Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Monday, May 23, 2011

THE CASE FOR QUESO

Cheese Board

A Food that’s always sure to please:
A nice, big Hunk of Stinky Cheese.
Nought else makes me weak in the Knees
As does the Taste of Stinky Cheese.


Long time Esteemed Readers know that I loves me some Stinky Cheese. It’s one of the pleasures that arise from a lifetime of visits to the Cheese Aisle.

I have my limits, of course. There are plenty of cheeses out there with aromas that are far too turdly for my taste... and there are some that I (gourmand that I am) wouldn’t eat on a bet. Casu marzu? No fucking way.

But that leaves plenty of fine fromage that, on the Stink-Spectrum, falls well beyond that block of supermarket Colby.

Years ago, on a trip to Belgium and Holland, I was introduced to the pleasures of aged Gouda. Gouda is a pretty innocuous Dutch cheese, but if you age it anywhere from eighteen months to seven years, it develops some real character. As it ages, it gets saltier, harder, and drier, its flavor taking on a briny, caramelly intensity. Crystals of calcium lactate and/or tyrosine form in the older cheeses, almost giving them a bit of crunch. You might need a cold chisel to pry them off that wedge, but a few thin shavings of this stuff along with a powerful red wine, and I’m in Foody-Heaven.

Those who enjoy the salty tang of blue-veined cheeses are familiar with Roquefort, possibly the best-known of the genre. Surprisingly - as we discovered a few months ago while dining with Houston Steve - Roquefort also pairs well with sweet flavors. Imagine chunks of Roquefort alongside a treacle sponge pudding. Horrifying as that combination might sound, it pulls you into a world of intense flavor, the salt and umami of the cheese potentiating the sweetness of the treacle until the whole thing explodes on the taste buds.

What kind of stinky cheeses do you like?

7 comments:

Richmond said...

I looooove Roquefort. :) Cannot go wrong with that.

Jerry said...

I'll go with Camembert de Normandy.

mostly cajun said...

Limburger--

Like in a ham, Limburger and onion on rye...

MC

Nancy said...

not really stinky, but I loves me some gejtost... smoked goat cheese from Norway.. sweet and nutty, the warmer it gets, the yummier it gets. 'Pup's Norwegian grandparents served it on top of oatmeal as a special treat. It has the texture of really fine chocolate, sweetly melting in your mouth....

El Capitan said...

I can never resist a wedge of Cotswold. It doesn't quite rise to the level of stinky, IMHO. Still, Double Gloucester embedded with onion & chives leans more towards "pungent" than "perfumey".

og said...

The local trader joes has a nice stilton with bits of apricot. I have set some aside to see how it ages.

Lisa W. said...

My favourite cheese ever (though not really stinky - actually has a nice smell) is Caciocavallo...we actually get the smoked variety and it is a favourite of both Graeme and I.