07 October 2015

Cheese, please!

Kroger's and Murray's partner
to bring cheeeeeeese!
to twenty states' Kroger & affiliates
I've heard our new Kroger's expansion includes a cheese counter, so I asked my husband to pick up some cheese, please.  I really didn't know what I wanted and figured Jerry makes excellent choices as my personal shopper for clothes, so with my warped logic, I then surmised that he would also make excellent choices of cheese.  Besides, I love cheese and rarely have a met a cheese that I didn't like.  Remember cheese kisses?  If you do not, I am not surprised.  Cheese kisses were not popular and only were on the market for a very brief time in the 70s, apparently because I was the only one who liked them.  It's become part of family lore, retold by others with shudders and cringes.

Chianti with no fava beans
Jerry came home with a lovely assortment of six cheeses and a Chianti salami, as well as some crackers to cleanse the palate. We've lots of wine, but I had just poured myself so green tea that I'd steeped slices of turmeric root in...besides, noon is a tad too early for wine for me.  Most days.

This salami is a dense meat, but not too dense.  It is encased in a skin, with a fair bit of oil.  The texture is pleasant, and so is the taste.  I didn't eat much of it, since it does have so many flavors that it stands as its own treat and I wanted to focus on the cheese more so than the salami.  One thing that I enjoyed about it tho was the use of spices.  I like spicy foods, but sometimes salami can have too much and it feels to me that all that spiciness is to cover for something else.  Like folks who use way too much perfume might be disguising other less pleasant odors.  So I'd rather that my salami have a nice blend of spices, but let's not go overboard, shall we?  No, we shalnt.

Cheese us, yes!  Let's focus on the cheese!  My go~to cheese tends to be Swiss.  I love swiss and remember my dad and I eating baby swiss slices when I was a child.  Right around the same time that he and I also would go outside and eat sardines from the can, with crackers.  I remember a few types of sardines, but I think that I liked the kind in mustard best.  The last time I had sardines, they were bigger with fewer in the can than what I remembered.  So cheese, yeah, ok~~of the six cheeses Jerry brought home today, the swiss is what we tried last, because we're somewhat familiar with swiss.  This was a Jarlsberg Lite, which made me wonder what the different is between this and the regular...is the nonLite version more full~bodied?  Fewer holes?  Is the difference comparable to the baby swiss vs swiss?  Not sure, but will explore the matter further in the future!  This Jarlsberg Lite was a bit more dense in consistency with lots of bubbly holes dispersed in small bursts rather than huge gaping holes that you can drive a smartCar thru.  The kick actually hits you more so at the end of chewing, then lingers as an after taste.  Very nice!

Piave Vecchio and parmgiano reggiano are often compared,  The piave surprised me because as I bit into this drier cheese, lush tropical fruit scents wafted up my nose and then as I chewed it, I tasted a blend of citrus fruitiness that confused me but I liked it.  I was confused, since the cheese is a more crumbly sort and the fruity taste was juicy.  It takes lil to confuse me, apparently.  I definitely liked this and can see it being grated on salad greens or even a fresh fruit salad.  Very good!

The Parmgiano Reggiano is considered the "king of cheese".  To
me, what I noticed the most, was a sweet & salty taste with a gritty texture.  I enjoyed it, but think I would love it more so pared with some thin sliced ham or turkey wrapped around it and perhaps even slightly melted.  Not sure, exactly, so I will be trying it with other foods in the future.

Both of the last two cheeses are usually served in a grated, shredded, or powdered form here in the USA.  We tend to shake it from its can onto spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, and other dishes we think are Italian.  But I thought of the holidays past and sitting around the table, playing a boardgame, dominoes, cards, or yahtzee while snacking on fruits, dips, veggies, cheeses, and ring bologna with my friends and family.

Speaking of the holidays, Murray's Black Pepper BellaVitano reminds of some sort of traditional holiday dessert.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but then I remember that AllSpice contains black pepper and that is usually added to most fruit pies.  My mom made pies every year, usually pumpkin and apple, but sometimes cherry, peach, mincemeat, and others.  This cheese is great on its own, and even better with apple/raisin pie.  It was by far the most popular with both Jerry and I this afternoon.  We loved it!

The Jamaican Jack cheese called No Woman was the first cheese we opened and we both enjoyed it,
tho Jerry like both it and the black pepper cheese pretty much equally.  I like it, but was eager to try the other cheeses.  Although I did find it tasty, I was disappointed in the overall lack of spiciness.  It smells spicier than it tasted and with a name like that, I was expecting that extra jerk spice.  If I didn't have that expectation, I think I would have liked it lots more.  I think that it would melt nicely and in that case, it would make an awesome grilled cheese, with ham or turkey, on some really good bread.  With tomato basil soup.  Yes.  It would.

Chipotle Jack put us back on more familiar territory, which came both as a disappointment and as a Yea!  It was a disappointment to be on familiar ground, because our cheese adventure was drawing to a close, much like this post.  But the cheese itself was tasty and moist, a bit on the softer side, as we americans tend to prefer our cheese...I think it's mostly because that's what we know and how we were brought up.  If we were, as the French are, surrounded with cheeses as children {omg, I love that phrase, cheeses as children, so fun to say and fun to write/type too.  just imagine the short story you could pull outta that...cheeses with children, set in a sunday school...too delicious!}; if we were surrounded with cheeses as we grew up, we'd all be getting all riled up over our preferred cheese as we sometimes can over bbq, sweet tea, or any other regional food that differ from that same food prepared in a different way.  You'd have your american vs provolone, vs cheddar, vs brie, vs blues...to the nth degree.  We'd have cheeses with names like Metallica and the heavy cheese, versus the hard rockin' cheese, versus groovy tastes.  We'd be putting peanuts and blackeyed peas in cheese and caramel swirls.  We'd be doing things that other countries would feel are profane and crimes against god, and then again, we'd be having marches dedicated to not letting the big cheese stand alone.  We'd be all freaked out by who keeps moving our cheese, there'd be children's books devoted to finding the cheese in the marbled rind, and we'd wonder where our misspent youth's cheese went to.  We'd have folks wanting lactose free cheese in all the varieties and we'd have way more revitalization in the Make Your Own Home Fermented Cheese movement.  We'd again be saying, "cheeeeeeeeese" while taking pix with our friends, our family holiday shots would be with us saying "brieeeeee" because we think our family is unique and smarter than other families.  Wisconsin, Vermont, and other cheesy locales would become more popular than the Napa Valley wine tasting tours.  And we'd have children writing reports about their favorite cheese, and school projects revolving around each class raising goats to milk versus the other school's fixation on cow's milk as the base for various cheeses.  Then you'd have the avant garde groups making cheese with coconut milk, hemp milk, and almond milk.  And you'd have the herpetologist grad students doing their theses on snake milk cheese.  Some group of mothers weaning their toddlers would decide that donating their extra frozen pumped milk to neonatal units, they'd make cottage cheese for their tykes to transition easier to semi~solid foods.   In short, if we grew up with a variety of cheeses regularly consumed, the USA stance would be ohh! SO! different than any other society's reaction to cheese's presence in their culture.

{i had to slip the culture in, what cheese entry would be complete without it?!?}

1 comment:

Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!