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Need New Cheese!

Driftbadger May 2, 2010 02:36 PM

Hi! I've been hooked on this site for about a year now. I love reading and learning here. Now it's my turn to post.
I love Colby and Colby/Jack cheese. Those are the only cheeses I've found that I like. Well, like is an understatement. What I'm wondering is...Can any of you suggest other cheeses I might enjoy? You all know so much and I feel kind of stupid asking about something so simple, but I'd really like to expand my horizons.
Thank you for your time!


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  1. nofunlatte RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 03:14 PM

    Could you tell us what you've tried that you DIDN'T like? Might help us wrt giving you some suggestions. For cheeses that are readily available in most supermarkets, try manchego or gruyere. Neither are like Colby, but still worth trying as you expand your cheese repertoire. Make sure the cheese is at room temperature before you sample. You might also want to try various cheddars.

    1. mollyomormon RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 03:35 PM

      My questions, to follow up on nofunlatte's, would be whether you have a good cheese store near you, a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe's or a Costco. I think there are really good cheese finds to be had at all of those, but it would help in guiding you to know what you have access to.

      8 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon
        runwestierun RE: mollyomormon May 2, 2010 03:43 PM

        Yes, if you go to the Whole Foods cheese counter and tell them what you told us, they will make recommendations and let you sample little pieces of different cheeses until you find a couple you like. I have done this on several occasions and have found really lovely cheeses I would never have tried on my own. Just tell them you want to find a new cheese that you will love.

        1. re: mollyomormon
          Driftbadger RE: mollyomormon May 2, 2010 03:50 PM

          I guess that would have been good info to include. Chalk it up to first post jitters. lol!
          Most of my cheese experience comes from the processed junk my mom used to order from school fundraisers and things like that. Now, I'm afraid to try a lot of things. My kids and husband aren't cheese eaters and they're happy with individually wrapped plastic. Maybe I should tell you what flavors I enjoy. I love a smoky taste. Anything sweet is usually good in my book. What I don't like is anything with a strong smell or really pungent flavor. Mushy is an absolute turn off.
          I know my choices will be limited because Johnson City, TN really doesn't have any good shops that I'm aware of. I believe I'm stuck with Food Lion, WalMart and Kroger. I would be interested in online ordering if the price is right.
          Thank you for your replies. I'll be out shopping tomorrow so I can try a few new things.


          1. re: Driftbadger
            goodhealthgourmet RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 03:59 PM

            OK, now that we have some more information, i'll say definitely go with cheddar and manchego. and since you like smoky flavors, add smoked gouda to the list. i have other thoughts, but for clarification, what do you mean by "mushy?"

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              Driftbadger RE: goodhealthgourmet May 2, 2010 07:05 PM

              I guess spreadable. Maybe it's just past experiences, but I've always thought those cheeses tasted processed to death. Smoked Gouda. That sounds good!


              1. re: Driftbadger
                coney with everything RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 05:33 AM

                Or smoked mozzarella.

                But I'd give spreadable another chance, something like Alouette or Boursin.

                1. re: coney with everything
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: coney with everything May 3, 2010 08:44 AM

                  smoked mozz was one of my "other thoughts" that i was reserving until we clarified the "mushy" issue...and then of course i forgot to add it!

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                Cherylptw RE: goodhealthgourmet May 3, 2010 11:43 PM

                + 1 on the smoked gouda; it's my all time favorite and I use it in anything from grilled cheese to mac & cheese to cheese & crackers to whatever else I can come up with. I also love feta because of the saltiness and extra sharp cheddar; if you can find it where they cut it off a huge wheel, it's the best. Add to some scrambled eggs...Yum!
                And because I like heat, pepperjack is good too.

                If you don't like strong cheeses, I don't recommend goat cheese; definitely not my favorite, but I agree that you should visit a cheese department or shop and ask to taste some cheeses. The packaged stuff you get off the shelf at the grocery store is way different from what you can get fresh and you may be surprised by what you like. I also recommend buying a book on cheese or checking one out from your library. You can also look on line to find out flavor profiles.

            2. re: mollyomormon
              JonParker RE: mollyomormon May 2, 2010 05:16 PM

              If you have a Wegman's nearby, they have an excellent cheese selection.

            3. goodhealthgourmet RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 03:52 PM

              i'd definitely echo the statements made by nofunlatte and mollyo - knowing what you *don't* like (this applies to flavor AND texture) and what you have access to would be helpful, particularly considering that there is an incredibly vast array of cheese options out there.

              in the meantime, if you're looking for something similar to the ones you already enjoy, i'd suggest mild cheddar and young manchego. and for something different in terms of texture but still with a mild flavor, maybe a nice, creamy burrata - think of it as mozzarella's sexier cousin ;)

              4 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                JonParker RE: goodhealthgourmet May 2, 2010 04:29 PM

                Mahon might also be good.

                1. re: JonParker
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: JonParker May 2, 2010 04:52 PM

                  texture-wise, definitely, though the flavor might be a bit sharp or intense for the OP...and i don't know that it would even be available considering her limited options. but i love the stuff :)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    JonParker RE: goodhealthgourmet May 2, 2010 05:15 PM

                    I was thinking young mahon. The aged stuff is pretty sharp, but it's one of my favorite cheeses.

                    1. re: JonParker
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: JonParker May 2, 2010 07:10 PM

                      you're absolutely right - young would definitely be an option if she can find some.

              2. r
                runwestierun RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 04:55 PM

                I think you would like a mild white cheddar. If you have a Costco, they often have a nice white cheddar there.

                1. Jennalynn RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 05:20 PM

                  Try Havarti, Muenster, Edam and Provolone.

                  They're all mild like Colby and Jack, but different in their own way.

                  Start with those and then you can move on to some more "advanced" cheeses ; )

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Jennalynn
                    goodhealthgourmet RE: Jennalynn May 2, 2010 05:35 PM

                    GREAT suggestions Jennalynn. i never eat those cheeses anymore so they didn't even cross my mind!

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      Jennalynn RE: goodhealthgourmet May 3, 2010 09:30 AM

                      Give them another go...

                      A Muenster omelette is very very good.

                      1. re: Jennalynn
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: Jennalynn May 3, 2010 10:07 AM

                        oh, it's not that i *dislike* them, i just prefer stronger, more pungent cheeses. muenster reminds me of my childhood - my uncle had a food service business, so we usually had an enormous brick of it in the fridge :)

                    2. re: Jennalynn
                      LolaP RE: Jennalynn May 3, 2010 11:32 AM

                      These are all really good ideas! I love havarti so much, but like the other posters, have gone over to the funky side and forgot to come back now and then!

                      1. re: LolaP
                        Jennalynn RE: LolaP May 3, 2010 05:04 PM

                        I am a cheesy girl. Hi and low brow... (Yes i even keep individually wrapped American next to my $15 a lb parmesan).

                        Give a nice Dill Havarti a chance in a grilled cheese on rye bread with mustard and onions. You will remember your old love.

                    3. mcel215 RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 05:34 PM

                      My favorite is a good Gruyere cheese.

                      1. Veggo RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 05:45 PM

                        My quick rule of thumb is that cheese types cluster around multiples of $4 per pound. Colby, Jack and some decent cheddars, like Cabot, can be found on sale for abourt $4/lb. Edam ,swiss, Jarlsberg, havarti, meunster, gouda, provolone are often in the $8/lb range. $12/lb will get you passable ripened cheeses like camembert and brie and others. $16/lb is the neighborhood for goat cheese and domestic blues; Maytag and Humboldt fog may be a few cents more. $20 will get you premium europeans like English stiltons, higher quality ripened french cheeses like epoisses and St. Marcellin, the best of the bries, and some interesting ones with bits of truffles or other ingeredients.
                        If your local markets sometimes sell small quantities of cheeses you are not familiar with, it's fun to take a chance with a cheese blind date. If you find one you really like, save the label!

                        1. DonShirer RE: Driftbadger May 2, 2010 07:32 PM

                          I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest a cheese that's cheddary enough that it wouldn't be a big jump from the Colby or Jack cheeses you like, but also wouldn't take you off in a completely different direction such as a blue or Camembert might do. My suggestion is Yancey's Fancy Finger Lakes Champagne Cheddar. It is a NY product, and I have seen it at several grocery stores, both chain and independent, in CT. It has a mild but intriguing taste, and is neither creamy nor too hard to cut.

                          Once your palate gets used to trying different cheeses, maybe we can get you started on sheep or goat varieties!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: DonShirer
                            Driftbadger RE: DonShirer May 2, 2010 11:38 PM

                            I'm not so sure about the sheep or goat, Don. Wouldn't those cheeses taste, I dunno, strong? I know that cows don't smell like roses, but goats pretty much reek.

                            I'm heading out to Kroger tomorrow evening and I'm armed with a list. I'm thinking that since they have a better deli selection, that's my best bet. They have the smoked salmon too. Yum! Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!


                            1. re: Driftbadger
                              BamiaWruz RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 01:36 AM

                              I really disliked goat growing up, but I've learned to like it.

                              Lately I tried "drunken goat" and it's actually very nice. I'd suggest trying before buying though, just in case.

                              1. re: Driftbadger
                                LauraGrace RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 03:11 PM

                                I think sheep's milk cheeses are fantastic. Mild, sweet, and rich. I definitely prefer them to cow's milk cheeses of similar styles -- they're more flavorful without being funky, if that makes sense.

                                1. re: LauraGrace
                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: LauraGrace May 3, 2010 03:23 PM

                                  makes perfect sense to me - i think most sheep's milk cheeses are *tangier* and have a deeper umami flavor than cow's milk cheeses.

                                2. re: Driftbadger
                                  DonShirer RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 09:06 PM

                                  Carol, there are both mild and strong cheeses made from sheep and goat milk as well as the udder source. In fact the smelliest and strongest cheeses I have tried (once!) come from cows milk! You don't have to start with ovine and caprine varieties, but after you find some other cheeses you like, you may want to try a few.

                              2. l
                                LolaP RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 11:30 AM

                                I would recommend beemster vlaskaas. It is technically a kind of gouda, I think, but it has a sweetness and the texture is more like a sharp cheddar. The flavor is not at all funky, kind of sweet , almost caramel-y, and mild, and has been loved by all I have served it to, from cheese snobs to people with more basic cheese tastes.

                                Edited to add: if you can't find that, just try a smoked gouda. Yum!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: LolaP
                                  Driftbadger RE: LolaP May 3, 2010 11:35 AM

                                  I think I must find the Beemster Vlaskaas. That sounds heavenly. Thank you!

                                  1. re: LolaP
                                    LauraGrace RE: LolaP May 3, 2010 03:11 PM

                                    Aged goudas are also fantastic!

                                    1. re: LolaP
                                      anonymouse1935 RE: LolaP May 3, 2010 04:33 PM

                                      I've just found Beemster and it even has Emmentaler beat in my book.

                                      It is wonderful.

                                    2. porker RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 05:15 PM

                                      Just my 2c...
                                      A cheese thats aged longer is generally stronger. Maybe consider this when trying to choose identical cheeses (like cheddar), one aged 1 year and another 4 or 5 years.

                                      For suggestions, I'd mention a small block of Parmigiano Regiano
                                      Expensive, but heavenly, nutty, and rich.. A cheaper alternate could be Piave,
                                      but generally harder to find.

                                      Another winner would be mimolette, easy to pick out - the super-orange colored one.

                                      Finally, I have a thing going on with Cabot Habanero Cheddar
                                      This is more of a chilihead product than a cheese choice. Don't get me wrong, Cabot turns out some fairly good cheddar, but when they unabashadly pair it with chunks of habanero, it gets fairly hot!

                                      Again, not the musings of a cheese expert, just some of the stuff you might like.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: porker
                                        Jennalynn RE: porker May 3, 2010 06:28 PM

                                        A recent obsession of mine has been Comte. Had it in a cheese course at a restaurant and had to go and buy some the next day.

                                        Somewhat hard, sharp and really nice to eat while sipping wine.

                                      2. b
                                        bulavinaka RE: Driftbadger May 3, 2010 10:58 PM

                                        Manchego, various goat cheeses, edam, goudas, smoked cheeses, labne.

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