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What is your favorite cheese splurge?

In reading the thread regarding everyday luxuries, I noticed many of us listed quality cheeses as a must have. We used to have a weekly wine and chese night and I would love to do a fabulous cheese display for our next party (in 2 weeks). So which specifically are your favorite cheese splurges?
Our all time favorite is Monte Enebro which is a goat cheese from Spain.

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  1. Epoisses is my favorite, hands down.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hrhboo

      Me too! I also love Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery when it's been perfectly aged.

      1. re: mollyomormon

        The stinkier the better! Also, lovely runny tallegio and roquefort.

        1. re: hrhboo

          I just saw rounds of epoisses today at Surfa's for $15! So much cheaper than you could get it at the Cheese Stores of BH or Silver Lake!

          1. re: mollyomormon

            Thanks so much for the tip! Now I have to go there today. And tomorrow.

        2. re: mollyomormon

          Also the Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery. Incredibly fragrant. Incredibly good.

          1. re: perk

            Oh my god, Red Hawk is my favorite too. I did not expect it to be the seventh response, I thought I was going to be pretty cool and different posting that one. Shoot.

      2. Rogue River Blue -- this year's was just release a couple of weeks ago
        La Tur -- a soft-ripened sheep/goat/cow's milk cheese from Italy

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I second the rogue river blue..and I love Pt. Reyes blue. I love putting the Earth and Vine Spicey apple garlic jam with the blues...and some thin crackers or crostini. Heaven. Perfect appetizers.

        2. Humboldt Fog is extremely good, especially when I can't decide between ripened or unripened.

          1. La Tur is one of my very favorite cheeses. It's a triple milk-goat, sheep and cow- with the best of all three. I also love a good Fior de Sardegna or Mozzarella de Bufala. Parmigiano-Reggiano is truly the ultimate wine sipping/cheese noshing cheese. Definitely splurge and go for the best- Vacche Rosse. As for non-Italian cheeses (!), I go for a French triple creme, or a nice ash-coveredm cave-aged goat; a Dutch extra-aged Gouda; a Swiss Gruyere; and just about any good artisinal cheddar, domestic or U.K. And speaking of the U.K.- don't forget a true Stilton.

            7 Replies
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              Totally agree on La Tur. Just got some from Murray's Cheese (NYC) today. And I also got some Dutch aged goat gouda~ I love goat and sheep milk cheese!

              1. re: kobetobiko

                Thanks for all those who highly recommended La Tur. I got my first today (and I was lucky to find it at the neighbourhood cheese store), a nice, ripe one, and couldn't wait until dessert before trying it. Lovely.

                When on a cheese splurge, I like most of the other cheeses mentioned in this thread too. For me, the "splurge" is to have a whole bunch of them altogether to contrast (except for the Mozzarella di Bufala, which deserves to be had all on its own)!

                1. re: tarteaucitron

                  From reading about La Tur here, I just scored a ripe one at a local cheese shop, along with a really good baguette...and then had to get a nice Pinot Noir to round it out. This stuff is heaven!

                  1. re: howboy

                    A small local specialty chain (Sigona's on the SF Bay Peninsula) has been featuring La Tur for $2.99 a piece (regularly $15 at my cheesemonger) this month. We've been pigging out on it!


              2. re: vvvindaloo

                vvvinaloo, your taste is impeccable...on both salumi, and cheese. My all time fave as well.

                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                  thank you, chef :) are you in the ny area? another great cheese is the gorgonzola cremificato sold by Murray's. It's the only one I use for a certain appetizer that I am fond of making. also, Sicilian sheep's milk ricotta, if you can get your hands on it. it's the real deal. buon appetito!

                2. Used to get the Monte Enebro but then discovered Neal's Yard cashel blue (along with the Dalmatia orange fig spread) at Whole Foods & went through that phase. Most recent discovery was Zingerman Creamery's lincoln log goat cheese purchased at the Cowgirl Creamery in SF.


                  A true splurge for me would be the brillat-savarin because each bite seems like I would need to add a level on that step mill/stair master:-)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ceekskat

                    Agreed totally on the brillat-savarin. I just tried it for the first time last year on a cheese plate at a wine bar. It felt almost like eating fresh whipped cream - that silky creaminess was delicious!

                    1. re: stolenchange

                      Another vote for the brillat-savarin...that is the richest, creamiest cheese ever. Like butta'. I love the aged goat cheeses, too. They are expensive, but it's nice to treat myself and my friends, now and then. My other favorites are Brunet and Chabichou (sp?). And recently, I tried a fabulous creamy French cheese, I got at Costco, and not too expensive...$6. I'm sorry that I can't recall the name, but it was sort of a small, round, washed rind cheese...really smooth and creamy, very good!

                      ceekskat...love the comment about the stair master. It's so true. After all these cheeses, we'll all need some exercise.

                      1. re: sonofoodie

                        The Costco cheese, was it Delice de Bourgogne? I love that one.

                        1. re: jennyantepenultimate

                          They carry a triple cream that would fit the description.

                          1. re: jennyantepenultimate

                            Yes, I think that was it...it's so good, isn't it?...just the right amount of tang and creaminess.

                    2. An Italian torta (sp? it's layered) of mascarpone and gorgonzola dolce. Luxuriously creamy and rich with a definite gorgonzola flavor (but not dominating).

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Striver

                        Torta Basilica!! My favorite (as is quite obvious!!) It has pesto and pinenuts between the layers - to die for!!

                        My new hard cheese fav is Hook's 12 Year Aged Cheddar - so creamy and not sharp at all, but with those incredible little calcium lactate crystals sprinkled throughout. You have to buy it straight from their farm, but they ship right away (unless you're close to the Door County or Madison farmer's markets...) - SO worth it!!

                        Oh, and Beemster 3 yr Gouda (XO?) - I'm into the crystals!

                        1. re: torta basilica

                          Have you tried making this at home? It's really easy, and it varies from the different pestos used. Layer mascarpone, pesto, toasted pine nuts and creamy gorgonzola (dolce variety)...3 thin layers each. Weight it and refrigerate overnight. You will be greatly rewarded. When you don't have the time, go for the torta!

                          1. re: sonofoodie

                            I've tried to figure it out & got all of those ingeredients, but there's also a thin white cheese slice, consistency of a moist Monterey Jack, but not the flavor - about 4 layers of this that seems to hold the whole thing together. Any idea? Would sure be a whole lot easier (& cheaper!) to make it!

                              1. re: BobB

                                Fresh mozzarella would be interesting, but maybe something less milky, but more buttery...like a robiola, or another Italian equivalent.

                                tb...I'm not sure what you mean by "hold the whole thing together". If you weigh down the torta with something heavy, to compress and meld the layers together, and refrigerate overnight, it holds together beautifully.

                      2. Excellent Italian raw milk Parmesan.

                        Calorie, not monetary, splurge: Brie or Boursin

                        1. Stilton. Should be the cheese of choice in all Intensive Care Units.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: beevod

                            I agree. Maybe a light drizzle of Letherwood Honey and a glass of Port.

                          2. Call me pedestrian but I really love a good Saint André. I agree with the poster who recommended aged Dutch gouda. I was at a pairing party a couple weeks ago and the 2-year old gouda was heavenly with the pinot noir. (5-year has too much of an ammonia aftertaste for pairing, methinks)

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: JungMann

                              la tur is INSANELY addicting. on the other end of the spectrum, any aged gouda.

                              1. re: JungMann

                                5 year and a fresh fruity zin. you are missing out if you don't try it. ammonia? never ran into that....butterscotch, yes.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  I don't think any cheese that sells for over $15/lb can be called pedestrian. (Not to mention it's a nice cheese)

                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    I first had St. Andre at my in-laws a couple years ago and fell in love with it, that one is in heavy rotation around here!
                                    Thanks for the wine suggestion with the gouda too!

                                    1. re: JungMann

                                      If you like St. Andre you really should try Explorateur - similar but a tad stronger flavored and richer!

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        Agreed, Explorateur is wonderful.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          And Pier Robert, which is similiar to St. Andre and also delicious

                                      2. I'm a blue cheese person. A good Societe Francaise is good for me. (There's another one that's also a "top of the line" blue whose name always escapes me until I stand in front of it.)

                                        That being said, instead of asking all of us for our favourite cheeses that might not combine well into one cheese display, why don't you go on a tasting spree at your local cheese shop?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Ali

                                          I do that on occasion at Dean and Deluca, but when I get home I never remember what I bought, which I liked the best etc. So I thought if I had some recs in front of me, it would help me out a bit. Plus it's always good to get a few different perspectives IMO!

                                          1. re: SweetPea914

                                            Do you ever go to Ideal Cheese? It's my current favorite for whatever reason, and better prices than D & D - from whom I've also bought some cheeses that were beyond their prime.

                                            Ideal Cheese also does mail order and were wonderful when I lived in Miami - always helped me put together a good assortment for dinner parties.

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Absolutely love Ideal Cheese. They are very helpful and are extremely down to earth and patient. Excellent selection of cheeses!

                                              1. re: HungryRubia

                                                This thread reminded me to call them to make my white truffle inquiry - he warned me not to have a heart attack when he calls back with the price.

                                        2. We love a cheese we get from the Ideal Cheese Market in NYC. I don't know the name but it is a gouda studded with black truffles.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: HungryRubia


                                            Seems to be called "Memoire". I'll have to check it out next time I'm there!

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Thanks! We haven't had some in a while, but maybe I will pick some up for the hubby's 30th Bday party next week.

                                          2. Top on my list is a good parm. It's so versatile - eat out of hand, sliced on top of salad, grate over pasta. I just stock up on the good stuff so I can never be out of it.

                                            For blue cheese I used to love cashel blue until I tried the gorgonzola dolce at Surfas. Now that's my favorite.

                                            I like Comte and cave aged gruyere also, and of course raclette for melting!

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: notmartha

                                              Now have to add burrata to the list. Harder to find though.

                                              1. re: notmartha

                                                Yes I heard about it too but just couldn't seen to find it.

                                                1. re: tarepanda

                                                  Do you have Whole Foods nearby? The WF in NYC has burrata, so your local WF may carry some as well.

                                                  By the way, tarepanda is one of my favorite characters! :D

                                                  1. re: kobetobiko

                                                    They do, but they don't carry it. Something about not being able to find a local supplier and the stuff doesn't stay good long enough to be shipped in. As I have never seen a burrata I don't have a clue but that's what I was told.

                                                    And glad you like tarepanda too!!

                                                  2. re: tarepanda

                                                    I was looking for it for a while. Didn't see it at the Whole Foods here (LA), but finally stumbled into it while at Monsieur Marcel at Farmer's Market (for those in LA area).

                                                    Definitely worth the price.

                                                    1. re: notmartha

                                                      found burrata for the first time today at Wegman's in No. VA, looking forward to something I've been wanting to try.

                                                      1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                        It's really good with arugula, slight drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh grind pepper.

                                                2. re: notmartha

                                                  Adding one more - istara. Much to my surprise, I really love this cheese. I hated all the sheep/goat milk cheeses thus far except for this one.

                                                3. There is a wonderful Swiss Cheese maker - Rolf Beeler - v. expensive, but worth it when you can find his cheeses.


                                                  Mont d'Or is one of my husband's all time favorites (see also my avatar!)

                                                  1. Parmesan Reggiano, Istara, Beecher's Flagship Reserve

                                                    1. * Tartufello - Tuscan Raw Milk Pecorino with Truffle (Marty's Liquors, Newton, MA)

                                                      * Clemson Blue (Clemson University)

                                                      * Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (La Bella Italia, Virginia Beach, VA)

                                                      *** not necessarily in this order !

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                        Does La Bella Italia make their own or just import?

                                                      2. Velteeta! Just kidding. I like Stilton or Huntsman. I also like a good aged Gouda. Whole Foods has a 5 year old Gouda that I splurge on and then try to make it last. Trader Joe's now has an Old Amsterdam Gouda that I enjoy a lot too at half the cost of the WF's 5 year Gouda.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: scuzzo

                                                          Hey Scuz....I must admit that my custom made (Subzero) refrigerated cheese drawer contains lots of fine cheeses & among them......VELVEETA !

                                                          It's required for that extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich on Challah ! <GRIN>

                                                          1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                            I had no idea one could get a custom made Subzero (turning green now - though I use the meat drawer in my rental apartment fridge - it does have a stainless steel finish though - grin).

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              MM - I didn't either until I began planning my kitchen renovation. The crazy cracked cheese cognoscente that I "calim" to be, my architect & the fine folks at Subzero designed a refrigerated drawer separate & outside, but right next to my actual Subzero refrigerator for my fromage fetish. It's absolutely one of the best (& effectively used) "splurges" that I considered in the overall plan. I'm more of a fromage freak than a wine worshiper, so I opted for the drawer opposed to a mini wine chilling cellar. I highly recommend it.

                                                              1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                Tell me about the cheese house. We're building a home with dueling Sub-Zeros, but I'm thinking... it's really my cheese I care about. I remember those cheese boxes when I lived in Germany & seeing them in Holland. It's too chiily for my Hook's 12 year old aged cheddar. Suggestions please before final framing decisions made?

                                                                1. re: torta basilica

                                                                  Torta - I literally put all of my faith into my architect's hands during my kitchen renovation/addition. It was really more than a renovation as I purchased the loft above me & I now have a 2nd level, via a new kitchen/greatroom. He came up with the idea to have two separate drawers on top of one another outside of the actual refrigerator & camouflaging in with the rest of the cabinetry. My obstacle was actual space, as I was limited to the actual refrigerator size for the space I have (the refrigerator's placement required a certain parking spot). As I mentioned previously, I purchase wine as I need it; however, I collect fromage, so I preferred a special spot for it opposed to a trendy wine cellar cooler (personal preference). My architect, John Paul Hanbury made a dream come true, that's for sure.

                                                            2. re: JayVaBeach

                                                              I actually do love Velveeta once for grill cheese!!! Though around these (Chowhound) parts you can get skewered for admitting that!

                                                              1. re: scuzzo

                                                                I know Scuz...I'm constantly defending the good 'ol standby here at Chow time & time again ! I bet if I were to show up at one of our fellow hound's homes on a (true) sick day with homemade tomato soup & grill an old-fashioned Velveeta on white Pepperidge Farms (grilled with Plugra) & then cut the sandwich into 4 triangles (like Mom used to) - they'd change their position on the big yellow bus.

                                                                1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                  LOL....do we know each other? My ultimate 'sick day' meal using the exact same ingredients you've mentioned and cutting the sandwich into triangles. Who would have ever thought of using Plugra and Velveeta together? I think people would be shocked to learn some of the people in their lives who are closet Velveeta lovers...

                                                            3. re: scuzzo

                                                              i love old amsterdam...is that considered a splurge? i'm poor, so it definitely is for me...and worth every penny. :o)

                                                            4. are you specifically looking for pricey cheeses which you occasionally slplurge on
                                                              when you are feeling flush and will share will appreciative people and not cheese
                                                              proles? for that category, i'd probably list the fourme au sauternes ...
                                                              for example when shopping for a large party including cheese proles i will often
                                                              get one of the nice blues that are half that price. say Montagnolo or St Agur or Cashel

                                                              Yeah, I suppose La Tur is a bit of a splurge. There is another italian cheej that
                                                              is sort of like la tur and comparable priced. It starts with an R but i cannot remember
                                                              the name exactly.

                                                              Brillat is my "standard' XXX Creme, but I dont think it is super expensive.
                                                              At my relgular cheese store, it has gone up in price a less than other euro-cheej
                                                              in the face of the tanking dollar.

                                                              burrata [the italian one that comes in the green and white wrapping] on the other hand
                                                              is pretty pricey, especially when there is some reasonable probability it will be a little
                                                              older than optimal.

                                                              the fleur verte isnt in the most expensive realm, but it's more espensive than i expected
                                                              so i buy less of it than i used to. have not checked where the price has gone with the
                                                              falling dollar. i always though feta was supposed to be relatively cheep but there is the
                                                              very good feta in a oil bath that is really good, but again has gotten pretty $$$ due to FX.

                                                              i am not so fond of the brie de meaux/melun, camembert, tallegio, reblechon, epoisse etc.

                                                              in my experience brilliat is a guaranteed hit when doing a cheese spread. it also
                                                              mixes reasonably well with other cheeses, which may not be the case with something
                                                              like say gaperon.

                                                              the other guaraneteed hit is Humbolt Fog.

                                                              ok tnx.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: psb

                                                                **There is another italian cheej that
                                                                is sort of like la tur and comparable priced. It starts with an R but i cannot remember
                                                                the name exactly.**

                                                                You're probably thinking of robiola -- very similar.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Texture-wise, robiola and La tur are similar, but the flavor is not the same. La Tur is so much better!

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    While robiola is a three milk cheese, there is another three milk that is more similar in texture and taste to la tur- but comes in much larger rounds- called Rocchetta. La tur, Rocchetta and Fior di Langa are all three milk cheeses from the Piedmont Region of Italy. Love them all as well as robiola!

                                                                2. Shaved Parmesano Reggiano- with some high quality balsamic vinegar drops on it...

                                                                  1. Bavarian Beer Cheese

                                                                    Cave-aged Gruyere

                                                                    Jarlsberg (one of my faves and not expensive at TJ's... so not a splurge... monetarily anyway)

                                                                    English Cheddar w/ Caramelized Onions (TJ's.. so good with the carm'd bits throughout)



                                                                    1. Humboldt Fog
                                                                      and for dessert (do I get drummed out of the corps for this?) Gourmandise

                                                                      1. I love all cheese, but a great parmesan is the best. Go for a really expensive aged parmigiano-reggiano - life just doesn't get any better...


                                                                        1. My favorite blue cheese is Cabrales. Such an intense flavor.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                            - Sottocerne al Tartufo
                                                                            - L'Edel de Cleron
                                                                            - Aged Mahon
                                                                            - Mt. Tam
                                                                            - Black Gold

                                                                            1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                              Second Sottocerne al tartufo!! What can beat a splurge than truffles right??

                                                                              I like Mt Tam too, but for a splurge I'd still pick sottocerne ...


                                                                          2. I worked for a short time in a wine shop in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood where they sold a cheese called Bellavitano (it's trademarked name) which was addicitive. It's a Piave-style cheese, creamy and sharp but with that crystalline thing that aged premium cheeses get. At about $10 per 1lb block, it's not much of a financial splurge, but considering I have to ride the train across town to get it, it counts as a splurge of effort.

                                                                            Other favorites:
                                                                            Aged Gouda
                                                                            Sage Derby

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: LeslieB

                                                                              agree with the gouda... and a smoked gouda too...ummm

                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                check out amsterdam reserve and saenkanter (I call the carnitas of cheeses)

                                                                            2. Good ole' extra super sharp white cheddar...Black Gold, Tillamook, whatever...the sharper the better!

                                                                              1. I love blues, any kind of blues, on burgers, with fruit, no crackers, doesn't matter. There's a deal on Point Reyes blue, just ordered one. Here's the website"


                                                                                1. Big cheese lover here...well, since I'm from Spain, i'd have to say that i will SPEND for good Manchego cheese. It's become easier to get locally, but if you can get your hands on the Curado Reserva, made by Alamillo....

                                                                                  1. Royal Mobier with the line of ash in the center. Superb with a white burgundy.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: caliban

                                                                                      the line of ash that seperates the morning milk from the evening milk? ;-)

                                                                                      1. re: TBird

                                                                                        Right, I almost forgot was the ash was originally for :) Do they still make that distinction nowadays?

                                                                                        I love Morbier too when I want to splurge (and the Royal is even better?) The ash seems to do something for me.

                                                                                    2. I love Maytag Blue and Pt. Reyes.....

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: saladslut

                                                                                        Italian "Cacio Stagionato al Tartufo" (Pecorino a Latte Crudo)....just by iteself. Last year ~X-mass it was available at Costco in the Bay Area.....wonderful stuff!

                                                                                        Polish "Oszczypek"...lightly grilled....adictive!

                                                                                        1. re: Pollo

                                                                                          just brought back from bierkraft some 5-6 year gouda at $17.95 and some patacabra at $16.95.

                                                                                        2. re: saladslut

                                                                                          If you're a Maytag aficionado, treat yourself to an order of Clemson Blue from Clemson University:
                                                                                          It's equally as good, if not a tiny bit better !

                                                                                        3. I used to love the Asiago Aged at WFM but was dissapointed to see it replaced with some other brand. It had a beautiful dark brown label and crystals in it. It would fill your mouth so that you could actually breathe it. Fabulous with an amarone or good pinot noir. Seems to me it was Trentini Monti. If anybody can find it please post it.

                                                                                          1. I really got excited when I saw all the names of cheeses, that people in the know, were talking about. I love cheeses, but really don't know a whole lot about them. So, I wrote down eight names and happily drove down to our "Gourmet Market", well, what a joke, they didn't have one of the cheeses. I'm going to list the ones that I asked for and would appreciate if someone could tell me if they are very unusual, regional, or might have different names in different parts of the country. Explorateau,Torta Basilicabrillat,SavarinFior,de Sardegna,La Tur(what kind of cheese is this, actually I'm not quite sure of most of the other cheeses either) Mt. Tam,Epoisses,Torta Basilica Explorateur. So, all you wonderful cheese people in the know, HELP!! By the way I did find a goat cheese called Drunken Goat, from Spain, which was very good. By the way, I'm in Flordia, and in a decent size city.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                              Explorateur: France; soft-ripened cheese
                                                                                              Torta Basilica: Italy; called a "torta" because it's layers of a couple of different cheeses and pesto
                                                                                              Brillat Savarin: France, soft-ripened, named after the famous gourmand and author of "The Physiology of Taste"
                                                                                              Fior de Sardegna: Sardinian (Italy); firm sheep's milk cheese
                                                                                              La Tur: Italy; soft-ripened mixed milk cheese
                                                                                              Mt. Tam: Cowgirl Creamery, California; another soft-ripened cheese
                                                                                              Epoisses: France, washed rind cheese, very pungent!

                                                                                              As far as I know, those are the only names those cheeses are known by -- they're very specific cheeses, not generic names like "cheddar." You can probably get all of them through igourmet or other online cheesemongers. Or you can print out the info and take it to your "gourmet" store and shame them!

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                You can also try murrayscheese.com or idealcheese.com - both very good and I frequent them often in Manhattan and have used both for mail order - the former as a gift, the latter for myself when I lived in Miami. I think the answer to your question about availability is really a function of where you are - in Manhattan, I'd be surprised if I couldn't find those cheeses. At the Whole Foods in Minneapolis, I've seen some of them, but poorly stored and in one case (sadly the Epoisse), past it's prime. If I go to visit my parents in Iowa or a small town in North Carolina - I'm pretty much out of luck. But, maybe the place you went to could order them for you!

                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                  Thanks so much. I will copy these and march myself right back to my so called Gourmet market. Also, thanks MMRuth. We also have a WF, so I might try them too. And yes, shame them!!! They did make a copy of the list plus my name and phone number, so I am awaiting a call!!!

                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                    I believe Artisanal also does mail ordering, if you need another option (www.artisanalcheese.com). Their cheese classes are pretty terrific (recently did a beer and cheese tasting that was quite lovely).

                                                                                                2. Here's a unique one that no one else has mentioned: fresh, milky, still-warm-from-the-vat cheese curds from the small dairies in Wisconsin. If you've never had 'em, you don't know 'em. Nothing like the squeak of fresh curds!

                                                                                                  1. i just tried humboldt fog a few weeks ago and it was insanely good.

                                                                                                    also love:

                                                                                                    st. agur - incredible on a grilled ribeye with a nice intense red wine
                                                                                                    crottin de chevignol
                                                                                                    torta de cesar
                                                                                                    gorgonzola dolce

                                                                                                    there is an italian cheese with a layer of truffle running through it. i think it's a pecorino - rather firm. does anyone know what this is called??

                                                                                                    1. One of my favorite not mentioned is Cahill Porter. it's soaked in Guiness Stout or Porter Ale (I've heard both... can some atuhority clarify?)
                                                                                                      I love it myself for its bold, chocolaty flavor. As you mentioned it's for a display, I recommend it as it really stands out and makes your presentation more interesting. When making a display I personally like to make it a bit more colorful. So in that vein, Fleur Verte and Humboldt Fog are good choices too. (though I won't put both as they are a bit similar)

                                                                                                      And then of course my favorites are Explorateur (though for a non-slurge, WFM has their own brand of triple creme that is very very affordable and not bad at all), raw milk tallegio, Nevat and a good aged gouda. To me, expensive cheese doesn't necessariily mean better. I recently tried an Azeitao, a Portuguese cheese which is over $30/lb, but I only went "meh".

                                                                                                      But I will definitely get a La Tur next time I splurge!!

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: tarepanda

                                                                                                        for any park slopers, bierkraft is having it's final(for the season) beer & cheese class this evening. it's free, first come only. 5 cheeses, 5 beers. la tur is on the agenda... :-)

                                                                                                      2. Shropshire Blue is my indulgence. An innovation on Stilton; slightly sour but creamier... uh huh

                                                                                                        1. My friend had a wine and cheese party last night. She served a pepper coated goat cheese that was out of this world! I also personally love gruyere cheese.

                                                                                                          1. Tack Abbaye de Belloc too - amazing texture and subtleness when cut very thin

                                                                                                            1. My personal favorite is "D'Affinois" a raw milk soft cheese (Brie).
                                                                                                              It is more and more available in upscale grocery stores now.

                                                                                                              1. hudson valley's old chatham sheepherding company camembert. the cheese to end all cheese discussions. and quite frankly the one that should start them all too!

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                                                                                                                1. re: SiksElement

                                                                                                                  Oh my! I had forgotten about that, since I haven't had any for a while. Fabulous, fabulous cheese!

                                                                                                                2. I love cheese immensely but only one makes me ponder ransoming someone I love to keep a nice supply in stock. *chuckles*

                                                                                                                  Forme Sauternes is simply divine. It is a Forme d'Ambert that's been soaked in Sauternes. It is fully bodied and creamy and melts like butter on the tongue. If you are able to come by some I guarantee your guests will want the name of your monger.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: gabby29

                                                                                                                    i'm a big fan of the Fourme au Sauterns as well ... the thanksgiving cheej spread
                                                                                                                    was Fourme au Sauterns, Brillat Saverin, Fleur Verte, and a Chevre with apricots.

                                                                                                                    Have you tried any other cheeses from Jacquy Cange?

                                                                                                                    Unfortunately with the dollar going downhill the FS is close to $40/lb now.

                                                                                                                  2. I'm a big fan of local cheeses, so if you can find some new york varieties, I think it would make your plate more special.

                                                                                                                    There's a great Minnesota sheep dairy called Shepherd's Way if you're looking for something less local, however. Their blue is nationally ranked, I believe, and they make a cheese called Friesago that is mild and really delicious. I'm not sure about how their distribution works, but you can google them if you're interested.

                                                                                                                    1. Top Five:
                                                                                                                      1. King's Island Dairy Roaring 40's Blue: Raw cow, Austrlia- Very creamy, starts with a HUGE burst of bright fruity flavors that rounds into other bold sweet notes, then your whole mouth tingles for half a minute.
                                                                                                                      2. Upland Dairy Pleasant Ridge Reserve "Gruyere": aged 12 months (I heard there is an 18mo, but I've never seen it!): Raw cow, Wisconsin: Another fruity starter, then gets very nutty- pecan, then the tingle thing- nice long sharp finish
                                                                                                                      3. Parmesan Reggiano
                                                                                                                      4. Lincet Delice De Bourignon- the Triple Creme mentioned above that can sometimes be found at CostCo- it is actually a Brilliat Saverin knock-off- I describe it as a birthday cake made of butter (St. Andre makes a nice sub!) In the summer, I love the Fromage D'affinois (also mentioned above)- but it is actually a pasteurized cheese- not that there's anything wrong with that.
                                                                                                                      5. Your friend and mine, the Humboldt Fog. BTW- there are two other Cypress grove cheeses that are similar to the HF- the first is called Bermuda Triangle- it's a "log" like bucheron or cana de cabra- and like the Montenebro, it has a blue-flavored ash on the outside- WOW! The other is a bit different- it called the Mt. McKinley- it's a fully aged goat's cheese with blue ash on the outside and it is HARD like a Parmesan.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: lunchbox

                                                                                                                        I just wanted to add 2 more useful tidbits:
                                                                                                                        Cypress Grove now makes a Truffled cheese called "Truffle Tremor" that is just like the Humboldt Fog- only instead of the blue ash, it is full of chopped truffles!

                                                                                                                        Another great cheese resource is iGourmet.com

                                                                                                                        1. re: lunchbox

                                                                                                                          I tried that. Funny it's a love and hate cheese. Not so much w HF but Truffle Tremor has a sharper, more bitter after taste that you either love it or don't. My hubby and I disliked it, and I would take Sottocenere if I want a truffle cheese, but some of my friends rate it over HF.

                                                                                                                        2. re: lunchbox

                                                                                                                          I just tried the Roaring 40s recently, and I agree it's delicious. Right up there with my favorite blues (although my heart still belongs to Rogue River Blue).

                                                                                                                          I've been buying big wedges of 36-month aged Parmagiano Reggiano at Costco, and they've really gotten me hooked (not to mention my dog, who has managed to steal the whole wedge when my back was turned not once but twice!).

                                                                                                                        3. Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam and a nice aged gouda are my two standbys. My favorite "cheese splurge" is the standard brie appetizer - melted brie with roasted garlic, shallots and champagne grapes with a big toasted baguette. I could eat that as a meal every day.

                                                                                                                          1. Retrieving this old post as I just got some great cheese recently. I used to go to Murray's exclusively for cheese, but was pleasantly surprised by the cheese at Whole Foods the other day. I got the 5-year-aged Gouda which is just as good as it sound - super hard with a lot of crystals and intense flavor. This is better than the aged gouda I got at Murrays. Another one, Midnight Moon Goat Milk Gouda, is sooo good and additive, it has become my current favorite! Some cheese are not available at Murrays, and others can be cheaper than Murrays.

                                                                                                                            However, the service there was close to zero. People there were not knowledgeable enough and they all looked like trainees. I pretty just select what I want to grab and go.

                                                                                                                            1. Had the unusual cheese we always find at Christmas only- ZOla Creme- it is a multilayered tort of gorgonzola dolce and marscapone. Amazingly delicious.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: emilief

                                                                                                                                I was going to make a crack about Velveeta but Scuzzo beat me to it.

                                                                                                                                Velveeta totally rocks in a grilled cheesed sandwich and is also good in that artery-clogging addictive holiday party dip with Rotel. I could mainline the stuff!

                                                                                                                                I live in the States and while on a trip to the UK in 1999 brought some Rotel and a bar of Velvetta to a party in Wales and was hailed as some sort of culinary goddess....LOL! Hopefully now that my friends have have sobered up (and their economic times have been improved) they have found some better eats over which to enthuse.

                                                                                                                                I havent't met a cheese I didn't like, but some I really love are La Tur and Second Sottocerne al Tartufo.

                                                                                                                                1. re: emilief

                                                                                                                                  emilief -- Did you find this multilayered tort of gorgonzola at Whole Foods?
                                                                                                                                  I have purchased a gorgonzola tort at Whole Foods that is deliciously rich in flavor, but they do not always have it; it was not, however, a holiday item, as I have seen it in the Fall and at other times of the year.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                    No- I bought it at my local cheese chop. So yummy!!! It has about 8 layers of gorgonzola and marscapone.

                                                                                                                                2. Vacherin du Mont d'Or which is in season right now. Get the French versions. (It's easy to score that here in London, but it's a raw milk cheese that's illegal in the States.)

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                    That's my splurge...Mont d'Or. And you can find it in cheese stores across the US.

                                                                                                                                    Also, Rogue River Blue, small handmade goat cheeses, Brin de Meaux, Affidelice
                                                                                                                                    (Epoisses's grown-up sister), Neal's Yard Montgomery Cheddar.

                                                                                                                                    Regular cheeses for me, always on hand, are Reggiano and Old Amsterdam.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                      I haven't seen French versions of Vacherin du Mont d'Or in the US in a while; the Swiss versions use pasteurised milk, and I think are legal.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                        You might be right, limster. I'll check next splurge.

                                                                                                                                  2. My all time fave cheese has got to be "Top Hat ' Cheddar from the UK. It's an XXXX old yellow cheddar. I was lucky enough to find some a couple of years ago @ Denniger's Burlington Ont ...

                                                                                                                                    And I have never seen it again anywhere..... *sighs*

                                                                                                                                    1. Great thread, especially with NYE being less than a week away. We love to have a cheese tray as one of our appys for dinner tradition. I love the progression of mild to strong, so its hard for me to identify a favorite, but I got a nice chunk of Villajos manchego for Christmas that I am just dying to cut into.

                                                                                                                                      1. True to the fact, there are alot of wonderful cheeses out there. But I always like the simply taste of Carrel Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar. I love it with a crisp Granny Smith apple with grapes and a glass of wine. Not your most expensive cheese but it packs a punch

                                                                                                                                        1. At a wine and cheese convention my favorites were the extra old aged cheddar with horseradish. Im not a huge horseradish fan but this stuff was delicious!
                                                                                                                                          I also like smoked cheddar with bits of bacon or sundried tomatoes but I find this is better melted.
                                                                                                                                          Baby montreal mozzarella is also fun. Reminds me of a breast implant the way I bought it. hehe.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cookiepants

                                                                                                                                            Has anyone said Triscuit? C'mon! Triscuit! You can melt stuff on your cracker! The TV told me so!

                                                                                                                                            Lobster claw + Gruyere + Triscuit = end of this thread. I have the answer!

                                                                                                                                          2. I love gruyere and we just had my son ship several different varieties of Tillamook from Portland, Oregon. We tried it when we visited there a few years ago and just like it but we can't get it in Florida.

                                                                                                                                            1. BOURSIN...it's an unbelievably guilty pleasure.

                                                                                                                                              1. I bought La Tru, and loved it, but Whole Foods is out of it more then they have it. They suggested Robiola Bosina. Has anyone had it?

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                                                  Do you mean "La Tur?" I like it, too!
                                                                                                                                                  Mother of four -- I guess you have your hands full, so a typo is excused!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                    A Greensburg PA Italian Shop has a great cheese I tried. It is a Mango and Ginger Stilton. Creamy and Devine. Other than that I love goats milk I mix in raw crushed garlic, anchovies, and olive cured olives chopped up. Mix that together and spread it on a good whole wheat cracker.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                      Had my hands full!! They are all grown, and now they have their hands full!! Yes!!
                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I meant La Tur. By the way I bought the Robiola Bosina on the advice of the gal at the cheese counter at Whole Foods, and it was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Without a doubt, this wonderfully salty Stilton that we get from The Better Cheddar in Kansas City. It's cold smoked with hazelnut shells, and the taste is out of this world...

                                                                                                                                                    Recipes, Restaurant Reviews, Food News and More - http://www.epicureforum.com

                                                                                                                                                    1. My favorites are ANY blue cheese- I love Stiltons with fruits AND for entertaining I love to wrap a huge wheel of brie in puff pastry and raspberries (fresh or frozen) and bake in the oven. Instead of serving with crackers I serve with finely cut apple wedges... heavenly!

                                                                                                                                                      1. If you like Camembert, Brie, St. Andre's, try D'Affinois. This is the ultimate in xxx cream, even better than Exploreteur, with it's suggestion of truffle. Look for butter yellow, ultra-soft interior encased in a soft, delicately flavored rind.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bara

                                                                                                                                                          We just had some Rocchetta that was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nosey

                                                                                                                                                            Had a nice rocchetta at the Hotel Biron wine bar. Anyone know where I can get some at retail in SF?

                                                                                                                                                        2. more for after dinner - i like Langres, which is easier to get in new york than here in los angeles.
                                                                                                                                                          it's the only cheese (french cow cheese) that i've found that can stand up to grappa, even make it palatable. Traditionally, there's a small well in the top of the smallish cheese that you can pour marc de champagne into. barring that, you can pour in marc de bourgogne or an italian grappa, or even a strong slivovitz. The cheese is washed in marc de champagne so it can take the sharpness (to put it mildly) of this liquor basically made of stems and seeds.

                                                                                                                                                          And eating it cuts the extreme edge of the grappe or the marcs very nicely.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Tillamook Fresh Curd
                                                                                                                                                            Cougar Gold from Washington State University

                                                                                                                                                            1. The gorgonzola dulce at DiPalo's in LIttle Italy in NYC. It's as "gooey" as the ripest cheese you've ever eaten with that glorious blue flavor. You can't get it (yet) through their website, only in the store. We visit NYC a couple of times a year from CA and that's one of our first stops.

                                                                                                                                                              1. A great Parmigiano Reggiano is a must, followed by a dolce-latte gorgonzola (a creamy, runny type bleu...) Adam

                                                                                                                                                                1. With company, a wheel of Berthaut Epoisses. Alone, a 100 gram crock of St. Marcellin and a teaspoon.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Mmmmm.... La Tur wins for me. It was on sale (for an amazing $2.99 a lb!) at a local store last year, and I made my wonderful, non-cheese loving husband pick up eight of them. I was in heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                    I also adore Redwood Hills Crottin. For me it's the perfect amount of smooth, goaty tang, with the most amazing texture---almost like cheesecake.

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                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hunicsz

                                                                                                                                                                      LOL. I made my sister pick up some of those for me and gorged on it through the holidays. Now I can't stand to pay $15 at my cheesemonger.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                        Below are a few of the cheeses I spluge on, or more accurately theone one I spluged on in the past, since most of these I havent seen in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                        Cayuga Blue- a raw pure goat milk blue cheese made at Lively Run Dairy in the finger Lakes region (they also make a version called Seneca blue with cow cream added, but this is in my opinon not as good) This one actually is obtainable at Murray's, but every wheel I've tried this year has been absolutey dreadful, either so ludicrously under ripe it was tasteless or else rancid. Oh and there was one wheel that tasted like Cabrales, which would have been alright as an eating cheese, but If I want Cabrlaes, I can get Cabrales and it would be cheaper than the Cayuga. Whne it is on, Caygua has a wonderful salty spicy flavor (I'magine if you sonehow managed to cross blue cheese and feta, but drier) Addictive

                                                                                                                                                                        Capri- Another aged raw goat milk cheese, this one from Cananda, used to be able to get it at Morton Willams, and later at a little Gourmet store, but neither carries it anymore

                                                                                                                                                                        Sidehill Acres Folie Berge- A Sheep Chess in the French (or more accurately, French Basque) style. Used to get it back when I lived in the Finger Lakes Region, and it beat practically every European Pecorino I ever had, French, Italian, or Spanish. Unfortunately they don't ship much outside the region yet.

                                                                                                                                                                        Extra aged English Farmhouse Leicster - I found this Once, at Murrays (Actually at whatever was the name of the Cheese store that Murrays replaced in the Grand Central Market) round Chrismas ten years ago. I had never seen cheese so orange. Leicster is already a fairly dark orange when its young (It's got a lot more annato coloring in it than American Cheddar, or even French Mimolette) THIS cheese was the color of a cooked sweet potato you left cut and exposed to air in the refrigerator overnight to dry out. One of the best Leicster's I ever had, and proabably the only time I ever picked up a cheese at murray's and when the asked how much I wanted I said "all of it" (It was a very tiny wheel, and at least half was gone when I found it, so we are proably talking about a pound of cheese)

                                                                                                                                                                        PERFECTY ripened Brindamor- ripened till the inside flow out onto the place when you crack the crust in a unctuous, luxurious flow. Unfortunely most places that sell Brindamor seel it as a much younger cheese than I like and tend to do things that mean it spoils before it can "blonde up" also of course this really is a splurge, since getting it right more or less means you need to get a cheese whole.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk, nice and ripe. Or Monteillet (from Dayton, WA, a very small dairy) --the one they do marinated in truffle oil, pink peppercorns, garlic and rosemary. Oh my.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I am lucky to live near a small family-run Italian grocery store that sells their own homemade ricotta and mozarella.

                                                                                                                                                                        I regularly buy real parmigiano.

                                                                                                                                                                        Fromage D'affinois - not really a bank-breaker, about 7 bucks for a small wedge, but I love its creamy mild buttery flavor. Its the same texture as brie or a triple cream.

                                                                                                                                                                        A good manchego.

                                                                                                                                                                        Whole foods French (sheeps milk) feta cheese. Again, not over the top expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. At a risk of getting kicked off the boards for lack of knowledge, my favorite cheese splurge is one that I can never remember the name of. I know where to get it and buy it regularly when i'm near the shops, but for sure, around here's it is a splurge because it's $$ to buy more than a thin wedge. Perhaps the sheer blissfulness of it, renders me incapable of remembering it's name !!

                                                                                                                                                                          It's a creamy cheese with walnuts, and it's layered. Two of the inner layers are darker and have more walnuts than the three other layers.

                                                                                                                                                                          Another favorite from the local market is an artisan cheese produced nearby in New Brunswick called Le Gamin. It's made in the style of an taleggio and is a beautiful cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                          EDIT: miss lazy here finally looked up one of her favorite cheeses: it's Gourmandise (i think)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. so many but I think my favorite is Brillat-Savarin

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Having lived in London for many years, there is only one cheese shop I go to, Neals Yard dairy in Covent Garden [www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk] - it is like walking into a sweet shop! I usually go in to get my fix of Montgomery's cheddar and Colston Bassett stilton but always walk out with many more. What I love about this shop is, the staff really know about their cheese and you are offered to taste the cheese, as many as you like.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Asiago aged from Sam's club is a great raw milk cow's cheese from Northern italy. It's a wonderful party cheese because it goes well wth wine (pinos or chardonnay, petit chablis) It also is a great one to melt on anything from burgers to bruschetta. Sam's also has a naturally smoked provolone that is wonderful with beer. Super popular and isn't processed cheese food like those fake gouda rounds everywhere. Try trader Joe's Italian truffle cheese too. Wonderful with eggs or just snacking for something yummy.