Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some Favorite Cheeses

Today is one of those days when I'm gone from home almost all day. And that means that right before I run out of the house, I have to grab something to eat... which almost invariably means CHEESE!

I'm currently snacking on one of my more recent favorites: Wensleydale with Cranberries. It has a bright, almost tart flavor, and yet it's sweet. A little crumbly. Very creamy. And the best part is that you can buy a large brick of it at Costco for a decently inexpensive price!

For the last couple years, Paul and I have tried to go to Whole Foods and try two new "exotic" cheeses a month. It's been a few months since we've done that, but I thought that as long as I was thinking about cheese, I might as well mention a few of the most memorable ones.

In the process of trying new cheeses, I was introduced for the first time to the delights of goat cheese. There are tons of different kinds that we've tried at Whole Foods, not the least of which is the generic herb covered soft Chevre (meaning "goat" I believe). It's amazing for spreading on crackers, and sharing with a nice rich red wine. But a couple of the more memorable ones were Yodeling Goat Gouda and Drunken Goat. Besides having completely awesome names, these two were phenomenal for their solid, unbelievably creamy textures. With the first, the tangy goat flavor mixes with a traditional gouda to make a truly wonderful blend of flavors. The smallest slice will give an amazing taste that stays in your mouth long after you swallow.

The "Drunken Goat" cheese has a similar effect, but with a very different flavor. The cheese is soaked in wine, thus producing the purple exterior. The wine flavor is very subtle, but (like the gouda) an amazing complement to the natural goat flavor. 

There are many others I could mention, and maybe I will write another post about them in the future. But I think my all time favorite has been the Whiskey Cheddar. Of course, I'm partial to whiskey anyway, but even those who don't really like the liquor but appreciate strong, sharp cheese will like this. It's expensive, I admit. But it's truly worth every cent. And like the two above, you only need the smallest bite to get a mouthful of enormous, striking flavor. I like to eat these cheeses plain, unencumbered by bland crackers or breads or whatnot. If you are at a store where there is a knowledgeable person behind the cheese counter, ask for this or something that might be similar. Once when I asked, the man gave me a Scottish cheddar (not specifically whiskey cheddar) that was almost equally phenomenal. I wish I could remember what it was called... There are other similar cheeses made with Irish stout and brandy that I would love to try. But if I never try another new cheese again, I'm pretty sure I could stick with these and be happy with them for the rest of my life! Be sure to try them if you like cheese!

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