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The Wonderful World of C~H~E~E~S~E December 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure.

On Saturday, we attended a Cheese Tasting presented by The Fresh Market at the Main Library.

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We had the opportunity to try 10 cheeses from the Eight Cheese Familes:

1. Fresh Cheeses ~ Goat Log and Cilegene (fresh mozzarella)

2.  Soft Ripened/ Bloomy Rind ~ Ile de France Brie

3.  Washed Rind ~ Chaumes

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4. Pressed Uncooked ~ Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar

5. Pressed Cooked ~ Kaltbach Cave Aged Gruyere

6.  Pasta Filata (Stretched Curd) ~ Armenian String

7. Blue Veined ~ Buttermilk Blue

8. Specialty ~ Wendsleydale cranberry and Cran Le Roule

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Each table of four tasters had all cheeses within arm’s reach which enabled us to compare and contrast the tangy peppery goat log with the rich Brie with the sharp Buttermilk Blue.

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Karen LaBonte, the cheese specialist, brought Raspberry and Apricot preserves to pair with the White Cheddar and the Buttermilk Blue.  The Apricot preserves raised the Blue to stellar heights.

2014-12-13 14-46-30_0007Karen also brought a fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds for us to sample, amid squeaks.

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Following the tasting, the Manatee School for the Arts put on a short Holiday Concert.

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Giving attendees a chance to cleanse their palates with cookies and punch.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Are your favorite cheeses Mild or Sharp?  Nutty or Tangy?  Are they Stinky, Aromatic, and Pungent? Peppery, Grassy, or Musky?  Silky or Crunchy?  Citrusy, Earthy, Sweet, or Salty?  Elegant and Rich?  Or Rustic and Barn-yardy?



1. Val Boyko - December 18, 2014

Love love love love love love love love cheese!!
I can eat it til the cows come home.
My favorite is unpasteurized smelly French 🙂
Val x

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

M~O~O! I know just what you mean. Fresh Market has a great selection . . . and now we know a bit more about the options.

The brie and the blue were my favorites at the tasting. Not sure if they are smelly enough for you. :mrgreen:

2. Silver in the Barn - December 18, 2014

St. Andre and Port Salut are two of my favorites. Both rather decadent cows’ milk cheeses that are so good (only at room temperature, of course) that it’s hard for me to control myself. And have you tried Burrata yet? It’s a mozzarella ball which when you spoon it open oozes fresh cream? On a slice of crispy bruschetta? Oh heavenly. By the way, have I mentioned I like cheese? And then for Christmas, dates stuffed with blue cheese……

Pix Under the Oaks - December 18, 2014

Dates stuffed with blue cheese!!!

Silver in the Barn - December 18, 2014

Am I right, Pix? So incredibly good!!

Pix Under the Oaks - December 18, 2014

Dee-licious! You are so right!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

You two have got the party started! That sounds like the most yummy appetizer ever.

Port Salut is great. One of my favorites ~ Saga Blue (a cross between Brie and Blue).

3. lorriebowden - December 18, 2014

I never met a cheese I didn’t like!! 🙂

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

I tend to agree, Lorrie. Cheese is the cornerstone of some of our favorite meals ~ pizza, lasagna, quesadillas, nachos, mac & cheese, cheese fondue, and Raclette.

It’s such a versatile ingredient.

lorriebowden - December 18, 2014

And I don’t need anything to eat other than all you mentioned!! Happy happy! 🙂

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

One of the fun facts Karen shared at the tasting ~ that most comfort food cookbooks feature Macaroni and Cheese on the cover.

4. Becky - December 18, 2014

I love cheese. I love stinky cheese, but no one else in my family likes it. I’ve discovered what I call the $3 basket at the Whole Foods Cheese counter, that offers small chunks of cheese for under $3. I get my blue cheese fix there, because I can buy just the right size for me.
There’s been a new vendor at market this fall, offering freshly made queso that I’m seriously hooked on.

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

That $3 basket sounds like a great way to sample new cheeses too. BFF doesn’t enjoy stinky cheese either. But he makes the BEST Grilled Cheese sandwich ever ~> sharp Vermont Cheddar on Toscano Pano. YUM!

5. Jill Weatherholt - December 18, 2014

Ah…cheese…I love cheese! I eat cheese all day long. You would think my cholesterol would be through the roof, but it’s good. I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like, Nancy. A cheese tasting…that’s my kind of function!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

The set up for the cheese tasting exceeded our expectations. I figured on a platter or two of “standards” at the front of the room for everyone to sample. Instead, Karen set up 12 tables with each of the 10 cheeses. Just looking at the photos makes me think I need to pay her a visit at Fresh Market this afternoon.

Glad your cholesterol is behaving. Cutting out cheese would be hard. We try not to overdo it and balance cheese dishes with lots of fruits and veggies.

6. Pix Under the Oaks - December 18, 2014

Cheese! I like nutty cheese and smoked cheese. That sounds like a fun thing to do. I am always happy when our food stores have the cheese samples out.. 😀

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

Nutty and smoky ~ yum! It’s hard for me to resist cheese trays, especially at Holiday Parties.

“Please, sir, may I have some more?” 😛

7. Valleygrail - December 18, 2014

That looks like a cheese lover’s heaven!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

Everyone enjoyed it . . . except perhaps one “pot stirrer” who got hung up on the fat content of cheese and wanted us all to temper our enthusiasm. :mrgreen:

Valleygrail - December 18, 2014

What? At a cheese tasting occasion, someone dared to being in an agenda to disparage the cheese? I hope this person was pelted with squeeky curds!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

That’s what we should have done! “Curds away!!!”

8. Grannymar - December 18, 2014

That ‘stuff’ is a no no for me, but my Elly would have been in her element.

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

It’s interesting how our various genes work ~ e.g., you and dairy don’t mix, but Elly can enjoy. In like vein, mom is allergic to nuts but none of her 4 kids or 9 grandkids have a problem with them.

Grannymar - December 18, 2014

My mother loved butter, milk, cheese and CREAM. I was the only member in our household who could not tolerate them. Elly is like her Nana, but Cheese is top of her list. A year in France widened her options for treats.

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

France + Cheese Lovers = Perfect Together!

9. suzicate - December 18, 2014

Cheese=Bliss! Nuff said!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

Exactly right!

10. Barb - December 18, 2014

So many different cheeses and I haven’t heard of half of them! I like a smooth, sharp cheese but they are all so delish, sometimes it’s hard to choose. Great topic – you started something here Nancy……

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

Thanks, Barb. Our favorite “go to” cheese is a Vermont Cheddar which is smooth and sharp ~ perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese, or Welsh Rarebit.

11. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - December 18, 2014

Seriously?!? I love cheese, i must find a cheese tasting event! That looks so awesome!!!

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

Quite an amazing spread of tasty treats! Maybe you can coordinate between the public library and a local cheese monger. :mrgreen:

12. jannatwrites - December 18, 2014

I’m boring… I like plain old sharp cheddar. Not so much bleu cheese or super-smelly ones like feta. Never would’ve thought of having preserves with them. Guess that’s why I’m not a cheese specialist 🙂

nrhatch - December 18, 2014

I’ve had fruit with cheese on many occasions, but never apricot preserves. YUM! I don’t find “plain old sharp cheddar” boring. See my response to Barb at #10 ~ VT cheddar is our “go to” cheese.

13. Three Well Beings - December 19, 2014

No so sure I want the barnyard-y variety, but YES to all of the above! I love cheese. There’s a cheese for every occasion and for every taste. I would welcome the chance to learn a little more about the different styles and sampling is always a good way to go! 🙂

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

I got a kick seeing “barnyard-y” as a descriptor on the cheese tasting form ~ it rolls off your tongue, as you hold your nose. 😛

A FUN party might be a BYFC (Bring Your Favorite Cheese) Pot Luck. The host would set out wine, crackers, fruit, preserves . . . and guests would populate the tasting table with favorite cheese varietals. YUM!

14. pix & kardz - December 19, 2014

oh yes, cheese please. how cool is that!
i have discovered a few new ones recently, at least new to me. Tillamook cheddar and Coastal, which is a self-described ‘rugged, sharp’ white cheddar from England. and of course a brie is nice, and gouda, and, and, and… 🙂

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

The tasting made me realize that I should explore the cheese counter at Fresh Market more often. What a wealth of flavor explosions!

15. artistinsa - December 19, 2014

All looks too yummy for words!! 🙂

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

One of the more flavor-filled lectures we’ve attended at the Library. The runner up ~ A Taste of Japan.

16. Naomi - December 19, 2014

Thank you for the welcome education on these cheese families, Nancy . . . and now I’ve just realised how hungry I am!

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Cheese is the ultimate comfort food . . . I suspect it has something to do with its high fat content. Enjoy your lunch!

17. NancyTex - December 19, 2014

Now you’re really speaking my language! Love almost all cheese. Can’t do blue cheese. Apparently I’m allergic to mold (and I think all cheese is basically mold, right?, But I guess it’s the overt active mold in Blue that makes it a no go for me.)

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

According to Sauce magazine:

Cheese is made of mold ~ Fact and Fiction?

For this one, we consulted Simon Lehrer, cheesemonger at The Wine Merchant, and a human encyclopedia of all things cheese.

His answer: Sort of. “The cheese is made from milk, but then mold can set up either on the outside (like on any of the white cheeses that you see such as Brie or Camembert, that blooming white rind is mold) or on the inside (when you see the little bits of blue in blue cheese, that’s mold as well). However, most cheeses don’t have mold, and of those that do, it’s less than 10% of the cheese.”

– See more at: http://www.saucemagazine.com/blog/?p=4957

NancyTex - December 19, 2014

Well there’s definitely something in Blue that I have a problem with because I was on the bathroom floor, curled up in the fetal position for 24 hours both times I ate it. 🙂

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Oh, the bits of blue in blue cheese are 100% mold. A beneficial type for many people . . . NOT for you.

18. beeblu - December 26, 2014

My favorites are triple-cream Brie (of course, the most fattening), manchego, which is deliciously sharp and must be nibbled so as not to overwhelm the senses, pickled-onion cheddar, and the bland but rather lovely bocconcini, paired with tomato, fresh basil, caramelised balsamic and olive oil – yum, yum

nrhatch - December 26, 2014

You sound like me, BB ~ all over the cheese board! Variety is the spice of life.

After stepping on the scale this morning, I’ve decided I better steer clear of the triple-cream Brie until my weight is back out of the RED DANGER ZONE. 😛

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