Sweden’s Almnäs Bruck, an estate that once held a brick-making factory, is now a cheesemaking farm. Alpine-style Almnäs Tegel pays homage to that history: Each block, copper-colored and imprinted with small footprints, is a nod to the days when children playing would run over wet bricks left out to dry.
To make Tegel, milk from the farm’s cows is pumped into a copper vat and warmed while cultures are added. Warming to 123 degrees F imparts curds a slightly caramelized flavor. The curds are emptied into molds, pressed for 19 hours, given the signature outside stamp, and then brined. Throughout the almost two-year aging period, blocks are washed with salt water, creating a rind that turns coppery-brown like a sun-dried brick. Tegel’s hard interior ranges from pale ivory to golden in color.
Tegel’s flavor becomes richer and more complex with age; saltiness gives way to sweetness, with notes of caramel and a hint of grass. On the tongue, expect a slight prickliness, even some grit. A drink that’s crisp and light best suits this wedge—try chardonnay, riesling, hard cider, or a bock beer.