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TDG: Desperate Measures: Cheese & Crackers


Fat Guy
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"As for the young, soft raw-milk cheeses, I still think they're safe, but not as unambiguously safe as the hard cheeses. "

Well, those are the raw-milk cheeses I was referring to. When you become pregnant, you'll be able to make your own informed decisions. :biggrin:

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Hello, Mamster, just got around to reading your article (my goodness, all you TDG writers are so angry, aren't you?).

Some gastronomic footnotes:

1. Walker's oat cakes may not be the finest example of the species, but they seem to be fairly readily available in US supermarkets and food stores - East Coast, anyway.

2. Another excellent biscuit to accompany British cheeses is what we call a "digestive", a barely sweet, slighly salty, crumbly cookie. McVitie's in the classic brand, but look around - if they're imported, as they are likely to be, shake the box gently to assess how badly broken up they are.

3. Regular effervescent hard ciders such as Strongbow go fine with Cheddar; a little sweetness offsets the sharpness and acidity. But people have been drinking wine - yes, red wine - with these cheeses for years; nobody should be put off by current affectations about the difficulty of such pairings.

4. In addition to Keen's and Montgomery, look out for Isle of Mull, a Scottish cheddar also exported by Neal's Yard. It unanimously outscored it's English cousins at a tasting among some eGullet members a while back.

5. I would dispute that Lancashire's taste profile is all that close to Cheddar (unless you think Brie's taste profile is close to Camembert, which in the broadest sense I suppose it is). If anyone has access to English hard cheeses, I recommend enjoying the differences between several specimens - Wensleydale, more crumbly still and subtly flavored; Cheshire - creamy, less sharp than Cheddar, one of the greats; Double Gloucester, rich and almost fruity; and my personal favorite, Single Gloucester, when eaten young and fresh.

6. A general warning about English hard cheeses imported into the States. A lot of them are sold too old. None of those discussed above were meant to be blue cheeses. Sure, a vein of blue in a Cheddar does no harm, but too many specimens I've seen here are dry, greasy, mouldy, lined with blue and green. That's a taste you may enjoy, but try the cheeses younger and fresher too.

And let me throw in a logical point: "...once someone has pointed out your errors and you continue making the same false statements, that's called lying". Not necessarily.

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Wilfrid, your logic is impeccable and your knowledge of British cheeses equally so. I love cheshire--I think Appleby's Cheshire was probably the first Neal's Yard import I had, at a Murray's-supplied tasting at Astor Wines & Spirits.

I haven't seen the Isle of Mull cheddar in Seattle, but I'll be sure to ask at my local cheese counter. Generally I only buy these cheeses (I should have mentioned this in the article) when I see them opening a new round at Whole Foods, which is where I buy most of my cheese. They tend to open one, cut it into 4 to 8 oz chunks, wrap them in plastic, and let them sit until they all sell. A piece of cheese like that could turn you back to Kraft Singles, even though their turnover is fairly good.

And let me throw in a logical point: "...once someone has pointed out your errors and you continue making the same false statements, that's called lying". Not necessarily.

That's true. Maybe you fully believe you are still correct and therefore it isn't lying. What do you call that?

Actually, I feel like you let me off easy, Wilfrid. I was honestly afraid that English readers would see this as the cheese equivalent of, say, praising All Bar One.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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That's true.  Maybe you fully believe you are still correct and therefore it isn't lying.  What do you call that?

Delusional.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Actually, I feel like you let me off easy, Wilfrid.  I was honestly afraid that English readers would see this as the cheese equivalent of, say, praising All Bar One.

I look forward to Fat Bloke's article on the virtues of Dairylea cheese triangles. :laugh:

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Cheddar (from England at least) is a west country cheese, and that's the region where the best cider is found. So Mamster's correct to identify a traditional pairing there. You'll also find a lot of English people who will enjoy a slice of cheddar with an apple. So that all makes sense.

Another English tradition is to eat the kinds of hard cheeses discussed here with bread and pickle for lunch. This is English pickle, so don't think about those long green things Americans slice over sandwiches. I am speaking of finely chopped vegetables in a thick, brown, piquant but slightly sweet goo. A traditional accompaniment to this is a pint of bitter (or a pale ale; brown ale if you can get it).

However, I firmly believe red wine can be successfully paired with such cheeses, so long as they aren't too old and mouldy. Syrah, certainly, but a good Burgundy will match all but the sharper cheddars. Try a pinot noir with Single or Double Gloucester, Lancashire or Cheshire. I expect a Merlot or Zinfandel will do too. Syrah/Shiraz or a full-blooded Italian or Spanish option with your Cheddar. By all means, drink a good claret with any of them, but I'll concede that more expensive Cabernets might be better paired with something else.

Please understand that English blue cheeses - Stilton, Cheshire and Shropshire Blue, for example - are another story. They can murder a red wine. Serve them cool and drink a chilled white, or serve them at room temperature with a port or a sweet wine. The sinister Blue Vinny demands nothing less than a pint of scrumpy (strong, rough cider) or perhaps a schooner of meths. :wink:

dorsetblue.jpg

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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However, I firmly believe red wine can be successfully paired with such cheeses, so long as they aren't too old and mouldy.  Syrah, certainly, but a good Burgundy will match all but the sharper cheddars.  Try a pinot noir with Single or Double Gloucester, Lancashire or Cheshire.  I expect a Merlot or Zinfandel will do too.  Syrah/Shiraz or a full-blooded Italian or Spanish option with your Cheddar.  By all means, drink a good claret with any of them, but I'll concede that more expensive Cabernets might be better paired with something else.

Cheese. :biggrin:

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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