Last night on my grocery bender, I finally hit a local cheese shop I’d been wanting to visit for some time, Venissimo in Belmont Shore. They have many of my usual go-to’s, and I picked up one of those, Idiazabal. The cheesemongress on duty, Lisa, was very helpful and friendly (even after dealing with the surly fucktard she tried to assist before me), and when I asked if she had something akin to Explorateur, pointed me toward another artisanal triple cream, Delice de Bourgogne. I was surprised that she cut into a new small round for me to try it, but knew what she was doing. As soon as I tasted it, I bought the half-round she cut. I also found a very nice Austrian cheese, Weinkäse. As the name implies, it is soaked in wine to condition the rind, and is a very distinctive semi-hard cheese.
I am an unreformed cheese slut. Anyone else have any recent finds, or want to pimp your fave picks?
Idiazabal is a house favorite for us too… love that smoky flavor. My kids like to cut little wedges and stuff them into “ripe green” olives. Okay, so do I. We also like Explorateur. Other house favorites at the moment are La Tur, Robiola tres latti, and Humboldt Fog. We never get sick of good old Parmigiano, especially if we can scare up red cow.
And then there’s burrata. I can’t wait for heirloom tomatoes and burrata this summer!
Melissa, I eyed covetously their small round of La Tur, and I am quite sure that it will be a near-future buy. Haven’t had it in a while, but oh, so good. They had burrata, too, so my next visit is already shaping up decadently.
My local grocery store has a good cheese section, but their La Tur prices are ludicrous. A half wedge is $13+. By contrast, one of the more foo foo stores in Portland, known for its high prices, sells full wedges for $11. Go figure! We’re having Humboldt Fog tonight, but now I’m craving La Tur.
A new wine store near me opened recently (The Big Cheese) and I quickly became friendly with the owner. She sold me a round of Epoisses that was outstanding, also Berthault.
I like all the cheeses above, but old Comte (2.5-3+ year old) just gives me the shivers, as does Epoisses, Abbaye de Citeaux, Brin d’Amour, Chabichou du Poitou, Ami du Chambertin, Valencay, Trou du Cru (got to love the name), Idiazabal, aged Manchego, older Parmesan, Langres, Garrotxa, Petit Basque, Asiago, Taleggio, and the list goes on and on and on.
Most of my favorites have already been mentioned: Époisses de Bourgogne (I’ve had the aged stuff in Époisses, during an impromptu covert picnic in the gardens of Château de Époisses), Roncal, Manchego viejo, Abbaye de Cîteaux (had some from the abbaye in Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux - I won’t forget since my GPS conked out while my wife and I were there and we had to find our way back to Vosne-Romanée without it or a map). I also like Reblochon, Saint Albray, Crottin de Chavignol, cave-aged Gruyere and, of course, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano.
On their own, I can. I like how the Comte, CA Gruyere and Emmentaler work together when mixed in equal portions in a gratin. When splashed with truffle oil, it becomes sublime. Will have some during our big birthday dinner in August.