episode 1: Beat girls dancing with the Cheese Freak!

Episode 1 is complete and raring to go!

[please excuse some weird sound things that happened – need to fix that]

So here we go….I decided to start this little adventure by going to Las Ventas – a Spanish food import store near my house in Boston’s South End.  Luiz, the owner was wayyyy enthusiastic about Spanish cheeses and very helpful.  Here’s what he said about Spanish Cheeses:

Apparently there’s 100 different kinds of Spanish cheese (clearly my taste buds have their work cut out for them), although he only carries about 20.  He said that Spanish Cheese is (surprise) better than French cheese because they have more diversity and complexity in the products they make the cheese from, using cow, goat and sheep milk.   So we’ll eat our way through his store eating all three origins. Also he said that he only carries artesian cheeses, and no commercial cheeses, and that artesian cheeses are –wait for it – healthy for you because they have essential enzymes which commercial cheeses, in their quest for looking uniform, loose in the process.

I’m not a cheese snob (yet) and do love the good ol’ American cheese food product slice, so we’ll see…

So I asked my friends Kate (community organizer) and Judith (just completed a major book on the Milosevic trials) to join me for the first tasting. here’s what we ate:

1. Cow cheese: Mahon – from the island of Menorca in the Mediterranean.  It’s aged 4 months and Luiz described it as slightly tart with a salty flavor.


From the interwebs: Port Mahon is the capital of Menorca, part of the Balearic Islands , which also include major party Island Ibiza.  Apparently the folks on this ‘minor’ island have something better to do that clean up after sunburnt strung out british twentysomething clubbers. Legend tells that the winds of Menorca modify the personality of people. Perhaps that’s why it was so darn tasty.  And what do you know…I found a whole website which describes how the mahon cheese is made! Looks like an export promotion site for the island called “Illes Balears Qualitit” I’m not sure what language that is but it looks like it means Balearic Island Quality?

Oh also in this episode we introduce the legendary ‘Stoned Wheat Thin’ tasted test, my favorite cracker from a redneck upbringing in NC.

2. Goat Cheese: Leonara from Leon in spain – A young semisoft goat cheese with full bodied complex flavor with a long lingering finish and tanginess.

Ok  apparently this Cheese won #1 at last year’s Fancy Food Show in NYC and you can def tell.  We loved this one!  It was a bit sour at first and then it just got better and better!   Not much on the internets about this one…except a few enthusiastic blog posts J  including one from another shop in my neighborhood, Fromaggio, which I’ll be attacking soon.

Leon is in the northwest of Spain…and looks fabulous to visit.


This cheese and the next one were imported by some company called www.forevercheese.com I need to check them out soon….

3. Sheep Cheese: This type of cheese I had shockingly actually had before: It’s a Manchego aged 4 months from La Mancha, Castilla. – it was mildly piquant and slightly nutty.  I found it a bit flavorless and zzzzzzz.  Maybe I’ll like the aged ones better…

What was most interesting to me about this cheese is that it’s brand name is El Trigal, but when I asked for the brand name , Luiz passionately said to me that brand does not matter, but more where and when the cheese is from and who the artist was who made it.   I do think brands matter a bit…so we’ll see…



1 Response to “episode 1: Beat girls dancing with the Cheese Freak!”

  1. 1 Matthew
    September 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Sounds issues aside, I give Epsisode #1 (and the whole concept of the Cheese Freak) a big pair of cheezy thumbs up. [Can I get an email whenever your new episodes post?] Like you, I love cheese, but know squat (technical term) about it. One thing I do know, I love, love, love aged Gouda cheese. The more crystalized and translucent it has become the better. It is my “crack” addiction. I would be happy to be a guest on that episode. p.s. You maybe need a camera-man, I volunteer.

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