I’d like to hear about the less ordinary (to you) cheeses that you’ve actually tried. Don’t bring up Casu Marzu if you haven’t eaten it with all its maggoty splendour, please. But I would like to hear about different types of cheese that you consider ‘out there’ and what you thought of them
As for me, in the past I’ve described my experiences with the elder cheddars way too much as it is, so I’ll mention only briefly that I have consumed 30 year old cheddar and loved every sharp, bright bite of it.
Others I’ve enjoyed:
Gjetost, or brunost. A norwegian whey cheese with cream added to it, it’s very fudge-like in its consistency, with a caramel-like sweet, tangy undertone and a tendency to make the roof of my mouth tingle. I’ve only ever been able to find the Ski Queen brand of it, made from a mix of cow and goat milk. Traditionally served on norwegian flatbread, I like it warmed slightly and nibbled in small bits. Addicting, and very unlike other cheeses I’ve experienced.
Époisses de Bourgogne, a french soft ‘smear-ripened’ cheese. I had it on a cruise ship in the caribbean ages ago, and fell in love with it immediately. The odor was NOT funky and the flavor was sweet, creamy/salty, and otherwise indescribable but amazing. Sadly my repeated attempts to procure more in the US got me samples which stank of ammonia, and even worse, tasted of it. As I understand it, US laws prohibit sale of this cheese unless it’s been aged 50 days or more. And I think the extra aging causes a lot of this product to go over. A pity. I should see if I have better luck with finding a decent sample in Canada.
Aged gouda. A whole different taste from the usual gouda I get! A friend brought me a pound of 7 year old gouda directly from the Netherlands some years ago, and it was wondrous! Completely unlike the tame goudas I’d had before, with sharp notes completely different from the sharpness I associate with cheddar, the sample didn’t last long. I’ve not found similarly aged samples in the US.
Juusto, a finnish cheese, hard as a rock until it’s toasted! Then it softens and becomes quite savory. Good stuff!
Jack Parr, a combination of Jack cheese and parmesan, it was formerly made by the defunct Beechwood Cheese factory of Beechwood, WI. Rather like a parmesan that could be melted, it made for wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches, or just microwave a slab of it on a plate for a minute, or until it became golden brown and bubbly, pour off excess fat, and you had an instant creamy/crunchy hot cheese chip! It is no more.
Goat Milk Cheddar. Like regular cheddar, this product becomes more enjoyable to me the older the sample is. Less than 2 years old results in a pretty pedestrian product, IMHO. Older than that, and it starts getting interesting. But finding samples older than 2 years is tough, so mostly I don’t bother.
That’ll do for a start, as far as my reminiscences go, in dealing with the curd. How about yours?