Thursday, January 15, 2009

Praise Cheeses

So I'm stuck at home today recovering from a really unpleasant case of food poisoning — not exactly what I planned for today, but at least I get to watch bad daytime TV (right now the ShamWow! commercial is on, and Tyra Banks is putting people in the "Gay Truth Booth" - awesome), stare at our new fish bobbing around our aquarium, and write a blog post. And what better to write about when you have food poisoning? Let's talk food.

This past week I got my first delivery from the iGourmet International Cheese of The Month Club, Maggie's most awesome (and most fattening) Christmas present. Each month you get three half-pound pieces of cheese with a particular theme that isn't revealed until it arrives. I eagerly opened the box of cheese and tried to guess the theme before reading the Cheese of the Month newsletter — the box included an aged gouda, a Bavarian blue, and an Italian pecorino, and I couldn't come up with a theme. A north-south sampling through Europe?

The array of cheeses in the first month

No, the theme was "A trio of milks: cow, sheep, and goat"; a great concept, except astute cheese fans may have noticed that there are two cow's milk cheeses (Gouda, blue) and one sheep's milk (Pecorino). Oops - goat fail. So it turns out my north-south theme was actually more accurate, but with three awesome cheeses, I'm not about to complain.
ReNero Pecorino Stagianato (Sheep)

Beemster Master's Choice Gouda (Cow)

Paladin Regina Blu (Cow)

Despite the lack of goat cheese, I have no complaints about the cheese selection: all were new to me, none of them were silly flavored cheeses (you know, mango Stilton, strawberry brie, and their ilk), and all were delicious. The Regina Blu was by far my favorite, super creamy (thanks to a 65% fat content) with a very mild blue flavor. I'm not normally a big fan of goudas, but the Beemster Master's Choice was a close second to the blue: really nutty and lacked the cloying sweetness that goudas often have. A few years ago Maggie and I had a fabulous late night snack of wine and hard cheeses at 'Ino in New York, and ever since I've been a fan of eating the super hard cheeses like pecorinos and parmesans, not just grating them over pastas. The ReNero Stagionato didn't disappoint, although I can't say that it was significantly different from your basic Pecorino Romano (probably side-by-side you could tell).

The first month was a success, and I can't wait to see what arrives next - hopefully no mango Stilton.

By the way, you know what goes well with cheese? Dried fruits, like raisins and prunes. Agree or disagree? This is the last chance to chime in on the Raisin Survey before I summarize the results next week.

No comments: