Tête de Moine
Pronunciation: [teht deuh MWAHN]
Originally known as Bellelay, Tête de Moine ("monk's head") hails from Switzerland and was created by the monks at the Abbey of Bellelay, which was founded in 1136. It's made from raw cow's milk, ripened for 3 to 6 months and has a compact, supple texture that ranges from semihard to hard. The flavor is a tangy, earthy mélange of fruit and nuts. The traditional way to serve this cheese is to remove the top of the rind and then to shave or scrape off paper-thin "petals" of cheese. Tête de Moine owes much of its current success to the girolle, a specially designed tool for shaving this cheese into thin layers. See also cheese.