8.18.2006

All About Cheese

I can't think of any real vice I have because I don't smoke, I only drink occasionally but I know of one thing I'm addicted to...CHEESE. Whether it be the sweet smelling kind or the strong pungent rotten (yup! you got that right!) kind...I delight in them with pleasure at any time of the day (from breakfast to midnight snack!). There are almost a hundred kinds of cheese from all over the world named and classified in a myriad of ways (according to how it was made, the place where it was processed and aged, etc). You will be surprised at how many types there are. Just to give you an idea... There is the Yunnan Cheese from China; Paneer from India; Danish Bleu Cheese from Denmark; Emmental and Cambozola from Germany; Edam and Gouda from the Netherlands...etc. In France alone, they have about 246 types of cheese! Anyway, this is not to overload you with all this information on the subject but to share with you some of my cheesy favorites;


GORGONZOLA
DESCRIPTION : blue-veined Italian Cheese made from unskimmed cow's milk
TASTE : buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a 'bite' from its blue veining
TEXTURE : soft, crumbly
USES :
eaten as a dessert cheese, melted into a rissoto in the final stage of cooking, served alongside Polenta. Also because of its savoury flavor, it is often used as a pizza topping
*** PATTIE : We use it at home to make a rich and flavorful white pasta sauce or actually spread it thinkly on wheat crisps!
BLUE STILTON
DESCRIPTION : produced in two varieties: the well-known blue and the lesser-known white. Hailed by some as "the king of cheese", both have been granted the status of a protected designation of origin by the European Commission.
TEXTURE
:
semi-soft, crumbly, tangy, earthy
USES : often eaten with celery , or added to cream of celery soup . Traditionally, port is drunk with blue Stilton
***PATTIE : I eat this with various crackers and biscuits coupled with slices of peppered salami! yum! This guarantees to give a kick to any meal! ;) Smells great too! haha ;)

MANCHEGO
DESCRIPTION : Spanish cheese that's barrel-shaped and weighs about 2 kg. It comes in a ten inch diameter wheel, five inches thick, with a herringbone design on the inedible rind caused by the surface of the press used in the manufacturing process. The colour of the paste is white or light yellow and the rind is between light brown and dark grey
TASTE/TEXTURE: very distinctive, slightly salty but not too strong; creamy with a slight piquancy, and with the characteristic aftertaste of sheep’s milk
USES : As the focal point of Antipasto, it can be served with olives, sun-dried tomatos, crusty bread and a robust red wine (Rioja) or a dry sherry (Fino); equally enjoyable as a snack or dessert with fruit or fruit tarts; the aromatic intensity of a Manzanilla wine makes it an excellent foil for this cheese
***PATTIE : intense taste and crumbly texture make it perfect to eat it as is, with a slice of bread!
BRIE

DESCRIPTION : About 25 liters (6.60 gallons) of pasteurized cow's milk are needed to make one Brie de Meaux cheese. According to tradition, the cheese is cast manually with the help of a "pelle à brie" (perforated ladle/shovel). The cheese is then salted, exclusively with dry salt
TEXTURE/ TASTE
: creamy, rich, buttery, mellow. Inside the smooth, edible rind, you'll find Brie's soft, ivory or yellow interior that not only looks elegant - it tastes elegant!
USES : nicely tops crackers or complements green apples, strawberries, pears, melons, grapes or walnuts.
***PATTIE : I eat this by itself...or sometimes heat it until the interior melts! Perfect for crackers and crusty bread!

CAMEMBERT
DESCRIPTION : Made from pasteurized cow's milk. At the beginning of its ripening, Camembert is crumbly and soft and gets creamier over time (usually 2-3 weeks). An affinage of 21 days is legally required.
TEXTURE/TASTE
: delicate salty taste with a clear yellow appearance
USES : famous with baguette bread.
*** PATTIE : Excellent if served wih fruits or nuts, and is best eaten at room temperature!



BOURSIN
DESCRIPTION : triple-cream cheese made with cow's milk, cream and flavored with herbs, garlic or pepper
TEXTURE
:
rich and creamy cheese, full of flavors.
USES :perfect match with a baguette. It goes also very well with almost any bread. Boursin adds flavor to many products such as meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables. You can use it in mashed potato or in sandwiches instead of butter, or even in tomato soup instead of sour cream.
***PATTIE : I make small boursin sandwiches for a nice afternoon merienda ;)


AGED GOUDA (pronounced GOO-da!)



DESCRIPTION : Identical to Edam in terms of flavor, texture and appearance. Their main difference is that while Edam is always made from partially skimmed milk, Gouda is always made from whole.
TEXTURE/TASTE : Baby gouda has a mellow, rich caramel-flavor. Aged Gouda is lightly sweet and has sharp individuality. Smoked Gouda has a musky and rich aftertaste. Baby Gouda is usually coated in red wax, aged has a yellow coating, and smoked usually has a black or brown rind.
USES : serve with dark bread and toasted almonds
*** PATTIE : I eat this with nuts ;)

Now, say cheese!!!!

No comments: