Last week, as I shvitzed in the heat and humidity of early summer, I started to fear that my cheese-eating days were numbered. You see, I cannot eat dairy when it’s hot out, and especially not when it’s humid and hot. Deadly combination for me. I get quite sick and am in a lot of pain. This predicament is usually just an unfortunate by-product of summer on the east coast. I carefully weigh the pros and cons before eating an ice cream cone, or enjoying cheese in a salad. But with the cool weather this week (I heard it was snowing in Ontario today!), which seems to be sticking around for the next week, I should be able to enjoy more dairy before I go on my annual lacto-sabbatical. I will try my darnedest to review more cheeses this week. You know, before it’s too late.
(Not at all subtle hint to my co-contributors: where the heck are your reviews? I see you eating cheese on an almost daily basis!)
While looking through the cheeses at Fairway, looking for a cheese I hadn’t tasted yet, I found a Parmesan from The Cheese Guy. I held onto it for a few days, trying to decide on the meal I wanted to serve it with. I finally decided to make a pasta dish with a deconstructed sauce, which, of course, would need some Parmesan shaved over top.
I tried the cheese on its own. It’s good but… not strong enough for my tastes. Maybe it has to be aged longer?
Fast forward, and dinner was ready to be served. I shaved some Parmesan over the steaming pasta. I gave it a taste and… it was still good, but not great, not “wow.” When SBB went back to the kitchen for seconds, she grabbed cheese from a bag in the fridge – pre-grated, generic, cheese – instead of grating more Parmesan. “I was underwhelmed,” she explained.
This is a solid, decent, Parmesan, but it’s not good enough to buy again. (That said, I wouldn’t rule out trying their other kosher cheeses.)
Inspired by a post on The Jew and the Carrott, I made it my mission to pick up a new-to-me cheese. I searched through several stores in three town before finding a grocery store that had one variety in stock. Made by 5 Spoke Cremery, I finally was able to taste their Redmond Chedder.
5 Spoke is special for a few reasons: they raise grass fed cows, use the raw milk for the cheese (4 hours after the cows are milked, the milk is being turned in to cheesey goodness), and make their cheese by hand. They have Kof-K supervision/certification. And that’s all fine and dandy. But what really got me excited was the buzz about these artisanal cheeses. “Best cheese, by the Jewy Kosher Council of Jewish Kosher Keepers” is not an award that I would care about. But when a kosher cheese wins, for lack of a better term, praise from the goyim, that grabs my attention.
So I brought the cheese home, let it sit out on the counter for a bit, and then busted out some nice crackers. My first bite was sans crackers – I wanted to know what the cheddar tasted like on its own. It was nice. A mild cheddar, yet it still had complex flavours. It paired well with crackers, passed the “cheddar and apple” taste test with flying colours, and before I knew it, I had eaten half a block of deliciousness. (The only thing stopping me from eating the full block was knowing that this was supposed to be an appetizer, something to munch on while I finished cooking dinner last Shabbos.)
Conclusion: you need to try this cheddar. And I need to try their other varieties of cheeses.
When you live in an apartment full of shomer kashrus Jews, and you realise that the entire second shelf of the fridge is full of cheese, there’s really only one thing you can do: start a group blog confessing your love for all things dairy. Jews for cheeses was born.
Let me introduce you to the team:
- The Wandering Jew loves organic, small dairy, interesting, stinky, soft, unique cheeses.
- SBB loves kosher and non-kosher cheeses but only eats kosher cheeses in the house, out of respect for the Jewier Jews.
- Jer loves the simpler cheeses, especially when melted on top of anything.
Let the tastiness begin!