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When good cheese goes bad...

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I love me some gruyere! And I'm never had a gruyere that I didn't love...until last night. I bought a nice chunk from the usual suspects over at Whole Foods, brought it home, chopped it up, and BLECH!!! It tasted really bad.
I noticed that the rind was crumbly when I cut it. Pieces looked like dirt. And the taste was really different in some spots, maybe earthy? The flavor was hard to identify, but certainly not like any other gruyere I had ever had...it was foul.
So the question is, what makes good cheese go bad? What ails my usual favorite cheese?

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  1. Probably either age or improper storage between the source and your retailer. And "bad" cheese is not necessarily detectable visually. Some cheeses have a very short life; I don't know where gruyere is on the fruit fly--tortoise scale. I recently sat down with a crock of St. Marcellin with a real need for comfort food, and it looked beautiful but it was as rancid as battery acid.

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    1. re: Veggo

      Gruyere, as a hard aged cheese, should be pretty indestructable. My guess would be that it got contaminated with something somewhere along the line, but it's hard to tell what. You should take any uneaten cheese back to Whole Foods and ask for a refund or replacement.

    2. I'd like to counsel the book by Gordon Edgar, 'Cheesemonger: life on the Wedge'. It has so much for a cheeselover. Chapter 2 has a nice description of taleggio that would answer your question, roughly: follow your senses, nose, eyes.

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      1. Supermarkets do not know how to handle cheese. My guilty pleasure cheese is the artificially smoked gouda that have been eating since childhood. In a pinch once bought a piece from the standard grocery store near my mother's. It just didn't taste right. Not at all like the same cheese bought at a real cheese store, The Cheeseboard. Since then I never buy cheese from a grocery. Besides at a cheese store, you get to taste before you buy.