Stanser Schafkase (Stanser Schafchäs)
We've enjoyed this cheese twice as part of a cheese plate and we would now seek it out. It was a clear hit both times. A semi-hard and washed rind raw sheep's milk cheese. From what I can determine it is in the same category as a Mutschli cheese. As it ages the flavor, smell and taste becomes more pungent. The cheese has an orange fairly firm rind and the paste is yellow tinged cream color with some small holes throughout.
The cheesemaker, Josef (Sepp) Barmettler (Joseph Barmettler)
is based in Canton Schwitz* (Schywz) in east central Switzerland near the town Stans (hence the name Stanser). The cheese is made from sheeps milk from Canton Nidwalden (central Switzerland near the edge of Lake Lucerne) of which Stans is the capital. It is technically a mountain cheese. It was created in 1995 – and is based on a old recipe from Tessiner.
Stanser Schafkase has an Alsatian muenster-like pungent smell. It’s strong flavor is slightly grassy, slightly herbal with a hint of spiciness. It’s smooth, firm and slightly soft with a mellow slightly buttery finish. There is a sheep element to it but it’s so balanced with it’s other characteristics that it doesn’t stand out. It is a Rolf Beeler selection. Swiss sheep’s milk cheeses are somewhat unusual to find– mostly Swiss cheeses are made from cow’s milk.
Artisanal's wine recommendation is Pinot Blanc.
Max McCalman in his book Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide suggests pairings of: Alsatian Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc (all sweetness levels), Beaujolais, Champagne (Pinot noir based), Moscato D’Asti, Sherry or late-harvest Muscat (from Languedoc). But as a "Marriage made in heaven" he suggests the Moscato D'Asti or last-harvest Muscat.
* Switzerland is divided into small regions called Cantons.