Sunday, January 3, 2010

Confessions of a Cheese-aholic

I have a confession to make. I am a cheese addict. I love smokey cheddar, fresh mozzerella, baby swiss, Chevre, Brie...
I would love to bid myself as a connoisseur of fine cheeses, but I haven't enough experience. The most exotic cheese I've tasted is the incredibly pungent Gruyere...which, admittedly, I didn't enjoy at all. But they just fascinate me! Ask my husband, any time we go into a grocery store of any significance at all I spend upwards of twenty minutes (more if it's a real store with a semi-decent collection) just browsing all the cheeses. Once we were visiting friends in Pittsburgh and went to a grocery store that rivaled the likes of any that I can find in Podunkville, KS, and the cheese section was AMAZING. They literally had an entire aisle of just cheese. They had huge wheels of it, ginormous walk in refrigerators filled with it, rows filled with mouth watering, foreign, fascinating cheeses. Sigh. I definitely spent more then twenty minutes there. I dream of someday returning. On our honeymoon in Oregon we made a specific visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, just for me. Boy, was that a treat. The cheese curds are stupendous!
Anyway, a month or so ago I discovered the website for Murray's Cheese from New York. Like, cheese capitol of the world. Probably, I don't really know. But they have more cheese than I have here, that I do know. So I found this website. And spent hours browsing through it. They have these great little descriptions for every cheese, with like crazy descriptions of how they taste, like "grassy" and "caramelly" and "fruity". Talk about feeding an addiction. Then I discovered that shipping was super cheap! So, I decided to order some as part of a Christmas present I received. Yay! I spent several more hours narrowing down which ones I wanted to try. Which was obviously all of them, but I had to eliminate several based on price alone. Those European cheeses ain't cheap. Fiinally, after much agony and deliberation, and painful reductions from my shopping cart, I settled on two. Half a pound of each. They ship tomorrow. I should get them by Tuesday or Wednesday. Oh boy, I'm excited! I'll be sure to post extensively (trust me, you'll probably get really sick of cheese.) about each one. Here are the two I picked with the Murray's descriptions. Get excited!


Cheese Facts :
Region : Voralberg
Country : Austria
Cheese Type :Washed-rind: Stinky & Intense
Milk Type : Raw Cow
Rennet : Animal
Age : 2 1/2 months
Producer : Sibratsgfaell Cooperative

"f there were ever a cheese I would describe as unctuous, this is it. It's like cheese peanut butter, fudgey and rich and sticky on the roof of your mouth. "

If you like the full on flavor of unusual cheeses like the Swiss Vacherin Fribourgeois, then you'll really enjoy this powerful washed-rind Tilsiter.

Gooey and funky, it's the real deal, made from raw cow's milk, aged for 10 weeks in Austria with only a hint of bitterness so you can enjoy the tremendous flavor of Tilsiter. The Sibratsgfaell Cooperative on the outskirts of the Bregenz Forest in Austria produces it with the help of 12 farmers and their silage-free milk.

Aged Goat Gouda

Cheese Facts :
Region : Overyssel (Central/East)
Country : Holland
Cheese Type :Hard: Dry & Caramelly
Milk Type : Pasteurized Goat
Rennet : Animal
Age : 1-2 years

In Holland, a country inundated with gouda, this is probably the most unusual export. Younger pasteurized goat gouda, only aged for several months, has a supple snow-white paste that’s mild and vaguely sweet with no typical goat-y flavors. This aged version is held for at least one year before release, resulting in a rough and stony wheel with a deep toffee-colored interior smattered with white patches of crystalline minerals. The milky sweetness of the younger version intensifies into a caramelized, burnt sugary treasure with a similar crunchy texture to boot. The unapologetic butterscotch is well suited to giant, juicy Zin.