Click on a cheese below to read my opinion of itBaby Swiss 10
10 Baby Swiss
It doesn't get any better than this... creamy but still slightly sharp, with a really distinctive taste. Of course, any cheese with holes is really cool, too.
10 Full Cream Swiss
Ok, so maybe I lied. It *does* get better than that. This cheese is from Amish country, I think, or maybe they just want me to think that. It is absolutely wonderful, a creamy delight with that great slightly sharp Swiss thing going on.
10 Cheddar with Port Wine
A guilty pleasure... I love even the cheap brands that are a step above Cheez Whiz, I have fond memories of digging into a crock of this with my dad and a box of Ritz crackers. What a tangy, unique taste!
10 St. Agur
This one is French, and looks like a standard blue cheese. However, looks are deceiving. It's really creamy, soft amazing cheese. The blue in it is just enough to make things interesting. It's like butter, or maybe ice cream. The only fault it has is that it's almost *too* soft, and at time hard to eat. True also, it doesn't "hold up" very very in dishes, and even on a cracker its flavor disappears, but eaten with a spoon, it's incredibly naughty (smirk).
9 Sharp Cheddar
The Corvette of cheeses, muscular, interesting, and somehow very American (the country, not the fake cheese). It's what I grew up with. My brother and I would take an entire bag of corn chips (usually bargain generic Doritos), and throw a whole brick of sharp cheddar on it. That was our version of nachos. Of course, we could eat whatever we wanted as teenagers and not gain much weight, but as an adult, I worry about how my mom could afford food for us. That stuff was expensive.
This one was a surprise, and the thing that got me started on making a page of cheeses. Slightly hard like parmesan, but cut-able (hard but not too hard), it has a delightful edge. It's creamy and sharp at the same time. Unfortunately, it has a crust which changes the taste and texture close to the rind.
9 Roaring 40's
This is Australian, and I'm not too sure about how it got its name. Again, it's like a blue cheese in disguise. Instead of being "ranker-than-thou", it prides itself on being smoother and sweeter. Damn, this one is almost like a dessert cheese. It's softer and yellower than a "normal" blue cheese, but eating it is a complete surprise. I can't describe how original it is... it's almost like candy. Which mean it's probably also bad for your health. But what a way to go.
9 Maytag Blue Cheese
The best blue cheese in the world. However, it's so strong and rank that I have to get in the mood to eat it. It's not the kind of thing I can snack on every day (though my boyfriend Michael could). One year for a present, my mom gave Mike an entire box of Stilton sent directly from Iowa. It lasted a lot time... about six months wrapped up tightly in our freezer. We'd open a little individually-sealed foil-wrapped triangle every week, and enjoy. Thanks again, mom!
9 Blue Cheese
Again, incredibly unique. In a class of it's own. One of my favorite salads has blue cheese, pears, and sugared walnuts on endive lettuce with an apple vinaigrette. Only blue cheese could pull off a salad like that.
9 Danish Blue
This is a variation Mike bought one time. It was good, but I don't like blue cheeses that are runny or soupy. I like it a bit drier, so it crumbles if you want, or could be cut. I guess I want a versatile, talented blue cheese.
Really aged gouda. Really really REALLY aged gouda. So aged that it's turning slightly orange, like an old grandpa's socks. This is extremely sharp, and it's only drawback it that it's not really good *with* anything. It has to be eaten by itself, and then only a little brittle crumbly bit at a time. It's really surprising that it's old gouda.
Slightly nasty at first, and then it had this incredibly tasty finish. Kind of rank, like a blue cheese, but it had a really great body. It's surprising and fun, and I can't say that about a lot of cheeses.
This one's great. The only thing bad I can say is that it's slightly grainy. But there's so much more going on here: a parmesean start that blends into a swiss kind of finish. It's a very sophisticated cheese... I don't htink I could cook with it because it tastes like several different things at once. Luckily, it tastes absolutely wonderful by itself. Skip the cracker of slice of bread... it's that good.
8 Brillat Savarin
Like a brilliant cross between blue cheese and brie. This one's really good. It's incredibly smooth... Michael said it tasted like ice cream, and I think he might be right.
Like a dream, this a tasty Swiss cheese, but without the holes. I don't know... maybe I'm a cheapskate, but I like to think that because there are no holes, I'm getting a *little* bit more cheese for my dollar. However, deep down I know it doesn't work that way.
8 Cave Aged Emmenthaler
...and it's even better after sitting a while. I mean, what the hell? It's *cheese*. It's milk that's been sitting around, growing old *anyway*. What can go wrong with letting it grow some more mold? One thing I don't like is the fact that the cheese tends to harden from the rind inward, so there's often a hard crust that needs to be removed. But like a fine wine, the taste only gets better with age. However, don't try this at home in your refrigerator.
8 St. Andre
A really great cross between brie and camembert. It doesn't have a lot of bite, and just lets the smooth, creamy taste through. A definite winner.
Cheese and walnuts. Walnuts and cheese. What a great combination. This German cheese is like a dull brie... but oh, what nuts. Eating this makes me feel like I'm at a swank party. To make it even more decadent, add a current jelly, or eat it spread over a sesame cracker with an Anjou pear. Too much. Of course, without the walnuts, the cheese would be bland, I imagine. Plus, I could have made it myself with a cheaper cheese and a bag of nuts. But it comes in a cool "bundt cake-like" shape, which in itself is cool.
Mozzarella... with a difference! This is a smooth, creamy cheese, but instead of being similar to those tasteless "string cheese" sticks that children get packed into their school lunches, this cheese has a bite of a bite. I can't describe it except to call it "zingy", and it makes Asadero a really nice cheese to munch on for a snack.
7 Montcerda De Pyrenees
I had never had a good Spanish cheese until this one. And this cheese is pretty good... a creamy Gouda-ish wedge. It had two things I like: a hard wax that's easy to pull off, and the little holes that make it lighter. I'm not incredibly enthusiastic about this cheese, but I would buy it again.
Very soft and mozzarella-like, with a creamy smooth aftertaste. That's it.
I really don't like parmesan in it's natural form. It's too hard to cut. I still have a block of it in my refrigerator from last year, and it seems to be ok. How can you tell if it goes bad? It's like a rock... you cut off the mold and it looks the same is it did before. Hmmm... a rolling parmesan gathers no moss. Anyway, I give this cheese bonus points because it tastes so good in those cans by Kraft. Sometimes, I like cooking pasta, and just using this cheese and a little butter as the sauce.
7 Marianated Feta
I'm not really a feta fan, but I have to admit that this one's good. I'm not sure exactly what it's marinated in: oil, parsley, sage, salt, pepper... it doesn't matter. It's just good. It would be fantastic crumbled on top of a salad if I wasn't so stingy with it - cutting off a thin slice an eating it with crackers. Plus this cheese gets bonus points because you can eat it with bread, and then, and THEN, dip the bread into the marinating oil for a second snack. Sublime.
Herkimer. Don't you love the name? Herkimer. Herkimer-herkimer-herkimer. It sounds like the name of that "Star Hustler" guy. Or the name of a really unpopular kid at school. It's a good thing that the cheese tastes good. Ok, it's a little dry, and the rind was thick, but the taste is like a soft cheddar with "salty" and "herby" undertones. Aren't those great words, too? "Salty" and "herby". It could be a children's tv show. And "undertones"? Couldn't that be a techno-ska band? So... say it with me and remember the name of a cheese that will never be popular with the "in-crowd". Herkimer. It will be our little secret.
A brie impostor. It's almost exactly like brie, but a little creamier and not as soft. However, it doesn't really have a taste (to me) besides cream... and I don't know how to cook with it. It's my forgotten cheese... maybe I'll develop a taste for it someday. (On second thought) I've had some great camemberts lately, especially "Delice". So, I've recently decided that it's acutally better-than-brie, if only because *everybody* knows about brie, so it's really played out, hipness-wise.
7 Old Amsterdam
It's a sharp, soft parmesean, much like the Reblochon. However, that kind of tangy grainy stuff has been at the top of my list lately. Maybe it's because that cheese goes so well with wine, or maybe because I know how to cook with it. But also it's a cheese that, like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction", it refuses to be ignored. It doesn't disappear into a pure creamy taste like so many softer cheeses. Instead, you *know* you're eating this cheese, and even though it's not too expensive, it's nice to be reminded that cheese should be savored.
Not my favorite of the blue cheeses... kind of like an "light blue" cheese. If you want blue cheese, there are better and stronger alternatives. However, it gets the job done.
6 Mild or Medium Cheddar
Cheddar is cheddar, and I shouldn't be hard on the more delicate version of this cheese, but I give it a lower rating because when I want cheddar, I want it to be as sharp as possible. So sharp it cuts my mouth... so sharp it slices the plastic packaging all but itself.
Camembert mixed with blue cheese! What could go wrong? This cheese was more creamy than blue... I actually wanted a bit more tang in my cheese. If I want a creamy blue cheese, then I'd take St. Agur over this one. The mold kind of left little hard green pellets in the cheese instead of speading through in like a rich blue vein. However, it went down easy... I think this is a good cheese to give people who don't like blue cheese. You know, get 'em started on a sample, like selling crack.
6 Baby Brie
Just like brie, except the rind is really mellow. I think I could eat this one all by inself, but the rind still bothers me a little bit. Not as much as real brie, but it's not my bag. Michael loves it, though. I'll let him eat it.
Incredibly smooth and unique. Nothing else comes close, except maybe Camembert. I love it baked in phylo dough with a berry dressing, too. It goes great with wine and bread, but I don't like the harsh rind. I cut it off, which wastes a lot of cheese, or I melt it into extinction. My friend Joel still is mad at me for giving him a slice of this years ago...
"Gouda with a bite" sounds like an oxymoron, like "spicy bland" or "hot cold". However, this one has the texture and color of Gouda, but it has something else, too. I always thought Gouda needed a little something... a kick in the pants. Whenever I cook with Gouda, I always try to add something spicy, just to give it more flavor. Well, this cheese has it already built in. So, now maybe I don't have to cook.
I was a teacher for two years, so I've always felt protective of the underachiving students - the one's who don't quite get it right. This cheese is an also-ran, a smooth creamy cheese with nothing much going for it. However, the rind isn't bad, and there's a brief flash of cream cheese while I ate it. Maybe it's promising, and I'll come back later to see how it's doing, but it's mediocre for now.
It's a swiss cheese. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along now. Ok, that's not fair - there's a bit of nice sharpness here, as if it's a swiss cheese crossed with a cheddar. But overall, it's not very interesting.
You might think that this cheese would be flavorless, because it looks so much like a Gouda or Edam. But, oh, you would be wrong. So, so terribly wrong. Sure, it has a smooth creamy taste that borders on being omnipresent and nauseating. But this is a cheese with a surprise. There's a slight tangy flavor here, as if this was a medium cheddar that turned out smooth. Mike liked this one a lot more than I did, I'm afraid. I though it was way too soft. Can a cheese be too soft? I think so, especially when it has an odd "grainy" feel to it, as if your teeth are sliding on rubber. This one tasted good, though, I have to admit.
I had to try this cheese because it was featured in an episode of "Wallace and Grommit". I was really surprised, because in the cartoon, the cheese is very spreadable. In reality, it has a crumbly texture. I guess that's the limitation of claymation. But it has a nice nutty flavor, so I liked it a lot.
5 Port Salut
I think I've had this one before, but I couldn't remember. I guess that describes this cheese. Really smooth and tasty, but not very memorable. There really isn't a port flavor, but at the same time, there isn't a rind. Just a smooth, almost liquid creamy center. It's good, but I'll probably forget it. (Later note) I did forget I had tried this. I've seen this around a lot more recently... somebody must like it a lot. I found it to be creamy, but rather grainy. In fact, it was almost unpleasant to eat by itself, since it slid off my teeth while chewing it. However, it was absolutely divine when eaten on a cracker.
French cheddar cheese! Who would have thought? I may be disloyal to my Wisconsin heritage, but this was pretty good. It wasn't sharp, but it had a more sophisticated richer taste than grocery store cheddar cheese. However, the rind was waxy on top, but a bitter brie-like soft mess at the bottom. I guess that's what you get for hand-made cheese.
Creamy, smooth, not tart, but unfortunately, not very interesting.
5 Royal Provance
This is a blue cheese-tasting thing, so maybe they should just call it blue cheese. Wait! Oh my god! What *is* that thing? This cheese has huge chunk of something green in it... like the skin of a grape. Oh, it's just an olive. Strange. On second taste, this cheese tastes a little different than a standard blue, as if it was a *green* cheese or something. In any case, it's tantalizing, and the only thing keeping it from a higher score is the texture. It instantly crumbles into sticky, hard-to-spread bits, which is unfortunate. This cheese needs a style consultant or a makeover or something. Tastes great, but the presentation leaves a lot to be desired.
Though it's great on Italian food (or a muffelata sandwich), I'm nervous about mozzarella. Anything that naturally comes wet in a bag is not cheese. Sure, they have drier version in the grocery store, but I keep thinking about the real thing.
4 Fourme D'Ambert
Oh, I'm a sucker. I bought this cheese. It's blue. No.. let me repeat that. It's BLUE. It looks like a batch of blue cheese that's gone bad. And how can you tell if it's gone bad? I don't know... it's *blue*. Even on a cracker, the full flavor of this cheese came through. Which is a good thing if you like blue cheese. I *thought* I likes blue cheese, and I thought I like the color blue, and I thought I liked cheese, but I guess this was too much.
Not really interesting, a slightly hard gouda thing. The lady at La Delice didn't wrap it very well, and it got even harder in the fridge. I'd rather eat something else.
4 Petit Basque
Nasty rind. The rest tasted ok, but still had that "rind flavor". Not much to go on, I'm sorry. I'll try to do better as a reviewer next time.
It's a dry cheddar. Boy, that sounds bad when I put it like that. The cheddar part isn't bad... but DRY. It could be because I bought this at a cheap Quickie-mart in Canada (actually, an "alimetaire"). However, I bought some bitchin' St. Agur at a different store, so I think I'll blame the cheese.
Soft white cheese with an odd blue streak through the middle. And you can tell when you open the cheese... even from across the room. It's that strong. However, and Mike said, "Mmmmm, rank." Some people like that, I guess. To me, it was a very *interesting* cheese, both mild and moldy and dank and smelly and chewy at the same time. It's not like anything else on this list, so it gets some bonus points for being different.
I think this is the same stuff as "goat cheese". In any case, it's a runny, watery mess that's hard to look at. It tastes great on a Greek salad or in an omelet, but it has surprising little taste by itself, with an olive accompaniment.
4 American Slices
As a guilty pleasure, I used to wrap up a slice of American with a slice of bologna to make a "wagonwheel". There used to be a commercial that ran amongst Saturday-morning cartoons where a little cowboy/ cocktail wiener would sing he had a "hanker for a hunka... a slab a slice a chunka... hanker fer a hunk of cheese". He taught use latchkey kids how to cook the fattening, greasy "snack" for ourselves, promoting weight gain and a lifelong habit of buying cheese. It's sometimes good on a sandwich, but I can't say that this cheese tastes much different that the folded-over plastic it comes individually-wrapped in.
4 Charlie Cheese
This is popular in England, I think. Because... it's in the shape of a head. Not a sculpted profile, but a leering yellow-and-orange grin. I don't know how they do it, but I imagine it's like that Pillsbury sugar cookie dough in the US that's made with a press. As a result, the face looks kind of scary, like a threatening jack o' lantern. On the other hand, this cheese could be useful for those vegetarians that was to eat something that looks like it's alive. Don't tell the vegans, though.
A really sweet Asiago. Extremely dry, as if it could suck all the moisture out of your mouth when you eat it. As much as I wanted to like this cheese (gotta give respect to the Auld Sod, dontcha know), I have to decline.
"Buttercheese" and the name is really truth in advertising. This cheese was so flavorless and smooth that it tasted like eating margarine right out of the tub. This isn't a truly bad thing, but it isn't good either. There has to be a good use for this cheese someplace, but I can't think of what it would be. Eating it plain was slightly sickening, and what I ate it by itself, the other items overpowered its slight creamy taste as if it wasn't there. Or like it was just extra fat.
4 French Madrigal
Ok, ok, so I complain too much about rank and stanky cheeses, and then I'm rewarded with something like this... a rather flavorless mediocre cheese. There's nothing here to stand out in any way. Oh well. Maybe I'll use this to cook with... at least it can add some fat calories to my diet!
3 Swiss Gruyere
I'm not sure how this is different than regular Gruyere, except I liked it better. I actually used this to make "dunkers" (quick recipe: a slice of chewy french bread, covered in pepperoni and melted cheese, then dipped into spaghetti sauce. Much thanks goes to "Donetelli's"... the pizza joint hangout of my misspent youth). I was afraid the harsh bite of the cheese would disagree with the sauce, but after the first sour hit was gone, the cheese had a nice soft Mozarella feel to it. However, it's still not my favorite.
Michael liked this when we went on a holiday trip to Houston. Our host, Tony Attardo, also liked it a lot. However, I let it sit in the back of the van during the drive back to Denver, stinking up the cooler it was stored in. I had intended to eat this cheese with crackers during the long road trip, but I found I was never in the mood for its strong "dark chocolately", had yellow flavor. It was still in my freezer weeks after we got back.
3 TÍte de Moine
I had to buy this cheese due to its name "Monk's Head". Actually, I shouldn't have bothered. This cheese really had no flavor but a rank aftertaste like sweaty socks. The only plus is that it was yellow-white and rather soft, so I was able to use it for cooking. Since I had to buy a whole half round to get a taste of it, I had a lot of cheese to cook with. But it wasn't *good* cheese.
Like swiss gone bad. There's no nice way of putting it. There's really no taste except a nasty soul taste that eventually comes through. Something is really wrong with this cheese, and I'm not sure I can even cook with it.
Like an expensive colby. It's not high praise, I grant you, but if you're in the mood for a mild, soft cheese, this one is more colby than colby. Like an ultra-colby. Colby to the max... "pump up the colby". Hmmm, on second thought, it's kind of bland.
A pretty stinky cheese, like a cross between parmesan and blue cheese. It's hard and dry, with a strong aftertaste. Not one of my favorites.
Mike said this tasted like a damp cellar smells. I thought it was rather tasteless, just a orange-ish wedge of off-tasting plastic.
What the &*$%@*? This cheese tastes like $@#%&^&! It gets the lowest score to date... partly due to the "disappointment factor". Plus, I had to buy a half pound of the stuff just to get a taste of the rank, nasty crap. And I mean that literally.
Cheese to try