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May, 2014 COTM: cheese with herbs or spices

There's a huge range of cheeses that are flavored with herbs and spices, everything from Havarti with dill to Truffle Tremor.

To keep this discussion from going too far afield, smoked cheeses and cheeses soaked or flavored with liquids (like wine or beer) are NOT included. I'd also like to stay away from creamy cheeses with stuff blended into it, like Alouette.

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  1. One interesting flavored cheese that I have not had in ages is Sage derby. This cheese can vary in quality depending on the producer. The last time I tried it was at least 3 or 4 years ago when I got some from the Cheeseboard in Berkeley.



    1. When l used to sell, this category of product was generally laughed at by my partners. Considered purists we felt things like Cahill's Irish porter cheese, various White Stiltons( whatever the F that is), and even Huntsman were British abominations one very small grade up from things like cheese whiz and Havarti. These are products that are VERY highly pasteurized to allow for late spoilage of the non cheese parts.
      there area few very good products l am fond of even with my very snobbish nature like Cumin Gouda, Muenster with Cumin, and one called Gaperon. Gaperon is the only true lowfat cheese made, with skim milk, garlic and black pepper it can be wonderful if left to get a bit gooey.
      US product of Purple Haze by Cypress Grove with lavender and fennel pollen is super as well.
      That's enough of a rant for a while.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        How lavender-y is Purple Haze? I enjoy lavender in very limited quantities and think it can easily overwhelm which is why I have always hesitated to buy this cheese.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          GAPERON - I've only had this once, and I remember it quite distinctly though it was at least 10 years ago. A British friend carried it to the States from a London shop (and a wondrous slab of Reblochon too, his favorite cheese). I recall him saying that Gaperon was the first flavored cheese.

          When I saw the topic that Ruth picked for this month, I thought of it again. I had spotted some boules on Thursday afternoon when a friend and I escaped into the French cheese cave to escape San Francisco's heat wave. The same cheesemonger also had Puits d'Astier, so perhaps the Gaperon is also made by Garmy. I will check.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            I usually eschew (not what it sounds like!) cheese with all sorts of glop in it, but recently my cheese shop didn't have any other new cheeses, so I reluctantly tried Purple Haze. I was surprised to find that like Mikey, I not only liked it, I loved it! I should have known that if it came from Cypress Grove it was worth trying. Keep it in fridge, but serve at room temp.

            I'll also grudgingly tolerate white stilton with mango and ginger as a dessert cheese.

          2. I like Havarti with dill. I was disappointed by Truffle Tremor, probably the most expensive cheese I have ever bought. I thought it had a bit of a harsh aftertaste.
            I like the Cabot cheddar with horseradish, I think it would go well on a roast beef sandwich, but most of my local markets don't carry it. I sampled it at the Cabot tasting room in Vermont. The Cabot cheddar with habanero is interesting, as are some soft ripened cheeses with flecks of mushrooms.

            1. I just picked up a piece of fleur verte - one of my favorite summer cheeses. Fresh goat cheese coated with thyme, tarragon and pink peppercorns. Goes with warm spring evenings and rose.


              1. thanx for choosing these cheeses-

                1. Cotswold Double Gloucester with chives and onions = love!

                  Leyden cheese with cumin, another favorite!

                  TJs has a variety of Toscano cheeses with various additions - they are all outstanding IMO. I particularly like the black pepper version.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    I thought of Cotswold immediately when I read the COTM, fldhky! When I worked in a cheese shop, it was one of the cheeses where we would shut the shop when we were opening it to cut down -- rather pongy, but oh so tasty.

                    Another fave for me is pecorino pepato. Something about chomping down on those whole black peppercorns...

                  2. One I really like, which came up in a TJ's thread the other day: Creamy Toscano with Black Pepper. The cheese is sort of fontina-ish; the black pepper (on the outside, not mixed in) makes a really nice complement.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: TVHilton

                      Yup, that's the one I mentioned above, it's so good! I wish the pepper was throughout though. Have you tried the Syrah soaked version?

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Oh, sorry--somehow I missed your comment. But yeah, really good stuff.

                        I kind of like it the way it is, so you get distinct peppery and non-peppery bites. That said, I like the peppery bites better.

                        I have had the Syrah soaked version, and it's really good, although I prefer the black pepper. Didn't mention it because as I read the OP it's excluded. ;-)

                    2. Fiscalini cheddar with chipotle.

                      Fiscalini is a large farmstead cheesemaker in the Modesto, best known for their bandage-wrapped cheddar and their proprietary San Joaquin gold.

                      The chipotle is lightly veined through the cheese and is fairly subtle. The dominent flavor is the sharp raw milk cheddar (a good thing). Unlike some flavored cheeses it doesn't have that overly processed texture, but retains the slight crumbliness of a cheddar. I would say the chipotle doesn't add much, but it's a tasty cheese.

                      1. Trader Joe's English cheddar with caramelized onions.

                        Interesting to try this side-by-side with the Fiscalini. The difference between the quality of the cheddar itself was evident: there was less cheddar character and cheese did have that overly processed texture.

                        1. i just returned from Whole Foods-
                          Melkbus 125 winter gouda-this should be interesting
                          pepper cumin cloves,nutmeg,mace, cinnamon,cardamom

                          Cypress Grove Chevre- purple haze(on sale $4.99)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jpr54_1

                            I enjoyed the purple haze-imho the lavender is not overpowering but the melkbus was disappointing

                          2. This cheese isn't strongly flavored by the herbs used, but it's one of my favorites: Cornish Yarg.

                            It's wrapped in nettles during aging, and a mold is applied to give it a bloomy rind. That makes it show-stopping as a wheel for a big party, with the dark pattern of the nettles against the bloomy white rind. It's a real taste of spring.