It’s the third installment of our Beer, Wine and Cheese Festival as this month’s Guinea Pig Diaries series! If you’re just tuning in, fear not, there’s still plenty to go around! You can learn about beer by going here, and/or about wine by going here!
Today’s post is about a subject which I’m quite fond of: cheese.
Growing up in Wisconsin, this tasty dairy treat comes in all shapes, sizes, consistencies and colors. I wish I could’ve sampled them all and shared with you, but my digestive track would sooo be on strike if I did that. When sampling cheese, moderation is key, but there’s really no better partner for a good beer or wine than a nice, flavorful cheese, is there?
This post won’t even begin to cover all the yummy cheeses out there, but here are 6 kinds my friends and I tried and all agreed, we’d gobble them up again!
Six Tasty Cheeses You’ll Want to Try for Yourself
1. Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs
Creamy and spreadable, this cheese goes amazingly with crackers and I recommend it with Pita Bites Black Olive and Feta crackers. YUM! I was first introduced to this cheese through a Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer at my Oscar Party, and they were delectable too. Some herb cheeses can be overwhelming in their salty spices and overpower the cheese itself, but this one was downright addicting! I couldn’t stop eating it! It’s light, not too salty, but definitely savory and you’ll want to let it melt across your taste buds!
The second of our soft cheeses we sampled, this brand favorite is the one I buy when I’m looking for a guilty pleasure treat. Organized into perfectly portioned wedges, I dare you to eat just one! This was my first time trying the sun-dried tomato and basil mozzarella and I must say I’m particular to the plain old Swiss one, but this was tasty too. The key flavor is definitely the sun-dried tomato. You won’t really need a flavored cracker with this one, it’s pretty strong on its own, and I think best with pretzels.
Not sure how wide-spread the Crystal Farms brand is across the country, but it’s pretty common around here. If you’re a fan of simple, light, medium-soft cheeses that go well with anything, this could be the one for you. The process for making havarti cheese involves washed cheese curd, so the flavor is typically on the subtle side. I think this would be a good cheese to add into your favorite mac and cheese recipe as it’s a comforting flavor. And it complements both sweet and salty sides. We tasted it with wasabi sauce, bavarian mustard and bumbleberry jam!
Another brand I seek out to indulge in guaranteed goodness! I highly recommend the Dubliner cheese from this company, but we tried their gouda this time. Joe was a big fan of this one. Smooth and mild, gouda cheese is similar to a havarti in that it’s also made from washed curds, but then it’s placed in a brine solution to age and the amount of time a gouda cheese has aged is what gives it its flavor. This gouda was creamy, despite its solid form, and delicious. It has a slightly sour aftertaste and went best with cracked pepper crackers or a roast beef sandwich. The adventure seekers could throw on some wasabi with it!
Raclette cheese is a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese that is most commonly used for melting, but I don’t know if I could wait that long! This crumbly cheese was the standout during our wine tasting and I would say is similar in consistency and taste to a parmesan or romano cheese. It has a little bit of a nutty flavor and was amazing beyond words with jam! To find this particular brand of raclette, you’d need to visit Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin – a popular tourist city with theme parks, shopping and places to eat galore! Market Square features various Wisconsin gift items, but the owners also make their own cheese and offer tastings. Should you find yourself driving through Wisconsin, I encourage you to stop at any number of “Cheese Chalets” and pick up some real Wisconsin cheese!
Saving the best for last (in my opinion), if you can find Bellavitano at your grocery store, GET IT! I am quite possibly in love with this cheese, at least my admiration falls deep. Made in Wisconsin, this family-owned and operated brand combines the savory cheddar you love with the boldness of a parmesan and then soaks it in the wine and berry notes you’d find in a merlot. I think the taste of this cheese is a slice of what Heaven would taste like. Again, if you can find it, buy it! Cause I’m not much for sharing when it comes to this cheese. 😉
Those are some of my favorite cheeses, how about yours? Have you tried any of these before? What is the first one you’ll go looking for?
And inquiring minds want to know, if you were a kind of cheese, what kind would you be and what is your best food pairing?