Well, okay, I guess. It’s nothing special. As a processed cheese, it’s got an extremely soft texture, and it has almost no resistance to your teeth. Hmmm, scroll back up, and you’ll see on the package that it’s made by Gerber, which explains much. You could gum this cheese as a toddler.
The taste itself is best described as reminiscent of gruyere, but it’s not really a good gruyere by itself. It’s almost got the distinctive gruyere taste, but it tastes sort of washed out, like a shadow of the earthy, complex flavour it should have.
If it wasn’t for the agility you require to unwrap this cheese, it would be well-suited for kids, but you couldn’t trust them to get all the foil off, and I’m not sure that foil is nutritious.
Despite all my complaints, though, I actually liked this cheese. The foil makes it a bit of a challenge, and gives you something to do besides just mindlessly slicing and eating the cheese. It’s got an unprepossessing flavour that goes well with low-brow beers and Coke-based drinks (like a rye-and or a rum-and). Frankly, this is a cheese for late evenings and unpretentious friends.
It won’t win you any gourmet points, but with a healthy dose of unirony, you can actually dig in and enjoy this cheese.