April 3, 2009

Cheese

Posted in Food at 8:44 pm by Transmuter

I’m going to start reviewing cheese. For the title of this main post I tried to think of something fairly grandiose, like “All About Cheese” or “The Great Cheese Review”, but I don’t really know that much about cheese and I’m no high-class food critic. Hence we have the simple, if rather dull, title above.

Anyway, this might seem like it’s coming from out of left field, so let me explain. I have been a little more interested in cheese for the past few weeks for two reasons. Firstly, I saw an episode of “Good Eats” where Alton Brown talked quite a bit about cheese. Secondly, I read the Wikipedia article on cheese and several related articles. I read about how to make cheese, visited a few websites selling cheese and a few more sites selling cheesemaking equipment. I didn’t really intend to make cheese, but I was on something of a cheese studying kick so I learned a fair bit about it.

A week or two ago Chiemi and I discovered a grocery store called Harmons. It’s slightly fancier than your regular Albertsons – it reminds me a bit of Trader Joe’s, but not as exotic. I was impressed to see that they had a whole island displaying cheeses, with a “cheese monger” staffing it and giving advice to customers. I decided to try a week of making sandwiches for lunch at work, but this time using good ingredients. I bought some ciabatta bread, some fresh sliced turkey from the deli, and I decided on trying some Havarti cheese. If the experiment worked out, I planned to buy different types of cheese the following weeks until I had experienced many kinds of cheese.

Since I’m doing this cheese testing thing, I might as well write down what I think of each cheese, if only so I can remember which cheeses I liked. I’ll write a separate review for each type and link to them from here. As far as my cheese background goes, I like Gouda-type cheese and Pepper Jack. I don’t care for Brie or Swiss, but I absolutely love sharp cheddar, especially Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp. Mozzarella is ok, but kind of bland. Anyway, to the reviews!

The Cheese Reviews:

Week 1 – Havarti
Week 2 – Dubliner
Week 3 – Mini Babybel
Week 4 – DaVinci
Week 5 – Red Hot Dutch

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2 Comments »

  1. Michael Grow said,

    Havarti is a pretty good cheese. It’s a little powerful for sandwiches, I think, so if I do put it in between two slices of bread, I make sure to use an equally potent meat, something like a brown sugar ham, along with good deli mustard. You’ll often find Havarti with dill in it too. I like the regular stuff better, but if you’re a dill fan, it seems like a good idea.

    Sarah and I are both cheese freaks. We both love Gouda, especially those little Babybel cheeses, we both love Pepper Jack and Sharp Cheddar is the only cheddar as far as we are concerned. We both also love Brie and Swiss.

    I am still having trouble processing that someone might not like Swiss. Maybe you have been eating the wrong kinds. I can understand Brie, it is not for cheese-dabblers, but no Swiss?

    Last year, for Valentine’s Day, Sarah bought me a basket filled with delicious meats and cheeses. One of the cheeses was an authentic Swiss, straight out of the Alps, I swear. I cut up some slices of it and placed it on crackers with a pepper sausage. After eating all of the snacks, I sliced a few pieces of the cheese off and just ate them straight. Then–this is embarrassing–I just started biting the brick of cheese. It was that good. Of course, this made me incredibly sick, and I didn’t want Swiss for about a week.

    Anyway, I’ll finish by saying that if Mozzarella is too bland for you, then you might try Provolone. For a cheese-lover like me, Provolone is still a little on the weak end of cheese, but you might be in to it. I think of it as a more potent mozzarella. It goes really well with some Genoa Salami.

    • Transmuter said,

      Hey, thanks for the insight! If I ever decide to try some more Havarti I’ll have to use some stronger ingredients to balance it.

      As far as Swiss goes, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had quality stuff. It’s not bad; I’d probably give it an informal 6/10. I haven’t had any in a while though. I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually, assuming this experiment goes on that long.


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