The term Vacherin refers both to several cheeses produced in Switzerland as well as a French dessert. Although there are many dessert variations the traditional version combines fresh fruit and ice cream on a meringue base and shape of the desert is said to be reminiscent of the shape of the cheese. [Alan Davidson, Oxford Food Companion].
Vacherin Cheeses are made from cows milk (vache means cow) and placed in traditional round spruce boxes.. The two principal types are Vacherin de Mont d'Or and Vacherin fribourgeois (of which there are two types, one for making Fribourg fondue and a dessert cheese vacherin a' main). It has a firm texture and an ivory to yellow colored interior. The flavor of Fribourgeois is fruity and aromatic with a slight bitterness.
Look for this cheese in a good cheese shop. Whole Foods Markets carries it sometimes. You can typically find it from a couple of good suppliers at Amazon.com: Vacherin Fribourgeois
If you don't have or can't find Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese you can substitute: >>>>Appenzeller OR > French Comte
Also referred to as a vacherin mold, the ring is used for shaping the dessert. The rings are the same shape as the spruce boxes in which the cheese is stored.