Excellent cheeses

Some excellent cheeses follow.

Blue cheese

Out of all blue cheeses, I would say that Roquefort Papillon is far superior to all others:

The intensity of flavor is excellent, with a certain ‘spiciness,’ and in comparison other blues are bland and dimensionless. I am a particular fan of the strong umami notes, which make for excellent spreading on rustic bread.

I have tried many other blues; my second favorite is maybe the Point Reyes Bay Blue. But it is a very faraway second place, and there is really nothing else that deserves third.

It is true that I am especially fond of savory foods, heavily spiced curries, pickles, Vegemite, and so on. So perhaps that influences my judgment here, and others may prefer milder or more crumbly blues. Still, I stand by my exceptionally high appraisal of the Roquefort Papillon. It is one of the cheeses which I desire the most.

Alpine cheese

Among the various Alpine cheeses, I would say there are many excellent options, and I have not exhaustively profiled all of them. Typically, I enjoy Challerhocker, which is distinctly nutty in flavor and incredibly creamy, with an enticing, custard-like appearance:

It is not hard to go wrong with Alpine cheeses! The floor for quality is very high. However, somehow Challerhocker is the only one which I distinctly remember among the whole lot.

It is supposedly washed in wine and spices, but do not worryーthe flavors are hardly overpowering. In fact, they complement the natural flavors of the cheese exceptionally well, blending together into a mélange of walnut, egg yolk, and wonderful creaminess.

Cheddar cheese

Here I must confess that I am not a fan of cheddars. On the whole, I find them dull and inferior to European cheese. They are simply not very interesting; they are deficient in texture, character, and depth. For these reasons, they can play excellent roles as components of other dishes, but for simple eating with plain bread, I do not reach for a cheddar. They are far too overpoweringly one-note to enjoy in such a manner.

If you forced me to choose a cheddar, though, it would perhaps be Prairie Breeze, which sports extensive formation of protein crystals and a relatively complex, aged flavor:

There is a trend of producing more complex domestic (American) cheddars, well exemplified by Prairie Breeze, and I look forward to seeing what our cheesemakers produce in the coming decades.

Washed rind cheese

For whatever reason, California creameries seem to produce world-class washed rinds, such as Teleme, which I think is actually far superior to the continental classics like Époisses or Taleggio:

Red Hawk is similarly excellent:

Washed rind cheese are not for everyone; they are very “pungent” and may smell, to some, like unwashed socks (or similar). They are, after all, literally washed with salt brine, which encourages bacterial growth on the surface of the cheese.

Nevertheless, I strongly recommend giving them a try! They are truly very deliciousーsalty, savory, nutty, and creamy at the same time. It is really not easy to describe their flavors in text, but I do not think that you will regret the experience.

Creamy, Brie-style chees

I will close with a discussion of creamier, non-washed cheeses. I am very fond of Florette, which is like a good Brie made of goat’s milk:

Notice the gradient between the extremely creamy center of the wheel versus the relatively harder edge. It is not so apparent in this specific picture, but depending on how aged a wheel of Florette is, the gradient can be quite noticeable, and the edges can remain very crumbly while the very center is nearly oozing out. This is one of the most enjoyable features of the cheeseーone is able to sample a variety of textural configurations from one wedge alone, all of which have their uniquely delicious characteristics.

That is not to say I do not like Brie cheese itself. However, one has to take particular care with Brie, as most of what is obtainable in the United States is very bad. The typical supermarket Brie is something that I might eat purely to have a meal, but not something I would actively choose if I were trying to have a relaxing and pleasant night.

Due to various regulations on the use of non-pasteurized milk, almost all domestic (American) Brie or Brie-like cheeses are tremendously lackluster. Perhaps this will change in coming years, but I recommend specifically looking for imported Brie Fermier:

For some reason, although Brie Fermier is imported from the Ferme de Jouvence in France, it manages to remain a great deal of character. (In contrast, many other imported cheeses seem to end up rather uninteresting as a result of satisfying various FDA import requirements.) It is deliciously mushroomy in flavor and ripens supremely well.

Finally, how can I close without mentioning Humboldt Fog? It is popularーbut for good reason.

Notice the gradient in texture and aging from the center to the middleーone of my favorite characteristics in any cheese. In Humboldt Fog particularly, the contrast of a fresh, almost tangy center with the rich creaminess of the edges is sublime. Easily found at your local Costco!

February 2nd, 2023 | Posted in Cooking

3 Responses to “Excellent cheeses”

  1. childless_werido Says:

    fob asian women consume cheese and post on social media to signal worldliness i noticed this trend start in the early 2010s. i dont actually believe they like it that much their cheese posting frequncy is way too high and try hard.

    this is a not well known pheonmna just like chinese ameicnas larping as japanese.

  2. milkyeggs Says:

    @childless_werido: lmao

  3. mollusk Says:

    anti dairy coalition disapproves of this post