This post is in memory of one of my favorite bosses of all time Karen Sanderson from Brix Bottleshop. The picture is from when I was working Taste of Kalispell for Brix in 2014. Lots of Cheesy goodness!
I worked for Karen only one year (life is often filled with regrets and I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I had stayed at Brix and not gone to L.A.... oh well)
Anyway... I've been going through old files and clearing out my computer space as well as my physical space. I found a list I had made for her about Cheeses we should get. So I thought I'd share... because... CHEESE! I've actually edited this down quite a lot believe it or not. Some of them were similar enough I thought I didn't need to list them all... but if you want more cheese recommendations let me know.
Try one of these delicious cheeses out soon. You'll be glad you did. They are in no particular order. Some of these you can order directly from the makers, If not hopefully your local grocer or cheesemonger can hook you up. I also recommend Murray's Cheese they have pretty much everything... and SHIPS! (I'm not affiliated but would love to be... hint hint.. nudge nudge... send me cheese please). You can also find an increasing amount of good cheese on Amazon.
Humboldt Fog – Cypress Grove
(Domestic - California)
This is a soft ripened goat cheese. Think if Brie and Goat cheese had a baby... its got the ooziness and creaminess of a brie but the tanginess of a goat. I love it on a fig and olive cracker with a little drizzle of honey or stuffed in a date wrapped with a little prosciutto. It's also a nice addition to any salad. It consistently wins awards for being a really awesome cheese.
I like blue cheese. There are strong opinions about blue cheese, I know. But if you are like me, and like blue cheese, you should try this one. It's a raw milk cheese out of England. Flavor profile similar to a Stilton but since it's raw milk and not of the region... they can't call it that. The flavor profile on this (or Stilton really) is a delightful mix of cheddar and blue which makes it a milder blue on the funky spectrum. One of my favorite ways to serve is as a crostini with a slice of apple, a little arugula and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. (They have it at Murray's so you don't have to order from England)
Gorgonzola Dolce **
Two blues in a row... I know... This one is one of my favorites...This one is like brie and blue had a baby... this one is a gateway blue cheese as well and actually probably even more approachable than the Stichelton. Dolce means sweet, and for a blue cheese its quite mild. Just the slightest hint of funk. It's super creamy. "Dolce" also signifies its a younger cheese vs it's more mature regular Gorgonzola. There are many companies that make this but it is a designated DOP cheese... what that means when you see DOP is that it has to be from a specific region (Like the many wines.. ex Champagne has to come from Champagne, France). In this case, Gorgonzola Dolce comes from Piemonte, Italy. It's touted as one of the best cheese varietals in the world and I absolutely agree. Generally when I serve this I don't mess with it much, it's just that good. However I have made a really lovely sauce with it and served it tossed with some Gnocchi as a side dish with some lamb. (Would probably be really nice with beef too) (Murray's doesn't have any in stock but Amazon does and if you use the link above you support me... so hey order some!)
Vermont Shepherd Cheese – Vermont Shepherd
(Domestic - Vermont)
Vermont home of Bernie Sanders and this cheese. Both good things. This farm makes small batch seasonal cheeses so that means they will always be different and wonderful. They also make smoked versions! I LOVE a smoked cheese. They have one lots of awards and have been written up in the likes of Gourmet, Food and Wine and Town and Country Magazines. There current winter wheel Invierno is a mix of sheep and cows milk. I love blends like this melted over some sauteed mushrooms in butter and thyme on a nice slice of french bread. Or served with a little drizzle of apricot jam on a rosemary cracker.
Capriole Farm O’Banon – Capriole
If you ever see a small craft goat cheese wrapped in grape or chestnut leaves and soaked in some sort of liquor you should get it because odds are its amazing. This goat cheese is wrapped in chestnut leaves and soaked in bourbon. This company has a variety of awesome cheeses but this one (and the tea rose) are my favorites. This cheese is so special you just want to serve it on an unassuming cracker like 34 degrees ** original or cracked pepper crisps. Maybe add a drizzle of clover honey if you are feeling extra fancy.
Red Hawk – Cowgirl Creamery
(Domestic – California)
The west coast has some really extraordinary cheese makers. Cowgirl Creamery is one that is a must when you are exploring the region. the Red hawk is my favorite, it's a funky triple cream with a washed rind. Its very rich and has BIG flavor. If you new to "stinky" cheeses this is a good introduction. It's not as intense as some but certainly has more bite than your basic brie. I like it on a fig and olive cracker try Raincoast Crisps** version.
Westfield Blue Log - Westfield Farms
(Domestic - Massachusetts)
Goat Cheese meets blue cheese! This is a big cheese in a small package. Its one of the only blue goat cheeses in the world and has won several awards. Lovely with a fig jam from Divina ** on La Panzanella Mini Croccantini Rosemary Crackers ** again... honey is good here. You could also stuff this in a date with an almond or wrapped in prosciutto. OR try it on a burger with some caramelized onions.
Extra Mature Cheddar - Montgomery Farm
This farm has been making cheese since 1911! Their Extra mature cheddar is aged 18 months making it more crumbly, spicy and nutty than younger cheddars. Dad had an English friend who introduced me to the joy of pairing cheddar with Black currant jam. Try the one from Tiptree ** It's my favorite. I love to make a breakfast sandwich with a little canadian bacon, egg, cheddar and black currant jam. Trust me its delicious!
Cheshire – Appleby's Hawkstone Abbey Farm
This farm makes traditional, white and smoked cheshire cheeses (and some other cheeses as well). Cheshire is hard to describe if you've never had it.. .it's all the good things from a cheddar or aged gouda combined. crumbly and tangy. I love it with apple (slices or apple butter). It's great crumbled in a salad with apple and pecans.
Stinking Bishop - Charles Martell & /Son
This cheese is called "Stinking" for a reason. This makes the Red Hawk seem super mild in comparison. It's a must if you have graduated into the world of stinky cheeses. They wash the rind in hard cider made from pears. It will absolutely ooze once it starts to warm up . It pairs well with Pears. Try it on a crostini with a slice of pear and arugula.
Royaal Grand Cru 12 Month Aged Gouda – Beemster
Gouda when it ages does this magical think where it gets crystallization that pops in your mouth. It's a rich gouda with lots of nuttiness. The 12 month is still slightly creamy. Fantastic paired with your favorite salami. Beemster was founded in 1901 but the cheese tradition of the area dates back even further. They make award winning goudas want a harder gouda with even more crystals? Try the XO by Beemster it's aged 24 months!
Crottin De Champcol - Jacquin **
This is a very special aged goat cheese from france. its an AOC cheese which is like Italy's DOP classification meaning it has to come from a very specific region, in this case Loire. Crottin translates as "horse dung" but trust me this tastes nothing like that. Its fresh herbal and salty. I love a good goat cheese and this style is especially good. I really like it on a dill or fennel cracker with some lemon zest and a little honey.
One of my favorite cheeses! This special cheese have a layer of vegetable ash in the middle and a washed rind. It's creamy and full flavored, a bigger flavor than Brie.. more fruity and a bit of zing, but still on the milder side. It's a nice semi-soft cheese. It's a great melting cheese. It's on the verge of being stinky but still approachable. I usually don't mess with this one much but just serve it with a nice cracker and let the cheese shine on it's own.
Ossau – Iraty
Rumor has it that this type of cheese is one of the original cheeses. It's a sheeps milk cheese and it's truly delightful. It pairs well with almost everything. It's sweet, nutty and herbal grassy flavors make it a welcome addition to any cheese plate. It goes really well with most salamis and fruit pastes. Try it on a Cranberry and Hazelnut Raincoast Crisp ** with a thin slice of your favorite salami.
Roquefort is its own special classification of Blue Cheese. This is another cheese that must only come from a very specific region of France - Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. Production methods are kept a tight secret and most producers have been keeping it in the family for generations. It's a big blue that's both creamy and spicy. It's very special. You can use this like the other blues previously listed but honestly it's another one I don't mess with much, it shines on it's own. There's many producers of this in France but we are limited in what we can get here stateside.
Vacherin Mont d’Or
This is similar to a French Epoisse but a little less pungent. I love both, The Swiss cheese is more approachable though. Epoisse is one of the stinkiest and funkiest of cheeses. The Mont d'Or still has 3 different cheese molds in it so it's still pretty darn funky. Have some fruit or pickles on hand to balance out this experience. It's ooey gooey intenseness. You'll want a nice bread or crostini for this, it's a bit much for your average cracker I think.
Mozzarella di Bufala
(Italy or America)
buffalo milk mozzarella… its AMAZING. Ideally you want to get this from Italy. Murray's currently doesn't seem to have it in stock ( though they have an American version. Amazon seems to have a few listed but they are currently either a. crazy expensive or b. poorly rated.... so no main link... ask your cheesemonger. Once you try the buffalo milk version you'll have a hard time going back to the cow milk. Use this how you would regular mozzarella or on a crostini with some prosciutto and drizzle of balsamic. Makes a mind blowing Caprese salad.
Another of my all time favorite cheeses. This one is also historic and the origins go back to the 9th century. This is another big flavored ie in the stinky family cheese. It's got a great semi-soft texture and gets nice and oozy when warm. Take a burger to the next level in place of swiss with some caramelized onions and mushrooms. Or make some crostini with melty Taleggio and chopped up black garlic.
If you've ever had Manchego (Spanish) and liked it, you should try it's Italian cousin Pecorino. There are many wonderful varieties but my favorite is the Truffle version. This is a sheep milk cheese dotted with black truffle. It's wonderful grated over pasta (try a Cacio e pepe with this!) I also love it on a crostini with some sauteed mushrooms.
I love Robiola the current version at Murrays has two milks. My favorite which I couldn't find online uses 3. This version uses cow and sheep milks (my favorite includes goat as well) and is a nice soft oozy cheese use it how you would a brie (or just eat it!). It's a bit funkier and has some mushroom tones. This is great with a quince fruit paste** on a nice slice of bread. Theres a lovely domestic version of this from Vermont called The Cremont (very similar style) also worth a try.
Smokey Blue – Rogue Creamery
(Domestic – Oregon)
My favorite domestic blue cheese. Rogue makes awesome blue cheese in Oregon. Try them all. This one is smoked and it's my favorite. Stuff a date, wrap it in bacon and grill or broil it. Also fantastic applied in any of the other suggestions for the other blue cheeses listed. Or just eat it. lol.
A Camembert stuffed with a layer of truffled mascarpone! Creamy and full of flavor. This is a very special cheese! If you like Brie and you like Truffle you should definitely check this one out. It's creamy and full of delightful mushroom flavor. This is another I just love on it's own and don't mess with. Smear it on your favorite cracker or piece of bread. It would probably be awesome on a flatbread or burger.
This is my favorite blue cheese on the planet. Murrays doesn't have it... after exhaustive search on the internet it seems currently you can only get it in Canada and the UK and of course Italy. Someone smuggle me some cheese. Rossini is made in the same region as Taleggio (previously listed). What makes this blue extraordinary is they wrap it in chestnut leaves and soak it in Barolo wine. It's won tons of awards over the years. If you find it, get it. Also get me some.
Sottocenere With Truffle
Another truffle cheese? Yes... I know... but they are delicious and I love them. This one is coated in a lovely mix of spices and ash to age . It's semi-soft and wonderfully earthy. This is another one you should just enjoy and not overly complicate. However, it would be awesome in a Mac & Cheese or on a Burger.
Fromager D'Affinois Triple Cream Excellence
A triple cream cheese is the ultimate it creamy deliciousness. It is smooth and buttery and mild. (Probably one of the mildest on this list). It's perfect for spreading. It's also amazing on just about everything (cracker, bread, etc. richen up a sauce, eat it plain. You'll be happy. Serve it with the things you normally would with brie... (It's better than brie, but looks very similar)
Extra things for your cheese and charcuterie board:
** This is an Amazon affiliate link for a product I like. By purchasing through this link, you support me monetarily. I get to try new things. I then get to introduce my followers to them! Thank you for your support!
About the Blog
I've been blogging on and off for years. This is my area to explore healing, food, wine, travel and various thoughts on life. My goal: Be True. Be Kind. Heal. Dream. Inspire. Discover. Create.