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POLL: Cheese of the Month (Week, Etc.)

Several people have expressed interest in having a regular Cheese of the Month (or some other interval of time) thread on the Cheese Board. Each thread would have a single cheese as its topic of discussion. To help determine the best way to proceed, please provide an answer to the following three questions from among the choices given:

1. Does this idea interest you?

2. How often should the threads appear?
MONTHLY (Cheese of the Month)
Every TWO WEEKS (Formaggio of the Fortnight)
WEEKLY (Cheese of the Week)

3. How should the cheeses be chosen?
VOTING: This procedure would mirror the method used for Cookbook of the Month. Before each new thread, readers would nominate cheeses or indicate their preference from a short list. The cheese with the highest number of votes would be the cheese discussed that month.

COMMUNAL LIST: Occasionally (say, twice a year), readers would indicate cheeses they would be particularly interested in learning more about. The originator of each thread would then choose from among the cheeses on the list.

WRITER'S CHOICE: Whoever is responsible for starting a particular month's (week's, 14-day) thread would be free to write about any cheese.

Please begin your response with your answers to the three questions, using just the words in caps. (Obviously, if you're not in favor of this idea, you need answer only the first question.) This will make it easy to tabulate the responses. Example:


If you'd like to explain the reasons for your choices or contribute other comments, that would be very helpful, but again, please place your answers to the three questions at the top of your post.

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  1. 1. YES, the idea interests me.

    2. Monthly


    1 Reply
    1. re: jpr54_1

      ??? You can't be in favor of all three answers to question #3. They are mutually exclusive.

    2. I like this idea, and I'm glad you are taking this on, cheesemaestro.

      Is the idea that all of us will go out and buy the cheese, so we can all taste/experience it together? I like this idea, since like COTM and DOTM, that would make this an interactive project.

      So, assuming that's the case, my thoughts are as follows:


      I think the coordinator should make sure to choose cheeses that most people will be able to find at a local cheese shop, though I am okay with them not being the most common cheeses. I also think we should alternate between different types of cheeses, so maybe a hard cheese one month, a soft cheese the next month, a blue cheese the next, etc.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dave MP

        Side note: As the Chowhound Coordinator, I'll be very happy to support whatever gets decided (even if the votes don't go my way here)....so the opinions expressed here should be read as Dave MP-the-cheese-eater, not Dave MP the Chowhound Coordinator. :)

        1. re: Dave MP

          "Is the idea that all of us will go out and buy the cheese, so we can all taste/experience it together?"

          That is certainly one way to go about it, although some people will be familiar enough with a particular cheese from past experience not to have to do that. Still, this suggestion is worth considering, if it's what people prefer to do. A limitation of this approach is that there's no guarantee that a store will have the designated cheese in stock, even if it's one of the more common ones. The big cities that have several cheese shops will offer the best opportunities to find a cheese, yet even busy, well stocked shops can't carry everything or will temporarily be out of a particular cheese. I do agree that we should strive for variety: in type of cheese, country of origin, milk (cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo), etc.

          1. re: cheesemaestro

            I think tasting would be an important component...I personally would love to know more about how to describe cheeses, and talk about how different cheeses look/taste/smell, and I think I'd want to read about it *and* taste/smell/touch it to get the full experience.

            So I do hope we can choose cheeses that most people in large metropolitan areas could find close by.

        2. YES

          I live in cheese desert Florida, with occasional trips to cheese paradise Wisconsin. Cheese heaven France is a distant memory and goal again. I have had so many internet disasters, spoilage, and wrong orders through the mail, that I will probably not be able to participate too often. But I will if I can.

          1. YES
            WRITER'S CHOICE
            Q: Does Cheese of the Month include recipe discussion?

            I selected writer's choice because several CH's indicated a hesitation to start a thread on the Cheese board due to a lack of detailed cheese knowledge. A writer's choice with knowledge about a particular cheese can help propel the discussion from a specific starting place and still encourage thread-wide participation. How do you vote on a cheese you are not familiar with? And to clarify further, when I say writer's choice I'm referring to in-house, CH members with considerable cheese knowledge (already sharing on the Cheese board) not necessarily guests approached to cover a Cheese of the Month OP.

            and, does choice #3 have to been written in stone? In other words can't voting, writer selects or communal all be tried until or if a particular method works best.

            The price of cheese is a very good point raised regarding the frequency of a Cheese of the Month project.

            1. YES - love cheese, & buy different types often.

              MONTHLY - good cheese is expensive; I think expecting or hoping folks buy a new one to try every week is asking a lot. Plus a month gives more time to try different things with a specific cheese without having to cram that all into a week.

              VOTING - feel this is much more democratic & allows those who aren't cheese experts to feel more involved instead of always having to follow the "leader".

              1. YES, the idea interests me

                1. YES
                  COMMUNAL LIST

                  1. YES
                    See answer below...

                    Perhaps there should be consideration of 2 cheeses of the month - one more accessible option available at most grocery stores for those who do not have access to/aren't interested in more obscure varieties that could be chosen by voting and one "fancy" cheese for those who have access to/are interested in going beyond the grocery store varieties that could be chosen by one of the resident cheese experts to help us push boundaries. I am assuming there would be a tasting component to this feature.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: EmBrooks

                      this also sounds likea good idea.

                      1. re: EmBrooks

                        A virtual cheese tasting sounds like a good deal of fun!

                      2. Yes
                        (and thanks for taking the initiative on this)

                        1. Yes
                          Communal List -- voting strikes me as cumbersome.

                          1. YES
                            COMMUNAL LIST . . .

                            although I'd be equally happy with writer's choice.

                            1. 1. YES
                              2. MONTHLY
                              3 COMMUNAL LIST


                              1. I like the idea, but I'm concerned that some featured cheeses may have only regional or otherwise limited availability to a larger audience.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Same thing can happen with cookbooks of the month. COTM has a nice following with newcomers joining in all the time, plenty of us reading along but hardly participation on a grand, site wide scale. Not everyone will or can participate. But, we can all read along and enjoy the experience.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    this is true-
                                    i follow along and participate when I can.
                                    I enjoy the experience of reading the cookbooks.
                                    I am a widow/retired and can only make so many meals for myself.

                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                      Like you, jpr, I live alone, and only feel like cooking so many meals for myself, so I depend on cheese and bread and other antipasto-y things lots of nights.

                                      I'd rather wait until at least May to play Cheese Host of the Month, mainly because I've never seen a ChOTM thread.

                                      When I do, it would likely be one or more triple-cremes, such as St. Andre (my favorite eating cheese), Pierre Robert (which I haven't even tried yet, but I saw at WF), St. Angel, maybe Explorateur. Maybe even Brie.

                                      I don't drink, so wine recommendations would have to come from someone else (though I remember liking whites, including some fruity ones, like Gewurtztraminer).

                                      I would do this any month, really.

                                      My favorite cheese of all is Parmigiano-Reggiano (see my avatar), and I would be happy to talk about that, too. Though these days, I mainly use it in cooking, as eating too much of it gives me headaches.

                                    2. re: HillJ

                                      I dunno, HillJ. That would be like watching Jenna Jameson through binoculars. I like to be in the room. At this moment I'm enjoying a washed, semi-soft Hooligan cow cheese from Connecticut, and a nice stilton, with sesame and cracked pepper crispbreads and a rich cab. I expect I am the only one enjoying the experience....;)

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Veggo, I had a good deal more faith in your talents...both cheese and otherwise..can't blame the cheese for that!

                                    1. When will cheese of the month begin?

                                      1. YES

                                        Can't wait to see this get started!!!

                                        1. YES

                                          Eager to see this finally get started!!! (Can always be tweaked down the road....)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Phoebe

                                            I agree-
                                            who needs to start the topic?

                                          2. I think the topic can be started-
                                            most votes are
                                            Communal list

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jpr54_1

                                              did you change your vote from VOTING to COMMUNAL, jpr54?

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                yes-but I didn't do it on board

                                            2. Hopefully, one of the "experts" will just pick a cheese and get this thing rolling. Enough discussing it. I truly don't think it matters to anyone here what the first cheese picked should be. We're all here....waiting...and eager to learn.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Phoebe

                                                Perhaps one of the "non-experts" can get this started

                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                  I am a fully qualified non-expert, so let's get March rolling.
                                                  This month:
                                                  The first time I had it, it was ultra-ripe and lusciously stinky and delicious. And it was under $20/lb. I thought I had found cheese nirvana.
                                                  Subsequent purchases have been disappointing, presumably under-ripe and very mild. Aside from smell, how does one know when taleggio is ready? What is the best way to mature it once you own it?

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    Gets my vote!

                                                    If you could launch a thread on the Cheese board with all that information Veggo then the ball gets rolling.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Done; thanks for the encouragement HJ.

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        Taleggio like Morbier used to be a fascinating product. Then the factories came in and took a raw milk cheese from the mountains to an insipid pasteurized product of the plains.
                                                        Rogers, an importer, in New England is, to my mind, the only importer of the mountain stuff which is still awesome, as of three years ago. Try and find it.
                                                        As with many cheeses, this is one never to buy precut and wrapped and make sure you taste it before purchase.

                                              2. I went to Whole Foods this afternoon and purchase a small piece of the cheese. Ppl r helpful in this department. They will cut cheese for you in any size. The cheese person was surprised that I would purchase this cheese as a newbie.

                                                the label-taleggio ca de amros
                                                contains pasturized cow's milk ,rennet, salt, enzymes 12.99 lb.

                                                In tasting the cheese should I put it on cracker-w or w/o wine?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                  Cool. Let it warm up to almost room temp, at least the portion you plan to eat. For better cheeses, I prefer a simple, unsalted cracker so I am just enjoying the cheese. Your choice of red or white wine will work. Hope you enjoy it!
                                                  Nice price, by the way.

                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                    jpr, I'm a cheesie newbie like you and found this post about your experience at WF (and veggo's reply thereto) very helpful! I have a cheesemonger I'm hoping to visit tomorrow, but I was thinking whole foods might be a good back-up. I know they don't all stock the same things, but hopefully my WF either has it or can order it.

                                                    I hope you'll post any more of your experiences over in veggo's taleggio thread on the cheese board so I won't miss them! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892781


                                                  2. Folks seem to be getting confused.

                                                    Let's continue the conversation about Taleggio, March's cheese of the month on the thread in progress on the Cheese Board. Here's the link,

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      I flagged Deluca's post and asked the mods if they could move it and the other posts on Taleggio to the thread on the Cheese Board. I don't know if they will agree, though.

                                                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                        The site software allows for clipping off posts, but not "glueing" them on to other threads, as I understand it. Posters can repost their text in the Taleggio thread and then request that their earlier posts here be removed via the "report" button, if they wish.

                                                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                          We can't move individual posts from one thread to another, but if people repost their thoughts on the correct thread, we can delete them from here to keep the discussion going in the right direction in the right place.

                                                        2. To wrap up this polling thread, as jpr54_1 tallied for us, MONTHLY and COMMUNAL LIST were the majority votes. Communal topped out Voting by a 2:1 margin with Writer's Choice bringing up the rear.

                                                          In another thread, cheesemaestro suggested steps for moving forward now that the results are in that you can read here,

                                                          The first two of those steps are 1) to start a communal list and 2) to establish oversight for ChOTM and responsibility for starting each month's thread.

                                                          For the 1st point, a communal list has been started to collection nominations for ChOTM.
                                                          Please head over to suggest cheeses that you'd like to see discussed over the next six months. Input from those of you who asked for this program is needed. If you're not feeling well-versed enough to make nominations, there's sort of a polling feature where you can "second" a nomination by using the "recommend" button. This information may help the individual who selects each month's cheese(s) to make a decision, so vote early and often by recommending.

                                                          On the 2nd point, no one has yet assumed oversight of the program to make sure it happens each month. But perhaps we can still move along by sharing responsibility on a rotating basis for starting the thread each month. To volunteer to take a month, sign up on this thread.

                                                          Let's get it done!