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Episode 24: Recessionista Cheesefreak Part Tres – We No Likey!

Hi Folks!

Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. on the cheesing. Been just so busy and with my computer committing suicide  nothing was able to happen.

A new motherboard, a new day – we’re back in action!

Today I am joined by my dear friends Sonal and Mahin – two fabulous foodies (seriously folks – it you ever get a chance for these ladies to cook for you – run, don’t walk).

Unfortunately for them, I made them submit to being in a Recessionista episode, and we’re batting three for three for bad cheeses (no worries – they’re in the next one with good cheeses too!).

So I made another trip to T Joe’s and looked for what I thought might be some interesting cheeses to try.

First up:

English Cheddar with Caramelized Onions.  This one was recommended by a viewer (yes, I actually do have some) and …well…it tasted like Frito Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Chips, and that ain’t a good thang.

It’s almost impossible to tell where Trader Joe’s get their cheese, so “English” could just mean it’s written in English.  We No Likey!!

Numero Dos:

Panquehue from Chile.  It’s supposed to be Mild and buttery but instead it was rubbery and like crappy string cheese.  It’s a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese produced in the Aconcagua region of the Andes Mountains. That’s damn high up there….

It is one of the most popular cheeses in Chile.  It often has red peppers in it.  This was the first cheese imported into the US after the new trade agreement. Not sure why they bothered.  Maybe we just had a bad batch, but say it with me folks WE NO LIKEY!!

And the finale:

West County English Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Truckle.  Ok this one was actually kinda good. It came wrapped in a lovely package and a nice black wax.  I was all excited because I thought truckle was something funky, but it just means a “wax round shape.”  This is a protected designation of origin cheese (although it was still Trader Joe’s brand – if someone understands how they manage their cheeses, I’d appreciate some learnin’).   This cheese can only be made in the countries of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in England (basically the Southwest).  It’s purdy there:

This cheese is worth your time if you’re TJ’s shopping. Tangy and tasty.  We kinda likey.

All of these cheeses get a big ol’

Stick around tho’ for the next post coming soon where Sonal and Mahin try some cheeses for reals yo.


*sigh* stupid technology

I’m sorry i haven’t posted in FOREVER.  My computer committed suicide.  It’s on the mend supposedly!  Hopefully this weekend we can return to fromage-land.


Episode 23: Winter Cheeses with Freakin’ Formmagios!

Hey Folks!

So, through a strange confluence of several events, I’m starting a new series on the Cheesefreak about seasonal cheeses.  I met Robert Aguilera, the former manager of Formaggio, the world famous cheese shop in Massachusetts after seeing an article he wrote on cheese in a local rag called Edible Boston.  Robert is beyond nice and INCREDIBLY knowledgeable about cheeses.  He recommended that since cheeses change with the season, I should do seasonal shows.  Just in time for the end of winter, I bring you four seasonal cheeses, and a ton of other stuff as Robert has a lot to tell us!  So much it took three videos!

Here’s the four cheeses we tried (I’m going to keep this brief as Robert explains everything!:

1. Senne Flada – a cows milk cheese from Switzerland.

2. Twig Farm Goat Tomme from West Cornwall , VT.

3. CorsuVecchiu – a sheep cheese from Corsica France (tasted like chocolate to me and like arse to Bob)

4. Bayrisher Blauschimmelkase – a cow blue from Algua Germany (OK this has to have the best cheese name ever!)

I think ya’ll will really enjoy these videos because Robert is totally amazing!


Episode 23: Recessionista CheeseFreak Part Deux – Oh it’s bad, it’s REAL bad.

Hey folks!

Sorry for my extended cheese break.  I’ve been wicked busy and needed to take off the cheese shackles for a couple of weeks.   But we’re back and well, worse than ever!    While I do have some episodes with great cheeses coming up, this little ditty is a lesson in caution.

I went to the local Stop and Shop and was determined to find three decent non-fancy cheeses.  I think I overcompensated a bit and went for unique cheeses people usually wouldn’t buy.  They were all pretty bad.

My unfortunate test bunnies were bff’s Megan and Seth (if I can ever get his name right on camera!).

Here’s what we ate (and somehow managed to not spit back out):

1. Queso De Hoja or Dominican Leaf Cheese – made by Quesos La Ricura LTD – a maker of ‘fine Salvadorian foods’ in Hicksville NY (unfortunate town name).  It’s supposed to be sort of like a bocconcini (Italian cheese balls like mozerella) or string cheese.  It’s basically salty plastic.  I can see if you took a piece and melted it with some meat it might be good-ish.   Megan said it was like Fun Tape – remember that 1950’s version of food?  Mmmm food product…

2. Wensleydale Cheese with Apricots. – from the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes (great info on the website).    So this is the real Wallace and Gromit deal cheese.  Real Wensleydale cheese is only made at this one creamery.  It’s in the Yorkshire ‘Dales’ – which are the limestone meadows in that area – so darn pretty there:

      The limestone changes the grass nutrient content which gives the cheese its unique flavors.  It’s been made since 1150!  I was really excited to try it because of its fame from the W&G animation.

      What a disappointment.  You’ve hear the saying – “they go together like chalk and cheese” (meaning ‘not at all’).  Well this tastes like someone had actually combined chalk and cheese. Ugh.

      3. Blarney Castle Cheese by Kerry Gold (could it be more Irish?) – Kerry Gold is a big milk conglomerate.  Just outside of Cork, Ireland is the Blarney Castle – from the marketing: ”Cork’s lush pastures and clean water is used to make this semisoft cow’s milk cheese”…it’s supposed to be reminiscent of a young gouda and good for sandwiches, quiche , etc.   It was kinda blandtastic – not that great but not offensive.   At least the Blarney Castle is pretty:

        There was clearly no getting into that place uninvited!

        I can imagine this cheese is one folks in Ireland grow up with and kind of yearn for as a remembrance of youth…like me and Kraft singles processed cheese food.

        Well all in all, this was not the best cheese ever, to say the least. I promise I WILL find good cheese at a normal grocery store – I’ve got a trick up my sleeve for that one!


        sorry folks – no Cheesefreak this week

        I’m at a non-cheese conference.  Next episode up this weekend!


        Episode 22: How the other one billionth lives

        So Bob and I randomly won a free weekend (thanks for inviting us to yoga Javier!) at this incredible resort called the Winvian in Litchfield, CT.  Litchfield, CT is one of those strange ultra-rich New England towns north of NYC where the rich and famous used to and still vacation (see Great Barrington and Stockbridge, etc.)  We’re talking stores which sell tweed coats and ties with whales on them with no irony.   Or dudes who think this is stylin’ without knowing who Vampire Weekend is:

        So we didn’t quite know what to expect.

        It ends up that Winvian is some rich person’s former fancy farm that the owners  then hired a ton of cool architects to build lodge pavilions on.  It’s all like one big inclusive hotel.   We won a free night at this AMAZING treehouse pavilion…

        Get this – It costs over $2000 a night to rent these places.  We’re talking this is a resort the mega-rich.  You know the kind – houses on Nantucket, buying political power and willing to drop the cost of a full vacation on one night in Litchfield.  In other words – not us.

        So I felt obligated to let you all in to the world a bit, hence, I took a ton of footage of it at the end of the video so you could see what it looked like.

        I figured there had to be a damn cheese store in a town like this right? Right!  It ends up there is a Dutch import store – and we’re talking these folks were right off the boat, probably with clogs on. 

        They were very nice people who moved to Litchfield in 1965 and said it was the ‘worst decision they ever made.’ Yikes.  Anywhoo they carried good food and gave us three authentic Dutch cheeses.

        I’m kinda thinking that the Dutch really are obsessed with Gouda (check out episode 13 where I explain more about Gouda, or you can just read up on it on wikipedia) – as all three cheeses she gave me were a play on Gouda or just straight up Gouda:

        1. BenningA mild ’gouda like’ (surprise) goat cheese. This is a highly respected brand. It is mild and has a peppery finish.  I guess it’s weird to find gouda made of goat milk.  It’s decent and not exciting, oh who am I kidding – it was a total snore.  At least the cheese cover is kinda cool, dutch design and all.

        2. Boerenkass Raw Milk Gouda This is the cheese the store was most excited about, plus it’s just fun to say.  Boer basically means farmer and Kass means cheese – so, you guessed it, it’s farm made ‘gouda like’ cheese by hand.  The top of the line stuff.  It’s got a golden rind and a rich sharp complex flavor – also nutty.  We liked it.   It’s supposedly pretty hard to find.  Check out the size of these mo’ fo’s!

        3. Noord Hollander Extra Aged Classic Gouda – I think the Noord Hollander is a type of cow.  This is a kick-arse aged 4 year gouda – it’s like the cheddar of Holland.  It’s ‘delightfully rich with a dense nutty flavor.’  We liked this one a lot – it was so intense and…

        Be sure to stick around after the cheese eatin’ to see footage of the Treehouse!


        Episode 21: Rocky Mountain Cheese High

        Hello Cheeseheads,

        So this is the final episode from our little Colorado adventure.  Apparently word has spread amongst the family clan about cheese, because when I showed up, my brother Michael and his wife, Lacey, showed up with cheeses for us to devour!  Love it when people bring cheese!

        This was particularly cool because they brought all local cheese made in Colorado.  I know right – who knew Colorado made cheese?  Anyways, I also showed up with some aged Grafton Cheddar  – can’t get enough of that stuff (it’s all over this blog – starting with episode 7)!

        Here’s what they brought:

        1. Haystack Mountain Boulder Chevre Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy began in 1989 when ofounder Jim Schott left teaching and began raising goats on his farm in Niwot, Colorado. Doesn’t he look happy with his goats:

        Today Haystack Mountain is recognized as a producer of premium goat milk cheeses.  This classic fresh semi-soft cheese is Haystack’s flagship product, and it won an American Cheese Society award 2001.

        Unfortunately we were not crazy about this one.  Words like glue and powder kept coming up – oh well – glue has its other purposes…

        2. MouCo Camembert from Fort Collins, CO- Birgit Halbreiter grew up in Germany and her dad is a master cheesemaker.   They started the company in 2001. MouCo Camembert is the first cheese that they  started producing, with 45 years of family experience. It had a soft and creamy texture with a hint of tartness, we had a relatively young sample of this cheese.  It was damn tasty.  Highly suggested.   It had a bit of a mushroomy aroma.  Go get this one Colorado!

        The term ‘camembert’ was originally a name protected cheese from France, but now it can be made anywhere.  It looks and tastes a lot like brie.

        3. All was not lost for Haystack farm – we also had their Haystack Chile Jack – and it was darn tasty.   It’s a monterey Jack style cheese made with goat’s milk with roasted mild green chilies  Jack cheese were invented in America by a dude named David Jacks, near Monterey, CA in the 1890s.  Usually it’s made with cow’s milk and is very soft, white and gentle.  It’s actually pretty typical to throw in some chilies.

        We think these are Hatch chilies in this puppy.  Hatch chilies are kinda huge out there I guess, as Michael does some splainin’ about.  They even have their own festival and hatch chili beer! Mmmmmm chili beer.

        No mention of chilies may happen in my life without a reference to the Simpsons’ awesome episode where Homer trips on the hottest chilies on earth:

        All in all this episode was eye opening to me just about how many places have cheese farms.  This blog will just keep knitting and knitting and….(Sorry – Pee Wee reference….)

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