We recently spotted the new Castello Cheese truck all throughout Manhattan, and finally figured we would have to try some of the appetizing cheese they were handing out for free on platters. As far as marketing goes, I don’t see how anyone can turn down free cheese, and I expect Castello will build up a strong fan-base with the many varieties of cheese they offer.
The friendly staff at Castello offered three types of cheese from their new “Alps Collection”, recently brought to the United States. These three cheeses have just joined Castello’s selection of Danish Blue cheese and premium Havarti cheese. The Alps Collection cheeses are Weissbier, Bergkase and Hirten, and New Yorker’s are the first in the country to try these new cheeses.
What sets these types of cheese apart is their origin, made from the milk of cows in an environmentally regulated area of the Alps. Each farm has less than 20 cows, and is elevated at least 2,626 feet above sea level. Each cheese has a unique aging process, and people who taste them are encouraged to vote for their favorite by phone, and Castello will make a donation to the Food Bank of New York for each vote.
The first cheese I tried was the Weissbier, which is a creamy, mild cheese with a faint hint of the beer that gives it its name. This cheese is wiped with Bavarian Weissbier from the oldest operating brewery in Germany three times per week during its period of ripening. Overall the Weissbier cheese was very smooth and mild, with a subtle taste of the beer it was wiped with.
Castello’s Bergkase cheese is much firmer, and reminded me of a more pungent type of Cheddar. The cheese is based on Oberstdorfer Bergkase, a cheese that has a Protected Geographical Origin status. The version I tried was matured for a minimum of two months at a special temperature and humidity to yield the perfect attributes. The cheese also had a great pungent aftertaste that lingered after eating the cheese, and dry consistency and slightly smoky flavor.
The last cheese I tried was easily my favorite, the Castello Alps Selection Hirten. The Hirten has a crumbly texture and closely resembles parmesan cheese. However the taste was out of this world, simultaneously tangy and sweet, very rich and sharp as well. I think the Hirten would pair well with anything, but the cracker I ate with it sufficed.
I can’t wait for an opportunity to try more of Castello’s cheeses, and for those lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Castello truck, they will be giving away free samples of their cheese throughout the month of October. You can keep up with them by following them on Twitter to scout their next location.