The cheeses of Times and Seasons

December 10, 2004 | 75 comments
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And now for a very serious topic. Which T & S bloggers are like which types of cheese?

We’ll start with the old crowd, who I think I’ve gotten to know pretty well:

Old Fogies

Matt is cheddar. He’s straightforward and sharp, and goes well in a number of dishes. A number of people like him, but it’s possible for snooty cheese snobs to dismiss him as insufficiently nuanced.

Adam is manchego. At times, it can have a flavor similar to cheddar. But it isn’t cheddar — it’s from Spain, that most Catholic of countries, and it’s a hard sheep’s-milk cheese. It’s dry, and quite tasty.

Kristine is gorgonzola. She’s strong and opinionated, and you certainly know it when she’s around. Gorgonzola is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who like it, there’s nothing to compare to it.

Nate is parmaggiano reggiano. Possibly the most complex of all cheeses. It is useful in many different contexts and easily adaptable for cooking, grating, or eating off of a cracker. Your fridge is incomplete without parm-reg.

Julie is pecorino toscano. It’s such a tasty and easy to eat cheese that you can just munch it plain, just because it’s tasty, and almost miss the amount of complexity that’s there. But under it’s general tastiness is a lot of complex flavor.

Greg is gruyere. (And not just because he married a swiss woman). He blends well into different dishes, but has a (slightly nutty) flavor that stands on its own.

Gordon — What to label someone who actually knows his cheeses? I’m going to go with smoked gouda. I just had some that was nice and spicy. It’s not the strongest cheese in the world, but very pleasant and easy to much on, plus it goes well with a number of different things (sausage, cracker, some fruits).

Jim is roquefort. (I’ve got to go with the French cheese here). Culture? Yes. Strong, and a little salty? Yes.

Russell is stilton. It’s a cheese for cultured people. It’s strong and it’s certainly unique (unlike most blues, stilton gets much of its flavor from bacteria rather than mold).

The newbies. I know our new cobloggers a little bit less well, but I already have some ideas of what kinds of cheese they might be:

New Fogies

Wilfried is a Belgian cheese for sure, but I must admit that I have some difficulty keeping all of the Belgian cheeses straight. The typical Belgian cheese is a Trappist monk, semi-soft, washed-rind cheese. One well-known cheese is Passendale; for other trappist cheeses, I hear different names like Chimay and Postel, and I don’t really know the difference myself. They’re hard to find on this side of the pond, and tend in my limited experience to be similar to some of the (easier to find over here) French trappist cheeses like Port Salut.

Rosalynde is brindamour. It’s a sweet and creamy, and incredibly flavorful herbed cheese. It’s great by itself or with a cracker; one knock on it is that its intense flavors and herbal nature makes it sometimes hard to match. In any event, a cheese you don’t want to miss.

Melissa is chevre. The artisanal French goat cheese, typically made by hand in tiny batches. It’s delicate (don’t drop it) but has a strong flavor; it’s not a sweet cheese but is considered to go well with deserts; and it’s one of the more unique cheeses. No two chevres are the same.

Ben is fresh mozzarella. A lot less attention-grabbing than many cheeses on a board, but it’s smooth and tasty, and is a great fit in almost any dish. It makes a killer salad, and should be added to every pasta sauce.

Frank is Camembert. To his admirers, he’s very sharp; to his detractors, he just plain stinks! (Just kidding!) (That’s a critique that could also be said of limburger). Camembert is certainly noticeable, salty, and flavorful. But underneath the fearsome reputation is a delicate cheese with some interesting flavor.

Wow, now I’m really hungry. :)

Well, I hope that I got some of the cheese assessments right. And if it’s not too cheesy to do so, let me ask if others think that I got some of these right. Which cheeses am I missing? Which are misassigned? (And which cheese am I?) Or am I just being too cheesy for comments?

75 Responses to The cheeses of Times and Seasons

  1. cooper on December 10, 2004 at 11:38 am

    Kaimi, great posts. Your evalution is excellent. To be a bit tongue in cheek could we call you a Pepper Jack? Soft and mild at first then it gets you. There’s heat! It can be uncomfortable for some but after a few bites it grows on you. The sensation becomes one you have difficulty replacing with any other. And then, as it is always said about Pepper Jack, it always gets you in the end!

    Myself, I favor a good sharp cheddar, then a Pecorino.

  2. Frank McIntyre on December 10, 2004 at 11:40 am

    Fun post Kaimi,

    When I was three I climbed onto the table before dinner and started eating from a bleu cheese ball by the handful. That must be why I loved Jim’s class.

    As for the stinky Camembert, you’re just mad because I never agree with you.
    As such, you must be Brie, the cheese that just never agrees with me. :)

  3. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 11:57 am

    I’m really hungry now! I could go for a Frank, Rosalynde, Wilfried, and/or Adam right now (though not all at once, of course).

  4. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for the comments so far, everyone.

    Frank, I must say that you were one of the hard ones to place — I wanted something sharp, but I had already used up the obvious ones (roquefort, stilton, gorgonzola) and so camembert seemed like the next best choice. Hey, at least I didn’t make you limburger! :)

    Of the two assessments of me so far, I think I like cooper’s better. I’m not all that big a fan of brie myself, but I definitely like some pepper jack in a tortilla with salsa and sour cream.

    Hmm, now it’s definitely time to go to lunch. :)

  5. Aaron Brown on December 10, 2004 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve always thought of myself of a Roquefort or Bleu, but not because I’m cultured like Jim. Rather, it’s because (1) once you’ve had a taste, you really can’t get the flavor out of your mouth, even if you want to; and (2) I really iam n love with both cheeses, just as I’m obviously in love with myself. :)

    Aaron B

  6. Gordon Smith on December 10, 2004 at 12:14 pm

    Actually, we do not have to guess about this. Take the test. Oh, by the way, I am a bleu cheese, not a smoked gouda.

  7. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 12:32 pm

    At the SLC bloggersnacker the Fowles were kind enough to introduce me to Gouda, Boursin and Brie. All were tasty. I brought the same cheeses to my family’s Thanksgiving hang-out and I think the smoked Gouda was the most popular.

    The point is, I envy Kaimi’s knowledge of cheese and am hoping to broaden my dairy horizons. Any suggestions as to what kind of cheese I should try next?

  8. Gordon Smith on December 10, 2004 at 12:36 pm

    danithew: Sure! Check here. Unfortunately, the pictures were lost when I changed urls, but I will try to get them back.

  9. Jonathan Green on December 10, 2004 at 12:38 pm

    Kaimi, who’s going to be stovetop Queso Blanco? Here’s how it works:

    Take a gallon of surplus milk that’s about to reach its expiration date, preferably milk that originated on a gargantuan feed lot and made its way through the agro-industrial supply chain until it reached a grocery store near you, preferably a store with a keychain holder-sized membership discount card that allows you to trade away your privacy for food prices not much higher than they were before the chain introduced its membership card. Pour the milk in a large covered pot over low heat, so it heats nearly to a boil in near-darkness and under increasing pressure. Just before it reaches boiling, dump in a good dose of vinegar or something else acidic and sour. The curds will immediately separate from the greenish, foul-smelling whey; let them stew in their own juice for a while, then remove them and drain out the whey by placing a heavy weight over them. The resulting cheese has a nondestinct flavor and unsatisfying texture, but can be used in cooking to stretch ingredients of higher quality.

    Even cheese, you see, can have its dark side.

  10. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 12:51 pm

    Danithew,

    You probably want to try a few different styles. I’m a big fan of hard or semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese myself. These include Manchego, Pecorino, and Idiazabal. Of these, I would say to try Manchego first — it’s a very good cheese, and hard to go wrong with. Another hard cheese (not sheep’s milk) is paramaggiano. Our “parmesan” cheese is a poor knock-off of the real thing.

    You’ll also want to try a blue. Gorgonzola or Roquefort are two good ones to start with. They’re more expensive than an everyday cheddar, but worth it. You often eat them with something else. Gorgonzola is good with strawberries or honey. Roquefort traditionally goes with pears or nuts, I think it’s also very good with some sweet jam on a cracker.

    A softish cheese might also be good — these are similar to Brie in texture. They include Port Salut, Fontina (make sure to get the real stuff — Fontina is not a protected name, and so a lot of places will sell garbagey cheese and label it “fontina”), Taleggio, Camembert.

    If you like swiss cheeses, there are a number of varieties — Gruyere (no holes, nutty, great flavor), Emmental (holes, milder flavor), Comte (from France, no holes, tangy), and Jarlsberg (mild, from Norway, holes).

    Finally, there are a bunch of other interesting cheeses — Feta (crumbly salad cheese), chevre (small goat’s milk cheese), brindamour (hard to find, and you need to eat it quickly), mascarpone (like a cream-cheese; eat it with fruit or mix it into brownies).

    A good starting plate might be:
    One parmaggiano-reggiano. (Possible substitutes: Manchego, Pecorino).
    One gorgonzola. (Possible substitutes: Roquefort, Stilton).
    One Port Salut. (Possible substitutes: Taleggio, Fontina)
    One Gruyere. (Possible substitutes: Comte, Jarlsberg).

    These are all not terribly hard to find, and not terribly expensive. (The parm-reg or gorgonzola will probably be the most pricey of the bunch).

  11. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 12:54 pm

    Now that is quite an extensive and detailed response. Thanks Kaimi!

  12. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 12:57 pm

    Maybe my Christmas surprise for my wife can be some kind of cheese basket. We both enjoy cheese. Ummmm. Good thing she doesn’t read T&S. My father, btw, said he wasn’t crazy about Camembert. Too strong? Can’t remember why.

  13. Aaron Brown on December 10, 2004 at 12:58 pm

    Recommendation: For the last year, my wife and I have been really into Roaring 40′s Bleu, from New Zealand. Not quite as strong as the other Bleus, and sometimes has a slight honey flavor to it. It appears to becoming very popular, so it’s fairly easy to find. Highly recommended.

    Aaron B

  14. William Morris on December 10, 2004 at 1:02 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’m a Jarlsberg.

    Or I’m one of those processed cheese spreads from Denmark with pimento.

  15. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 1:04 pm

    I know Kaimi mentioned a good place in New York to buy cheese. Any suggestions for Salt Lake City? Last time I just picked them up at a local grocery store but I assume there’s some good specialty shops for this sort of thing. Maybe I should just do a google search.

  16. William Morris on December 10, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    Nope. According to Gordon’s test, I’m brie.

    ::sigh::

  17. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    One consideration is shelf life. Most hard cheese will last quite a while. Parm-reg, pecorino, manchego, gruyere (or other swiss) will all last a good two months in the fridge without major negative consequences. (They won’t be quite as flavorful two months later, but they’ll still be just fine for eating). The same for most blue cheeses — Roquefort will last for quite a while, for example.

    However, soft cheeses will go bad, quickly. Mascarpone lasts a week at most and brindamour is almost as short-lived. Brie, Camembert, Taleggio, Fontina, and Port salut will often go bad within 2-3 weeks.

    So if you’re buying cheese, you probably want to mix it up a little bit between softs and hards/blues. What is _not_ advisable is to come home with 5 or 6 different soft cheeses. That will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll be throwing some cheese away in a few weeks.

  18. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 1:06 pm

    For Salt Lake City, this looks promising, though the site is still “under development.”:

    http://www.juhlhaus.com/

  19. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 1:11 pm

    Danithew,

    One benefit of a reputable cheesemonger (a place that specializes in cheese and cuts it for you, right there at the counter) is that you can usually taste the cheeses before you buy them.

    This is important (even if you know cheeses) when you’re buying a short-shelf-life cheese like brindamour, since you want to check to see that it’s still good.

    But it’s also a great way to taste-test a new cheese. So you can say “hmm, I’ve heard of Cabrales [it's a Spanish blue cheese that's very tasty], I’ve never had it, can I try it?” And they’ll give you a tiny little piece right there.

    Of course, you can’t do that for the entire selection. But if you have doubts, you can try it for cheeses you’re wondering about.

    I don’t know if there are any cheesemongers of that sort in Salt Lake, but it’s been a valuable part of my cheese education here in New York.

  20. Greg Call on December 10, 2004 at 1:14 pm

    With all these cheeses being mentioned, I just wanted a put a plug in for my family’s all-time favorite cheese — Appenzeller. It’s from my wife’s home Kanton, but that’s not the only reason we love it. Give it a try! (This is a selfish request — if more people buy it, the supply that the stores have will be fresher.)

  21. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 1:18 pm

    Danithew, I ate at the Juhlhaus two weeks ago. Great place with excellent food and tons of atmosphere.

  22. Jed Woodworth on December 10, 2004 at 1:18 pm

    I can never get enough of the chevre in the small green, angular container. I embarass myself in groups by eating more than my share.

  23. Ryan Bell on December 10, 2004 at 1:28 pm

    Juhlhaus is a fun little place, with lots of other Euro stuff and good ice cream too. It’s a few blocks from our house, so let me know if you ever head over there, Daniel.

  24. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 1:32 pm

    I know that cheddar is cheddar, and it comes in little orange plastic-wrapped blocks, but let me just elaborate on cheddar and say that the little orange blocks don’t come close to (1) Vermont farm cheddar, or (2) English cheddar.

    The single best Vermont cheddar I’ve ever had was from Sugar Bush Farm. They do sell online, (see http://www.theapplebarn.com/shopping-cheese.html ), but the shipping is likely to kill you unless you can get it at a store. And Sugar Bush doesn’t have great distribution.

    On the other hand, Cabot farms make a very good Vermont cheddar, _and_ they have as good of distribution as I’ve seen for any Vermont cheese. If you’re going to find a Vermont cheese in Utah, it’s going to be a Cabot. And if you do find one, buy it. They’re very tasty.

    The best English distributor is Neal’s Yard. I’m partial to their Isle of Mull cheddar, but that one is not always easy to find even in New York. You’re much more likely to find a Neal’s Yard cheddar from Keen’s farm. It’s not as good as the Mull stuff, but it’s quite a bit more tasty than run-of-the-mill cheddar.

  25. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 1:35 pm

    According to the test, I was a bleu cheese, but I would have thought that a mid-aged (6 month) no.48 (if I’m not mistaken) Dutch gouda (not smoked gouda) was a better fit. So I don’t really trust that test. . . .

  26. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 1:37 pm

    Kaimi, I agree with you on English cheddar. One big secret is that the English cheddar you can buy in Germany (for some odd reason) is far better than English cheddar that you get in England, which is, of course, far better than American yellow cheddar blocks. . . .

  27. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 1:37 pm

    Ryan, it’s also near my house. You two will have to count me in if you’re headed over there for lunch some day.

  28. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 1:39 pm

    Greg, I second your endorsement of Appenzeller. I very much enjoyed it when I (rarely) had it in Europe.

  29. Russell Arben Fox on December 10, 2004 at 1:51 pm

    Kaimi, insofar as those orange blocks of cheddar go, what’s your opinion of Tillamook?

  30. William Morris on December 10, 2004 at 1:56 pm

    My uncle brought a two-year aged English cheddar to a cheese party we hosted. It was awesome. I wish I had thought to ask who the maker was.

    Feel free to chime in, Greg. But if there are any other East Bay-ers out there lurking wondering where to get good cheese. The best two places that I am aware of are the Berkeley Bowl and the Cheese Board — both in Berkeley.

  31. Bryce I on December 10, 2004 at 2:05 pm

    SHUT THAT BLOODY BOUZOUKI UP!

  32. cooper on December 10, 2004 at 2:13 pm

    Ooooo the Berkeley Bowl! Mmmmm. Every year when we attend the fancy food show in SF we make a pilgrimage to Berkeley Bowl. ;-D

  33. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 2:43 pm

    Ryan, I’d love to arrange a meet up at Jahlhaus. :) Could you send me a brief email at Daniel(dot)Bartholomew(at)gmail.com?

  34. Bill on December 10, 2004 at 2:57 pm

    Two of my favorite cheeses are Azeitao (a portuguese sheep’s milk cheese) and Hoch Ybrig (a cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland) Although a hard cheese, Hoch Ybrig will deteriorate under less than ideal storage conditions (such as a refrigerator). Both these cheeses taste like nothing else.

    You can find Hoch Ybrig at the Garden of Eden at 14th and 5th (not usally at the other branches) and Azeitao at the Fairway at 74th and Broadway. I’ve seen them at the Grand Central Market cheese shop, but everything there is much more expensive than it should be, and these are not inexpensive cheeses.

    It will likely be difficult to find them outside New York, although things seem to be improving from year to year. Maybe on a site like igourmet.

  35. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 3:01 pm

    That’s good to know, Bill. I’ll have to check out the Azeitao in particular — that sounds like some of the cheeses I really like (Idiazabal, Manchego).

    The 74th street Fairway is also the only place I’ve been able to consistently find Isle of Mull cheddar. I usually cheese shop at Zabars, but I drop by Fairway specifically for the cheddar.

  36. Bill on December 10, 2004 at 3:28 pm

    Azeitao is a softer cheese, cured in thistle flower. The less-aged cheeses are almost runny in texture. I like it both fresh and more aged.

    I also like the Citarella next door to Fairway because they take very good care of their cheese. Because of the freshness of the cheese, it’s the only place I like to buy Brin d’amour (a Corsican sheep’s milk cheese, paired with Rosalynde above, probably my favorite of the cheeses mentioned in the original post with the possible exception of Roquefort). They also have a lot of good Italian cheeses, such as Vento d’estate.

  37. Rosalynde Welch on December 10, 2004 at 3:46 pm

    Kaimi, I love it! And now I’ll have to find and try brindamour. My taste in cheese is middlebrow at best, but I like feta in a pasta salad, goat’s cheese on a pizza, a good baked brie, and a wonderful Dublin cheddar available at Trader Joes.

    I think there’s something valuable about becoming a connoisseur in some area, whatever it is.

  38. Melissa on December 10, 2004 at 4:19 pm

    Kaimi,

    What a fun post!

    I love mascarpone cheese in recipes–I make this really wonderful chocolate mascarpone cheesecake that has been known to make grown men cry with joy :) .

    I agree with Rosalynde on the feta. I like to carmelize pecans and toss some baby spinach and feta together with a balsamic vinaigrette.

    There’s a little pizza place I adore in Providence that makes a very thin whole wheat crust smothered with feta, pesto and plum tomatoes. Fresh mozarella with homemade pesto and tomatoes from the garden is also hard to beat in the Summer.

  39. Adam Greenwood on December 10, 2004 at 4:26 pm

    What a passel of blue staters y’all are.

  40. Adam Greenwood on December 10, 2004 at 4:27 pm

    Very clever post, Kaimi, by the way.

  41. cooper on December 10, 2004 at 4:27 pm

    Best sandwich with Feta: Rare roast beef, with red onions, feta cheese on Kalamata olive bread. Mmmmmm.

  42. danithew on December 10, 2004 at 5:03 pm

    Kaimi, I continue to be dazzled by your cheese commentary in the comments. If I ever have any questions about cheese, I’m sending them to you. :)

  43. Ben Huff on December 10, 2004 at 5:07 pm

    I’m a little dizzy, trying to savor all these comparisons at once! Wow, I think they’re pretty apt, tho.

    Fresh mozarella is quite versatile. Odd as it might sound, I have had fun integrating it into a couple of what would otherwise be Asian dishes, like sushi (very nice with fresh basil and red and yellow bell pepper), and this one salad with ginger and sesame dressing.

  44. Shannon Keeley on December 10, 2004 at 5:35 pm

    Wow. You people know a lot about cheese. We are sadly under-informed on this subject. When we were backpacking through France I decided to try to give myself a proper “cheese education,� and I found that French people who otherwise wouldn’t give us the time of day were more than happy to talk to us about cheese. There was one memorable dinner when we ordered the cheese plate, and the guys at the table next to us engaged us in a game of “guess which animal this cheese came from� by making the appropriate animal sound to go with each cheese (cow, goat, etc.) Ahhhh. . .good times.

  45. Matt Evans on December 10, 2004 at 6:08 pm

    I just did a page search, and no one so far has mentioned Havarti. Havarti with Dill is our family’s favorite cracker cheese. Why has no one mentioned it? Do you find it too mild and creamy?

  46. Gordon Smith on December 10, 2004 at 6:08 pm

    I will have to invite Kaimi to Conglomerate as a guest blogger on cheese. I knew he was a cheese lover, but I had no idea of the extent of his passion. His tastes are a bit different than mine, however, as he seems to prefer cheeses of southern Europe, whereas I have a special place for northern European cheeses. (I am, in fact, a big lover of aged gouda, even though my quiz pegged me as a bleu man). English cheeses are great, too. Kaimi is right about Isle of Mull Cheddar.

    Shannon, your post about French cheeses is making my mouth water. I assume Jim F. has some French cheese stories from his many travels there. I spent five weeks in Paris a few years back and enrolled in a cheese tasting class. Just one evening, but that was awesome!

    If you are looking for a domestic cheese, don’t forget Wisconsin cheddars. Try a 10-year cheddar, and you will be happy you did.

    Finally, I wanted to note that after reading Kaimi’s post this morning, I ran to the refrigerator and pulled out a new cheese for me: Mimolette. From France. Looks like a cantalope, but tastes like a dense, aged cheddar. Mmmmm. Dinner anyone?

  47. William Morris on December 10, 2004 at 6:31 pm

    One of the highlights of my Romanian mission was when the state supermarket in Ploeiesti — a place normally filled with cans of mushy peas and salami that was chunky with fat — acquired several huge wheels of gouda — probably as part of some cultural products exchange program. Considering that there are only two kinds of cheese in Romania — a semi-hard cheese called cashcaval that’s kind of like a mozzarella/cheddar cross and a salty, soft goat (or sheep) milk cheese called brinza (like feta but a little harsher) — and that quality foodstuffs were difficult to find except for some fresh produce (and that only during very short growing seasons), we were in heaven. We even risked buying mushrooms at the piatsa (open air market) so that we could have fried mushrooms and melted gouda on bread.

    I’ve had some good cheeses since then, but that gouda is more permanently etched in my food memory than almost anything else I’ve ever eaten.

  48. Kaimi on December 10, 2004 at 6:36 pm

    Nice to get so many comments.

    Rosalynde, Melissa, Ben, Wilfried, I’m glad you liked the idea. I thought it would be a fun break from the usual serious discussion around here.

    Rosalynde, good luck finding brindamour. You may have to look for slightly different spellings — it’s often mashed into one word like that (as I did above), but it’s also often marked with the correct foreign spelling brin d’amour. Or any number of permutations. It’s a worth the searching to find this cheese. :)

    I can’t believe I forgot feta. I suppose I should have assigned that to someone, but I just forgot. Perhaps because it’s not on the top of my persona list (though my wife loves it). (I wonder if there’s a trend here — is feta a cheese that womem are more likely to prefer? My sample size is far too small to mean anything, I think.)

    Melissa, your mascarpone cheesecake recipe sounds amazing — now I’m going to be daydreaming about cheesecake for the rest of the day. If it’s not a secret, do you mind sharing the recipe?

    Ben,

    Your Asian fusion sushi sounds tasty. Fusion is all the rage these days.

    Matt,

    I think it’s because the liberal media has indoctrinated us against the consumption of Havarti. :) Actually, I’m not a big Havarti person myself (see also Brie, feta, Wensleydale, many goat cheeses).

    Gordon,

    I’m happy to talk about cheese, any time. :) I was probably more worried about getting your assignment wrong than any of the rest, so I’m glad that you approve of gouda. And your dinner is making me envious.

  49. Shannon Keeley on December 10, 2004 at 6:57 pm

    Question 1: So, when you become a cheese connoisseur, does that mean that you have to give up eating more bourgeois cheeses. . .like, you know “American� cheese. Once you get into all these fine cheeses, a package of sliced Velveta must seem like some sort of bastard cheese stepchild. I want to expand my cheese horizons, but I don’t want to be scoffed at for eating Kraft “cheddarella� cheese snacks that are shaped like little cows.
    Question 2: Anybody got a good mac n cheese recipe incorporating some of these more robust cheeses? When this heat wave we’re having in LA is over and the “winter� weather returns, I’d like some good mac n cheese comfort food.

  50. Jim F on December 10, 2004 at 7:02 pm

    Kaimi, I join the throng of those impressed by and envious of your knowledge of cheeses. I also appreciate your designation of me as a roquefort, a really great cheese, as well as your reasons for doing so, however misinformed they may be.

    I’ve never eaten a cheese that I didn’t like, so it is hard to decide which one is my favorite. When Janice and I lived in Paris, one of our favorite excursions was to the cheese store for tasting and buying. As Shannon Keeley pointed out, one sure way to get the French to talk with you is to ask about cheese (though I have not had the experience of them not wanting to give me the time of day). Perhaps one of my best discoveries in Paris was robluchon. It is good in itself; it is superior when melted over potatoes and bits of ham. I had never seen it before then, but now can occasionally find it in the Costco in Orem. I’m hoping there are others buying it than me so that they will continue to carry it.

  51. William Morris on December 10, 2004 at 7:09 pm

    I don’t know French, but even I was excited to find this recipe for Tartiflette (the dish Jim describes above): http://www.tartiflette.net/ [includes photo].

  52. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 7:21 pm

    That recipe looks pretty easy! I’m sure if I tried my hand at it, though, I could easily mess it up.

  53. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 7:23 pm

    Shannon, my wife makes a killer mac n’ cheese with English white cheddar. It is simple and delicious. I don’t know the details off the top of my head now, but I’ll check it out.

  54. john fowles on December 10, 2004 at 7:32 pm

    Gordon wrote I have a special place for northern European cheeses. (I am, in fact, a big lover of aged gouda, even though my quiz pegged me as a bleu man). English cheeses are great, too. Kaimi is right about Isle of Mull Cheddar.

    It looks like you and I have very close tastes in cheeses Gordon. I was about to make a similar comment with regards to Kaimi’s apparent southern Europe cheese penchant when I re-read through the comments and saw your post, which I had missed before. Don’t get me wrong, however, I can take a good Italian, Greek, or Turkish cheese anyday.

    The test also pegged me as a bleu cheese, even though I would have thought that gouda is a better match for me.

  55. Keith on December 10, 2004 at 8:07 pm

    So, does Velveeta count as a cheese? And if so, is this one Jim Faulconer has tasted and actually likes? Further, who might Kaimi choose from among the folks in the world of LDS Blogs to be represented by Velveeta? Or would saying that go against the no personal insults policy? :)

    Now, more seriously, there was a kind of cheese in Peru. White. Never knew what it was called. I liked it. They would serve it along with big ears of corn, or in sandwiches. Perhaps the best of this was served on the train between Juliaca and Cuzco. If you are ever there, try it.

  56. Julie in Austin on December 10, 2004 at 8:17 pm

    Why is no one talking about feta?

  57. Aaron Brown on December 11, 2004 at 4:15 am

    Because feta is gross, Julie.

    Well, O.K., not gross, but it certainly isn’t as good as the other goat cheeses that seem ubiquitous here in L.A., with our “California cuisine” and all.

    Matt, I’m totally with you on the Havarti with dill. Yum!

    Aaron B

  58. Rob Briggs on December 11, 2004 at 5:29 am

    Kaimi, have you had a case involving cheese copyright infringement? (How else to explain this “gnosis.”)

    You’re a regular cheese polymath.

  59. Rob Briggs on December 11, 2004 at 5:42 am

    After reading the whole blog I’ve sadly decided that I must be Velveta.

    On cheese, I’m the least informed of all.

  60. Bill on December 11, 2004 at 2:00 pm

    Brin d’Amour is also known as Fleur du Maquis.

    By the way, Kaimi, I was at Zabar’s this morning and I saw Azeitao and Hoch Ybrig, which I had never seen there before.

    I agree with Jim. When I was in France, I had a Reblochon de Savoie that I can still remember. It must have been because the raffineur had aged the cheese to perfection. I never buy it now because I’ve only been disappointed since.

  61. Matt Evans on December 11, 2004 at 2:08 pm

    Matt is cheddar. He’s straightforward and sharp, and goes well in a number of dishes. A number of people like him, but it’s possible for snooty cheese snobs to dismiss him as insufficiently nuanced.

    When my wife read the descriptions, she said, “It sounds like you’re the American at a party of Old Europe.”

  62. Jack on December 11, 2004 at 8:02 pm

    Aaron,

    What are saying?! Feta is wonderful! There’s nothing like a leafy salad with red onions, cashews, poppyseed dressing and that final crowning ingredient – feta cheese.

  63. Kaimi on December 12, 2004 at 11:52 am

    Matt,

    Cheddar isn’t American. It’s English. It comes from Cheddar, England. (Most cheeses are named after their place of origin).

    You’re not the only English cheese on the list, either. Stilton (Russell) is English.

    As far as the old Europe / new Europe distinction, I’m not quite sure who falls where, but the derivation of the cheese I mention is:

    Cheddar-England.
    Manchego -Spain.
    Gorgonzola – Italy.
    Parmaggiano reggiano – Italy.
    Pecorino toscano. Tuscany, so Italy.
    Gruyere – Switzerland.
    Gouda – Dutch.
    Roquefort – France.
    Stilton – England.
    Passendale – Belgium.
    Brindamour – Corsica, so French sort-of.
    Chevre – France and elsewhere.
    Fresh mozzarella – Italy.
    Camembert – France.

    That’s 4 Italy, 4 France, 2 England, and one each of Dutch, Swiss, Spanish, and Belgian.

  64. Shannon Keeley on December 12, 2004 at 12:32 pm

    What’s the difference between French mozzerella and Itlaian?

  65. Bill on December 12, 2004 at 4:08 pm

    I’m not aware that there’s a separate French version of mozzarella that differs subtantially from the Italian. Real mozzarella originated near Naples and is made from the milk of water buffalo. Here’s some more info: (someone else will have to add the link)

    http://www.mozzco.com/mozzhisty.html

    Also, I noticed that I made a foolish typing blunder in comment 60: it should be affineur, not raffineur.

  66. Greg Call on December 12, 2004 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t really know my cheeses, but I’m a bit surprised that two Swiss cheeses I like have not been mentioned yet: Emmenthaler (which is essential in fondue) and Raclette (which is probably French, but is much loved in Switzerland). Any expert commentary on these, Kaimi or Gordon?

  67. Matt Evans on December 12, 2004 at 5:40 pm

    Kaimi,

    Lori didn’t mean that the cheese was American, I’m pretty sure she knows cheddar’s an English cheese. I think she meant that to Americans, cheddar’s the prototypical cheese. More importantly, I don’t think she meant I was like an American cheese at a party of Old Europe cheeses, she thought my description was like an American at a party hosted by French and Germans. I’m confident she doesn’t think the other T&S bloggers are like “Old Europe” (which one would assume if one carried her cheese analogy too far).

  68. Silus Grok on December 12, 2004 at 10:51 pm

    Okay: for folks looking for great cheeses in SLC, do be sure to try out the cheese counter at LIBERTY HEIGHTS FRESH — 13th South at 11th East.

    http://www.libertyheightsfresh.com/

    They have a wonderful selection, and they let you sample before you buy. I’d sound a lot smarter about cheeses if I could just remember the names… but alas, I’m stuck usually describing cheeses circumlocquatiously.

    On feta: yeah, I agree, it’s a bit much — but I do like French Feta when feta is necessary. It’s much more subtle.

    As for other cheeses, LHF also has this wonderful Scandinavian cheese that tastes like caramel.

    * drool *

    Jim F: I like most cheeses, but LHF once featured a cheese from Spain that was aged in straw and (purposefully) played host to spider mites. It tasted vaguely like uncured cement.

    * shudders *

    As for what cheese I might be, I’d suggest TETE DU MOIN — and no gay monk jokes, thank you very much — for myself. Nothing wrong with going bald, and sure, I’m a little grating at times… but that’s my charm.

  69. Bill on December 13, 2004 at 3:33 pm

    “As for other cheeses, LHF also has this wonderful Scandinavian cheese that tastes like caramel.”

    You’re probably talking about Gjetost, a very interesting flavor, maybe the sweetest tasting cheese I’ve tried.

    How about cheeses you don’t like? For me that would be smoked cheeses, with all the delicate flavors overpowered. Smoked fish (especially sable) is a different story which is why I have to stay out of Zabar’s.

  70. Silus Grok on December 13, 2004 at 4:03 pm

    Bill… dear, dear Bill: smoked gouda is absolute heaven. Yes the delicate flavors are gone, but their replaced with some else — something wonderful.

  71. Julie on March 14, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    what is grano padano ? taste? feel?
    can i sub with parmesan for a pasta recipe?
    jules

  72. Kaimi on March 14, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    Grano Padano is not as aged as parmaggiano. However, it’s quite a good cheese for grating, for mixing into pasta, for having on top of a dish. And it’s generally 1/2 to 2/3 the price of parmaggiano. So yes, it should substitute into a recipe just fine.

  73. Rachel on March 14, 2005 at 10:53 pm

    Hey, guess what!
    I’m going to Paris on my mission in a few months. I’ve been trying to unlock the secret of the French soul. Do you think cheese is it? And if so, how can I train my bourgeois tastes on a college student’s budget?

  74. cooper on March 14, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    Go over to Chocolate and Zucchini, email Clothilde and she’ll share all her Parisian wisdom with you. She’s great and more than willing to give you tips on developing a french palate.

  75. Rachel on March 14, 2005 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks, Cooper. I should have thought of it before; after cheese, chocolate and zucchini follow naturally.