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Old 12-11-2011, 01:10 AM   #41
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Most of the grocery stores that have a decent cheese counter will also have a little basket of the cheese ends at discounted prices that are in sizes that are really to small to sell (most under .25/lb).

Sooo, for a couple bucks, you can "splurge" on some cheese that you might not be brave enough to try otherwise.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:02 AM   #42
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...I find that American made cheeses are not aged long enough for me. Not enough flavor. But you don't make any profit with cheeses sitting on the shelf aging.
There are some grand cheeses made in America. But few, if any of them are found on store shelves. They have to be purchased online, from specialty cheese shops, or at the farm. I have had artisan cheddars from Wisconsin that I would compare with any cheese from anywhere. Maytag Blue cheese is another example of a fine, American cheese. The cheeses from Yancy's Fancy are very good as well. If we want to go a little further north, then from the province of Ontario comes Balderson Heritage Cheddars. Colby was created in Colby Wisconsin, and Pinconing Sharp was first made in Pinconing Michigan. The Pinconing Cheese factory was purchased by Williams Cheese and the Pinconing isn't as good, IMHO as it was previous to the change of ownership. Pinconing sharp, at room temperature, would cause my jaw muscles to ache, and nearly curl my toes at room temperature. It is creamier than cheddar or colby. It used to be a favorite. On the East coast, there are some amazing cheese producers, again, small batch makers of artisan cheeses.

Don't sell the U.S. short on great cheeses. But you have to look past the supermarkets to find them.

Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:29 AM   #43
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Weed mate, I have had some very fine cheese in the US, at cheddar gorge in south west England they have a cheese factory that you can walk around.
The ageing of cheese is very important, young gouda or edam imo is not worth eating, but 2 yrs old is strong enough to make your teeth itch.
I make all my cheese cakes using curd cheese, my fav cheeses tend to be made from raw milk or ewe milk.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:22 AM   #44
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I don't think there's any doubt that American artisanals have developed to the point where they are worth attention on their own merit, rather than as versions of European cheeses. And they are under-represented in American groceries. I think this is partly that the cheeses have developed faster than the populations sophistication and because of a lack of such structures as Italian D.O.C.'s to promote types (or maybe the lack of coherent regional types precludes D.O.C.-type organizations).

The Cowgirl outfit has had a lot of play:

Cowgirl Creamery - Our Aged and Fresh Organic Cheeses

Possibly some good leads here:

The Best American Artisanal Cheeses and Cheesemakers

A pretty typical American chevre operation:

Westfield Farm
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:27 AM   #45
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Don't sell the U.S. short on great cheeses. But you have to look past the supermarkets to find them.
Exactly right. Supermarkets tend to buy things in large quantities, including cheese and dairy, because they get the best price by doing so. The problem is that most of the great cheeses are only produced in small quantities.

Here in the Twin Cities, you sometimes have to go out of your way to find small cheese shops, but they are out there. I don't know for certain, but I suspect it's probably the same in other cities as well. I love those little shops, though, because the guy behind the counter usually knows exactly what he's selling and where it came from. And as mentioned in other posts above, they will let you have a sample to see if it's something you want to buy. Cheese sold in this way is more expensive per pound than what you typically find in a Safeway or Albertsons, but there's also something a more personal about it, I think.

I guess the bottom line for me depends on what I'm going to do with it. If I'm buying cheese to cook with, then I don't mind one bit buying a less expensive hunk from the supermarket. But if I'm looking for something to nibble on as an indulgence, I would rather spend a little more on a couple of ounces of nice, farmstead cheese.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:07 PM   #46
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just as a contrary pov, you strike out sometimes going artisnal.

last year, i picked up a few hunks of flavoured cheddars from an artisnal place in vermont. when we got home, i opened the extra sharp cheddar and ended up throwing it away because it was so sour. then i tried a smoked cheddar, and a sage chedar. both were edible but nothing to write about. actually, i tossed tge sahe one as well shortly after sampling it as it went bad in a few days. at $14 a pound or so for each, i was robbed.

a factory made cabot cheddar at half the price would have been better.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:51 PM   #47
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Tom, that's unfortunate. I've never had that experience. I think it's always a good idea to ask to sample whatever you're purchasing, so that it comes off the same wheel. Having said that, sometimes artisan cheeses do go south faster, but that's often because they're aged before going to market.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:56 PM   #48
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Yesterday, while shopping for stuffing for my jalapenos, I asked the Deli lady to give me a slice of thier cheddar/horseradish cheese.

WOW, was it good! I bought a block of it.

Great cheddar flavor with a trailing hint of horseradish. Nothing blatant or numbing, just a gentle flavor of horseradish behind the rich cheddar.

It would be awesome on a corned beef sandwich.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:02 PM   #49
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As I have said before, I like stinky stuff. I lurk around the cheese aisle in grocery stores checking the due dates on those nice little indiviually packaged artisan cheeses. If you find any past due, I ask them to mark it down. One produce manager used to give it to me for free. But, I have found out that they get credits for past due stuff so most of the time they will only give you 50% off. These cheeses are still fine long after the government standards due dates are past.
This is one of my faves. I like it after it has been in the fridge for about a month. Just like licking the floor of a dairy barn....yummmmm
http://www.frenchclick.co.uk/p-803-p...rouy-220g.aspx
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:02 PM   #50
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yeah, i figured they weren't stored properly after being cut down into 1/2 lb. chunks and then waxed.

many years ago i bought a whole wheel of cheddar from a place in vermont. i thought that since it was sealed in a thick layer of wax and then put in a box, it was safe to store at room temp. so i put it on top of the fridge for a few days.

i learned two things that week. first, that you can't do that with cheese, and second, the top of my old refrigerator was kinda hot. i had a sorta cheese oil running down the side of the darn thing.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:07 PM   #51
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The thing I like best about cheeses are that they make wine taste so darn good!
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:23 PM   #52
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Don't sell the U.S. short on great cheeses. But you have to look past the supermarkets to find them.Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
I am not selling them short. I just wish there were more small cheese shops near me. My supermarket compared to others doesn't recognize that cheeses are so versatile. We do have Purity Cheese company in the North End of Boston. They are more into meeting the needs of the very large Italian community. They supply the daily needs of the local supermarkets requirements for fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese. They tend to have a small amount of other nationality cheeses. Too bad. In this city if you are not Italian or Irish, you tend to get left behind. And now it is the Latino community that is letting it culinary voice be heard. And I am glad. It is exposing today's young people to foods of other nations. Hopefully this will bring in cheeses from Spain and other Spanish speaking countries. Here in East Boston, the Spanish community is constantly opening new Mom and Pop shops. Here's hoping that one of them will be a cheese shop.

Down in the southern part of Massachusetts we have a huge Portuguese population. (That is where Emeril is from.) They have their own cheese shops with a plethera of imported cheeses from their native country. Most of their foods are derived from the sea. And they provide us with all our beautiful large sea scallops. We can find some of their cheeses here in the Boston area. But not many. The mentality here is 'if it is not imported, then it is not worth the time.' Too bad.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:02 PM   #53
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Just returned from France and this time I brought home more cheese than chocolate!

from the fromagier Laurent DuBois in Paris, I brought a fresh goat cheese coated in ash, a medium-sized Camembert, and a large chunk of 3-year-aged Comte (French Gruyere -- and my favorite hard cheese).

My most favorite cheese ever, though, cannot be found in US. it's the St. Marcellin of affineur Mme Renee Richard in Lyon. When I was there, I had it for dessert at every meal!

Although you can sometimes find St. Marcellin in US cheese shops, it doesn't travel well. I've even found it spoiled (ammonia odor) upon opening.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:30 PM   #54
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just as a contrary pov, you strike out sometimes going artisnal.
That suggests a point worth remembering. While "artisan" means means one who produces in limited quantities using traditional methods, "artisanal" has no legal definition. Anyone can use the word. Dominos offered "artisanal" pizza. Wendy's "artisan" sandwich. Lays. It's like grocery stores climbing on board the "local" train. They all want to talk about their "local" products, but their definition of "local" may take you three states away.

Artisanal legitimately means it's not mass produced, and it implies it's made with the plain basic ingredients. Artisanal bread is made with flour, water, yeast, and salt. Doesn't mean it can't have anything else in it, but nothing that's not REQUIRED to make the essential product. It's real hard to pin down where the line is, but it's safe to say that an artisanal maker doesn't need a vast warehouse. Being so large that you NEED a warehouse is largely the reason mass producers use non-traditional ingredients.

There's a cheese stocked in my grocery with "Artisan" prominent on the label and priced up with the "good" cheeases. Most dreary, tasteless excuse for cheese in the place. Kraft is genuinely better. So, all that we can legitimately use to qualify a cheesemaker as artisanal is what they put into the cheese. Whether they're any good at it is another matter. Most cheeses aren't technically complicated. We have to cast around until we find one we like. You don't have to wonder much about mass producers. By necessity, they all shoot for mediocrity, so as to have some tolerable appeal to the most people. And that's why we care about artisanal cheeses. We're not so worried about the single mold inhibitor that Kraft uses in additional to traditional ingredients. We're concerned with taste. And that absolutely means that not every person will like cheese by every maker. There's a lot more variation than with bread. Most any attempt at artisanal bread will be pretty good. Even the failures won't be so bad.

And we have to remember that "artisanal" implies no preservatives and no alteration of methods to sacrifice taste for longevity. They have to be consumed and stored with that in mind. Artisanal breads won't survive a week in storage like Wonder What's In It Bread. Cheeses need correct storage, too, and a reasonable limit on how long.

The best I've found for hard cheeses is wrapped closely in parchment and then in foil. I have a large sealed bin dedicated to cheese in the refrigerator, and the wrapped cheese goes in there. Most other types don't do well under any storage conditions once opened and just need to be eaten.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:11 PM   #55
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We really like a brand of French bleu called Papillon. Particularly the black label. I brought back a little over 2 kilos when I was in Marseille for a client. Customs didn't say anything, even though I was over the 2 kilo limit.

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