Cheese

August 10, 2004

   
 


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Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 11:15 PM

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Cheese, August 10, 2004 My three-year-old son who is a super picky eater (this is someone's idea of a joke) for some reason loves cheese. Not just any cheese but expensive cheese. He'd been eating Uniekaas Dutch Parrano which is delicious and several bucks for a wedge for some time when for some reason I decided to bring home slices of orange American cheese for him to try. I don't know what came over me. I think that food is such a key part of our culture that many food decisions in our lives really have very little to do with the food itself. I think that I had some idea in my mind that little kids are supposed to eat American cheese. Never mind the fact that I find it limp, flavorless, and off-putting (unless it's melted on a tuna melt). And lucky for me, he took one look at it and said, "no thanks".

I've since thanked my lucky stars that my choosey eater at least loves good cheese. Tonight we brought home several to try from the new Wholefoods market on the way home from work. (There is an upscale healthy supermarket chain battle happening in the metro Seattle area between Wholefoods and Larry's. And I am the unique benefactor of their escalating war.) Anyway, we got several cheeses. These included: Swiss Cave Aged Gruyere - milder than I like, I missed the tang of typical Gruyere; Swiss Cave Aged Emmentaler - this was a little better, had a not bad chalky quality, but still was a touch mild for me; Borough Market Farmhouse Cheddar - which was an odd cheddar for me, there was almost a bitter quality to it, Debbie didn't care for it much either; and Dutch Five Year Aged Gouda - this was surprisingly good, orange, and had some crystal structures almost like a Parmesan, but with a deep almost caramelized and nutty flavor on the finish, like alcohol in a way.

We also got one of my favorite triple creme cheeses from France - Explorateur. I've been searching for awhile for a reliable triple creme that I could fall in love with and call my own (is this how I really spend my time? yes) and I think Explorateur is it. It starts off simple and particularly smooth, creamy, and almost drinkable. The taste is unobtrusive and lulls you into a false sense of security, and then after a few seconds it starts to build and build until you get the sharp edge of the ripeness cutting across your tongue. And while some people have a hard time with this flavor, once you acquire it, it's addictive.

Finally, we got Boschetto al Tartufo. I saw the word "tartufo" and knew I had to get it - whatever it is. I am definitely in love with truffles. White Italian truffles to be exact. This cheese is an unassuming firm cheese with mild flavor made from a mix of sheep and cow's milk. But studded in the cheese are a generous number of truffle bits. There are many products that claim to be somehow connected to truffles. Most often the truffle-ness of them is so fleeting that the product is simply disappointing. A tease basically. But that's not so with this cheese. The truffle flavor is strong and clearly present but not overpowering. The balance of the mild cheese and the truffles is perfect. I'll confess a soft spot for Thomas' English Sourdough Muffins toasted with something on top - Plugra, yummy Lebanese cheese spread, delicious tangy Ikra Tarama fish egg cheese spread, and even (I'm embarassed to admit) Miracle Whip - which I love. That said, this evening's toasted muffin topped with melted Boschetto al Tartufo was absolutely fantastic. The cheese melted quickly on the toasted muffin in the microwave. It became almost liquidy. Truffle Muffin. Delicious.

 


 

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