Sunday, February 19, 2012
There are so many varieties of cheese, full of wonderful flavors and textures. Cheese enhances anything it's put next to and can enliven even plain vegetables. I use cheese as the key accent in my best cooked dishes.
In my long life I've had many jobs but my favorite of all-time was working in a cheese-shop. I was a student in law school, poor and hungry. I'd study all day and then go to work at 6 pm without having eaten dinner. For the next four hours, I'd consume vast quantities of cheese -- which was allowed because we were encouraged to sample all 365 varieties to be able to guide customers on what to choose. I tried them all.
It was that opportunity which taught me to joys of blue cheese, goat cheeses, sheep's milk cheeses and exotic fare most people never try. I discovered an obscure English cheese that appeals perfectly to the American palate and, when I recommended it to customers looking for something new, they always came back with big smiles and repeat orders.
The cheese is called Cotswold. It's a type of cheddar (Double Gloucester) combined with chives and spring onions. The cheddar flavor is familiar to Americans (one of our standards) but the texture of Double Gloucester is softer than what we know. The chives and onions add a delightful perk that is also reminiscent of our cuisine. The reaction people most often give upon tasting Cotswold the first time is, "I know this flavor!" They recognize the taste but can't figure out where. The answer is simple: the flavors are common in many of our foods.
Recently, I tried something else new and different -- Huntsman, which is Double Gloucester cheddar spiced with lines of Stilton blue. Double Gloucester is yellow; Stilton is white; combined, they look like a layer-cake. Again, the DG supplies a soft, cheddary base for the sharp blue-cheese tang of the Stilton. A nice combination.
Do you like cheese? What's your favorite?