episode 2: Eatin Cheese in PTown, Ptown’s a friend to me…

[Title meaning: Anybody remember They Might Be Giant’s Lincoln?]

So I’m a bit of a spazz in this video (big surprise) and I kinda forgot to even let my guests [my Ptown roomies David (latin prof) and Scott (Higher ed) from New Haven] speak – can you tell I have no journalism experience?  It will get better with time…

I even forgot to let them rank the cheeses !  Doh!  So here you go…

Ok so all of my best laid plans to eat through the Spanish cheese shop first got a little waylaid by our Labor Day weekend trip to Provincetown on the Cape (Gayland U.S.A., and probably my favorite place on earth).  So I had to improvise.  I went to the local fancy food shop – Angel Foods. Liz (funny that both shops have had LZ people working the cheese part) was kind and hilarious, although also looked a bit at me like I was crazy when I told her about the project.   What was awesome though, was that she let me borrow (forced on me) her copy of Steven Jenkins’ Cheese Primer, a sort of bible to her on the topic.  She didn’t have a lot to tell me about these cheeses except handing me the book with a look on her face of ‘look it up your own damn self.’

So most of my comments here are from Mr. Jenkin’s 1996 book – look Ma, I’m only 13 years out of date!  Given the whole foodie movement in the last 13 years, I think some of this is inaccurate…but here goes…

She picked out three of her most special (but not exorbitantly expensive) cheeses for me, they’re from all over the place:

1. White Stilton Cheese w/ sweetened  dried cranberries from Long Clawson Dairy from Mowbray area of Leicestershire (Stiltons are made in the ‘shires’ dear hobbits)– full rich creamy with shades of honey, leather, tobacco and molasses.

Entrance to dairy

Stilton cheese is England’s only ‘name protected’ cheese (I guess like champagne it has to be made in a certain area) – there’s even an official definition protecting this cheese and a cool/retro ‘official Stilton cheese’ label on these cheeses. In 1996 at least, there were no farmhouses making this cheese anymore only by specialists in factories.  This type of cheese is usually blue, and the white is very rare to find.  Who knew?  I loved this cheese.

2. Old Quebec Cheddar – extra sharp and according to Liz – “nothing special, just extremely delicious”  I love her.  Aged three years.  This cheese has a circa 1996 website to explain what it is www.oldquebeccheddar.com ( be sure to listen to Beck’s Odelay when reading this post- it’s so 1996!)


So according to Mr. Jenkins (in 1996) Canadians are not big consumers of cheese(?!) and they don’t make a lot either, but “Canadian cheddar is uniformly excellent.”  Given Quebec is right next to Vermont – this is not surprising.  These cheeses are “so sharp it makes your tongue smart with pleasure.” I seriously cannot believe his editor let that one get by into the book.

Other factoids I picked up – I guess the sooner you use the milk from the animal and the rawer it is and less pasteurized – the better the cheese.

3. Boursault from Ile-de France (the ‘Brie’ section of France) – nutty, rich, creamy flavor.  This is a soft thin crusted triple crème – supposedly the most luxurious of the French cheeses.   Whoa mama – we didn’t necessarily love this cheese.  This is one of those cheeses I feel like I need to be more sophisticated to appreciate.

Boursault is another rare one to fine and was invented by Henri Boursault in 1953– so this is the only cheese with this name – it’s the official brand name.   The gold label (raw milk) is ‘better’ than the silver label (pasteurized) – the company is now owned by Boursin [was it just me or was Boursin THE 1980’s dinner party cheese for your parents? I remember putting down my light saber (really a marker colored paper towel roll) to go sneak some of that stuff].

A bit more on triple crèmes from Mr. Jenkins – they are the lushest and  buttteriest of the French cheeses.  They are made by added extra cream to the fresh curd used to make the soft ripped cheese.  By law they must have 75% (!) or more butterfat.   One would think that would make it taste even better.

Also we weren’t able to do the Stoned Wheat Thin taste test in this one because Angle Foods didn’t carry them because Liz said she would never carry anything “so ordinary.”  (I guess I’m ordinary.)  So we had these (incredibly tasty) crackers from La Panzenella from Italy.


5 Responses to “episode 2: Eatin Cheese in PTown, Ptown’s a friend to me…”

  1. 1 ChedMeg
    September 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I LOVE Boursin at a dinner party! In fact, let’s taste test tub cheese!

  2. September 9, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Congrats on the new project – we’ll be following along!

  3. 3 Lauren
    September 12, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    I know this project is cheese-centric and you’ve probably become some purist who only eats cheese unaccompanied by accoutrement, but I HAVE TO to recommend Effie’s Homemade Corn Cakes as an awesome cheese pairing. Have you tried these things?? I could eat them all day long.


    Get them. Now.

    ps – they’re made in MA. Points for Effie.

  4. 4 Roger Cuevas
    September 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm


    Fun blog! I’ll be checking in every now and again.

    If I may…Try tasting the cheeses with slices (or torn pieces) of baguette rather than crackers. The crackers interfere with experiencing the texture of the cheese. Also, crackers are a processed product. If you’re spending your good money on fine cheeses, a fresh baguette might be a better compliment than a mass-produced cracker (no matter how much you spent on that cracker).

    The riper, the stinkier the cheese, the better as far as I’m concerned!

    Good luck.


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