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Old 12-08-2011, 01:23 PM   #1
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The Cheese Thread. Favorites from the market.

First, I have to admit that I'm ignorant of almost everything there is to know about cheeses.

I use a lot of the packaged, shredded cheeses in the dairy area of the market, and love sharp cheddar and pepper Jack, but that's about my limit in cheese knowledge.

I'd like this thread to be an educational thread for those like me who would like to know more about cheeses and which are good for what types of meals.

My market has a cheese counter with about a hundred types of cheeses on it. Most are tiny little packages of brightly colored foil wrappers and hold cheeses I've never even heard of.

I love soft cheese that is creamy and rich and would go well on a Ritz cracker as a snack with or without meats.

What are your favorite cheeses and why? How do you prepare your favorite cheese? How do you use your favorite cheese in meals?

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Old 12-08-2011, 02:28 PM   #2
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Coming to you from the Dairyland State-Wisconsin.
Just try different cheeses and see what you like.

Limberger--it STINKS--it tastes good though.

Do you like it smooth and creamy (like Havarti) or a little biting (like extra sharp cheddar or blue cheeses) or something that melts stringy (like mozzarella), or salty and smelly (like feta), or nutty (like parmesan)?

There is a cheese spread I make with half cheddar and colby with an equal part of cream cheese and I tailor it to my tastes. I add a little sour cream to soften it, a bit of garlic, some salt, and blue cheese for a little bite. This is good melted for dipping tortillas, or for sandwiches when it is cold, good on crackers, melt over steamed veggies.

Try something new to you. For instance, there is a world of difference between brick cheese and aged brick cheese, like the difference between medium cheddar and extra sharp aged cheddar. Cheese curds freshly made are totally different (especially texture wise--soft and squeaky and mild) than the cheddar cheese they process it into later (sometimes in aged sharp, it crystalline grits and strong flavored).

Sometimes when we can't figure out a meal for the night, we'll cut up 3 or 4 kinds of cheeses, a few kinds of sausages (like pepperoni, hard salami), pickled and fresh veggies, olives, fruit in slices, whatever is in the refrigerator, and some crackers and toast, and just enjoy the different combinations.

Do you like Brie? I don't know the intricacies of brie, but I like the rind and the smoothness of the cheese melted. What about cheese fondue--there are dozens of good combinations you can use for fondue. Just try new things.Good luck.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:42 PM   #3
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SOOO many cheeses.

Hard to pick favorites. But some I can't resist are tellegio (somewhat assertive, nutty, medium firm., reblochon (well rounded, semi soft, full flavor), and fourme 'dambert.(creamy, not overly assertive for a blue)
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:09 PM   #4
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Coming to you from the Dairyland State-Wisconsin.
Just try different cheeses and see what you like.... Just try new things.Good luck.
Hi Blissful, Cheeses are too expensive for me to just grab one and hope it's something I would like.

No way am I going to try one and NOT like it at $8 for a little chunk.

Basically, I'm asking those who are familiar with lots of cheeses to post what it is they like about specific cheeses. Then I can see which ones folks like a lot and give them a try.

For snack cheeses, I like soft, spreadables. Something I can spread on a cracker with a slice of ham perhaps.

That sort of thing.

Even the hard cheeses if someone has a favorite they love. Tell me why you love it!

I've tried Limberger and it was *too* strong flavored for me. Smelled and tasted like dirty gym socks must. Reminded me of a locker room after a hard practice and before showers.

I love Boursin. I could eat a ton of that stuff!
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:20 PM   #5
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I like soft, spreadables. Something I can spread on a cracker with a slice of ham perhaps.

That sort of thing.
Maybe someone will have a good spreadable cheese recipe or spreadable cheese you can buy?
Boursin cheese is similar to cream cheese, maybe you can find a type of boursin that fits your palate.
Did you see the pimento cheese thread, pimento cheese is great with smoked ham.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:26 PM   #6
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Maybe someone will have a good spreadable cheese recipe or spreadable cheese you can buy?
Boursin cheese is similar to cream cheese, maybe you can find a type of boursin that fits your palate.
Did you see the pimento cheese thread, pimento cheese is great with smoked ham.
No, I didn't see the pimento cheese thread. Would you happen to have a link to it?

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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I like strong stinky cheeses. Cambozola is a good place to start. It is a combination of Camembert and Gorganzola. Creamy with a mild pungent flavor. Love it. French Farmers cheeses are great. Leave them out for a few hours until they are very soft and the flavors really ramp up your tastebuds. Brie de Meaux is a very popular one. I would eat these on very plane crackers so you don't distort the flavors too much.

Another thing I have done lately is make my own cheese spread by starting with cream cheese and adding my own stuff like sundried tomatoes, dices salami or hot sausage, garlic powder, fresh parsley, or other stronger blue cheese. Let it sit overnight so the flavors can blend then use it up in a week or so.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:32 PM   #8
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I like strong stinky cheeses. Cambozola is a good place to start. It is a combination of Camembert and Gorganzola. Creamy with a mild pungent flavor. Love it. French Farmers cheeses are great. Leave them out for a few hours until they are very soft and the flavors really ramp up your tastebuds. Brie de Meaux is a very popular one. I would eat these on very plane crackers so you don't distort the flavors too much.

Another thing I have done lately is make my own cheese spread by starting with cream cheese and adding my own stuff like sundried tomatoes, dices salami or hot sausage, garlic powder, fresh parsley, or other stronger blue cheese. Let it sit overnight so the flavors can blend then use it up in a week or so.
Now that's an excellent idea and the type of post I was looking for!
Thank you RockL!

It just never ocurred to me to take cream cheese and add a bunch of stuff to it like that. I'll be doing that soon!
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:46 PM   #9
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The "Parmesan" cheeses are a good place to see the difference between good cheese and plastic cheese, because most people know the bad version. Grana Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the Argentine Reggianito are real cheeses of the Parmesan type. They are quite sophisticated cheeses, and serious cheese lovers even go so far as to check the farm number and date on the rind to discover where the cows lived and what time of year the cheese was produced. (What the cows were eating, grass, winter sileage, spring pasture with flowers, etc., alters the flavor.)

There's a story about, many, many years ago, a guy getting caught selling grated "Parmesan cheese" that was really ground umbrella handles. The stuff in the Kraft shaker can and in the shakers at most chain pizza places demonstrate how his scam was possible. If you use Parmesan, pick up a chunk of either of those three good Parmesans and see the difference. They are also good in things like tomato basil soup and added at the end in rissoto and other similar dishes.

And, if you have a cheese shop in your area, go by. Just be upfront that you don't know much about cheeses. They'll explain and let you try samples. They also sometimes have big cheese tasting affairs that are worth the price of admission.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:48 PM   #10
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We also like to have a cheese plate for dinner sometimes.

Assortment of cheeses, meats and fruit - brie, gouda, smoked gouda, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, port wine cheese spread, pepperoni, dry Italian sausage, red seedless grapes, Paula Red apples, stone wheat thins and sliced Italian bread.

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Old 12-08-2011, 04:00 PM   #11
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The "Parmesan" cheeses are a good place to see the difference between good cheese and plastic cheese, because most people know the bad version. Grana Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the Argentine Reggianito are real cheeses of the Parmesan type. They are quite sophisticated cheeses, and serious cheese lovers even go so far as to check the farm number and date on the rind to discover where the cows lived and what time of year the cheese was produced. (What the cows were eating, grass, winter sileage, spring pasture with flowers, etc., alters the flavor.)

There's a story about, many, many years ago, a guy getting caught selling grated "Parmesan cheese" that was really ground umbrella handles. The stuff in the Kraft shaker can and in the shakers at most chain pizza places demonstrate how his scam was possible. If you use Parmesan, pick up a chunk of either of those three good Parmesans and see the difference. They are also good in things like tomato basil soup and added at the end in rissoto and other similar dishes.

And, if you have a cheese shop in your area, go by. Just be upfront that you don't know much about cheeses. They'll explain and let you try samples. They also sometimes have big cheese tasting affairs that are worth the price of admission.
You just quadrupled my knowledge of cheese. Ground umbrella handles indeed! Ha! What a hoot!
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:02 PM   #12
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msmofet, like with all of your meal photos, you just made me hungry! What a fabulous plate of food!
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #13
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msmofet, like with all of your meal photos, you just made me hungry! What a fabulous plate of food!
+1, Timothy. How beautiful that plate is.

And, Timothy, I know this is not exactly responsive to your question, but I read a while back that the shredded "bag cheese" has had cellulose added so it doesn't stick together and that we should always grate any cheeses from blocks for better flavor.

My step-daughter, who lived in Netherlands, loves the aged Gouda (she says it's pronounced "how-dah").
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:25 PM   #14
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+1, Timothy. How beautiful that plate is.

And, Timothy, I know this is not exactly responsive to your question, but I read a while back that the shredded "bag cheese" has had cellulose added so it doesn't stick together and that we should always grate any cheeses from blocks for better flavor.

My step-daughter, who lived in Netherlands, loves the aged Gouda (she says it's pronounced "how-dah").
Well, Howdah do to you too! Ha! Thanks for the info on the added junk to my food. I'll try to stick to block cheeses from now on! I guess food producers somehow justify to themselves the crap they put into our bodies. What a shame!
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:35 PM   #15
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Another thing I have done lately is make my own cheese spread by starting with cream cheese and adding my own stuff.
Nice idea, I'll have to try that.
It's all good.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:53 PM   #16
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The thing about cheese is that it's a lot like wine. What I can get in my store is not necessarily what you can get in yours.

Having said that, some are distributed nationally. And if they aren't, they can be ordered online through places like iGourmet.com.

My all-time favorite cheese: Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog. It's a goat cheese made in northern California, but it has pretty good distribution around the country. I'd be willing to bet it's available at Whole Foods.

The only way to describe the flavor is "decadent." It has a texture that's almost like cheesecake. It's very rich and flavorful, and when ripe there is a nice goo-iness just under the rind.

Other than this one, for the most part I also tend to lean toward the stinkier cheeses.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:56 PM   #17
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The thing about cheese is that it's a lot like wine. What I can get in my store is not necessarily what you can get in yours.

Having said that, some are distributed nationally. And if they aren't, they can be ordered online through places like iGourmet.com.

My all-time favorite cheese: Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog. It's a goat cheese made in northern California, but it has pretty good distribution around the country. I'd be willing to bet it's available at Whole Foods.

The only way to describe the flavor is "decadent." It has a texture that's almost like cheesecake. It's very rich and flavorful, and when ripe there is a nice goo-iness just under the rind.

Other than this one, for the most part I also tend to lean toward the stinkier cheeses.

Thanks Steve! That one sure sounds like something I would love also!
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:27 PM   #18
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My all-time favorite cheese: Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog. It's a goat cheese made in northern California, but it has pretty good distribution around the country. I'd be willing to bet it's available at Whole Foods.

The only way to describe the flavor is "decadent." It has a texture that's almost like cheesecake. It's very rich and flavorful, and when ripe there is a nice goo-iness just under the rind.
I'm addicted to this one - Unreal!
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:36 PM   #19
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I mainly stick with cheddar. The farmers market near my home has a vendor, Colosse Cheese from Pulaski, N.Y., they have some wonderful old cheddar, we are talking 10 years and older. I buy that for special treats. They sell some items online.

I also like Stilton at Christmas time.

The Wegman's near my home has a cheese counter with a tasters basket. It contains small chunks of exotic cheeses for a couple of bucks each. It is a good way to try some of the pricier items. I am sure any store would sell a couple of ounces so you could experiment.

Every year I look forward to a batch of macaroni and cheese shortly after the new year. I use up all of the dips and odd pieces of cheese left from the various holiday celebrations. Each year it is a little bit different but, it is always the best batch of the year!
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Hi Blissful, Cheeses are too expensive for me to just grab one and hope it's something I would like.

No way am I going to try one and NOT like it at $8 for a little chunk.
...
As GLC mentioned, you can ask at the counter to taste the cheese. They should be more than happy to give you a taste. I can't blame you for not wanting to waste money on some cheese you might not like. I wouldn't want to. Heck, I ask for, and get, samples of cold cuts at the deli counter. I don't do it often, but when in doubt...
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