Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Bishop's Cut


I am new to the cheese world. I am a novice. I knew next to nothing about cheese when I started working for a Food Broker last year merchandising cheese. This little part time job of mine has opened up my eyes to a whole new world in the land of dairy. My learning curve has been steep because as I said I knew almost nothing and was not brave enough to try out new cheeses unless someone served it at a party. But I figure there are lots of people out there like me who like cheese but at the same time are intimidated by it. Cheese doesn't scare me anymore!

One of the first stories about cheese I was told at my first cheese seminar was the story of "The Bishop's Cut". Lots of cheeses are made in the shape of a wheel. When the cheese is ripe and ready cut, there is a usually a common way for that particular cheese to be cut. The first cheese I learned how to cut was a wheel of Jarlsburg which is a mild Norwegian cheese. The wheel of Jarlsberg is cut in half and then each half is cut in half again so that you end with 4 quarters. Now for the history lesson and back to the 4 quarters in a minute. Hundreds of years ago and even in some places today, cheese was often made in monasteries as food for the monks and sometimes it was sold as a way to help support the monastery. When the Bishop would come to visit the best cheeses would be brought out and served to him. The "Bishop's Cut" was the triangular piece of cheese that was cut off of the point part of any of those 4 quarters pieces I mentioned above. By cutting off the tip section of the quarters you can then cut what is left into 4 very nice and evenly shaped pieces. The "Bishop's Cut" is that triangular piece and when you think about it is from the very center of the cheese. It is the best part of the cheese with very little rind and so the best cut was served to the Bishop.

I follow a few really great cheese blogs and I am amazed at how much these people know and how much I have to learn. Sorry if my little cheese story seems a bit elementary to you but I figure if I didn't know what a "Bishop's Cut" was then there are plenty of others out there who might enjoy an explanation like I did. In my pre-cheese days I would not have picked out the odd triangular shape package over the more uniform wedge shape when buying a piece of Jarlsburg. Now I look for that special oddball shaped piece and so should you!

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Our Krogers makes an awesome dip with Jarlsberg cheese.. love it.