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ExtraMSG

Pick a Cheese, Any Cheese

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My favorite source for cheese in Portland, Pastaworks, has this cheese selector thing on their website. Give me 3-5 that I should try. I'm sure I've tried several, but I'm often overwhelmed when I go in there:

http://www.pastaworks.com/pw_cheese_frameset.html

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My expertise is in French cheeses only, so I'm sure you'll have other recommendations as well.

I can give you a recipe for a lovely creamy soup using the Chaource (cow). Get that & I'll put the recipe in the gullet tonight.

Let's see, if I were making a cheese plate...

Epoisse...

St. Nectaire (cow) is not to be missed. It's a cheese from the Auvergne region. These cows sup on the herbs growing on volcano rock. It comes through on the taste. Very distinctive. Just amazing.

Morbier (lait cru means raw milk) is a substantial, stong & subtle, interesting cheese. They stripe a layer of ash though the middle in the making, you'll see the black stripe. I have that on my plate now.

In the chevres, The crottin chavignol is a compact, dense, tangy little chevre, better with age. I adore that cheese and feature it regularly on my cheese plate. It would travel well too.

The Selles sur Cher has a great flavor, and visual impact as it is covered in ash. It's one of my favorite chevres. The flavor gets better and better with age.

Buy the Bleu D'Auvergne only if they don't wrap it in plastic wrap in the case. If they've got it wrapped in plastic, you're better off waiting to come to France for that one.

Roquefort travels well, if you don't choose the Bleu d'Auvergne. Papillon is my favorite of the roquefort cheeses.

In the Brebis, the Fleur de Maquis is a really nice corsican cheese. It's sometimes called the Brin d'Amour. It's encased in a coating of herbs and often has little dried red peppers on the top.

All of the cheeses I've listed above have strong personalities. They would compliment each other well on a plate. I would taste them in the following order:

Chaource

Crottin

Selles s. Cher

Morbier

Fleur de Maquis

St. Nectaire

one of the Bleus

Epoisse

I would not feature more than one blue if you're limited to the number of cheeses you can have. Here's my first post About blue cheese. One thing you could do is get all blues and taste and compare between them, they have such a great selection there.

Of course I can't expect you'd limit yourself to the French cheeses with all of those great ones listed there. But I give a few hints about what to choose among the French in the list.

Looking foward to hearing back about what you finally choose!

-Lucy

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Mimolette vielle. My fav cheese.


'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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Epoisse

I had my first Epoisse last week. A freakin revelation! :wub:

Thanks to eGullet for recommending it!


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Epoisse

I had my first Epoisse last week. A freakin revelation! :wub:

Thanks to eGullet for recommending it!

I need to try this.

But first I need to know how to pronounce it. Help?


amanda

Googlista

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Epoisse

I had my first Epoisse last week. A freakin revelation! :wub:

Thanks to eGullet for recommending it!

I need to try this.

But first I need to know how to pronounce it. Help?

eh-PWOSSS

Eat it with a spoon. Better, with your fingers. :biggrin:

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Epoisse

I had my first Epoisse last week. A freakin revelation! :wub:

Thanks to eGullet for recommending it!

I need to try this.

But first I need to know how to pronounce it. Help?

eh-PWOSSS

Eat it with a spoon. Better, with your fingers. :biggrin:

Better than your fingers are someone else's fingers!

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My favourites all share a certain commonality of features: creaminess, buttery smoothness, triple cream fattiness ... which then determines the wine I pair them with as well as the fruit ....

in order of preference: St. Andre, Explorateur, and Brie de Meaux


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Fat Guy once wrote of Epoisse:

When transporting illegal cheese, your biggest enemy is the smell. A Ziploc bag may as well be a screen door for all it does to conceal the athletic-supporter aroma of a really ripe Epoisse.


There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Fat Guy once wrote of Epoisse:

When transporting illegal cheese, your biggest enemy is the smell.  A Ziploc bag may as well be a screen door for all it does to conceal the athletic-supporter aroma of a really ripe Epoisse.

The Man does have quite a way with words!! :laugh:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Idiazabal -- Nutty and firm, great shaved thin on a pork sandwich. Mmmm.

Ossau Iraty -- Buttery and perfect.

Cabrales -- One of the kings of blues, imho.

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Three super faves of the moment...

Likely to change tomorrow...

1. Timson from The Vermont Shepherd

Cow's milk sort of like St. Nectaire...

2. Bingham Hill Sheepish Blue

Stilton-ish...

3. The Velvet Rose from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, GA.

Soft ripened cow's milk... sort of like love on a plate...

Enjoy the cheese


Adam

Chef - Food / Wine / Travel Consultant - Writer

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My suggestions:

Lingot de Quercy or Garriotin: from small farmers in France. Goat's milk, complex, divine.

Chaorce, cow's milk, get it whenever you can.

Roquefort, always the finest of all cheese, and if you can buy either Carles or Vieux Berger, so much the better, though Papillon is very good.

Parmesan Reggiano: Red Cow, at $25 per pound, is the best.

La Tur from Langa: a triple milk cheese (cow, goat, sheep) that is rind ripened but also fresh. This is complex but soft, therefore unusual, and surprisingly strong but still friendly to folks who think they don't like anything other than cow's milk.

Fourme d'Ambert with Sauternes: My favorite in all the world. A complex blue washed in Sauternes, strong, sweet, savory, complex.

Le Marecal: a hard Gruyere that has the distinction of being aged in bales of herbs, which are then brushed off. Has the complexity of herbal nuance combined with the wonderful flavor of Gruyere.

Seal Bey: a very rich, triple cream, rind ripened cow's milk cheese fron Australia that is really fine.

Homboldt Fog: from north of San Francisco (Marin County,) goat's milk cheese made interesting from animals eatting from sea salt infused vegetation. Morning and night milk divided by a layer of ash, as in Morbier.

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Speaking of French cheeses...

Back in 1979 my husband and I visited Guise, in the Champagne region. We were taken out to eat somewhere in the countryside. The cheese platter at the end of the meal elicited so many oohhhs and ahhhs that the proprietess of the restaurant gave us an entire wheel of Marouille to take back to the US with us.

Unfortunately, we still had a week or so to go in Europe....

The evening before our flight home, we wrapped the cheese in plastic. And newspaper. And more plastic. We put it in a large carryon bag and shoved it under our seats. The aroma ( I don't want to call it a "stench"...) wafted throughout the airplane. People walked by and wrinkled their noses. It was very funny.

When we got home, we unwrapped and determinedly ate the cheese which was actually at the point of rotting. After hauling it so far for so long, we were NOT going to throw it out!

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My favorite source for cheese in Portland, Pastaworks, has this cheese selector thing on their website. Give me 3-5 that I should try.

What an oustanding selection of cheeses.

I'd be happy with a selection of: St Ande with a fresh pear, Banon and Cabrales with crusty bread.

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St. Andre and Stilton are two of my favorites!

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When transporting illegal cheese, your biggest enemy is the smell. A Ziploc bag may as well be a screen door for all it does to conceal the athletic-supporter aroma of a really ripe Epoisse

To get through customs, just wrap carefully in a pair of Happy Underpants. :raz:

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triple-ziplocking and happy underpants (both!) should do the trick. what are we bringing back?


"Things go better with cake." -Marcel Desaulniers

timoblog!

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When transporting illegal cheese, your biggest enemy is the smell. A Ziploc bag may as well be a screen door for all it does to conceal the athletic-supporter aroma of a really ripe Epoisse

To get through customs, just wrap carefully in a pair of Happy Underpants. :raz:

We just came in from Paris with a wedge of Vacherin ("ze last of zee season, monsieur. Zer will be no more until Octobare") a round of Ami de Chambertin (resembles a double-thick epoisse, haven't tasted it yet) and two rounds of camembert, which the people at Marie-Anne Cantin had vacuum-packed at the shop, in an attempt to satisfy U.S. customs. We alos hit the U.S. with leftover odds and ends, as well as some charcouterie, in a plastic grocery bag which we intended to finish or leave on the plane.

We got totally busted at Dulles customs because my wife tried to use me as a mule to carry in the last of the Sovoyard hard salami and cured ham we'd bought in the Alps -- she won't cop to this but I am convinced that she decided that if I didn't know what I was carrying, I could get it through. Good thing her choice in vices has changed since our reckless youth together. :laugh:

The customs officer asked if we had any food and I said "No....uh, except for the wine, olive oil and cheese."

"Any meat?"

"I think we left it on the plane."

The customs officer threw one of our bags into a device that looked like a bomb-detector but which was apparantly a cured pork products-detector (what a handy insrument!) and pulled out the sack of leftovers. The ham and salami went into a waste basket, but she was utterly uninterested in the remaining morsels of cheese. In fact, once the smell of happy underpants began to permeate the area, (generated by the last of an aged, ash-crusted chevre) she handed the now-meatless sack back to us with a certain urgency, telling us that they didn't care about cheese, but that meat was a no-no.

Her advice didn't reconcile with what I had heard from a number of different sources, but hey, I got my cheese and the feast is underway.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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St. Nectaire (cow) is not to be missed.  It's a cheese from the Auvergne region.  These cows sup on the herbs growing on volcano rock.  It comes through on the taste.  Very distinctive.  Just amazing. 

St. Nectaire may very possibly be my favorite cheese of all - to the extent that it's possible even to have a favorite. Actually, might be more accurate to call it two of my favorite cheeses, since the same piece of cheese has an entirely different character once ripened and warm. Yes, most cheeses do, but most are decidedly better one way or the other, whereas with St. Nectaire it's a really tough choice between slightly under-ripe and slightly over-. Apparently, though, I've been very lucky in my St. Nectaire experiences. A couple of years ago, after recommending it enthusiastically to someone whose palate for cheese is quite sophisticated (and whose knowledge is much greater than mine), I was shocked to hear that he was not at all impressed with it. On investigation it turns out that there is a mass-produced form - mainly for export, I suspect - which is considerably inferior to the incredibly, mellowly beautiful-flavored St. Nectaire fermier which was the only one I knew. Bleu, can you tell us any more about this?

EDIT to add: Hey, how come nobody mentioned Reblochon? Second only to St. Nectaire, and an awfully close second at that.


Edited by balmagowry (log)

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During our week in Savoie, our family was able to meet its minimum daily requirement of reblochon with very little effort.

It's difficult to explain how good a tartiflette is, unless you're familiar with the local ingredients. The dish is just ham, cheese, and potatoes, baked together in a casserole. But when it's fine white boiling potatoes, (my kids pronounced them the finest potatoes ever for hash brown) ham hung from the rafters of the local charcoutriers (similar to proscuitto, but a littel more earthy) and reblochon, tartiflette is an unforgettable dish.

I'd be hard pressed to pick one, or even a handfull, of cheeses as favorites, but snarfing reblochon, ham and potatoes after a morning skiing the French Alps is simply an extraordinary thing to do.

Wolfing down leftover reblochon and ham instead of eating the in-flight meal on the way home isn't a bad way to spend lunch-time, either.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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