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recommend me some CHEESE

m
montrealeater Jun 29, 2011 11:35 AM

I live in a town with some amazing fromageries. I do have favourite cheeses but would like to try more and often find myself overwhelmed/with no clue when I'm actually at the counter.

My favourite cheese is Saint Albray, and I tend towards soft or semi soft, creamy, stinky, gloopy, super high fat content. I also love blue cheese (roquefort, Stilton) and some hard cheeses (manchego). Not a fan of goat's cheese but LOVE sheep's cheese and would love some recs for a good soft sheep's cheese.

Please give me some tips, I want to discover new cheesy delights!

  1. s
    SlapnChop Jul 4, 2011 12:14 PM

    I love Port Salut.

    1. m
      montrealeater Jul 4, 2011 11:28 AM

      So I went (OK, sent a friend to) Hamel with a list and tried a few new cheeses. Sad to say that, so far, nothing beats St Albray, although a couple of these were very good. Most interesting was what I think is a Quebec soft cheese called Sauvagine. I first had this in 2006 and loved it (stinky, soft, fab), and then in 2007 felt like it had no stinky left and went off it. I thought it wasn't being made anymore but Hamel had it and it, mostly, had its stinky back. So that's back on the list of regulars.

      Sir Laurier d'Arthabaska - pretty good. I don't think this is good enough to buy again but it did the trick of satisfying a craving. That's the problem with most of the cheeses I tried this time - I am a cheese fiend and will rarely not eat a cheese, but none of them blew me away.

      St Nectaire (France) - this is good and stinky but it's also moldy and I don't think it's supposed to be - the mold flavour/scent is overwhelming at this point so I'm chucking it and will try again.

      manchego - delicious, but I knew that already, and this is a constant in my kitchen

      Also tried a very soft cow's milk cheese from France that I want to call Brebois, but Googling it gives no results so I'm remembering the name wrong. Too mild for me, too much like cream cheese (OK, much better than cream cheese, but it was bland and very soft and creamy with little flavour) - yes, this is objectively a good thing and I would eat this again, but not buy it.

      They didn't have any Chaumes, which I am very eager to try, so will check back with them next week, and they also didn't have any soft sheep's cheese that the cheesemonger recommended so I will go myself next time and try to get some.

      Anyone else here tried the Sauvagine? Thoughts?

      4 Replies
      1. re: montrealeater
        w
        wattacetti Jul 4, 2011 12:00 PM

        La Sauvagine? Yes, it's quite nice if you bought it from a fromagier and sort of meh if you get the ones at the grocery store. Service temperature has a lot to do with the aroma as well.

        Which Hamel did you go to?

        1. re: wattacetti
          m
          montrealeater Jul 4, 2011 12:11 PM

          The one just north and east of Parc Lafontaine. Interestingly, the La Sauvagine I liked in 2006 came from Milano in Little Italy, the stuff from 2007 that I didnt like came from Loblaws, and this most recent stuff came from Hamel. Does the taste of a given cheese change year (batch?) by year? I had just assumed this was what was going on.

          1. re: montrealeater
            w
            wattacetti Jul 4, 2011 12:42 PM

            No, I suspect it's always the same production batch, but Hamel will do some affinage while Loblaws will simply move product with a minimum consideration for storage conditions.

            If you're going with the same animals (cows, sheep etc), there should be slight seasonal and year-to-year variation depending on what the herd is composed of and the feed

        2. re: montrealeater
          DonShirer Jul 4, 2011 03:32 PM

          Possibly your unknown cheese was Brebirousse (Brebiou), but that is a soft ewes milk cheese from the Auvergne. There is also a Brebis, but that is a hard sheep milk cheese from the Aquitane.

        3. goodhealthgourmet Jun 29, 2011 11:19 PM

          some really informative threads that are definitely worth a read for recommendations:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/743164
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701430
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/454195
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/288884
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/357978

          1. c
            cheesemonger Jun 29, 2011 08:49 PM

            montrealeater- get ye to the American Cheese Society website. The ACS conference will be held in Montreal this summer, and there are lots of volunteer opportunities, which result in lots of great seminars and chances to taste some great cheeses. 1700 entries into competition this year, an all time high. www.cheesesociety.org will tell you all you need to know to get involved. If you can't volunteer, there's a massive cheese sale on the last day, super cheap.

            1. w
              wattacetti Jun 29, 2011 07:07 PM

              Maximilien has already mentioned the key places on the island, but you can also do the Fromagerie Atwater and L'Echoppe in St-Lambert.

              I've been concentrating on Quebec production over the past couple of years as the local stuff has been an eye-opener.

              Since you're into the creamy, you can also do Brillat-Savarin and its more mature cousin the Pierre Robert. For stinky from France, Époisses.

              Locally, Mi-Careme takes care of stinky. 14 Arpents is creamy, and if you want gloopy, go and additionally age a Secret de maurice (buy it from a cheese shop, not Metro). Hard cheese, Zachary Cloutier and Alfred le Fermier. Blue, Bleu de la moutonnière if you can find it.

              1. DonShirer Jun 29, 2011 06:47 PM

                I'm not a big fan of St. Albray or extra stinky cheese like Cabrales, but I'm with you on soft rich cheeses. Some of my favorites in that category are Seal Bay (Australian triple creme), Brillat Savarin or St. Andre or Boursault (French triple cremes) and Fromager d'Affinois or St. Simeon (French double cremes). Brebirousse is a good sheeps milk soft cheese.

                In the Bleu category, you might try St. Augur (French bleu double creme) or Roaring Forties Blue (Australian). Valderon (Spanish blue) has an intense flavor and is not as salty or strong as Cabrales.

                If you like Manchego, you might like Womanchego (from Cato Corner-but cows milk!) or Fiore de Sardo, a sheep cheese from Sardinia.

                1. Tripeler Jun 29, 2011 06:06 PM

                  I have a peculiar cheese favorite -- low-fat Jarlsberg or Emmenthal. 50% less fat means a lighter, nuttier flavor and a clean finish.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Tripeler
                    1sweetpea Jun 29, 2011 11:10 PM

                    Tripeler, have you tried Cantenaar? It is a lower fat cheese and very tasty. You make an interesting point about the clean finish and nuttier flavor of lower fat cheeses. I'll have to seek more of them out.

                    1. re: 1sweetpea
                      Tripeler Jun 30, 2011 09:49 PM

                      I have never even heard of Cantenaar cheese, but will certainly seek it out.

                  2. s
                    smartie Jun 29, 2011 02:29 PM

                    Chaumes - stinky soft creamy and delicious

                    1. m
                      montrealeater Jun 29, 2011 01:45 PM

                      Thank you for the specific recs. I have been to Hamel and asked what they think I should get and although they were willing to make suggestions, I felt a little ignorant not knowing more than "uh, creamy and soft-ish and stinky" - I just want a wider knowledge of cheese, and to be able to make choices based on that. Might go back to Hamel tomorrow and see if they have any of the listed specifics. Is the Bothwell only available online? It looks like a Canadian website so maybe I can get here in Montreal?

                      [quote]sometimes we silently eat it out of the package like animals.[/quote]

                      My people!

                      1. Terrie H. Jun 29, 2011 01:33 PM

                        Another similar but much smaller website once asked, "if you could pick one food that you would wish to have no calories, what would it be?". So many chocolate votes, but mine was cheese.

                        There are so many decadent choices, but a whole tetilla is a pretty cool presentation.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Terrie H.
                          Terrie H. Jun 29, 2011 01:41 PM

                          Add a fresh burrata to my suggestion.

                        2. l
                          LeoLioness Jun 29, 2011 01:17 PM

                          I agree that talking with the staff is the best way to go, particularly if you can go at an off-peak hour of the store.

                          I recently tried a casinca, a soft, strong, supremely stinky goat cheese from Corsica. It actually made my eyes water when I opened it, but I loved the taste.

                          1. m
                            Maximilien Jun 29, 2011 12:37 PM

                            (I Assume you are from Montreal)

                            Have a look at what is available at "Hamel" and "Qui Lait Cru", both at Jean-Talon Market; and ask them for recomendations; there are so many cheeses and some are only seasonably available.

                            You can also go to "Fromagerie Yannick" (in Outremont and 3 other locations) .

                            Also, try not going at the stores on week-ends, they are overwhelmed with customers.

                            Max.

                            1. Bada Bing Jun 29, 2011 12:25 PM

                              I would think that the staff at the fromageries would be your best resource. Make friends with them!

                              That said, I can suggest you try Beaufort d’alpage if they have any from the Spring--not exactly soft, but very accessible. Ask who their best roquefort producers are. Try Italian Taleggio. Can I assume you've had raw milk Camemberts? Spain has lots of great sheep milk cheeses, and I've heard good things about a Portugal sheep cheese called Serra da Estrela, which sounds up your alley.

                              But really, your cheesemongers SHOULD know what they have at peak and suited to your tastes.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bada Bing
                                hill food Jun 29, 2011 11:27 PM

                                by your 'likes' ("soft or semi soft, creamy, stinky, gloopy, super high fat content") I 2nd a good Taleggio. mmm.

                              2. ladooShoppe Jun 29, 2011 11:46 AM

                                We spotted a black truffle cheddar cheese at a fancy supermarket near our house and we buy it almost every week now. It is something like $30/kg but it is worth every penny.

                                It is made by Bothwell (www.bothwellcheese.com) and it is to die for. We put it in our omelettes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and sometimes we silently eat it out of the package like animals.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ladooShoppe
                                  1sweetpea Jun 29, 2011 12:09 PM

                                  I too am a fan of the Bothwell cheese with truffles. I don't recall it being cheddar, though. The one I've had was in a much milder base, like Friulano or even brick. Bothwell also makes a garlic and chive cheese that is darn tasty.

                                  If you haven't tried Cabrales, you should. A good fromagerie might carry a raw milk version that is at peak ripeness. This is stinky cheese at its finest.

                                  I picked up an interesting cheese that was cow's milk cheese, like a gouda or edam, but with coriander and fenugreek seeds studding it. I know it sounds odd, but the taste is phenomenal. It was cut into paperthin slices. Whenever we buy some, it's gone in a few days. Each night, my husband and I find ourselves eating a slice or two ... or more.

                                  I quite like Le Cendrillon, but I think it's a goat cheese. If you like Manchego, try to find one that's in the traditional leaf wrap and has been aged. I also like using sheep's milk ricotta in my pasta dishes.

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