I don’t know if it’s from six years of living in Wisconsin, but DH and I are CHEESE OBSESSED. Seriously, we spend up to $20 a week on cheese. It’s slightly ridiculous.
However, one of the upsides of loving cheese is our recent willingness to branch out a bit and try new things. I’ve decided to compile a list of some of the cheeses we’ve tried…mostly so I can remember what I’ve liked, and disliked about them.
Brie- This classic favorite makes a frequent appearance in our house. As much as we try to break away from it and try new things, it ends up in my fridge at least once a month. Brie is a versatile mild cheese. If left out, you can cut through the edible rind and spread it on a cracker. Or, you can throw it into crepes, or a puff pastry, and bake it. Often paired with apples and white wine, any variety of Brie is welcome in my kitchen.
Camembert- This cheese is like the younger, less popular version of its sister, Brie. She’s just as cool, except she keeps it hidden. It spreads just as easily on a cracker. The main thing that makes it different from Brie is that its taste is less variable than Brie. Some Bries will taste differently depending on if it’s American, French, or another variety, while Camembert is all French. Also, Camembert is sold in a complete round, while Brie is often sold in wedges. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Fontina- We recently tried this Italian white cheese. It’s a semi-hard cheese that comes wrapped either in a solid, or wax rind (so, don’t eat the rind!). After trying it the first time, I likened it to a blend between a sharp cheddar and provolone. It has a little bit of a bite to it, so if you don’t like sharp cheeses, this one may not be for you. However, pairing it with a wheat cracker tends to take the edge off, just a bit.
Goat Cheese- Also known as “Chevre,” goat cheese is one area where we recently branched out. It’s a little bitter for my taste, although it’s still pretty good. It’s a soft, spreadable cheese, that can be a wee bit grainy at times. Wheat crackers balance this one out a bit. A word of warning though: its flavor is quite variable depending on what country it comes from. For the Chevre neophyte, I would recommend picking up Montchevre. It’s relatively easy to find, and allows one to easily transition into the world of goat cheese.
Smoked Gouda- Quickly becoming one of my favorites, Smoked Gouda is one of those cheeses that you can eat alone, or pair it perfectly with a wheat/whole grain cracker. It’s a semi-hard cheese with an edible rind. It’s very mild, creamy, and delicious. Watch out–this one usually disappears quickly in our house.
There are many other exciting cheeses out there. We have several in our fridge at the moment that I was sent home with last week. One of the pluses of liking cheese is the tendency for people to send leftovers from department gatherings home with you…although you may not know what it is! While I’m getting better at guessing what I’m eating, I know that I have yet to really expand my cheese repertoire. But, I can guarantee my tummy is looking forward to it!