Scharfe Mazz is produced by the Studer family at their facility in Thurgau, Switzerland. The Studers, who are third generation cheesemakers, created Scharfe Maxx in 2003-4 as a direct response to the collapse of the Swiss Cheese Union, a government agency that controlled the production of all cheeses across Switzerland.
The collapse of the Union, allowed cheesemakers the freedom to create new cheese recipes and the Studers developed Scharfe Maxx which is their own version of traditional Appenzeller cheese.
Kaeserei Studer forms part of a consortium called Bodensee Kaese, which comprises four dairies in one small region. Each dairy produces its very own, unique cheeses. However, when it comes to marketing and selling them, they join forces, marketing them collectively with a regional identity.
Milk is sourced from cows fed only fresh grass or natural hay and is delivered direct from the dairies to the cheesemaking facility.
After heating the milk and adding cultures and rennet, the curd is cut and then re-heated to a higher temperature to expel the whey. The curds are then scooped into cheese molds and pressed. Twenty four hours after unmolding, the newly formed wheels are placed in a brine bath which aids in the formation of a rind.
The wheels of Scharfe Maxx are then transferred to maturing cellars where they are held for at least five months prior to release. During this time they are washed and flipped regulary to allow for even maturation throughout each wheel.
With a dense, smooth and firm texture, flavors are robust and meaty. Notes of nuts, onions and bacon are usual and the cheese has excellent melting qualities.
Good pairings include full bodied, robust red wines, ambers and brown ales.