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Process for Choosing Cheese of the Month ( April 2013)

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I think it maybe time for selecting new cheese of the month

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  1. Sounds good, jpr.

    Q: Has the decision for how we begin the selection process been clarified ie: is the CofM coordinator the person who starts the month off or can any CH begin?

    1. I think we should take nominations beginning in the middle of the previous month (Ides of March tomorrow) and some quant person (me) will tally them up and select one. An open cheese conclave, not unlike choosing a Pope, although I lack the white smoke accessory.
      Criteria are more important for a month long discussion. Think of cheeses that have mystery, many uses, unique qualities, you just can't figure them out, or you want to shout their deliciousness from a mountain top.
      JMO

      2 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        Do u want to start a new topic for recommendations/nominations? or continue here
        my suggestions
        continue with Italy and other cheeses in area
        of Lombardy
        Robiola Lombardia
        Robiola Piemonte

        or
        gouda

        or
        cheddar

        1. re: jpr54_1

          jpr54_1, thanks for the follow-up and suggestions. I am in no way trying to take ownership of this new board as it crawls out of the promordial soup into the real world, lizard-like. Let's see what other ideas come forward in the next couple weeks, it will probably be fun.
          Veggo

      2. I suggest you change from one month to the other using common, readily available cheeses, & then less common ones.

        It's obvious - myself included - that not everyone was able to snag a piece of Tallegio this month, or afford it even if they could find it. That doesn't make us commoners - lol!

        For instance, I LOVE Dill-spiked Havarti - several brands of which are available in many supermarkets - & have sampled a number of brands. It's a lovely cheese in it's own right, but also is fabulous melted over butter-poached salmon.

        Yes, I know. Quite a few of you cheese connoisseurs will diss "Dill Havarti" as beneath you. But does the "Cheese" section of Chow really have to be about the equivalent of fine vintage wine?

        I'm not suggesting "Dill Havarti" as the "Cheese of the Month"; just that I think you should consider more commonly available/popular cheeses as well.

        (Otherwise, frankly, this board will end up going the route of the "Wine" board. Too sad.)

        12 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1

          what are your suggestions?

          Havarti?
          I have not tried this cheese-sounds interesting to me

          1. re: Bacardi1

            Bacardi1, whatever is my participation here I want to assiduously avoid the stratosphere of the wine board, that tramples me like the bulls in Pamplona.
            I'm danish. Havarti is danish, and I like it. And salmon. With dill. There remains the provocative Italian question about cheese with fish (I do a salmon dish with parmesan). Havarti makes a great melting cheese, from burgers to grilled sandwiches. This board should be a real melting pot for cheese lovers across every geography and spectrum.
            JMO

            1. re: Bacardi1

              While I have contributed nothing to the cheese board, I have been reading it regularly and just want to throw in my two cents worth. I would welcome a variety of cheeses over time representing a range of prices and accessibility.

              Right now I am frustrated because while I live only 20 miles from Seattle, my 90,000 population suburb is a wasteland of chain restaurants, etc., and apparently along with that is a limited availability of cheeses besides the usual suspects. I have been to the three grocery stores most likely to have good cheese selections and have struck out on Taleggio so far. Hrmphhhh. By the end of the weekend, I vow to have found it *somewhere* in the area as it sounds lovely and I want to try it!

              I really applaud the idea of making the cheese of the month an opportunity to discover and celebrate interesting and tasty cheeses, not just expensive and hard-to-find cheeses.

              1. re: jlhinwa

                jlhinwa, considering your input and deet13's choices for 2 sheeps's milk cheeses, I think a C-of-the-M general sheeps' milk cheese topic would work, in the near future.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Is there a danger that by making such a generic selection as "every sheeps milk cheese" that more specific types will be out of the running to be chosen in the future because they've already been discussed and chomped on as a genre?

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Thank you very much for the consideration. I am happy to go along with whatever is decided is good for the group.

                    If I were queen of the cheese board (which would be a really bad idea because I still have so much to learn), I would pick a range of price points over time, and sometimes choose a great everyday cheese that can be readily found even in suburban wastelands. :-)

                    Most of all, I am excited to try new things, no matter the price or accessibility and am going to make it my mission to find Taleggio before March is over!

                  2. re: jlhinwa

                    Jihinwa,

                    If you decide to make the 20 mile trek into Seattle, here are some places that usually have Tallegio:

                    Big Johns PFI (and if you've never been here, worth visiting for more than just their excellent cheese selection)

                    DeLaurenti's at the Market (best cheese selection in town that I know of, and lots of other high-end goodies)

                    Whole Foods (Expensive, but has a consistently very good cheese selection)

                    1. re: Booklegger451

                      Thank you so much for the cheese-locating tips. That is very helpful. I know about DeLaurenti's and WF, but not Big Johns. That sounds worth making the trek for alone. My biggest problem is time...I work full time, have a busy 12-year-old, am PTA president and a few other things thrown in for fun, so it is a rare occasion that I get to venture north for shopping. Sigh. We used to have a delightful Metropolitan Market just a couple miles away but it closed down because it was not profitable at this location. Double sigh. There is one in Tacoma that I will hit up this week. It it's probably a 20 min drive out of my way, it worth it for the cheese counter and if anyone around here has Taleggio, they would.

                    2. re: jlhinwa

                      Does De Laurentii's still exist? That place was part of my intro to good cheese, but that was a while ago. I've often missed it, living back east now as I do.

                      1. re: Jay F

                        It sure does, Jay, and it's still fabulous.

                        1. re: Booklegger451

                          Well, then that's where to go for cheese. I used to live across the street, and my cat and I practically lived on antipasti.

                      2. re: jlhinwa

                        Quick update: I made it to Met Market in Tacoma today and found Taleggio. I am so thrilled. I think this store will be a great cheese source for me going forward...yay!

                        Off to the Taleggio thread to read all about it before I break it open.

                    3. I have so much to learn about cheese. I'd be happy with any vote and I have no preference as to what is selected. If I can find x cheese and can afford to buy x cheese I might purchase locally but mostly I'll be reading along, asking questions and if and when that cheese crosses my path, I'll understand far better what I'm buying as a result.

                      I mean how vivid an experience can we have online? I'm content with all the well written words already on the cheese pages...descriptions by those who actually eat the cheese, recommendations from industry pros...and a good deal of Q&A. Fabulous!

                      KISS (keep it simple stupid) works for me!

                      1. My choices:

                        Cheddar (You could toss pretty much any cheddar at me and I'd be happy.)
                        Comte
                        Manchego (sheep's milk)
                        Petit Basque (sheep's milk also)

                        Why not concentrate on cheesemaking regions(like France, Spain, Greece, and so on), and then make the monthly selection a type of cheese from that specific region?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: deet13

                          I just had Manchego in an omelette this morning. Really enjoyed the sharpness. Costco's cheese dept this week is featuring Kerrygold Dubliner (2lb) at $12.99 was hard to pass up, so I didn't. Nice elements of a cheddar; ideal for melting (grill cheese!).

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Amen to that. I love cooking with Manchego. You're right, so long as you don't overpower it, it adds a nice sharp bite to anything you add it to.

                            My MiL has a Manchego and roasted pepper tart recipe that is killer. Some day I'll get her to share it with me...

                            I like Kerrygold Dubliner. That's probably one of my favorite snacking/platter cheeses.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Hello HillJ

                              I just bought a Kerrygold reserve cheddar that I had for lunch with some dried cranberries and nuts. It was a happy lunch!

                              I was pleased to see you and TDQ and other familiar faces. Makes me less nervous.

                              1. re: ItalianNana

                                You're in excellent company, Ital N! No worries. We're all learn from each other.

                            2. re: deet13

                              I think CHEDDAR would be an excellent choice -- so many to choose from, from cheap to very expensive. Also, lots of differences in age, origin, appearance, taste, texture, etc., to discuss.

                            3. Since we're heading into Spring, and it has seasonal availability, how about trying Cowgirl Creamery's St. Pat?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Booklegger451

                                http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/
                                cowgirl is a great company
                                made in U.S.A.

                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                                http://cheese.about.com/od/cheeseplat...

                                http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...

                                I found theseonline siteswith recommendations for Irish cheeses

                                1. re: Booklegger451

                                  I think that might be too hard for most people to find. If people are having trouble finding Taleggio they certainly won't find St. Pat!

                                2. I have a suggestion. You might select two cheeses each month. One, a modestly priced cheese that might be available in a well stocked supermarket, which perhaps an uneducated palate could appreciate. And a second, less well known, more apt to appeal to the conniossieur. That way, regardless of budget, experience or location, folks could try one or both offerings and participate. I also like the idea of alternating that Bacardi1 offered.

                                  I don't know what the guidelines for the COTM thread are and don't want to presume anything. I've been lurking and was encouraged by the tone of the previous discussion...so just decided to join in. :-D

                                  28 Replies
                                  1. re: ItalianNana

                                    I agree-2 cheeses is a good idea

                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                      I guess the only thing I'm not clear on is how the nomination process begins.

                                      I thought I read that DaveMP or another coordinator would oversee the nomination/discussion each month. Or, was it decided after Veggo got March going that any CH can start the nomination process?

                                      jpr, wasn't that your point :)

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        none of the coordinators seem to be overseeing-
                                        so I thought I would start a discussion.

                                        I like the way Cookbook of the Month(COTM)is organized.
                                        I think it is a good model to follow

                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                          Sounds great! It was my understanding that the COTM was the model for Cheese of the Month too. Thank you for getting things for next month started. I wasn't questioning your efforts to jump start the discussion, I was wondering what happens next.

                                          1. re: jpr54_1

                                            However, this poll showed that most who chose to vote were not in favor of COTM style of voting and favored a communal selection.
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/891996

                                            This post suggested a way to do that:
                                            "We need to start a nomination thread this month to identify cheeses that will be ChOTM in future months. We should have similar threads every six to 12 months."
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8929...

                                            Are you suggesting yet another system for consideration or creating another poll on how to choose? Or is this the thread to nominate candidates for the next six or so months?

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Melanie, wasn't there also a comment from DaveMP that he would help get things rolling? If this is a CH project it would be helpful to hear the final decision on how the this project will be set up. I've read many suggestions, I haven't read a final decision. Who's the coordinator? What was the outcome of the small poll? How often will the project run?

                                              So far, we've taken a small poll to see if a Cheese of the Month idea was of interest. Who would oversee such a project was discussed to an extent but my impression is that decisions about how to run these are being made offline and hasn't been shared with the rest of us yet.

                                              Then March ran under Veggo's OP, loads of great information was shared.

                                              What's the next step for April?

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                Agreed. Yo! Dave! Help! I'm feeling like a blind man in a dark room trying to find a black cat that isn't there.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  Good on you for continuing to slog through this bog of group decision making. You kicked off the first one and took criticism from jpr54_1 who didn't like your choice. That's the price of leadership. Understandably some ask for a decision from on high to provide some cover.

                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                    Understandably some ask for a decision from on high to provide some cover.
                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
                                                    What an unnecessary thing to suggest.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      HillJ, we'll get to a good place. Trust me, I have a tough skin, and I am no stranger to evolving egalitarian political processes!

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        I know we will! See you in the next cheese thread.

                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                  Here's what Dave said:

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8929...

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8919...

                                                  And J's post probably captures that sentiment best: " We kickstarted the Dish of the Month, but other ongoing projects like Cookbook of the Month and What's For Dinner and the like have been done without any official sign-off. We try to stay out of the way as much as we can and let the group decide on its own what it wants to do."
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8929...

                                                  It's up to the group to decide and doesn't need a decision from management so I wouldn't look for one from D or J. They're happy to support whatever the outcome of a process decision or a specific cheese choice.

                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                    LOL, then why in the world is anyone hesitating to start the next Cheese of the Month?

                                                    Maybe because decisions do get made, even if it's gently and then someone else comes along and says "oh no that's not what was decided when we took a poll" or "I wish Veggo had waited for a vote before beginning in March" or any number of cross suggestions that leave a few of us wondering what if anything we are waiting for....

                                                    carry on! I'm just a cheese buyer who likes it when ideas become clearer.

                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      Then let's do it. As you caution above, a monthly topic can't be so broad that we exhaust the subject in a year. Nor can it be so esoteric that few can participate. IMO, the idea of batting around a few perhaps related cheeses each month has legs.
                                                      Other thoughts?

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        Go for it Veggo!

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          I'm not ready to throw away cheesemaestro's suggestion yet.

                                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                            Whatever is decided is fine with me. I was only looking for and looking forward to a decision getting made.

                                                            12 months in a year, lots of time to work out the kinks or discuss a cheese not covered in this by month project in a single Cheese board OP like we already do.

                                                            KISS.

                                                        2. re: Veggo

                                                          Here's a middle step that cheesemaestro suggested and I posted above:
                                                          "We need to start a nomination thread this month to identify cheeses that will be ChOTM in future months. We should have similar threads every six to 12 months."

                                                          Rather than a process thread (the title of this one), let's put up a list to nominate cheeses of interest and that can be a master list that we refer back to each month to choose one or more cheeses to discuss that month. Then we don't have to rehash this ad nauseum every month and be subject to the whims of who chooses to stop by a particular month. That's the beauty of the idea that cheesemaestro suggested, imo. The list will be the basis for the communal choice.

                                                          I'll float the idea of a "cheese plate" of the month. Three cheeses up for discussion. And I'd also ask that the "of the month" thread actually be about the cheese(s) and not drift so far as this month's did (and I was guilty of it myself).

                                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                            Cool. Sort of like a cheese calendar that is NOT on the wall in auto repair shops.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Well, I've added some links to the producers of the cheeses I nominated. Maybe the photos of their cheeses will elicit a response. As you know, sex sells. Y'all can start drooling now.

                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                            +1 on "Then let's do it." Too much discussion on this once again. Please NO voting. I really don't think it matters much if anyone's suggestion isn't taken this particular month. I'd love a blue, but since no one suggested it, that's fine. Another time. I'd love to see manchego, since I've never tasted it. This is supposed to be a learning forum. Let's keep it simple.

                                                            1. re: Phoebe

                                                              Ok, I'll start a thread.

                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                Thanks, Melanie, for taking the baton.

                                                                Over the course of a year, I expect we could have pleasant discourse about blues, goudas (smoked, red wax, 5 year), manchego, Mexican regionals, sheep, goat, ripened, european, washed, cave aged, waxed, cloth bound cheddars, this should be fun. I look forward to your wise guidance.

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  You're welcome. We'll see if it takes. To echo Phoebe, I like simple. Instead of expending 200+ posts and half a month trying to come up with a new process and/or voting ala COTM, let's save our (cheese) breath for talking about our beloved subject, CHEESE, and share the wealth.

                                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                    Cheese mice are way too smart to be as ineffective as Congress. We'll get 'er done!

                                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                      Bravo!!!!

                                                              2. re: Veggo

                                                                Exactly. For example "All blues" is too wide. If we don't want to do a specific blue, we should at least break blues down into categories, by type of milk (sheep, cow, goat), or style (creamy vs. firm/crumbly), or type of production (mass or artisan), or even country of origin.

                                                  2. re: ItalianNana

                                                    Excellent idea!

                                                  3. I like the idea of having two cheeses of the month: one "mass market" and one "artisan/specialty." That way everyone could participate, and people who currently only have access to or experience with mass market cheeses would hopefully be inspired to venture in to the artisan world -- and vice versa: we cheese snobs could be re-introduced to the goodness of dill Havarti and mass market cheddars (I've recently heard really good things about Cracker Barrel cheddar!).

                                                    1. As noted in my comment about blues below, do we need to come to some kind of consensus on how to break cheeses down into categories? For example, cheeses can be broken down by:

                                                      type of milk
                                                      country of origin
                                                      mass market/artisan-specialty
                                                      plain/smoked/flavored
                                                      hard rind, soft ripened, washed rind, long-aged

                                                      Some cheeses occur in more than one, or even all, or these categories (blues, goudas, etc.). So, for example, do we need to decide whether we want to discuss smoked goudas with other smoked cheeses or with other goudas. Or should we take it on a case-by-case basis? I'm just thinking about minimizing overlap.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                        Good point, Ruth. We could discuss all smoked cheeses, one of which would be gouda, or we could discuss all types of gouda, including smoked. Dealers' choice.

                                                      2. I am happy that the process has started-

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                                          Added as a coda to the poll on Site Talk, this post details the steps taken to date and might be worth cross-posting here,
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8919...