Friday, August 13, 2010

For the Love of Cheese

Cheese is a food that people usually feel strongly about. They either love it or hate it.

I am one who LOVES cheese. I love lots of different types of cheeses. And I really can appreciate a good quality cheese versus a rubbery grocery store wannabe cheese. I don't think there is any other food that I am quite so particular or passionate about.

I have to wonder where I acquired my love of cheese from. I think back to my childhood & I can't remember having anything other than boring (not even real cheese I might add) american cheese in the house. Bleh I say! This is one food I don't eat & could easily go for the rest of my life without ever laying eyes on it again. I don't care for "pasteurized process cheese food" Nastiness I say!

Now for the most part I am picky about my dairy products being organic, but it is nearly impossible to find good organic cheese. I really don't understand why this is. I guess there's just not enough demand for it. There are a few varieties out there, but they honestly don't taste good.

I have to admit that one of the things I love about Costco is that they have really good quality cheeses. I usually buy my cheeses there. They do sell a cheddar that is hormone free & that is the one I always buy, but none of the others make any claims like that on their labels.

Right now I have in the house cheddar, parmesan (the REAL parmesan), mozarella (the REAL stuff, not the rubbery stuff you find at grocery stores), smoked gouda, & queso fresco. I don't think I could ever narrow it down to only ONE favorite, but I guess my top 3 would be cheddar, smoked gouda, & queso fresco.

Now one time when we were in Tijuana we stopped at a cheese shop. It was so amazing, the cheeses were so fresh & so good. If you ever go to Mexico you truly HAVE to seek out a cheese shop. They let you sample before you buy. I remember we brought home a white cheddar, panela, crema, & queso fresco. My hubby says his all time favorite cheese is panela. My hubby is also lactose intolerant :( I have to admit the panela was really good, but I still prefer queso fresco myself. And I have tried lots of panelas around here (even going to Mexican grocers) & none are anywhere near as good as the one we got in TJ. The queso fresco at Costco is honestly the best one I have tasted this side of the border.

When lil J was first starting on finger foods I would sometimes give him cubes of smoked gouda & sometimes make him quesadillas with smoked gouda. One day we went to an appointment with a lawyer & it took much longer than expected. Traffic was so bad we couldn't get home fast & lil J was hungry & we had no food with us (I now almost never leave the house without some form of snack or food for him because this happened). I remember we went to Rubios--hubby & I were hungry too & we agreed that we could order lil J a quesadilla. We couldn't believe how he refused to eat the quesadilla!! He sniffed it & licked it & threw it aside & cried for food. Yep, I'm raising a little cheese snob, LOL! He wanted his smoked gouda. He does now eat cheddar also & I plan to introduce him to other varieties as well.

So yeah I guess I'm a bit of a cheese snob. But I think that's the only food I am that way about. And I don't really get extreme about it. But I sure do enjoy my cheese. :)


Stacey said...

I love cheese too. Organic Valley makes a few raw milk varieties, maybe you've seen them--I buy those often as staples, along with goat cheese (which I love), and of course parmesan (only the real stuff!) (or some other such parm/asiago/etc-type pasta cheese.). I really like fresh mozzarella too, but haven't found a more healthful brand for that, so don't really eat that as much... (I don't buy US-made cheese that's not organic (or doesn't say that it doesn't have hormones/antibiotics)).

Occasionally, I do buy other types too just because they're so yummy! (I like the smoked Gouda too!!), but I don't do that on a regular basis, with me its just more of a "treat" kind of thing. (if I just left it up to my taste buds though, I know I would be eating LOTS of cheese ALL the time, LOL!). Occasionally, to mix things up, I'll fix a "european" sort of dinner--cheeses, bread/crackers, fruit, olives, wine, maybe a few nuts... a fun change of pace for a light supper. :)

I wondered if cheese has to necessarily be organic (or otherwise labeled as not having it) to not have the bad stuff in it? Like, would an imported european cheese have hormones/antibiotics? does it depend on the country? (Have it in my mental notes to research more about this...). I like how TJ's seems to put more specific info on the labels about their cheese...

I think I know which Costco cheese you're referring to.... I think I used to get it sometimes (had to let my membership expire what with all the traveling)... Have you tried the coastal cheddar? Mmm, SO good!!

Frau Guten Tag said...

Well I think I go in phases--I'll go for a while with no cheese in the house for a while & then I'll be eating tons of cheese for a while. It just depends on my mood, etc.

Since cheese is so rich it's not something you can really eat a lot of, so I don't stress out too much about not always getting organic. Bu I have no idea if imported are any better or worse.

One of my all time fave ways to eat cheese is simply a platter of cheese & fruit. So good!

I've never heard of Coastal cheddar....

Stacey said...

Oh my goodness, it's SOO good! :P You've gotta try it! It's a little hard to describe, but it's cheddary yet sweet & a little crystalized (which may sound odd, but seriously, its reeeally good.) I found it on this page, the one at the top:

Frau Guten Tag said...

Well I found Coastal Cheddar at Costco & bought it, but I must say I didn't like it at all. Much to sharp of a cheddar for my taste.