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Your favorite cheese

  • Monica Oct 27, 2010 06:56 AM
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These days, I can't stop eating Chimay cheese...from Belgium. So good....

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  1. There are soooo many, but one that stands out for me is an aged Spanish Goat's milk cheese called Monte Enebro. My favorite domestic cheese is Trillium by The Lazy Lady in Vermont.

    1. Stilton.

      1. Domestic and local: the spreadable Teleme from the Cheese Factory in Sonoma. On chunks of seeded sourdough baguette, it's addictive and can easily be my dinner, served up with a good glass of something white and dry.
        I love good imported Manchego shaved over dark greens salad with red grapes and walnuts and walnut oil vinaigrette with verjus for the acid component. Amazingly good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamachef

          I got a chunk of Teleme from a cheese shop in Portland, Oregon and I am hooked.

        2. Epoisses. Followed by Taleggio.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sushigirlie

            Ditto on the Époisses.

            1. re: sushigirlie

              Ditto on both. But my very favourite of all would be Comte.

              1. re: sushigirlie

                A million times: Epoisse, bought directly in the village. Then an aged Dutch cheese eaten right in the shop.

                1. re: sushigirlie

                  Epoisses. Vachement!

                2. A farmhouse Stilton tied with an unspeakably rich Explorateur (sp?)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: beevod

                    There hasn't been a farmouse/farmstead Stilton made since the late 1930's. (By "farmstead," I mean a cheese that is entirely made on a single farm from the milk of that farm's herd.) However, if you are a lover of Stilton, you need to seek out Stichelton, which, for all intents and purposes, is a raw milk Stilton. In deciding to make this cheese, Randolph Hodgson from Neal's Yard Dairy in London and Joe Schneider, the cheesemaker, had two goals: first, to revive the tradition of making raw milk Stillon, which had ceased some twenty plus years earlier after a listeria scare caused Colston Bassett, one of the Stilton producers and the only one to still be using raw milk, to switch to pasteurized milk; and second, to produce a true farmstead cheese. Stichelton can't be called Stilton, because the recipe for the latter now specifies the use of pasteurized milk by law. Stichelton is a wonderful cheese, with all of the savoriness that Stilton is famous for, but with a creamier texture and a longer, more complex finish.

                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                      Generally speaking, do you think cheeses made with non pasteurized milk taste better? Same with the yogurt?
                      Is it true that all market cheeses in Europe are made with non pasteurized milk?

                      1. re: Monica

                        As a general rule, I think that cheeses made with raw milk have more depth of flavor than cheeses made with pasteurized milk. Pasteurization kills the good bacteria in cheese along with the dangerous ones and inactivates enzymes that contribute to the development of complexity as a cheese ages. However, I don't buy the argument that all pasteurized milk cheeses are bad. A skillful cheesemaker can produce a very good cheese from "zapped" milk, for example, the Stilton made by Colston Bassett. And that's an example of a cheese produced and sold in Europe that is not made from raw milk, so it is not true that all European cheeses sold there are made from raw milk. The number of raw milk cheeses available in European countries is nonetheless much higher than in the US and Canada, because they don't have the restrictive laws we do that prohibit the sale of raw milk cheese aged less than 60 days. Also, large industrial cheesemakers (think Kraft in the US) have to pasteurize, even for aged cheeses, because they get their milk from many different suppliers and cannot vouch for the cleanliness and safe practices of every one of them. To a lesser extent, that is also true in Europe.

                        1. re: Monica

                          Raw milk by far

                      2. re: beevod

                        l'Explorateur was my first introduction into fine cheese. I was about 20, and went to the local cheese shop and asked for a nice sharp cheddar. The guy behind the counter said sure, but try this first. This was before he told me it was something like $12 a pound (in 1973). I was hooked anyway. Amazing stuff, although it seems to have varied over the years..

                        These days, the Delice de Bourgogne at Trader Joes (or Costco sometimes, but it's too big a piece) is pretty similar to my taste and a lot easier to find.

                      3. I sometimes serve parmigiano-reggiano for dessert, with pears, almonds, walnuts.

                        Once a month or so, I declare a Cheese Day, which means St. Andre with really good bread, and I eat nothing else that day, with the possible exception of some fruit.

                        1. I'm just into a piece of humboldt fog turning runny - that's it for the moment.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: applehome

                            +1. And Cowgirl's Red Hawk - it gets extra points because it comes in smaller cheeses that you can properly age yourself. And speaking of cheeses that are best when they start to get spoon-able, Franklin's Teleme is pretty incredible, too...

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              +2 for Red Hawk. Three other US-made washed rind cheeses that I recommend highly are Capriole's Mont St. Francis, Cato Corner Farm's Hooligan and Meadow Creek Dairy's Grayson.

                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                +3 for Red Hawk. I don't care what my family says about the smell -- that stuff is heaven.

                                1. re: Vetter

                                  Love Red Hawk, too. However, (and it may just be where I get my cheese) there seems to be a narrow peak in its flavor...buy it a couple of days late and it's nasty/ammoniacal.

                                  1. re: curej

                                    That's not surprising. A wheel of Red Hawk in top condition should be enjoyable for more than two days, but like all other triple creme cheeses, deterioration sets in fairly quickly.

                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                      got a small wheel of it for christmas. destroyed half of it in the morning of. Smells bad but tastes amazing. Which is pretty much what amazing cheese should be like.

                                2. re: cheesemaestro

                                  2 thumbs up on the Grayson! Just open a window, my wife almost lost her lunch when I cut it.

                            2. Good dog, where to begin? I am a cheeseaholic.

                              So - in no particular order:

                              Taleggio
                              Super-aged gouda (it's like eating caramel)
                              Aged manchego
                              Garrotxa
                              Morbier
                              Sharp Cheddar
                              Brie
                              Bulgarian feta
                              Reblochon
                              St. André

                              And the list goes on....

                              1. Difficult call but possibly Singleton's Lancashire.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: Harters

                                  Interesting that you prefer Singleton's to Kirkham's, which is usually touted as the "gold standard" for Lancashire. I have to admit, though, that I've not tasted Singleton's, which, to my knowledge, has never been exported to the US.

                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                    Apologies - personal winner is Shorrocks not Singletons. Singletons would be just outside the medal stakes.

                                    Kirkhams is not bad and has the benefit of being fairly well available. I suspect it's the only farmhouse Lancashire that's regularly exported - other producers are quite smallscale. It would win my bronze medal.

                                    Coming in at second would be the general range from Leagrams - made by Bob Kitching. Best item is his "Bob's Knob", which, IIRC, is a 24 month matured one. He occasionally has 36 month which he reckons is too much. I bought one from him at the farmers market - he's right. The 24 month is much better.

                                    The Shorrocks Black Bomb is superb - always graces our Christmas Day cheese board.
                                    http://www.churchmousecheeses.com/ind...

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      "Kirkhams. . .I suspect that it's the only farmhouse Lancashire that's regularly exported."

                                      In the US, almost all of the high quality cheeses we get from the UK and Ireland are handled by Neal's Yard Dairy. If a cheese is not on NYD's list for export, we are unlikely to see it. (We do get some lower and mid-range cheeses from the UK through other sources.) Even so, American cheesemongers tend to be conservative and stick to ordering cheeses from NYD that they think Americans will recognize, like Stilton, Cheshire, Wensleydale or Caerphilly. I'm a huge fan of Robin Congdon's blue cheeses from Devon, e.g. Harbourne Blue and Beenleigh Blue, but we rarely find them over here, even though they are on the list. Ditto for Durrus, which, IMO is the best of the four well known washed rind cheeses from County Cork, although Ardrahan and Gubbeen are much easier to obtain here. Of course, some of these cheeses are quite expensive in the US, which is a deterrent to bringing them over.

                                      In the past few years, the Fine Cheese Company in Bath has been trying to establish a foothold in the export market to the US. They've had a difficult go of it, no doubt because NYD is so firmly entrenched as the export supplier of choice. That's a shame, because FCC offers many excellent British cheeses that complement the ones available through NYD--to name but two, Old Winchester (also known as Old Smales) and the Stilton made by Quenby Hall.

                                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                                        Neals Yard is a pretty good cheesemonger - opposite end of the country to me so I dont visit too often. I'm from Cheshire and we have a much wider choice of British & Irish cheeses at a small shop in the county town of Chester.

                                        I see they offer Appleby's Cheshire (actually made just across the county boundary into Shropshire - but there's no PDO status on Cheshire as there is on Stilton). Again, a pretty good cheese. Better is Bourne's if you ever you get chance to get your hands on it.

                                        Oh, and I can thoroughly recommend the Spakenhoe Red Leicester which is also on the NYD general sales list.

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          We can sometimes buy Appleby's Cheshire and Sparkenhoe Red Leicester (agreed, it's excellent), but, alas, not the Bourne's. I'm sure a visit to the UK would uncover many gems. I have Jenny Linford's recent book on British cheeses (as well as Sarah Freeman's earlier book), and there are so many intriguing cheeses described that aren't available here and probably never will be. Still, there are many more British cheeses available in the US than there are American cheeses sold in the UK. Although there are now a couple of thousand artisanal cheeses made in America and many superb ones, most don't have the cachet of their venerable European counterparts. We've barely begun to export our cheeses.

                                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                                            Much of the farmhouse production in the UK is very smallscale, almost as a supplement to the main income of the farm - with the producer perhaps only selling at local farmers markets.

                                            I don't think I've ever seen American cheese in the UK. Possibly there is somewhere in London, catering to ex-pats?

                                            And, unfortunately, I've rarely come across a good looking cheese offering in restaurants when we've visited the States (our trips are usually to East Coast states, generally somewhere from New York to Georgia). Would really like to explore this on our next visit (possibly 2012).

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              What you say about small scale farmstead producers is also true in the US. It's unrealistic to expect them to send their cheese abroad, when they barely have enough to supply their local markets.

                                              Two American cheeses that are being exported are Rogue River Blue from Oregon and Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Wisconsin. Neal's Yard is importing Rogue River Blue. It should be available in London at certain times of the year. I'm not sure if they are also marketing Pleasant Ridge Reserve.

                                              If you are in New York City on your next trip to the States, consider having dinner at Picholine, which is famous for the quality and variety of the selection on its cheese cart.

                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                I'm currently eating Britain's most expensive cheese - a Welsh farmhouse soft blue. Bought it at a foof festival a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely delicious - but as the comments in this BBC article, overpriced for what it is:

                                                http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/nort...

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Maybe you think that's expensive, but I don't think $20 a pound (27 GBP per *kilo* was the price quoted in the article) is a lot for high quality cheese. Most good cheeses in the US are at least that much, and I occasionally splurge on Rogue River Blue at more than twice that price.

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    The most expensive cheese I have seen where I live is an import from France (cannot recall which one at the moment) and it was $109 CDN per pound. Yikes!

                                    2. re: cheesemaestro

                                      NYD does export Lancashire into the US, fyi.

                                      1. re: cheesemonger

                                        Yes. It's Kirkham's that they export.

                                  2. I love both Stilton and St Andre - they're both my favorite depending on my mood!

                                    1. Boucheron (aged goat) or Saint Agur (blue) or Red Hawk (triple creme). Wait, were you looking for only one? =)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: aching

                                        +1 Boucheron. Also goat gouda and aged gouda (with the nice little crystals). But really I like all cheese.

                                      2. Anything with mold or holes.

                                        1. 36 month aged parmigiano
                                          pecorino

                                          both with caramelized onion

                                          1. Rogue Creamery's Smokey Blue

                                            1. My boring answer, but true: thank god that good parmagiano is widely available. That's the cheese I would send me into shock, if it were lost to us.

                                              My more specialized answer: Beaufort, which is only available at limited periods and is a rare treat.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                Among domestics I'd say Cayuga Blue, a raw milk blue made by the Lively Run Dairy of Interlaken in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The taste is a little hard to describe, sorta like a cross between blue and feta. Fact is, there aren't all that many raw goat milk blue cheeses to compare it to at least in this country. I would imagine that some of the orginal Perslee du Beujolais and thier realtive would be close, but as most to all of the ones that get to this country are pasturized they don't really measure up flavorwise (there is a Quebecois goat I used to be able to get, cheese called Capri, that taste sort of similar)

                                                Amoung imported it's a little harder to decide. Actually amoung my all time favorties there is an odd thing; for some reason every time I find an imported cheese I fall in love with from he first bite and I go out and seek it again, it turns out that the orginal one was "odd" in some way, that, while it was not spoiled, it did not cure and age in the way that the "standard" version should and regrettably the "real" one is often distateful to me two of my favortie examples
                                                My very fist Brindamour, which has somehow aged up in a more brie like way that is normal for this cheese so that whne I cut the rind open the cheese literally poured out of the crust onto the plate. That one was magificent, most of the other ones I have had, the "real" ones, have tasted rather bitter and fermented to me.

                                                My first zingarome (a washed rind raw goat's milk cheese from Austria or Germany) Most of the ones I have seen nowadays have fair wet sticky rinds and to me taste a little sickly and beery. However the fist one I had must have cured too dry it had a fairly unsticky rind. That one was delcios sort of like a goat's milk Tete du Moine.

                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                  Another American blue goat cheese is Billy Blue from Carr Valley Cheese in Wisconsin. Also, Hubbardston Blue and the Classic Blue Log made by Westfield Farm in Massachusetts. However, Westfield's cheeses are surface-ripened blues. That is, the blue mold develops only on the surface, not throughout the paste.

                                                  There are several European goat's milk blues: Verde Capra and Blu di Capra from Italy; Persillé de Beaujolais, Persillé de Tignes, Chevrefort and Bleu du Bocage from France; and Harbourne Blue from England. Harbourne is a superb cheese, although only occasionally available inthe US. If you happen to find it, it is definitely worth splurging on a piece (at $40+ a pound).

                                                  Your experience with your first Brin d'Amour is strange. I've never encountered one that ran like an overripe Brie. As for the bitterness, it likely comes from the herbs. By the time the cheese arrives on our shores from Corsica, the herbs covering the surface have usually dried out and become bitter. I know of at least one cheesemonger (Artisanal in New York) that removes the old herbs and replaces them with fresh ones.

                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                    Thanks for the references. I was aware of the Westfields cheeses but as you mentione dthey are surface blues, not peirced internal blues, so not really a valid comparison. I haven't bumped into billy yet (though I have had some of the other Carr Valley cheeses) However I seem to recall that most of the Carr Valley cheeses are pasturized ones and I was trying to find another RAW goat's milk blue to compare (Montchever makes a pasturized goats blue as well) Some of the flavors I love so much in Cayuga ONLY seem to show up in raw Goat milk cheeses of a certian type; the pasturized versions just don't have it. Harbourne is always pasturized.as are Chevefort and Blue du Bocage. Perslee de Beujolias and Tinges can be raw or pasturized , I'm sure that, If I was in Europe those blues might measure up to the Cayga standard (I like Cayuga so much I have difficulty believing that they could surpass it) but for the most part the goat milk blues that reach our shores are pasturized ones.

                                                    I am aware that the trip across from Corsica usually causes the herbs to go bitter. However I did not eat the rind on that bitter Brin, (In point of fact I usally dont eat the rind part on most cheeses unless they are pre wrapped, either becuse I don't like the taste the rind imparts (I'm VERY sesitive to the "ammonia odor that brie like cheeses can get, so if the inside of the cheese is ripe enough to be edible I can usally smell (and taste) the ammonia near the rind edge, becuse of question about how the peice I bought was handled and by who before I bought it (If someone picks up a cheese, even a cut peice, the'y usally hold it by the rind side and ocassionally for the sake of my stomach (I can digest wshed rind cheeses a lot easier if I don't eat too much of the actual bacterial coating on the outside) When I say the brin was bitter I mean the paste itself had gone bitter, it had begun to ferment and delvelop that beery note that some cheeses do when they spoil.) I have had a few Brins that didn't have the fermented taste since then, but those were so young as to be uniteresting As for the orginal Brin If I was to guess at the cause that turned into a Corsican version of a perfect Reblochon (You description as an overripe brie is tecnically correct but I don't like to use it as it implies that that frist one was spoiled) I migh guess it aged at a slightly too high temperature; that can sometimes cause a semifirm cheese to become a runny one (The Dutch Kernheim was supposedy "invented" this way someone cured some Roomkasses a little too warmly and turned those goudas into gooey delights)

                                                    The age thing reminds me of a funny story actually. Whne I was a kid I ADORED Mimolette but as I grew up (and moved on to more complex cheeses) I ate less and less of it, and when I did try a piece, if found it extrmeley bitter and umpleasant. Thne one day (at an A&P, of all places) while sifting through thier cheese offerings I found a piece of very young mimolette and finding nothing better in the offered pile took it home and tried it. Immediately I remeber why I had used to like Mimolette, while by no means the most complex cheese I had ever consumed it was admiarably suited to be snacked upon. Turns out part of the problem is that in the time since I had eaten it as a child (were talking 15-20 years ago) the average age of mimolettes exported to this country has increased, to better accomidate all the aficonadoes who want it extra old (extra-vieille)

                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                      If you gave me the choice between a young Mimolette and an extra aged one, I would always take the older one, but if you gave me the choice between a Mimolette and almost any other cheese, I would take the other cheese. I can't understand why the French find Mimolette so appealing.

                                              2. Camembert
                                                St. André
                                                Fontina
                                                Taleggio
                                                Teleme
                                                Morbier
                                                Reblochon
                                                Explorateur
                                                Stilton
                                                Gorgonzola
                                                Brebiou
                                                Harley Farms Goat
                                                Harley Farms Feta
                                                Parm Reggiano
                                                Comte
                                                Mimolette
                                                Burrata
                                                Jack
                                                Pepper Jack
                                                Havarti

                                                please don't make me pick....

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                  what she said.

                                                  plus:
                                                  Drunken Goat
                                                  Smoked Gouda
                                                  Manchego
                                                  Humboldt Fog
                                                  Gruyere
                                                  Emmentaler
                                                  Garrotxa

                                                  i could keep going...

                                                  ;)

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    No mention yet of St. Marcellin? Good, this mouse will have it all.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      how did i forget manchego?? with a little membrillo... mm!

                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                        If you like Manchego, you may want to try Zamorano some time. It's basically a raw milk Manchego from a little farther south and has a much deeper flavor.

                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                          +1 for Zamorano and Roncal and Ombra, too.

                                                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                            Don't forget Idizabaal particualry good if you get the smoked one (from waht I understand the majority of Idizabaal is smoked, but for some reason, in my neck of the woods its the supposedly rarer unsmoked version) It's great cheese and you have to love the story of how it gets smoked (by the sheperds traditonally sticking the cheeses up the chimmneys of thier huts)

                                                          2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                            Zamorano - thanks, good to know!
                                                            i do like idiazabal. and that story!

                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                              Zamorano is great, but Zamora is a Castillian town far to the northwest of La Mancha on the River Duero. There are sheep milk cheeses produced all over the meseta (central part of Spain encompassing Castilla la Vieja, La Mancha, León, etc.) and Andalucia, too. A lot of them have such small production that they don't make it out of their local area.

                                                              1. re: butterfly

                                                                Oh I agree but the key line in you comment is " A lot of them have such small production that they don't make it out of their local area." Such thing are fine to reccomend to people who may be traveling to the area where the cheese is made, but I was trying to confine my list to those cheeses that a person with acess to a decent cheese shop has a reasonable chance of actually finding. To make up a recommended cheese list in which all of the cheeses, however excellent, are virtually unobtainable while it may be literally correct, strikes me as being a touch mean spirited, and mocking. It's sorta the punishment of Tantalos made real.

                                                      2. I once left a plate of smoked gouda out overnight and when I woke I could smell something so smokey I looked all over the house thinking something was burning. It smelled so smokey! I was late for work because I kept searching for something on fire. That was my favorite excuse for being late - smoked gouda.

                                                        1. I am not a big fan of blue cheese..yet...lol . but i do love gorgonzola cheese.
                                                          What's a good blue cheese(milder) that I should give a try.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                            This just came up on another thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7421...

                                                            Short story short, Cambazola (Germany) and Saga (Denmark) are very mild and accessible.

                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                              Have you tried a gorgonzola dolce? Divine, especially with figs and walnuts. I'm finding a new love of cheddar style cheeses like Prairie Breeze or Carr Valley Menage.

                                                              1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                I hear it's good in risotto :-)

                                                              2. re: Monica

                                                                You might like an Irish cheese called Cashel Blue which is delightfully creamy and relatively mild.

                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                  St Agur, similar to Cambozola and Saga, but far less processed and great rich texture.

                                                                2. My favorite blue cheese is Strachitunt from the Valtaleggio. It is made in small batches and relies on the natural molds in local caves to give it it's blue. It can get pretty scary in appearance but has an incredibly rich, complex flavor that can't be found in any other blue.

                                                                  1. generally goat's cheese. specifically the very soft/young and very hard/old kind.

                                                                    very soft: Portuguese queijo fresco. can only be kept for a few days. understandably one has to go to Portugal to eat it. so fresh and buttery. amazing.

                                                                    very hard: incredibly delicious super old dutch cheeses. [no, not 'old amsterdam'.]

                                                                    1. Bless this post. I, too, am a cheeseaholic.

                                                                      It's easier to say which I do not like, because it's a short list of one: Limburger. Gak!!

                                                                      Smoked ANYTHING, but mainly smoked gouda.
                                                                      the sharpest cheddar standable, Tillamook
                                                                      fresh mozz.
                                                                      string cheese
                                                                      fresh cheese curds from Wisconsin, so fresh they squeak.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: natewrites

                                                                        Tillamook's sqeaky cheese, bought at the factory, is also fantastic!

                                                                      2. Ohmigod...no mention of burrata yet??? I can't claim to have sampled many versions of it, but can testify for Gioia Cheese's version, found in the Los Angeles area. SOOO good.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: annagranfors

                                                                          i mentioned it. it's a fave for sure!

                                                                        2. So many great cheese choices ..... The Chimay cheese is amazing. I also like Bleu Bénédictin. It is a Canadian blue cheese made by the monks at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Quebec. It is creamy, has a soft salted and mushroom flavour. If you add it to mashed potatoes, you will melt .....

                                                                          1. Roquefort
                                                                            Pecorino Romano
                                                                            Manchego
                                                                            Port Salut

                                                                            1. oooh! i forgot chaumes. just make sure not to touch the rind or your fingers will smell for days (as is the case with many washed-rind sticky cheeses).

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                I touched on it earlier, but I shoud really give Tete du Moine a prop in it's own right. Great stuff. I like nothing better then a nice fat slice or two (no wimpy little girolle produced curls for me!) and of course, since it is a hard mountain type cheese, (in the class of emmental,gruyere, appenzeller etc.) I have been known to use it to make a fondue though only when I am in a particualry dangerous or more, often sadistic mood (if you don't get that referece you have never experianced what tete smells like when you melt it. Tete may be a mountain cheese but it is a monastic mountain cheese and shares much with many monastic cheeses (read, washed rind).

                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                  Tête de Moine is not for the faint of palate! While we're on the subject of Swiss alpine cheeses, there are many small production artisanal cheeses with unfamiliar names that are now being imported into the US. I have a piece of Boschenhof in my fridge right now and I've had several others earlier this year. All have been very good to outstanding. We also shouldn't forget Sbrinz--Switzerland's counterpart to Parmigiano Reggiano. It deserves to be much better known than it is.

                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                    Interesting. I don't find Tête de Moine to be a very intensely-flavored cheese... delicious, tho.

                                                                              2. I love a lot of soft, ripe and stinky cheeses, but for some reason I really love the low-fat Jarlsberg sold at Trader Joe's.

                                                                                1. If I have to pick one then it would be an aged Gruyere

                                                                                  1. I've gotta throw my vote in for Cabrales.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: nimeye

                                                                                      Now that Cabrales has gotten fairly well known and reasonably common in this country I think that a lot of the wheels have lost a little of thier intensity (though they still have more than Valderon ) I now usally try and seek out cabrales's cousin Picon/Picos de Europa, which has smaller production and still retains full force (Ive had peices of that so strong they actually left little lesions on my gums!)

                                                                                    2. and who makes the best brie cheese? I gave up on most supermarket brand. So far, my favorite is store made(?? maybe not) from Murray's cheese shop in NYC and good price makes it even more worth it.

                                                                                      Also, overall in NY/NJ areas, who has the best prices on cheese? Trader Joe's, I assume, has the best prices?

                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                        @Monica, for specific regional recommendations you'll have better luck posting a separate query on your local NY/Tristate board, whichever one it is. Trader Joe's does have great prices, but they're not a cheese shop - the stuff you'll find at Murray's, Artisanal, Village Cheese, and even places like Dean & DeLuca, Zabar's & Eli's have better quality & selection...and if you're in Jersey, there are several threads about cheese shops on the NJ board that you might want to check out.

                                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                                          Monica, we of course don't get the best French Brie in the US, since we can't legally import the raw milk versions. IMO, the best we get from France is the Fromage de Meaux made by Rouzaire. It's made with pasteurized milk for the US market, but is still quite good. It can't be called Brie de Meaux, because that is a DOP cheese that must be made with raw milk to earn the name. You should be able to find Fromage de Meaux at most good cheese shops. You may also want to look for Constant Bliss, a bloomy rind cheese made by Jasper Hill Farms in Vermont from raw milk. They are able to get the cheese to age for 60 days (the minimum allowed for a raw milk cheese) without its becoming overripe by keeping it at a lower temperature than normal during the aging process. Constant Bliss is not available at all times of the year, but when it is, Murray's and some other shops in the NYC area carry it.

                                                                                          For excellent prices, check out Gourmet Library in Springfield, NJ. This is a division of the well known Wine Library run by Gary Vaynerchuck. I've never actually been in the store (I don't live in NJ), but I mail order from them regularly,.

                                                                                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                            Steve Jenkins (the former cheese head of Fairway, and the person who wrote The Cheese Primer) also claims that, if you can find them, the itlalian paglia type cheeses and Toma are also excellent stand ins for "real" brie and camenbert; evidently the slower time it takes for them to ripen allows them to just get past the 60 day limit. for out and out raw taste however you may have to look for Constant Bliss, Blythedale Camembert or another domestic one; I seem to recall that when the last amended the importation rules, they chaged them so that only pasturized milk versions of so called "soft" cheeses (which Brie does come under) were going to be premitted for import, regardless of how long they aged.

                                                                                            Speaking of Rouzaire I must voice my approval of one of his other masterpeices, Gratte-Paille. This is the creme de la creme of double cremes, way better than most of the larger factory ones.

                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                              Agree as Gratte Paille is my fav triple creme as well. Story behind the name as told to me by Rouzaire was the town had a very narrow turn and when hay trucks went through this turn the hay was 'rubbed' off the truck and the cheesemaker ran out, took the hay or straw and aged his cheese upon it.

                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                I love Gratte Paille as well. Honourable mentions also for Vacherin, époisses and comté. I recently had an amazing truffled soft cheese which a friend bought from a fancy cheesemonger in the City of London. Can't remember what it was called though.

                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                  Gratte Paille. I had forgotten about that one. My favorite triple creme is St. Andre, but I think I'll get Gratte Paille next time. Thanks.

                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                    St Andre, at least the one we get in the states is far more fiddled with than the GP.

                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                      "Fiddled with"? Tell me more. Thanks.

                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                        Higher temp processing to increase shelf life.

                                                                                                2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                  Isn't Blythedale Camembert made with pasteurized milk? We have a cheesemaker in PA who uses the cold aging method to allow his raw-milk Camembert to ripen for 60 days. The cheese is quite good, but unfortunately not available outside his predominantly rural part of the state.

                                                                                                  Your recollection about further restrictions on importing soft and semi-soft cheeses made from raw milk is correct. There is nothing in the 1949 law specifying the 60-day rule that limits its applicability to certain categories of cheese. If that law is followed strictly, any raw-milk cheese aged less than 60 days can't be sold and raw-milk cheeses aged at least 60 days can be. However, the FDA believes that raw milk is the devil in liquid form. If they had their druthers, they would ban all raw-milk cheeses, even firm, extra aged ones and have occasionally threatened to do so. These threats led to the formation of two organizations in the US poised for counterattack, if need be: first, the Cheese of Choice Coalition about 10 years ago and more recently the Raw Milk Cheesemakers Association.

                                                                                                  Abut five years ago, the FDA solidified its position by clamping down on the importation of soft and semi-soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, even ones aged for 60 days or more. Janet Fletcher did a nice job of summarizing the issue and its effects in an article she published in the San Francisco Chronicle back then:

                                                                                                  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                                                                  Apparently, the FDA restriction applies only to imported cheeses. Otherwise, an American cheese like Constant Bliss wouldn't be saleable either.

                                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                    "If they had their druthers, they would ban all raw-milk cheeses, even firm, extra aged ones and have occasionally threatened to do so."

                                                                                                    If the FDA had thier druthers, they'd probably ban all artinsinal cheese (and all other food) and only permit in cheese produced in massive, easy to oversee factories, pasturized to a "dead" level and utterly devoid of any and all character.

                                                                                                    One other correction to the above comments. Grattle-Paille however tasty and unctuos it is, has a Fat content (dry weight) of 70% so it's legally classified as double creme not a triple (it has to be at least 75% to be a triple)

                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                      Several cheese shops have incorrectly billed Gratte-Paille as a triple creme, probably because it's fat content is closer to the minimum for a triple (75%) than for a double (60%). Rouzaire does make several true triple cremes, including Pierre Robert, Brillat Savarin and the less well known Jean Grogne.

                                                                                                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                        Last night one of our Halloween party guests gifted me with a Brillat Savarin with papaya. I've never had this triple creme cheese before but it sure looks tasty.
                                                                                                        http://www.markys.com/caviar/customer...

                                                                                                3. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                  mmmm....Fromage de Meaux is one of my current favorites. I also really love Bleu du Bocage right now.

                                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                    Fromage de Meaux, huh..I will definitely give it a try, thanks!
                                                                                                    you sure do know a lot.=)

                                                                                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                      This store is amazing. I just checked their website and brie de meaux is $9 cheaper per pound than Muarry's. I should defininitely give them a visit.

                                                                                                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                        I tried the Fromage de Meaux today. Indeed very good on a piece of good baguette. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                                                    2. ooh i forgot Halloumi!

                                                                                                      1. Fleur du Maquis/Brindamour
                                                                                                        Humboldt Fog
                                                                                                        Vermont Shepherd
                                                                                                        Roquefort
                                                                                                        Bayley Hazen Blue
                                                                                                        Vermont Brebis -- like a sheep's milk brie
                                                                                                        Trillium
                                                                                                        Manchego

                                                                                                        I better stop before I am forced to go and conduct a raid on my cheese drawer...

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: rorycat

                                                                                                          +1 for Humboldt Fog. Also Pt. Reyes Blue!

                                                                                                        2. St Andre
                                                                                                          Port Salut
                                                                                                          Raclette

                                                                                                          Many more, I'm sure, but these are the ones I thought of first.

                                                                                                          Fun topic, Monica!

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Georgia Sommers

                                                                                                            Recently had a spectacular dinner at The Inn at Little Washington. The cheese course is not to be missed. The two that were my absolute favorite were Epoisses and Grayson. Grayson is from Virginia.

                                                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                              Grayson was the first runner up out of more than a thousand cheeses entered at the American Cheese Society's annual competion two years ago. In my opinion, it should have won best in show that year. The cheesemakers make Grayson only when the cows are on pasture, so the remaining cheeses from the previous year that are sold in late winter/early spring have aged the longest and are the stinkiest. That's when I think Grayson is at its best.

                                                                                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                The "cheese master" at the Inn at Little Washington talked about all of the awards. The whole meal was just amazing...but the I'm still dreaming about that cheese course!

                                                                                                                1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                  I like Grayson's subtle rubberiness. Not sure why, but I find that quite pleasant.

                                                                                                            2. Anyone familiar with an Irish beer cheese? I bought an odd lot wedge of one a while back and enjoyed it, but I haven't seen the likes of it since.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                If it had reddish brown veins and looked like marble, it was Cahill's Porter. If it just looked like a regular piece of cow's milk cheese, it may have been Kerrygold with Irish Stout. Both are cheddars with beer added in.

                                                                                                                1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                  Thanks maestro, it must have been the latter. It was refreshingly crumbly in an age when so many cheddars are thick as putty. And the extra flavor dimension was nice. I Googled the Kerrygold you mentioned, I will be on the lookout, and a cheesemonger in my area is pretty good about special orders. Again, thanks.

                                                                                                              2. Domestic:
                                                                                                                Bayley Hazen Blue
                                                                                                                Truffle Tremor
                                                                                                                Smethe - raw milk, cave ripened Amish cheese

                                                                                                                Imported:
                                                                                                                Zamorano - Spanish
                                                                                                                Roaring Forties Blue - Australia
                                                                                                                Serafina Gouda - Holland
                                                                                                                Taleggio - Italy
                                                                                                                Raclette - Swiss
                                                                                                                Morbier - French

                                                                                                                1. I'm also a big fan of Carr Valley's Cave-Aged Marisa.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                    Interesting, never understood this one. Sold it often but never took it home with me.

                                                                                                                  2. Some cheeses that I really like:

                                                                                                                    Brescianella Stagione (Italy)
                                                                                                                    Nocturne from Andante Creamery, CA (USA)
                                                                                                                    Blue cow or blue goat from Westfield Farms, MA (USA)
                                                                                                                    St Nectaire (France)
                                                                                                                    Montgomery Cheddar (UK)
                                                                                                                    Stilchelton (UK)
                                                                                                                    Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove, CA (USA)
                                                                                                                    Speziato al Tartufo (Italy)
                                                                                                                    Sottocenere (Italy)
                                                                                                                    Vacherin Mont d'Or (the French version aka Vacherin du Haut-Doubs)
                                                                                                                    Epoisses (France)
                                                                                                                    Alsatian Munster (France)
                                                                                                                    Constant Bliss from Jasper Hill, VT (USA)
                                                                                                                    Burrata (Italy)

                                                                                                                    (plus probably a bunch that I can't recall or never remembered the name)

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: limster

                                                                                                                      Since you like Humboldt Fog and you like truffled cheeses, what do you think of Cypress Grove's Truffle Tremor?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                        Haven't tried - will have to find some next time in in the US!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                          I don't think that the earthiness of truffles goes as well with the tang of goat's milk cheeses as it does with cow's and sheep's milk cheeses, so while I think highly of Humboldt Fog, I'm less fond of Truffle Tremor. Of course, that's just a personal opinion. The cheese quickly gained popularity after it was first brought to market several years ago, so there must be many people who do not agree with me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            I love it. No offense cheesemaestro, but I think the flavors go very well together.
                                                                                                                            It sells very well for us during the holidays. We bring it in once the cold weather hits.
                                                                                                                            Love it shaved over asparagus.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                                                                                              No problem, pacheeseguy. CH would be a boring place if we all had the same preferences.

                                                                                                                        2. I was force fed Mozart as a child. How can I not like Amadeus cheese?

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                            Been there, been done that, in Mozartial abuse.

                                                                                                                            But there still rings the Q of the cheese that you choose.

                                                                                                                            So many well-aged choices
                                                                                                                            that send to epiphany
                                                                                                                            the scent of arpeggio
                                                                                                                            of the favored frommagio.

                                                                                                                            so, Which cheese, if you please, Senor Boshko?

                                                                                                                          2. "Ode on a Greecian Feta"

                                                                                                                            In the fridge was only
                                                                                                                            Colby and Jack
                                                                                                                            Geit ost for Frukost
                                                                                                                            Was all that we had
                                                                                                                            So on Thursday last
                                                                                                                            Drive to Albuquerque
                                                                                                                            Was a blast
                                                                                                                            To only Whole foods we went
                                                                                                                            On a cheese buying bent
                                                                                                                            And purchased Untekkaas Parrano,
                                                                                                                            Ford Farm Seaside Cheddar
                                                                                                                            And Amadeus, the last.
                                                                                                                            Reggio Parma is needed
                                                                                                                            For fresh past a topping
                                                                                                                            That' is all, my paisano.
                                                                                                                            Cheese is beauty,
                                                                                                                            Beauty is cheese.
                                                                                                                            That's all ye need to know.

                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                              What a joyful refrain. Keep'em coming.

                                                                                                                              I never knew Amadeus was a Cheese.
                                                                                                                              I'd figured him more of a Ham.
                                                                                                                              His two-cheeked salutation
                                                                                                                              to composer Salieri (in the movie)
                                                                                                                              was symmetrical tribute
                                                                                                                              to porcine guanciale.

                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                I write prose. I love poetry, but find it difficult to write. Working on 2 books.
                                                                                                                                Maybe that's' why I like Ogden Nash so much.
                                                                                                                                The ladies come and go
                                                                                                                                And speak of frommagio.
                                                                                                                                J. Alfred Dumkeg

                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                  Agreed Ogden Nash.

                                                                                                                                  But I'm somewhat be-sieged and be-cheesed.
                                                                                                                                  confusion exists, about the good bliss
                                                                                                                                  of frommagio
                                                                                                                                  vis-a-vis the frottagio.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                    It all has to do w/ the romance of Romance languages.
                                                                                                                                    Eleven years in Europe ruined me for American pasturized cheeses.
                                                                                                                                    May the Food Gods bless the local craft live culture cheese makers and a pox upon the FDA.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                      Yes.

                                                                                                                                      Notice, we don't spell it "Kraftsman."

                                                                                                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                Cheesus Christ, PDK, you are THE BEST!

                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                  And I, too, thinks
                                                                                                                                  once he's had a few drinks
                                                                                                                                  and his favor'ite foods gives extol he,

                                                                                                                                  Whether Cheese, or Green chilies,
                                                                                                                                  He writes with a flair,
                                                                                                                                  even down to that humblest Posole.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                    Ahem, that bad stuff was written in my classroom at 7:10 am. You shamed me into it.
                                                                                                                                    Just polished off a green chile and Jack cheese omelet. Hoo Ha!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                      Whatever the place and the time,
                                                                                                                                      it was scribed with great rhythm and rhyme.

                                                                                                                                      But as to your choice
                                                                                                                                      of the California Jack
                                                                                                                                      it takes something more aged
                                                                                                                                      to bring forth my rejoice.

                                                                                                                                      (Though I'm with you on the chiles and eggs.)

                                                                                                                              3. I got to taste some amazing sheep cheese while visiting Provence last month. Any good recommendation on that? it was smooth, butterly...and mild...but much different than cow milk cheese...yumm...

                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                  Yes, sheep's milk cheeses have a completely different texture from cow's milk cheeses -- something about the different proteins, I presume. There are some wonderful sheep's milk cheeses out there (and also some fabulous "mixed milk" cheeses), both domestic and imported. Since I don't know what's available to you in your area, the best suggestion I have is to seek out your local cheese purveyor, tell him/her you're interested in sheep's milk cheeses and ask if you can sample some.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                    Provence is not dairy sheep country. I doubt that your cheese was made there. Provence's best known cheese, and the only one exported regularly to the US, is Banon. It's a small goat's milk cheese (often with some cow's milk blended in) wrapped in a chestnut leaf.

                                                                                                                                    Without knowing more, I'm guessing that you tasted a firm sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrenees region in southwest France. Among the best known of these cheeses is P'tit Basque. However, if you can find the similar Petit Ardi Gasna made by Agour, it's superior in flavor. Other cheeses to look for:

                                                                                                                                    Abbaye de Belloc
                                                                                                                                    Ossau-Iraty (the DOP cheese)
                                                                                                                                    Non-DOP versions of Ossau-Iraty, such as Etorki and Istara
                                                                                                                                    Tomme du Fédou from the Languedoc-Roussillon region

                                                                                                                                    On the Spanish side of the mountains, Idiazabal (discussed earlier in this thread)

                                                                                                                                    There are also some American sheep's milk cheeses based on the French ones, such as the superlative Vermont Shepherd. The originators of this cheese traveled to the Pyrenees to learn how the locals made cheese there.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                                      There were farmers in the market selling these sheep cheeses..I saw maybe 1 or 2 sellers. seller was only selling sheep cheese and not like others who sold different cheeses.
                                                                                                                                      I tasted the sample and thought, I never tasted cheese like this before...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                        It sounds as if this is a small production cheese made by a local farmer. If so, it almost certainly isn't sold in the US. What was it like: flavor, texture/firmness, etc.? Perhaps we can come up with something similar that is available over here.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                                          Yeah, they had a few blocks of the cheese...just selling it without any refrigeration. I believe it was at the market in Arles.
                                                                                                                                          It was milky white in the middle and hard..maybe somewhere between semi firm and hard. Butterly, smooth taste, mild...but not too rich tasting.
                                                                                                                                          It's not that I really want to find this particular cheese here but I thought it was an interesting experience...discovering something new while traveling is always nice and rewarding. I'd probably buy a few different sheep cheeses that are available here. =)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                            I would suggest Berkswell (which is imported from English but I think is fairly widely available). http://www.cheese.com/Description.asp...

                                                                                                                                            The first sheep's milk cheese I feel in love with was the Istara (non DOP version of Ossau-Iraty that cheesemaestro mentioned). It's always a huge hit.

                                                                                                                                            BTW, some of the most famous cheeses in the world are sheep's milk cheese, including the original versions of feta and romano and Roquefort.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                              Monica: OHHH the market in Arles! such a lovely, lovely place. didn't buy any cheese, but i did see these adorable baby goats no bigger than cats that i wanted to smuggle home and start my own goat cheese operation with.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                            Next weekend our cheese shop is doing a "sheep's milk cheese" tasting event.
                                                                                                                                            Etorki, Lamb Chopper, Old Chatham Ewe's Blue, Ewephoria, and Zamorano will
                                                                                                                                            be featured. Great cheeses all.

                                                                                                                                      2. My very favorite cheese is a clothbound English style farmhouse cheddar called Cambridge from West River Creamery in Londonderry Vermont.

                                                                                                                                        http://www.bennetts1815.com/WRCreamer...

                                                                                                                                        I wrote to them and told them this is " the only cheese I've ever eaten that I've never fogotten".

                                                                                                                                        1. i love the regular florette or pave d'affinois from france. my favourite by and large. esp with a little bit of chutney and a piece of prosciutto on a daelia's cracker. OH. MY.

                                                                                                                                          1. Camembert. I love it with French bread and a glass of wine.

                                                                                                                                            1. Ancient Heritage "Adelle" with a crusty baguette

                                                                                                                                              1. Boursault

                                                                                                                                                1. Aged Manchego, Aged Gouda, Stilton, Serra de Estrella

                                                                                                                                                  1. Where to begin, I love all kinds of cheese. But guess I have to say I really go nuts for a nice salty creamy blue cheese.

                                                                                                                                                    1. St Agur is my current obsession - thanks to the very good cheesemonger at Fox and Obel who took me through tastes of about ten blues (all yummy) and then knocked me over with a bite of St A.

                                                                                                                                                      I miss the house cheddar from the Vermont Country Store - I used to live not too far away and while the whole wacky store was overwhelming, the sharp cheddar they sold as their own was particularly good and outshone the other local varieties they also sold.

                                                                                                                                                      And I will never forget the Crema Danica I used to share with friends in high school when we gathered to watch the first run of The Prisoner ... great tv matched with good bread and cheese was the start of my cheese budget!

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Siun

                                                                                                                                                        For everyday eating, any good, extra-sharp cheddar (like Cabot or MacAdam). I get a little panicky when it starts to run low. But otherwise, lately I have been floored by goat-milk brie. Comes in a little round, wooden box ($$! yikes, but worth it) and is absolute heaven on a rosemary water cracker with a juicy pear or sliced apple alongside.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jdub1371

                                                                                                                                                          If you have access to Trader Joe's, you might want to try their goat milk brie. Pretty tasty and very inexpensive. It comes in a 125g round and costs about $2.50. Not as rich as the Woolwich stuff in the wooden box, but pretty darn good nonetheless. If you've got the inclination, age it a little bit until it begins to soften. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                      2. I had a fantastic Beemster for xmas - so caramel-y, and crystal-y, and almost like it had some kind of liquor, a sherry or scotch taste - something i couldn't identify... also a florette - a goaty-brie! creamy and tangy. both were excellent.

                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                          was it the Beemster XO? that stuff is amazing. serious whiskey & butterscotch notes.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                            i'm not sure, as i bought it from a local cheese collective and i didn't see the original wrapping... but yes, it's exactly as you describe - WHISKEY notes for sure, and the caramel/butterscotch-ness too. so good.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                              sounds like the XO - it's aged for 26 months. their 18-month gouda is pretty terrific as well, but that XO is truly something special.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                            i was at Bristol Farms today here in LA and they had a big sample tray of Beemster Goat Gouda out.

                                                                                                                                                            it was relatively firm yet creamy, only a mild goat tang (which might be my one complaint as i *love* goat's milk), a great balance of sweet & salty, and surprisingly, a slight crunch, which i certainly didn't expect from such a young cheese.

                                                                                                                                                            the employee who had set it out was standing there when i tried it. i looked at him and said "wow, that's good," and he smiled and said "yeah, i had to go back more than once myself."

                                                                                                                                                            anyway, it reminded me of this discussion so i thought i'd share :)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                              The beauty of goats is they feast on the shrubbery
                                                                                                                                                              which adds extra elements to their diet and husbandry.

                                                                                                                                                              Their udders deliver some really soft notes
                                                                                                                                                              which I guess is just why I like goat cheese.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                never met a goat-milk based product i didn't like :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                  Me too. I don't know why it tastes so much better to me, but it does. I had a goat's milk gouda from Trader Joe's on my cheese plate at Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                    Goats milk Gouda is a favorite around here as well - especially the young version, which is firm & flavorful. A terrific cracker cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                    I like the aged goats milk Gouda as well, but it's more like a good aged Parmesan in both flavor & texture. Is completely different from the young.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                i was just thinking of this this morning! I love that crystally-crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                  yeah, i think i have to pick up some of that gouda tomorrow...

                                                                                                                                                            2. Yancey's Bergenost. I ADORE that cheese. I wish I knew how to BOLD the letters - Cus I would. I swear I would!

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                that's one of my faves, too. so creamy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Cazelle de St. Affrique (Herve Mons): Just finished some. Love.
                                                                                                                                                                Coupole: mmmmm
                                                                                                                                                                Seal Bay Triple Cream Brie: awesome
                                                                                                                                                                Neals Yard Colston Bassett Stilton: Great stuff

                                                                                                                                                                1. No mention of Prima Donna?! It's a nutty Dutch cheese -- a cross between a Gouda and a Parmesan. My hands down favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                                    Impossible to name just one--Maybe one of each type?
                                                                                                                                                                    Firm: aged Gouda
                                                                                                                                                                    Semi-firm: Petit Basque
                                                                                                                                                                    Semi-soft: Tartufo
                                                                                                                                                                    Soft: Fromager d'Affinois, Billat Savarin or Bucheron or Seal Bay or....
                                                                                                                                                                    Blue: Roaring Forties Blue
                                                                                                                                                                    Goat: Humboldt Fog

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                                      Haven't tried Prima Donna, but Uniekaas makes that claim for Parrano and its wonderful older brother Robusto. Either one is great out-of-hand, or in a grilled cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Cheshire. I can rarely buy it 'cause I just sit and break lumps off to eat on its own and before I know it the whole lot's gone!

                                                                                                                                                                      I also really love good, mature cheddar, and very fresh buffalo mozzarella. All time favourite is probably scamorza affumicato

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isobel_A

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm another Cheshire fan - Bourne's being my runaway favourite (they sell at my local farmers market so it travels less than 50 miles).

                                                                                                                                                                        For a blue cheese, then it has to be Blacksticks ( a Lancashire) - good for a Welsh rarebit or a topping for smoked haddock

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Musing upon chunk of cheese of that gives peace and accord in today;s threatened world.

                                                                                                                                                                        I gently propose chunk of cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                                        Wrapped in plastic, it comes to consumers in subtle engagement
                                                                                                                                                                        Yet wrapped for some really good agement.

                                                                                                                                                                        Eight ounce slabs of a well-wrapped sharp Cabot
                                                                                                                                                                        yield ctrystal after just a few years.

                                                                                                                                                                        May choice to the Cheddar yield world peace.
                                                                                                                                                                        Choices to pennecilined blues
                                                                                                                                                                        and accord to aged Parmesans are sure unstood.

                                                                                                                                                                        But imagine if something as simple as cheddar
                                                                                                                                                                        Could bring accord in Vox Paxa.
                                                                                                                                                                        Great power as peacemaker in our choice of the cheddar.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Cacio Di Roma is my new favorite cheese. Central Italians know what's up when it comes to cheese and this is a staple on their tables.

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                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: currtj35

                                                                                                                                                                            Sheeps, no doubt, in those parts.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I don't have a favorite, I love most cheeses, as long as they don't have maggots in them. Sweet and bland, spicy, firm, soft, rind or not, sheep, cow, goat, aged, not aged, veined, the list could go on and on. A couple I don't like are Danish Blue and Muenster- it seems to have a bitter aftertaste to me that I've almost always found in it. I even like good cottage cheese. I really like the goat's milk brie tht Trader joe's has but I don't buy it often because I can't control myself and will eat the whole round. I don't think it's considered a premium cheese but it's good to me. :-) Oh- I just remembered, I havre a sliver of some left- think i'll go have a snack.

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                              Wait....are maggots bad?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                just found this board...and your reference to maggots reminded me of when I was the Asst. Dairy Manager at a small grocery store in town...some title. It was just the Dairy Manager and me. We used to stock the small foil-wrapped cubes of Limburger, and only ONE customer bought it. An nice, old German man. I asked him one day how he could eat it and he told me he opens the foil and leaves it on the window sill. When he can pick the maggots off of it, it's ready to eat. And he WAS serious. Still haven't tasted it and probably never will!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Since I've been a big-time cheese lover since I was a little sprout, it's literally impossible to name a favorite. Really impossible.

                                                                                                                                                                                Just like many other food choices, it depends on what I'm in the mood for.

                                                                                                                                                                                It could be a fresh or aged goats milk gouda. Some salty Kasseri to go with olives & Retsina. A nice blue (any good one) to go with ripe pears & a nice glass of Ruby Port. A cheap hot-pepper-laced Monterey Jack with Triscuit crackers. A good crumbly dryish Italian cheese - any one - with a nice dry Italian red wine. Good barrel-aged Feta tossed with pasta or in a great Greek salad. Limburger or the new incarnation of Liederkranz spread on bread with raw sweet onion slices as a pungent but exquisite sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry. Really impossible to pick a favorite. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Fine aged French goat cheeses are some of my favorites. It's hard not to love a good triple cream too, one with a good amount of flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I also love good cave aged Gruyere.
                                                                                                                                                                                  It's hard to choose just one.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My favorites so far are taleggio, robiola bosina, burratta,and la tur

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                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                                                                                      You mentioned the other day that you'd gotten some robiola and la tur -- glad (but not surprised) you liked them!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        they were delicious-
                                                                                                                                                                                        soft, delicious and easy to enjoy with tomato, olives, basil(thai and lemon/lime) and a splash of balsamic.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Brillat-Savarin is probably my fav cheese. But, that's a challenging question to narrow down!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I just returned from a trip to Paris, where I had a truffled chevre - I unfortunately don't know what the exact name was, but it was something like chevre de trufe. AMAZING. I will dream about that cheese forever.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                          The people who make Humboldt Fog make a truffled chevre called "Truffle Tremor" -- I don't know if it will be as amazing as the one you had in Paris, but worth looking for.

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/our...

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. There are so many, many good and great ones out there that it would be difficult for me to name a favorite. What am I having it with...food...drink...alone...cooking with it, snacking on it...the combinations are endless. If someone asked me to take only ONE cheese to a deserted island, I'd never be able to make up my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I travel through Amsterdam's Schipol airport a few times a year on business. Every time I am there I pick up an aged gouda. It is so versatile. You can shve it over salad like a parm or just eat it out of hand. The stuff is amazing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                              JOOC...what has been your experience with import of cheese during your travels?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think there are other threads discussing importing cheese (for personal consumption). Basically, it shouldn't be a problem unless it's an unpasteurized cheese less than 60 days old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually as of April 2012, whether raw milk or not no longer matters. Everything is fine. l have brought back 20 kilos with no problem. Included in the last bring back were 5 large Vacherin Mont d'Or. And it was declared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Awesome. I'm heading off to Europe next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You mean okay to bring into USA?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yup

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I usually pick up about a kilogram of cheese, put it in my carry on bag, and tell customs that I have nothing to declare. No problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Parm, hands down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. This is a hard question as I take a "love the one you're with" approach to cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If I were forced to choose a desert island cheese it would be any mold ripened (new term I just learned today!) goat cheese - clochette, coupole, crottin, valencay, etc. I would also pray there was a fig tree and sugar plantation on the island so I could make jam to go with them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I've never really had a favorite cheese until today. The Uniekase vintage 5 year aged Gouda is outstanding!! I can't get enough of it and the block I bought today might need to be replenished in the morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Monte enebro is In the top five with purple haze and roaring forties blue. But #1 all time is spenwood from Neal's yard. Unpasturized sheeps milk brined, Awsome but $50/lb and nearly impossible to get a hold of!!!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Eric3811

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very timely, I tried Monte enebro last night and we didn't get along very well :) I do enjoy the Roaring Forties blue cheese though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Buratta I found some down here in myrtle Beach last week at Fresh Market and made one of the 4 oz balls as a topping for a tortilla pizza but it was a waste of a beautiful cheese I ate the other 4 oz with no other than some truffle salt, cracked black pepper and good olive oil and ate it with a spoon. I so want to buy more of it but my budget for food is spent for now and it's $10 for a container of the 2 4oz balls. But it's haunting my dreams I need buratta all the time it's soo good.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LEsherick2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm drooling over that description. I love burrata but I usually wolf it down straight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is so good right now if my diet consisted on Raw Oysters and even chargrilled oysters and buratta cheese I would be very happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Époisses de Bourgogne. Oh the stinky delight!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Whatever the mongers at Formaggio point me to that day - seriously - failing that, Langres.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. In recent visit to Tours in France, I had Sainte-Maure de Touraine and Celles-sur-Cher, two goat cheeses that knocked my socks off: http://picnicatthecathedral.com/2013/...