Guess what this cheese has taught us? That when husband and wife disagree on how the cheese is, wife wins. Meaning, this cheese was great!
Here’s the Spectator’s take:
Red Hawk has been called a triple-cream with attitude—it doesn’t just lie there like many lush but sluggish triple-creams; it jumps up and demands your attention with its pungent nose and wrinkly orange appearance. Made from the organic, pas-teurized milk of Holstein and Jersey cows at the Straus Family Creamery, Red Hawk is aged for six weeks to achieve a creamy texture and meaty flavors.
See that bit about pungent? Yeah, they weren’t kidding. That’s what husband didn’t like. Plus, he isn’t a rind fan. But I am – and pungent is good when it is good. And this was good. especially on thin slices of baguette. You know what made it great? A little bit of honey. OH YEAH. I was loving life. Husband, he ate more of the Midnight Moon…sneak! 3 years ago
Well, how about I start out with the fun fact? So we’re at our cheese counter today and notice the Vella Dry Jack and remember this is on the list. We point to it and our cheese guy goes, “that cheese isn’t good.” We give him perplexed look and he let’s us taste the cheese while he tells us the story (I’m getting to the story).
Dry Jack was made as the first Amercian artisan cheese when it was decided that Americans could no longer support fascists and their evil Parmesan cheese (okay, there was an embargo against Italy over the whole fascism/enemies in WW2 thing). This is a hard cheese that can be grated and put over pasta or soups or salads so you can feel lovely and patriotic.
After tasting it, I promise that I said, “perhaps we could have found an upside to fascism instead of making this?”
It’s not that it tasted horrible. It was a little on the bland side, but it’s not offensive or anything. It’s really the texture that gets you when you’re eating it. Ever want waxed lips as a kid? Or the wax colas? If you have, you’ll get the idea. That small amount of flavor you wish was more and WAX. Just the waxiness. Which isn’t horrid, but it’s waxy. The cheese, it was waxy. I don’t know how – it’s rennet-based, but that should not make for waxy cheese.
Really, you could eat it, it would just be bland. And waxy. Have I mentioned the waxy? The rind involves cocoa powder, but it’s nothing exciting. But, hey, we weren’t supporting the fascists. And I suppose that was the right thing. Maybe. Do we know if the Parmesan folks were really that committed to being fascists or were they just along for the ride? I’m just saying…there may have been wiggle room. 3 years ago
A blue cheese from the fantastic cheddar cheese that we just had…it should be great, right? Look at what Wine Spectator promised:
Named for two Revolutionary War generals, this farmhouse blue uses milk from Jasper Hill Farm’s own Ayrshire cows, which are rotated from pasture to pasture. This system helps to develop seasonal variations in flavor. The raw milk is made into wheels that are either 6 to 7 or 12 to 14 pounds, and the cheese is aged for up to four months. As it matures, the cheese develops woodsy, mushroomy aromas and flavors that nicely complement the moderate sharpness.
This blue was a bit on the firm side. Not that we’re opposed to this, but without the creaminess of blue, this caused definite splits between the veining (is that even a word?) and flesh of the cheese. The flesh of the cheese did not hold any overly strong flavors (woodsy and mushroomy may be smells, but certainly not tastes!), which meant you got overwhelming tastes of blue ammonia. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t anything we’ll be after in the future. We prefer a blue that’s creamier. 3 years ago
Cheddar with crunchies! Here’s what Wine Spectator had to say:
This award-winning Cheddar is all the more amazing when you consider it is but one of many cheeses made in a cooperative, and with pasteurized cow’s milk. Aged in nearby Jasper Hill Farm’s “cave”—basically a temperature- and humidity-controlled room—this Cheddar has a sweet-cream aroma, an incredible meatiness on the palate and a luscious texture.
This is a cheddar that crumbles. Clothbound cheddars are exactly that – they’re wrapped in cheesecloth and aged – this one for a year. It’s a British thing that’s making it to the US in this collaborative effort. And it’s so worth it. You won’t slice this and melt it on a burger (okay, husband made a crack about melting it in a really good mac n’ cheese and got the stink eye!), but this is a good snack cheese. As in a few bites and you’re done. It’s creamy and has these pops of aged crunchies. Trust me, a hallmark of excellent aged cheese. We’re adding this to the list of stuff we’ll buy regularly – luckily Whole Foods seems to love Jasper Hill Farms. 3 years ago
Another “regular paycheck, back in the saddle” goal – the New Year should see more cheese.
This goal stays.
:) 3 years ago
Another pasteurized cheese surprises me…and what does Wine Spectator say? This pasteurized cow’s-milk cheese has a distinctive ribbon of ash running through the middle of the interior. The natural, brushed rinds on the 13-to-16-pound wheels are inedible. The most impressive thing about Morbier is its silky, seductive texture. The nose is earthy and the flavor nutty, but, oh, that feeling on the tongue.
The ‘Spec isn’t kidding. Really, there’s so much that should be so very wrong with Morbier. It’s pasteurized. It’s rind is inedible! And it’s name sounds like Morbid. But they aren’t kidding. It draws you in with that seductive line of ash. Really, it does – just stare at it and realize that it’s drawing you in with ASH. And the texture…so smooth, so seductive, so creamy, so pure. Oh, if only they made Morbier blankets for your tongue… 4 years ago
According to Wine Spectator, Appenzeller is an ancient cheese that’s made in the Swiss Alpage style, which means from cows grazing at high altitudes. The cheese is bathed in a solution of herbs, liquors and wines, and is aged at least four months, giving it earthy alpine aromas and feral, robust flavors. The rich, unpasteurized cow’s milk can be tasted on the palate, balanced by good acidity.
This was a nice every-day cheese. If you don’t like the normal Swiss cheese, this is Swiss’s understated yet somewhat sophisticated cousin. It’s a good little snack cheese for sure. 4 years ago
Found this gem at the Short North’s Curd’s n’ Whey. (Tee-Hee!)
Here’s what Wine Spectator has to say:
Now so well known, Manchego is to Spain almost what Brie is to France. But not all Manchegos are alike; the very firm Don Juan version is made from the pasteurized milk of La Mancha sheep and aged for one year. It has a rich, piquant aroma, a crumbly texture and a nutty, full flavor.
Normally, “pasteurized” is code for “bland and flavorless.” I take my raw-milk cheese very seriously. When the FDA was considering a raw-milk cheese ban a few years ago, I was writing my Senators and Representative explaining the folly of such a ban.
Had I known then about the Manchego, I might have very well been able to go, “well, I’ll always have this one!” It’s a damn tasty cheese. It’s by no means the best.cheese.ever, but it’s a really great snack cheese. It’s also a great cheese for a “fancy cheese platter” you’d like to introduce to your less adventuresome friends that deserve to taste real cheeses. 4 years ago
This was an Italian cheese that sounded familiar, but not one I could say 100% that I’d remembered by name. I’m very good or describing cheeses to my cheese guys (2 places I go) in terms of colors, label colors and shapes. Thankfully, they’re rather patient with me. This was another Jungle Jim purchase. Wine Spectator’s description:
Named for a valley near Bergamo, Taleggio is one of the Italian stracchino cheeses made from tired cows, which were found to produce milk with higher butterfat after climbing down from the mountain pastures. Indeed, buttery is what comes to mind when tasting this cheese, which is typically ripened for 40 days and is relatively mild for a wash-rind cheese. It’s nutty, with an elastic paste and a pleasing cow’s-milk nose.
This is great cheese. The only thing that would have made this perfect this afternoon would have been fresh, warm baguette. A little warm, crunchy crusted bread and this would have been the afternoon snack to end all afternoon snacks. Otherwise, a small bite, goes a long way – it’s a rich and creamy cheese that satisfies quickly. 4 years ago
Again, another Jungle Jim’s purchase…and one that may have been best left on the shelf. Okay, it didn’t sound like it would be evil from the Wine Spectator description:
Mad from the pasteurized milk of cows and goats, this Spanish cheese has a sharp saltiness backed by a buttermilk tanginess. It shows loads of fruit, a creamy texture and excellent balance. The 6-pound wheels are wrapped in oak or sycamore leave, which provide a distinctive appearance and flavor. Aged at least two months in limestone caves to promote blue veining, Valdeón is then wrapped in chestnut leaves before being released.
“Tanginess” is the key word. The tang was unbelievably overpowering – husband ate one bite and couldn’t go on. I at least tried a second since I started on the rind side and thought that maybe I just had too much rind. Yeah, I was wrong. I don’t hate blue cheese at all, but it really wasn’t me.
Hmmm…to say something positive…the texture was actually really nice. It is creamy, the veining offers a nice contrast. So, yeah, it’s not a texture issue…
Onward! 4 years ago
On our trip to Jungle Jim’s, this was one of the cheeses we picked up. This definitely isn’t the stuff of hamburgers. The article describes the cheese thusly:
Although not nearly as expensive as some better-known English Cheddars, this one is right up there with them in quality. It is made from raw cow’s milk, cloth-wrapped and aged up to 18 months. The cheese emerges with an exceptionally earthy, almost bitter nose, as if someone uncovered it at an archaeological dig. But the flavor is sweet and fruity, and the finish is extremely smooth.
First off, it’s a white cheddar, which is something I love. I grew up believing cheddar was orange and soft and that was a sad thing. Not that I’ll turn down the Kraft tray, but I know that better things are out there.
The best thing about aged cheeses are what I like to call “the crunchies.” It’s not the most technical term, but this cheese had it in spades. When you bite into the cheese, you’ll find your mouth delighted by this symphony of textures – the crunchies are those things that just POP – the earthy, almost bitter notes as mentioned above.
Quickes was well-represented at the store. Had I not had this list, I would have likely dismissed them because they ad a ton of flavored cheeses. Not that I have anything against flavored cheeses, but one doesn’t expect a high-quality aged cheddar to be sitting next to “cheddar with herbs.” Proves you can’t always pre-judge. =) 4 years ago
We found this at Katzinger’s (yes, the Sandwich goal place – who says life isn’t about multi-tasking?) yesterday. The article describes it as such:
This chalky (crayeuse in French) tomme is a recent creation, first crafted about 11 years ago in the manner of the well-regarded Tomme de Savoie. Creamy yet firm, it’s made from raw cow’s milk, fashioned into 4-pound wheels and aged for two to three months. the mold-coated exterior yields a yeast, mushroomy aroma. Inside it is rich, but balanced with acidity.
We didn’t go with the recommended Pinot Noir (not that I don’t love it), but instead ate it with what we affectionately call “crack crackers.” Those are what we call these amazing flax-seed crackers. There are also crack cookies – but those are Sweedish Gingersnaps we found at the grocery store and then (at all places!) on the cheap at Odd Lots…these are not related to the general “crack” which are really Culver’s Burgers, but I digress. =)
So, Tomme Crayeuse is to crack crackers what makes crack and whatever you’d mix it with more awesome? Okay, my entire illicit drug use knowledge comes from movies and Intervention, so go with me here. Husband hates cheese rind, so I had very little to go on (I love rind!) other than the very back. It was earthy and mushroomy and great. The best part of this is that since it’s French, it’s unpasturized milk. Ah, goodness.
If you find it, you’ll probably go $25 per pound??? Don’t worry, a quarter of a pound is actually a very healthy chunk. Even with us wanting to tear through the Tomme Crayeuse and Crack Crackers, we still have enough left for another round. Maybe we’ll even crack open a bottle of Pinot Noir! 4 years ago
They did a wonderful thing…
Oh, yeah, I subscribe to Wine Spectator. I know, you thought you knew me! I’ve subscribed for years, if not at least a decade. Hey, I think it legitimizes the whole “guzzling wine” thing. ^^
In all seriousness, while Wine Spectator can occasionally publish something that makes me go, “while, I’ll just hop on my private jet and go to Dubai to try those crabcakes now that you mention it…I’ll just skip coffee this week to pay for jet fuel!” they do have a lot of good things week in and week out. Wine Spectator found husband and I a nice place to stay in Ontario for wine tasting and great food. It told us about Chile and Argentina before everyone else was talking about it. Above all else, there’s nothing as funny as a horrible review (swamp gas, anyone?) for a terrible wine.
Of course, this issue had a fantastic cheese list. There are cheeses from all over the world, and while they come with wine tastings, we all know how great cheese is, right? I’ve probably tried more than I said, but we have great cheese shops in town, so there’s that issue of things sounding familiar, you know?
I’ll be working on the list here.4 years ago