Jill and I have become cheese-curious!

Growing up, I had only ever known slices of American and sharp cheddar, mozzarella that comes on pizza, and Parmesan sprinkled from a can of Kraft. But then one night at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, Jill and I decided to order an artisanal cheese sampler. Our eyes, and our palates, were opened. Especially, this was the first time I ever tried blue cheese; the veins of blue mold in it had always put me off, but I closed my eyes and – wow. Where has this flavor been all my life?

For my Christmas present, Jill ordered some cheeses for us to try. We put a lot of planning into this, first choosing where to buy them from (we settled on Artisanal Premium Cheese) and then picking a variety for us to taste. We chose four. They arrived yesterday and we had some with crackers for dinner this evening.

  • Goat Camembert. A soft, mild cheese with a slight tang (similar to the taste of blue cheese, but lighter) and a buttery finish. (I’m referring to the web site’s description because my cheese terminology isn’t up to par, but I agree with what they say about it.) It spreads like butter. We ate the soft rind as well; it had a great flavor.
  • Piave. A hard cheese with a flavor not unlike a block of Parmesan. Interesting, but it didn’t do much for us.
  • Colston Bassett Stilton. A blue cheese with lots of blue marbling in it and a penicillin rind (which is really weird to think about!). It’s soft and crumbles a bit. The flavor is wonderful – much like the first blue cheese I tasted, way back. I honestly don’t know how to describe it, other than “complex”. We both like this one a lot.
  • Gouda, 4-Year-Old. I’m reserving judgment on this one for now. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before. It’s a deep caramel color, a hard cheese, very firm. It has a strong flavor but I can’t find the words to describe this one either. I think when we have some more of it, we’ll warm it up a bit first to make it less hard and perhaps bring out the flavor a bit more.

So for now, the two soft cheeses are big winners with us. And when we finish these four, we’ll order some different ones to try next!

Incidentally, I’ve been feeling lately like the Kraft Parmesan grated cheese tastes like sawdust. The reason for this is apparently that they do use sawdust in the product – or, at least, sawdust-like cellulose. So we stopped buying the cans of Kraft, and now we grate our own blocks of cheese that we buy. I kind of think that grating cheese is fun, and it does taste a whole lot better.

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