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The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:59 am UTC
by EchoRomulus
We all agree that cheese is epic. I don't think anyone disputes that.

All of my knowledge about cheese comes from personal experience and Wikipedia.

My favorite kind of cheese is Asiago. What is yours?

Asiago is like the white fermented gold of Venus's breast milk. It's savory, yet it's creamy. It's not as harsh as gruyere, and not nutty like parmesan, but it always puts a smile on my face.

Romano is something I've never had outside of Formagio, the godly Parm-Rom-Asi shredded trio.

Mozzarella is a good thing. It melts strangely, it sort of globs and doesn't dissolve and emulsify. It's not good in an alfredo. Great on pizza as we all know.

Fontina and Gruyere are smooth, creamy alternatives to mozzarella that bring a much stronger flavor to pizzas. I love to mix shavings of them with Parmesan or Asiago. Feta and Ricotta are great too, especially pre baked or spiced with garlic, basil, ect. I've heard they are great in sandwiches too.

Swiss, provolone, and cheddar are great for sandwiches, quesadillas, ect.

Tell me about your cheese.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:44 am UTC
by Nath
It's hard to pick a single favorite, given how diverse the cheese family is. Parmesan and its cousins have so much umami goodness packed into them; I rarely eat them on their own, but they take so many dishes to another level. Paneer and halloumi are niche cheeses, but do they ever shine in those niches. Sometimes I enjoy a ripe Brie or a nice, stinky Stilton, though I suffer from cheese fatigue if I eat too much of them. And there's Edam and Gruyere and Emmental and feta and good old mozzarella.

But if I really, really had to pick one cheese, as in, all but one variety of cheese would cease to exist and I have to pick which one remains, then I'd have to go with a nice, sharp English cheddar. Actually sharp, not Tillamook sharp. On a McVitie's digestive biscuit. That is the quintessential cheese-eating experience.

That said, I earned my cheese-wings on Amul cheese triangles, so they should get a mention too.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:01 pm UTC
by pkcommando
Most of the time:
Aged NY or VT sharp cheddar

Provolone - nice for sandwiches

'Nicer' moments:
Smoked Gouda - great on its own, or on crackers. Sometimes in pasta/bean salads, but its tough because even that flavor can be overpowered.

Asiago & Gruyere - mostly for the same reasons as the Gouda, but also for gourmet grilled cheese. Either alone is nice, but together is a flavorgasm. Sometimes, the Asiago will be made open-faced in the toaster oven using an ultra-dark-rye bread (GLR bless the Russian/E. European shops in my area), one where you can practically smell molasses through the bag and then I add a thin layer of honey mustard to the bread.

Feta - primarily if I'm making a potato salad. It's the closest I can get these days to having cheese curd. Nice salty crumbles of cheesy goodness.

Cheese Curd - but only when I'm visiting family back in rural NY and only if I can be sure it was made in the last day or two. It has to squeak when I eat it, because then I know it's fresh. You can give older stuff a few seconds in the microwave to make it squeak again, but that's cheating. Flavored (buffalo, garlic, Ital.) are nice, but plain is best. Salty and yummy w/ a texture that reminds me of mozzarella. At its absolute best when you can not only get it from a cheese plant on the day it's made, but the curds are still warm. Screw crackers, or salads, or pizza, or nachos - just toss the curds in your mouth and enjoy.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:20 pm UTC
by EchoRomulus
I see I am among cheese experts.

Well when I am choosing my cheese, I usually choose the cheapest, without sacrificing /some/ quality. I find that the most obvious difference between good and bad cheese is whether or not it melts properly. I put some dollar store American in my mom's scrambled eggs and they did not melt at all, despite being in from beginning of cooking to end.

I had some cheap cream cheese too that while it broke down inside an alfredo sauce, did not dissolve completely, and still had tiny pieces in it.

what other aspects of cheese indicate quality?

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:35 pm UTC
by pkcommando
To me, the dirt-cheap cheese slices are to cheese what Baco-s are to crumbled bacon. Even Kraft singles, or the store brands, are a better option.

When you can smell the cheese through the wrapping, that is an experience unto itself.

For finding cheese cheap, Trader Joe's isn't too bad for finding nicer cheeses at reasonable prices. Whole Foods (some of them, anyway) sells snack-sized pieces of cheese, usually ~2-3 ounces and they're also fairly cheap. That's how I tried an Irish Chedder W/ Stout. It's nice to have a little bit of at a time. I would never get a half-pound, but it's something to try at least once. It's described online as creamy with a nutty flavor and that seems about right.

If you have a Save-A-Lot, or Aldi's near you, you can find any of the run-of-the-mill 8oz. bricks of cheese (cheddar, Monterrey Jack, muenster, etc) you'd pull out of the grocery store dairy case a lot cheaper there. The quality is pretty much the same and if all you need it for is to make salads it's a great money saver. I'cve even used them for nachos and never had a problem with them melting. One Aldi's near me does have Brie, but I'm wary about trying it as I was somewhat burned by a cheap one at WF - you absolutely had to have it warm and top it w/ jam and it still tasted a bit like the rind. And while warm, it still didn't soften.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:10 pm UTC
by Sandry
Hrm. Favourite cheese is a hard question, because I think of it less like "ah, there is one cheese that is best, and given the choice, I would pick that," and more like, "well, what context is this cheese going in?"

IMO, great food things involving cheese include baked brie, grilled halloumi, sandwiches involving provolone, fresh mozzarella with bruschetta, homemade macaroni and cheese with cheddar... but picking one cheese based on that would be difficult/impossible.

I do have a cheese that is my favourite cheese for just eating on crackers, and that's bucheron. Though goat brie is a pretty strong second behind that, in my book. Nom. Still, though, I'd rather have more than one option if having cheese and crackers, rather than all one cheese.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:25 pm UTC
by EchoRomulus
Well I'm limited due to being broke.

Sargento is basically the limit of my cheddar and mozzarella.

Asiago and Parmesan are like peanut butter and jelly to me. I get the 60 days aged variety.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:06 pm UTC
by mosc
I go with aged Gouda, aged parmesan, and especially aged cheddar. Cheese should be usable as a lethal blunt force object when in large quantities. I've bought cheddar as old as 12 years. Aged Gouda is wonderful too, but I really like a brutal ammonia punch from my cheese.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:30 pm UTC
by EchoRomulus
I got a hunk of Romano at last.

It was like parmesan multiplied by itself. It was much sharper and more pungent. I liked it.

Do you prefer cheese raw or cooked? (browned on some toast, melted, ect.)

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 8:08 am UTC
by Quercus
Cheese is one of the reasons I'm glad I'm in the UK - so I can get hold of European unpasteurized milk cheeses. They really are wonderful. My favourites (not all unpasteurized, but at least the middle two are):

Manchego - a slightly sweet, nutty Spanish hard cheese

Délice de Bourgogne - soft cows milk cheese from Burgundy, France and the creamiest thing I have ever tasted

Valençay - a very strong goats milk cheese from central France

Wensleydale - a sharp, crumbley British cheese, best eaten with a nice crisp apple

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 9:00 pm UTC
by Rhombic
Not often seen other than in Italy, but burrata is a great cheese. Wikipedia (in English) states that it is a cheese made from cream and mozzarella. Wrong. It kinda tastes like that but it is definitely a different cheese, a cheese type by itself.
Cheesovereignity!

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 12:54 pm UTC
by Decker
I've been on a Welsh Cheddar kick lately. Before that it was Dubliner and before that was aged Gouda. I generally like cheeses dry and strong and with spicey meats.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 1:33 pm UTC
by Quercus
Decker wrote:I've been on a Welsh Cheddar kick lately.


I approve, though more out of national pride than anything else :)

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:14 pm UTC
by Dthen
I see there is a mention of Wensleydale. This is good. Why is there no discussion of blue stilton? What about camembert? I do quite enjoy it too. If we get into the whole subject of soft cheeses, Boursin is yummy. I wouldn't eat it on its own, but it can make quite a few things rather tasty. Mmmm ... there are so many yummy cheeses. Oooh, feta ... with olives. Sorry, this post is a bit rambley. That's what cheese does to me. I'm sure you people understand.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:17 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
What a friend we have in cheeses!
I just started trying sweet cheddars. Mostly I love an ancient cheddar, the older the better. The sweet ones are nice. I don't know if this is a marketing trend, or if I had just ignored these cheeses before.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:19 pm UTC
by Dthen
Sweet ... sweet cheddars? Those are a thing?! Speaking of cheddars, I've recently been eating (read: obsessing over) Applewood cheese. It's a "smoked" cheddar, meaning it's not actually smoked, but flavoured with artificial smoky flavouring, which I would normally disapprove of, but it's just so damn good.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:21 pm UTC
by Whizbang
EchoRomulus wrote:I put some dollar store American in my mom's scrambled eggs and they did not melt at all, despite being in from beginning of cooking to end.


Ignoring the fact that you chose American cheese (the inbred cousin of the cheese family), you most likely chose a fat free cheese (or it was made from cheese substitute or something). Fat free cheese does not melt. Some reduced fat cheeses don't either. I assume this is because cheese is basically made from the fatty part of the milk. Meaning, removing the fat removes the "cheese" as well, giving you artificially gelled milk byproduct.

Then, of course, you add in American cheese to the mix and the Cheese Gods curse your family for 7 generations.

For just plain eating, VT super sharp cheddar is my favorite. Especially during apple season. Mmmmm.... Nothing like a hot apple cider and a block of sharp cheddar.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:39 pm UTC
by mosc
American cheese is very useful for melting. I like it in Mac to give some smoothness (and cut the price per pound) paired with some overly solid cheddar. It also pairs better with different flavor mixes. I generally have some "blended" american in my fridge: http://www.landolakes.com/4CheeseItalianBlend/


I wouldn't eat it straight on anythingbut it's a marvelously generic and smooth cheese for blending with other things.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 12:21 am UTC
by Decker
PAstrychef wrote: Mostly I love an ancient cheddar, the older the better.

Amen.
I like my cheddar so that when you try to cut it thin, it crumbles.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:14 pm UTC
by pkcommando
Decker wrote:
PAstrychef wrote: Mostly I love an ancient cheddar, the older the better.

Amen.
I like my cheddar so that when you try to cut it thin, it crumbles.

Love it as a snack. Hate it with a fiery passion when my sister insists on using it in her cheese and cracker platters when she hosts holiday dinners. Take a wild guess who gets drafted to cut up the cheeses and salami - go on, guess.... :D However, I've gotten smart enough to do the cheddar last so I can immediately get the sharp object out of my hand. Cutting an entire brick into small, thin, mostly-uniform, pieces -- *shudder/twitch*

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:02 am UTC
by roband
Decker wrote:
PAstrychef wrote: Mostly I love an ancient cheddar, the older the better.

Amen.
I like my cheddar so that when you try to cut it thin, it crumbles.

I like my cheddar so mature than when you eat it, it makes you shiver.

This has happened to me on multiple occasions, but everyone I mention it to looks at me like I'm mad.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue May 27, 2014 4:37 pm UTC
by pkcommando
At the bar this past weekend, my bartender had stopped at a nearby market and picked up half-sour pickles and cheese. A few of us at the bar got little baskets of pickle spears along with something like a pepper-jack and this creamy slightly crumbly blue cheese. I can't quite put it into words, but there was something amazing about the flavor when I ate the pickles topped with that blue cheese. Something about the half-sours complemented the blue perfectly.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:10 pm UTC
by mathmannix
MMM. American cheese. OK, so it technically says "Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product" on the package. But it's great. I just unwrap and eat one slice after another for a delicious snack. Great on cheeseburgers or grilled cheese sandwiches, or any kind of sandwich really (except PBJ).

Also good: Kraft Easy Cheese American Processed Cheese Snack. Good on crackers, or celery. No refrigeration necessary! The back of the pressurized can shows it being put on hot dogs or tacos as well. Yummy yum num num.

Velveeta is good too, another cheese that doesn't have to be refrigerated. Hey, I just realized these were all made by Kraft.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:15 pm UTC
by roband
Your post makes me sad

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:55 pm UTC
by Nath
I have no problem with the post, but don't see why it's in the 'cheese' thread.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:24 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
Well, they are epic fails of cheeseness.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:20 pm UTC
by mosc
EZ cheeze is a quality product, I just wouldn't call it cheese.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:26 pm UTC
by poxic
That's how I think of American Processed Cheese Food Slice. It can serve some good purposes but it's really a thing unto itself rather than a member of the species Cheese.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:14 pm UTC
by mathmannix
OK, I know it's not high-quality cheese, but shouldn't Kraft Singles be seen as analogous to instant coffee? It's made from (some of?) the same ingredients as cheese (milk, milkfat, whey, salt), along with cheese culture, sometimes cheese itself, and preservatives like sorbic acid. Just made in a different way.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:17 pm UTC
by Quercus
mathmannix wrote:OK, I know it's not high-quality cheese, but shouldn't Kraft Singles be seen as analogous to instant coffee? It's made from (some of?) the same ingredients as cheese (milk, milkfat, whey, salt), along with cheese culture, sometimes cheese itself, and preservatives like sorbic acid. Just made in a different way.


I guess the difference for me is that there is an excuse for instant coffee (some situations preclude the making of real coffee due to lack of time or equipment), whereas slices of cheese-like-plastic are no more convenient than pre-cut slices of real cheese (do you have those in the USA?).

Fine, if you actually like the stuff, go for it, but otherwise why not just buy real cheese (assuming money is not so tight that that actually makes a difference)?

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:20 pm UTC
by Whizbang
Quercus wrote:(some situations preclude the making of real coffee due to lack of time or equipment)


Travel-press coffee mug FTW! All that is needed is grounds and hot water.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:38 am UTC
by dubsola
PAstrychef wrote:What a friend we have in cheeses!
I just started trying sweet cheddars. Mostly I love an ancient cheddar, the older the better. The sweet ones are nice. I don't know if this is a marketing trend, or if I had just ignored these cheeses before.

You might like Havarti.

mathmannix wrote:OK, I know it's not high-quality cheese, but shouldn't Kraft Singles be seen as analogous to instant coffee? It's made from (some of?) the same ingredients as cheese (milk, milkfat, whey, salt), along with cheese culture, sometimes cheese itself, and preservatives like sorbic acid. Just made in a different way.

It's analogous to plastic.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:28 pm UTC
by freezeblade
I went through this entire cheese thread, and there's only one mention of a spanish cheese?

Come on people! Yes, the UK and Italy have amazing cheese, but so does Spain!

A lovely Mahón, semi-hard, slightly funky and wonderful with crackers.
or a lovely Manchego (the only one mentioned so far), with some jamon.
hard to find around here, but there's also zamorano, which is similar to Manchego, but a bit more savory (both are sheeps milk cheeses.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:19 am UTC
by PAstrychef
I do love Spanish cheeses, but can only find most of them in Spain. The ones that are currently being exported are nice, but there seem to be four of them, the ones you mentioned and Idzabel, a harder cheese for grating. When in Spain, I just point at the ones that seem interesting at the market. I'm never quite sure what they are, besides tasty....

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:05 pm UTC
by pkcommando
Today I picked up a pound of Pecorino Sardo from a little shop in Boston's North End. I've had Manchego and other sheep's milk cheeses and holy crap this is an awesome cheese. Mild flavor and only a tiny bit salty, just enough to give it a good flavor. I tried it earlier on soft slices of something called Truffle Bread. Definitely will be getting again.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:17 pm UTC
by Sandry
freezeblade wrote:I went through this entire cheese thread, and there's only one mention of a spanish cheese?

I also like Manchego. And Cana de Cabra. But then that's basically the Spanish equivalent of Bucheron, so y'know, it probably went without saying.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:59 am UTC
by dubsola
I just don't think Spanish cheese are all that. My top 3 cheese making countries are UK, France and Italy.

An honorably mention must go to Halumi though.
Spoiler:
Image

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:07 am UTC
by karhell
Same top 3 here, with France coming out on top.
Bread, butter, Roquefort, and you have a very happy karhell ^^
Or a good Pouligny-St-Pierre, or Valençay, or Munster...damn, I'm getting hungry...

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:41 am UTC
by Bakemaster
I was listening to The Splendid Table (lol) on NPR a couple weeks ago and they had a cheese guy who was lamenting that goat cheese is no good and people only like it because blah blah I stopped listening.

Listen, goat cheese is very good. It's made from goats, and that right away is a point in its favor, but it's also spready and tangy and I like it and it's funny when John Malkovitch insists on calling it "chevre" in Burn After Reading.

Re: The Epic Cheese Thread

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:00 pm UTC
by Quercus
Bakemaster wrote:I was listening to The Splendid Table (lol) on NPR a couple weeks ago and they had a cheese guy who was lamenting that goat cheese is no good and people only like it because blah blah I stopped listening.

Listen, goat cheese is very good. It's made from goats, and that right away is a point in its favor, but it's also spready and tangy and I like it and it's funny when John Malkovitch insists on calling it "chevre" in Burn After Reading.


I can't stand it when "experts" denounce a whole category of food/drink/music/literature/art etc. - I've seen it done to German wine, to science fiction and to 20th century minimalist music. In my view it predominantly reflects the expert's narcissism, they seem to conflate "I don't like it" with "It's bad in general". They also seem to lose sight of the fact that, in such things, there is nothing to say whether it is good or not other than personal opinion, it's not like politics, science, or mathematics where there is a scale of judgement in terms of ethics, evidence or logic.

I'll agree with you on this one - goats cheese is excellent (in my opinion of course...). Eating Rocamadour goats cheese with Muscatel grapes was one of the most wonderful food experiences I've had.