One of my favorite things to order in a nice restaurant is the cheese sampling. I even order a cheese plate in not-so-fancy places, like the VFW. (I recommend the first option, but the second makes for good laughs.) Two nights ago, Evan and I went to the new Whole Foods store in Annapolis and I decided to get the advice of the expert to pick out cheeses to make my own cheese platter. I really don’t know a lot about different types of cheeses and am still learning the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized, which cheeses should be served at room temp and which should be chilled, or what is different about cheeses from different regions. I can’t say that I learned all of that at the cheese counter (I probably could if I was there longer), but I did get some great recommendations to start experimenting.
I told the cheese advisor (not sure what is her official title) that I know that I like brie cheeses and I also have a fancy for a hard salty cheeses. Evan is a big fan of blue cheese, so that gave her a great place to start to make some suggestions. We ended up taking home 5 different cheeses to try. For Evan, a super moldy blue cheese from France and a Pecorino pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese. For me an Aged Mimolette, pasteurized cow’s milk cheese and a Murcia Curado Raw Goat Cheese. And for both of us she chose, Fromager d’Affinois, double-cream specialty brie from France. I never knew that Brie is named after where it is made much like Champagne. I almost found that hard to swallow (pun intended) because you can buy Brie in almost every grocery store in America.
The only cheese we didn’t care for out of the 5 was the blue cheese. I’m not a big fan of blue cheese in general and the one we got was particularly pungent. We decided to replace that cheese with a dollop of port wine cheese we had in the refrigerator. The other four were all cheeses I would buy again. The Pecorino had a stronger scent and a really nice flavor. I would say that it almost tasted like a goat cheese, but a little saltier. The Aged Mimolette was two thumbs up for me and one thumb up for Evan. It was a really salty cheese almost like cheddar that I would imagine would be really good with beer and pretzels. The Murcia Curado, goat’s milk cheese, was a light version of goat cheese. Not too strong, but definitely flavorful. The favorite by far was the Fromager d’Affinois. It was a buttery brie, that melted deliciously over a cracker or right off the knife. I would definitely recommending seeking this one out in your local stores’ if they carry a cheese selection.
It was a lot of fun to have our own sampling with a glass of Cabernet on a Tuesday night. Next time maybe we will have to add a sampling of meats, like prociutto and salami, or add in some olives for Evan. This could turn in to a decadent weekly tradition.