Wine And Cheese Tips, Variety Suggestions, and Ideas to Send Your Senses, “To The Moon!”
Originally, cheese was developed as a way of preserving milk. Now cheese is recognized as a gourmet food, . . . at least some cheese is.
Cheeses from different regions have their own characteristic texture and characteristic taste because the bacterial fermentation conditions for cheese is carried out differently.
Cheese makers can use fresh or pasteurized milk, skimmed or whole milk and they can also add coloring. Different temperatures and different pH levels for the fermentation all affect the taste and texture of the finished cheese product/s.
Taste in Cheese is truly personal. Foreign cheese is often not a favorite for many. Rumor has it that often French people have never heard of the majority of English cheeses. As a child my grandparents lived on a large acreage and a variety of animals and crops including cattle and they made their own milk, butter, creams and cheeses. I learned to love the warm tastes of all these things as they were freshly created in my grandma’s kitchen by hand. We were summertime guests after school was out for a 6-8 week visits every year just to help out at the ranch.
For some it would have been like a prison, but for us it was a holiday filled with sunshine, horse-back rides, and working in the fields with our family and an ever changing variety of ranch hands. Growing up we often had milk straight from the cow, or goat or both, although we would not do that today because of the risk involved with bacteria, but we never had a stomach ache as a result of it. As a matter of fact, drinking milk that way created flavors that only nature could dream up.
Cheese Tip: Look for cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. They do not bear any resemblance to the distasteful and dull pasteurized varieties. Unpasteurized cheese is not suitable for very young children or the elderly.
Health Warning: According to doctors, Cheeses in their unpasteurized, or raw, form are a delicacy that could be dangerous to a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Unpasteurized cheese and other raw dairy products and meats could be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can cause serious infections and complications during pregnancy. Cows can carry harmful bacteria, salmonella, listeria, and E-Coli. For the cheese lover this idea is horrific!
Even though we were taught about how to make your own cheese, English cheese is what we grew up with. For my husband, it was a shot and a chunk of Brie. Lancashire cheese is mild, very pale and very crumbly. It is best cut from a whole cheese. Shrink wrapped Lancashire cheese is fine for cooking, but it doesn’t have many other uses.
|Crumbly Lancashire (8 ounce) by igourmet||Traditional Lancashire Cheese – Black Bomb||Lancashire, Kirkham’s by Artisanal Premium Cheese|
Cheese Tip: You can only keep Lancashire cheese for a maximum of three or four days. Sadly, as this cheese is exposed to air, it deteriorates rapidly. Because it has a very high melting point, Lancashire is the best cheese for making toasted sandwiches. My favorite at home on rainy days is tomato soup and a melted cheese sandwich – Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
Red Leicester cheese is another favorite. This has a nutty taste and should have cracks in it. This is another cheese that is best when fresh cut. Red Leicester has better keeping properties than Lancashire plus it works well on toasted sandwiches too.
Stilton cheese is made in Leicestershire and has blue veins running through it. Your choices include mature, extra mature and vintage Stilton. Once you have developed a taste for the vintage cheese then ordinary varieties carried in supermarkets just seem icky.
Vintage cheese costs a bit more, but the taste comparison is unbelievable. You can recognize a good stilton by the rind. It should be around one centimeter thick, crusty and a deep creamy yellow color. The cheese itself should be deep yellow with plenty of blue veins running through it. Most people do not eat the rind on Stilton, but to some, it is good too. I’m sure most will find it edible.
If you eat Vintage stilton and drink a ten or twenty years old port with it you are getting a taste combination that can only be described as a symphony! You will judge the quality of the port by how far up the taste goes into your sinuses.
Of course, like any food, tastes are as varied as people so with that in mind, go ahead and have a slice.
Cheese parties can be a lot of fun!
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