Beer, Wine and Cheese Festival, Part 3 – The Cheese

beerwinecheesepicIt’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!

Boursin2.  Laughing Cow Light Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil

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.

Laughing Cow3.  Crystal Farms Havarti

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!

Havarti4.  Kerrygold Blarney Castle Gouda

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!

Kerrygold Gouda5.  Market Square Raclette

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!

Raclette6.  Sartori Bellavitano w/ Merlot

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.  😉

Bellavitano

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? 

Cheese Tasting

Happy Tasting!

 

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25 responses

  1. Did you raid my frig for these? OK – I didn’t have the last two, but I had to wonder.

    1. OMG, are you loving the Boursin?! It’s amazing! You must stock your pantry with the Pita Bites crackers cause they’re sooo good with it! And definitely add jam to the havarti. Yum Yum Yum!

      1. I first picked up Boursin sometime in the eighties and have been loving it ever since. Fun to see a whole new generation discover it. My husband came to the marriage with an addiction to the Laughing Cow, but in recent years eats more Havarti and Feta than anything else. Me? If it’s cheese I’ll eat it!

  2. I havarti ever buy my favorite cheese.

    However, we do have some really good choices out here. Tillamook, as I’ve mentioned before. Anything of theirs (but especially the sharp cheddar or pepper jack). And Beecher’s, a Seattle brand that has a Flagship cheese that is amazing!

    Truth is, I’m fondue of just about every type of cheese.

    1. Ok, now that I’m done rolling my eyes…

      LOL – Oh Mark, nice jokes, but don’t you think they were a bit on the cheesy side? *Ba DOOCH!*

      Remind me, you and Tara are bloody mary fans, aren’t you? Joe made some good ones the other day with pepper jack cheese and an olive cheese we picked up from Market Square. Add in some brussel sprouts, a pickle and beef bites and you can drink your meal! 😀

      1. Heck, yeah. We love bloody marys!

  3. Cheese! I love most cheese, but esp. meunster and parm. Yum. Cheese was the only thing I missed when I was vegan. 🙂

    1. Have you tried vegan cheese? My sister was trying to eat much more organic when she had health problems, and cheese was the hardest thing for her give up. I wonder if I could ever make that switch… I’m a fan of cheese.

  4. I definitely need to get #6. That sounds yummy. I also love Kerrygold’s Dubliner cheese. I’ll have to try their gouda. If I were a cheese, I think I would be muenster (my all time favorite)–smooth but not bland, IMHO.

    1. Isn’t the Dubliner cheese awesome?! I like that one too! Joe is a fan of muenster, and I must say it’s really good in sandwiches. Nice pick!

  5. You have some nice choices in here (Boursin is dreamy… have you tried their fig version? YUM!). I also love Blarney Castle. However, I have to say… my main cheeses are quirkier. I love Tête de Moine (it’s a Swiss-variety but without the holes and a lot less greasy of a texture); Onetik Chebris (a goat/cheep combo that slices great, but practically melts on your tongue like cream; and Humboldt Fog…

    But a good baked brie with cranberries, walnuts and apples never hurts either.

    (Now I’m hungry.)

    1. Uhh now I’m hungry too!

  6. Jess, just looking for a website to describe that Onetik to you, I found this document. Very dangerous…. to my cheese purchasing budget. It’s amazing what people have come up with in terms of flavor variations and textures with milk, enzymes and time.

    http://www.aniata.com/images/cheese%20descriptions.doc

  7. I REALLY don’t like cheese, but my guy LOVES it. So I will share this with him. 🙂

    1. How can you not love cheese?! Trust your man, Tiffany! He knows what’s good for you. 😉

  8. I usually like the white cheeses more than the orange. I’d put feta cheese on almost everything if my family would let me. (It’s not really a wine cheese, but then again, I’ve had wine with Pop Tarts, so how picky am I really?)

    The Boursin cheese is marvelous, and I’m also a sucker for a really good Swiss. I’ll definitely be checking out a couple more from your list! Great series, Jess!

    1. Yah Joe is a feta fan too. But you won my heart with pop tarts and wine! Julie, you just became a little bit cooler in my book than you already were. LOL

      1. And now I know what to bring for our late night snacks…

  9. May I suggest any of the Saxon Creamery cheeses? (www.saxoncreamery.com). Their cheese is made with milk from the cows on their family’s farm (no other milk is used) and their Saxony and Big Ed’s with garlic & pimento is absolutely wonderful!

    1. Ooooh yum! Looks awesome! Hey I noticed you’re from Wisconsin! Whereabouts? I’m in La Crosse.

      1. Sorry – didn’t see this until today! I’m on the east coast of Wisconsin, halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay. The lake is just a mile away, which is really nice. We do have relatives near you, in Chippewa Falls and Durand.

  10. […] And six different cheeses you’ll want to add to your shopping cart here. […]

  11. You might have guessed we are BIG cheese lovers and really into the blues that sometimes send other guests running for the door! A good compromise is Cambozola – a combo of Camembert and Gorgonzola – YUM! And we are with you on the Boursin!

    1. I still need to try camembert!

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