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gariotin

Cheese (2008– )

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there is stunning cheese in this country.

just because its in SF and a ferry building does not make it great.

i can say that as i grew up in the bay area of old.

in Vermont and N.H. there are cheeses to kill for. sorry no ferry building ( as much as I love it AND took the ferry to OAK in my day)

and no bay for billion $$$ skimmers racing.

stunning cheese here in USA

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Its a shame that there's not a good market outlet for the many great American cheeses.

The French cheeses do well not only because of the long history of cheese eating in France, but because the big Super Markets give them an outlet. Go to any French Super market and within their large cheese counters you will see local artisanal cheeses displayed & sold. Usually they will be featured because they are local.

Unfortunately, the French are very chauvinistic about cheese so its hard to find cheese from any other country. There's hope, however, as one local big Hyper Market has recently started selling English cheddar. Sadly its not a very good cheddar so won't do much to further the fortunes of foreign cheeses in France.

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For all of you Europe-based or traveling through this week, Friday, 9/20 through Monday, 9/23 is Slow Food's annual cheese event in Bra, Italy. One of the pleasant surprises there is always how much English and Irish cheese makes the journey. It also appears that a lot more than cheese has been added this year, making it a bit more like a mini-version of the biannual Salone del Gusto in Torino. Not a bad move, since hour upon hour of cheese tasting without a break can be a little daunting...

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Mini cheese assortment from last night. Elderflower cheese from France on top, Manchego underneath (and whiskey salami by Creminelli).

9943412544_285a7cdd59_z.jpg

I was intrigued by the elderflower cheese but it's not very interesting. It is a semi-soft cheese that reminds me of raclette or morbier, with a little bit of flavor from the elderflowers. Very forgettable, plus I am not really a fan of this kind of texture.

I much preferred the Manchego.

(And the salami was good but did not have any whiskey flavor that I could detect. I think it's false advertising!)

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I tried some Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese from Wisconsin the other day. It is a very pleasant semi-hard cheese in the line of Beaufort made from unpasteurised cow's milk. It's definitely worth a taste if you like this style of cheese.

Their website is here. I just looked this up before posting and can relate that it's not only my opinion that this is a seriously good cheese. Apparently it won the American Cheese society's annual competition in 2010, being named best of show.

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I had an aged gouda that was fabulous the other day. A little parm-like in texture, crystalline and firm but much smoother. Lots of complexity. Really great cheese. Regular and smoked gouda leave me cold, but this was way different.

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I had an aged gouda that was fabulous the other day. A little parm-like in texture, crystalline and firm but much smoother. Lots of complexity. Really great cheese. Regular and smoked gouda leave me cold, but this was way different.

100% agree. Aged gouda is a whole different taste to the other types.

Gruyère is much the same. The aged stuff is great, the young stuff lacks taste & character.

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Humboldt Fog with a romaine salad. A decent goat cheese, although it does not reach the heights of French-made goat cheeses.

10448978766_9d5a11c7cf_z.jpg

I tried this recently.... I thought it was so pretty ,so it must taste equally good...meh..not a favorite with me at all, especially @ 27 .99 lb. Today I bought 1 1/2 lbs Pont l'veque and the same amount of St. Andre triple cream Brie ( a steal @ $9.99 lb) Now I feel better about the money I wasted on the Humboldt.

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I was shopping for a few things at my local Whole Foods today, and stopped by the cheese counter "just to look." By the time I finished looking, I had put three different cheeses in my shopping cart.

Cheeses11-26_3254.jpg

From the top, clockwise: a double-cream Fromage d'Affinois; a slightly stinky, washed rind Fontina Val D'Aosta; and a new cheese for me, an ash-covered mild goat cheese from Italy, Nerina Alta Langa. Served with some crusty bread on the side, and in the glass, a tasty white Cotes du Rhone (2012 Chateau Pegau Cotes du Rhone Blanc ‘Cuvee Lone’ ).

I liked the Nerina, and I would buy it again. At the cheese counter, its appearance put off the shopper next to me, but I was intrigued. It has this puffy, greenish-gray, ashy rind that looks like it's covering something decaying or disreputable. Fortunately, it tastes way better than it looks.

The Nerina is fairly new to the U.S. More about it here:
http://www.sfgate.com/food/cheesecourse/article/Ash-coated-Nerina-tantalizes-the-senses-4793694.php

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TrioCheeses_3321.jpg

A trio of cheeses from a shopping trip to the Cheese Board in Berkeley. When I got home, I realized that I had selected all easy, smooth cheeses, even though I tasted a bunch of different ones. The drought here continues, and the air is dry, smoggy, and pollen-laden. Very uncomfortable. Maybe that's why comfort cheeses were the order of the day.

Left to right:

Prima Donna Gouda "Blue Label," a very good gouda with a caramel-y note. The same company does a more mature "Red Label" version of this cheese, which has been compared to parmesan.

Vallée d'Aspe, a sheep's milk cheese from the French Pyrenees, which is like ossau-iraty. Or maybe it is ossau-iraty, only not labeled as such at the store. Doesn't taste like much when it first hits the palate, then becomes rich and complex at the finish. An unusual, memorable cheese.

Challerhocker, a new cheese for me to try--an exceptional Swiss cow's milk cheese, very full-flavored with a creamier texture compared to other Swiss-style cheeses. I'll add this one to my faves list. Recommended to anyone who is a fan of Alpine hard cheeses (like me). More about Challerhocker here:

http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Challerhocker-Silky-dense-creamy-good-3284446.php

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We've had rain in Northern California since I last posted here, TG, what a relief, so I'm back to more challenging cheeses. :rolleyes:  

 

I was at the Cheese Board in Berkeley today--I was supposed to buy bread--and while I was there the worker at the cheese counter was putting out some beautiful little goat cheeses. Of course I had to taste it, and after I did that, I bought one. The cheese is called Bonne Bouche, from Vermont Creamery, and I had never tried it before. It's a mild cheese, very much in the French style, and not goat-y tasting (something that puts me off). I'm not much of a goat cheese fan, because of the animal-y taste they sometimes have, but I like this one.

 

BonneBouche_3383.jpg

 

More about Bonne Bouche here:

http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/library-of-cheese/bonne-bouche

 

A few weeks ago I also tried Bent River camembert from the Alemar cheese company in Minnesota. I was so pleased to find an artisanal cheese from Minnesota sold here. I had mixed feelings about this camembert, though. It's assertive and grassy, compared to more typical buttery, mushroomy camemberts, but it's definitely a good cheese. I have to be in the mood for this kind of camembert, and sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not.

 

Earlier this week I attended a class at the Cheese School of SF about matching red wines with cheeses, not an easy thing to do. Three cheeses stood out for me:

- La Tur, Alta Langa, from the Piedmont region in Italy, that was paired with a nebbiolo. This mixed-milk cheese is rich, soft, and creamy and doesn't try to fight red wine. The nebbiolo match was OK. The next time I buy this cheese, I'll try matching it with some other red wines, including that mainstay, a juicy cotes de rhone.

- Fenacho from Tumalo Farms in Oregon, a gouda-style goat cheese with fenugreek seeds in it. It has a nice caramel-y note, and it was paired with a zinfandel (2012 Hobo Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel from Sonoma, California).

- Testun al Barolo, another mixed-milk cheese from the Piedmont in Italy. It's a semi-hard cheese with nebbiolo grape must pressed into it. Very showy and mysterious on the plate. It's traditionally paired with barolo, or another nebbiolo-based wine. Our teacher chose the zinfandel because she thought it would make a good match, something different, and I was very pleased with it. Pix here of this cheese:

https://www.google.com/search?q=testun+al+barolo&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=HlA2U6mYFe6uyAG-g4G4CA&sqi=2&ved=0CCUQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=909

 

I was especially impressed with the fenacho and the testun al barolo cheeses, because I'm not that much a fan of zinfandel, and these two cheeses definitely enhanced the wine.

 

 

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This Spanish Cinco Lanzas "cheese with rosemary" from Trader Joe's was gone in no time at all. It reminds me of Corsican cheeses that are coated in herbs from the maquis, in less pungent.

 

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Edited by FrogPrincesse format (log)
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A small cheese plate snack 
 
gunn's hill - five brothers cheese
 
point reyes -original blue
 
cold smoked jalapeno havarti ( he hasn't post on the boards in a while but Mr. Holloway  cold smoked this on his green egg last month along with some 7 yr old white cheddar  I havn't opened yet. ) 
 
bella di cerignola olives 
 
termite di bitetto olives
 
tomatoes 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GEDC4468_zpse46eab6b.jpg

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Living in the cheese desert that is Asia, I was excited to find an Italian cheese specialty shop on Xia'anxi (Nan) lu in Shanghai. Aside from Grana Padano, mascarpone, and the other usual suspects, they had two cheeses that I'd never heard of before - Toma and Verena. My wallet only stretched to getting one, so I bought a small block of the Toma as it was the nicer of the two to eat out of hand (salty and mild, with the other being just mild). I see from a quick Google that this cheese in from Aosta, and I have a few recipes in Marcella Hazan's books from Aosta, but none that call for Toma. 

 

Aside from just gobbling it down with a glass of wine, I wonder if anyone has a suggestion for making the best of a salty, mild cheese? I'm thinking it would be good melted over fried eggplant slices...

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A class of hard cheeses from that part of the world are called "toma" (Italian Alps) or "tomme" (French Alps). Depending on the source of the milk, and who made the cheese, these cheeses have different flavor profiles. I assume your cheese is a cow's milk cheese.

 

I suggest taking your cue from the Alpine origin of these cheeses, whether the Italian Piedmont region or the French Savoie, and check out some recipes from those areas. The Piedmont is famous for its truffles. Maybe bruschetta with sauteed mushrooms and cheese?

 

This cheese might go with eggplant, though it sounds pretty different from mozzarella, which is the cheese commonly used with eggplant in Southern Italian cooking. The saltiness in your cheese might match up with grilled tomatoes and any kind of cooked beans, including green beans. The saltiness would also pair well with foods that are starchy, like baked potatoes stuffed with cheese, or grilled corn. I've made corn quesadillas from grilled corn cut off the cob, mild cheese, grilled/sauteed peppers, including chile peppers, and chopped cilantro. The mixture is stuffed into tortillas. Other kinds of flatbread would be good too.

 

Other than that, Chinese foods are notoriously incompatible with cheese. I tried to remember what's available now in the Chinese markets. Sorry if you can't find any ingredients I mentioned.

 

ETA: I bet Hazan's recipes from Aosta would work fine with this cheese, if the recipes call for a hard cheese.


Edited by djyee100 (log)

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Thanks!

 

Her recipe that I'm thinking of is for cabbage soup, which I would have a hard time selling my family on in this heat, but I am keeping it in mind for later on in the year. Fortunately, Shanghai has everything you could ever want in terms of produce (and beyond), and potatoes, beans and corn are all in at the market here. The shop suggested straight up with bread and honey for breakfast, which seems like a good place to start the day. I also have some beautiful assorted small tomatoes that might make a perfect bruschetta. 

 

I guess I'm off to buy some bread!

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Potatoes feature large in tomme recipes. People like it in gratins and also in a recipe called aligot, which is buttery mashed potatoes with cheese and garlic. There's also tourte à la tomme de Savoie, which is an enclosed puff pastry tart with eggs, cheese, potatoes and ham inside. Not really hot weather stuff... a lighter option would be a souffle or an open-faced tart with sharp apples and the cheese, or you could use it in a Waldorf-type salad with apples.

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I have a lovely Arn cheese here at home at the moment. Good Swedish hard cheese and this one is a  24 month old. YUM

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Contralto from Andante Dairy. Very mild despite the scary color. It's hard to believe this is goat cheese. This is not unpleasant by any means, but not memorable either. (I found more info on this cheese here and here, confirming my impression).

 

Contralto cheese from Andante Dairy

 

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Am I the only one here eating cheese? Haha. I doubt it... But it is one of my favorite "snacks".

 

Here is Rioly Run from Stepladder Creamery. A semi hard cow milk cheese with a rind washed in beer. It has a little bit of character, although it's not super strong. Not bad.

 

Rioly Run cheese

 

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11 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

Am I the only one here eating cheese? Haha. I doubt it... But it is one of my favorite "snacks".

 

Here is Rioly Run from Stepladder Creamery. A semi hard cow milk cheese with a rind washed in beer. It has a little bit of character, although it's not super strong. Not bad.

I am curious about the beer wash of the rind. Did it impart any sort of beer flavor to the cheese? 

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