Your most amazing cheese moment (that was all about the cheese)
- Sir Gawain
I'm looking for "kill me now" quality cheeses. I've just had some unbelievable Old Amsterdam aged gouda (the person who bought it wasn't even able to tell me what exactly it was, but I've since figured out this is it) from Zabar's, an orange beauty with a rich, swooningly full taste, something reminiscent of tropical fruit, beer, and butter all at the same time, which makes no sense but that's what I tasted. It blew me away. When I popped a green grape berry in my mouth, the whole thing changed into something even more delicious. It was *yummy*, *amazing*, and *delish*, in popular CH speak! I'm sure it would be killer with, say, a glass of Orval. (What isn't...)
So: Share the names (and origin) of cheeses that knock *your* socks off! I need to expand my horizons here. Also, feel free to suggest pairings, not with a whole meal (I'm a bit too lazy for that), but with, say, a fruit, a beverage, etc. The more original the better.
I don't want to offend anybody but let's stick to cheese and leave out the story about how you were proposed over this very special piece of camembert at an amazingly beautiful farmhouse in France 20 years ago... it's *replication* we're looking for here. So the cheese must be available in the US, somewhere.
I've two, but they require travel:
1) I lived a long time in Belgium, a country which has lots of wonderful cheeses of various shapes and sizes and colours and, most importantly, flavours. The aged stuff all travels reasonably well (insofar as it travels at all, and there's always more available here in these United States). But one of the best things that is simply not available in this country is really young "Gouda" (which in the Low Countries is really just the default cheese or 'jonge kaas'). Really young 'jonge kaas' is no less (and sometimes, e.g. at breakfast, even more) sublime than the agèd stuff. Fresh 'grijs brood', a smear of butter, and a slice of really young and soft '(Goudse) kaas' cannot be trumped.
2) I am in large measure of Italian ancestry and have close ties to many of my relatives in Italy in the north of the Provincia di Caserta, where in the surrounding coastal plains one of the last hand-made mozzarella di bufala concerns still churns out its product. I've eaten the stuff in town many times, made earlier that day, and it's unimaginably wonderful. But one day, my cousin Peppino took me down to the farm where they make it. The crew of ten or so was busy squeezing off and shaping pieces and handed us some straight away. Heaven.
If you're paying lots of money to buy mozzarella di bufala in little baggies that are a week old, all I can say is I'm glad you're helping the southern Italian economy. The stuff doesn't travel well at all and I'd rather eat really fresh locally made fior di latte here in the States. But most of all, I'd like to eat the real deal over there. Forgive me if I repeat myself, but it's heaven.
Forget replication; thank God, for some things that doesn't work. And in any event, travel's much, much better.
Yes, it all sounds wonderful, but I *do* want replication. I-want-to-eat-your-cheese.
What I want to do (now that I've tasted that Gouda) is to put together a summer cheese-and-olives (and wine) party for some friends, and I want some new exciting flavors.
Neither Italy nor Belgium are on my itinerary in the near future, unfortunately... wish they were.
Not an epiphany, but an annual indulgence: River Rat 3-year old cheddar blocks from Gold Cup Farms in Clayton, New York. I guess you could pair it with Croghan bologna.
It doesn't reaaly knock my socks off; just smells like it did.
I'm frequently in love with cheeses. Maybe it's a supstitute for other, less reliably pleasurable experiences, but a great cheese experience can leave a bit of a glow too.
The most recent was a buttermilk bleu cheese that opened new horizons. It's good in salads. It's good on a great steak. It's amazing just broken off in chunks and eaten before the guests arrive with that lovely meritage you were planning to start the evening off with them...
I got some incredible cheese once at the Union Square farmer's market in NYC. It's called Molto Vivace, made by Cato Corner Farm in CT. It's got a pretty strong taste, almost like stilton only it's not a blue cheese. It was so good, I ate half of what I bought just walking back to my office! I think they're only at the farmer's market on Wednesdays (and maybe Saturday?) but they have a website, too.