Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about cheese. My earliest cheese memories center around my regular lunch order – Muenster on white with mayo. Simple, a bit tangy and the perfect balance to my other standard sandwich option, liverwurst. What can I say? I was raised by a German mother.
As I aged, I expanded my cheese horizons…there was cheddar and provolone, an array of blue-veined beauties, soft delights like Brie, preferably served warm and oozing. Cheese would most certainly prevent me from being a vegan. Ever.
While most of my cheesy memories are positive ones, there is one incident which will forever stand out in my memory for both the icky taste and the laughter it ultimately inspired. Many years ago, while visiting Alsace, we lost track of time and missed our opportunity to catch lunch service in the small French town we found ourselves in. Using my best parlez vous Francais, I asked if perhaps we might have some fruit, cheese and bread to tide us over until dinner could be had.
We were graciously indulged with a lovely plate of local specialties, including a couple of new to us cheeses. As we dug in, we shared our impressions of the fromage. One sample stumped my husband and as he struggled to find the words to describe it, I impatiently grabbed a (blessedly) small piece and shoved it into my mouth. What followed next was a comical series of sputtering, spitting and cursing as I exclaimed “You couldn’t simply say it tastes the way I imagine dog shit might taste?!?” Bad cheese, but great story.
Locally, the cheese universe has evolved tremendously over the years. From Cowen and Lobel to Old Chatham to the Honest Weight, cheese has grown into a specialized niche with plenty of devotees. When The Cheese Traveler moved into the DelSo bringing his enthusiasm and knowledge with him, I knew I would never again inadvertently place a crappy tasting cheese in my mouth again.
I have to confess, that I find myself gravitating to creamiest of Gorgonzola more often than not, but it is so good to know that I can surrender myself to Eric’s wisdom and explore other cheesy delights. Last week’s Soup and Grilled Cheese Tasting party was a fun way to sample some flavors which were new to me, including the killer combination of Flying Pigs ham, Fourme d’Ambert and Mingle’s kimchi – an explosion of tastes that I’m still thinking about days later. Here are a couple of terrific write ups from the event (or shop, in general) which go into far more detail about the grilled cheese offerings. There are a few upcoming Cheese Traveler events which look both delicious and educational, including Cheese School which begins in April and the fundraiser advertised below which is tonight. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with how to be your cheesiest best.