Fifty Best Cheese
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  Country: United States  
Oregon Blue Vein

Oregon Blue Vein
Central Point, Oregon, USA
Made by Rogue Creamery

This is the greatest blue in America, the rival of all the other blues of the world. Tom Vella, one of the luminaries in the aristocracy of American cheese, invented this one. In the 1950's, Tom traveled to Roquefort and learned to make blue. While there, he stole some scrapings from the caves to smear on the walls of his own. He was followed by his son, Ig, and later by the current owners of Rogue Creamery, where Ig is still considered the master cheese maker. And a master Ig is. The blue is perfectly balanced. Salty, sweet, smelly, spicy, creamy, crumbly, everything good about blue is in this cheese.

 

  Country: United States  

Hooligan
Colchester Connecticut, USA
Made by Cato Corner Farm

The folks at Cato Corner are the gods of American stinkers, and this is their finest creation. Hooligan embodies the perfection of small washed rind cheese. Firmer than your standard washed rind, Hooligan is lower on the fruity flavors, but long on classic milky, rich, hearty cheese flavors. Just one taste of this and you'll be wondering why you were so afraid of the smell.

Hooligan

 

  Country: Holland  
Boerenkaas

Boerenkaas
Holland

Whoever said gouda was a low rent cheese, never had this. Gouda made on the farm is aged for an extended period, till it develops a flavor that makes it a special branch of cheese. It tastes oily, nutty, and sharp. The texture is dry, but firm and tight with those little crunchy crystals. It feels bad in a way that is oh, so good.

 

  Country: France  

Tomme De Savoie
Savoie, France
French AOC, EU PDO

Tomme is proof that great cheese can be humble. It's a very simple mountain style, sort of a rustic little brother to the great gruyeres of the Western Alps. The relatively simple recipe results in a cheese with a host of interesting flavors. It alternates between creamy, beefy, mushroomy, buttery, and occasionally vegetal. When buying remember the three cardinal rules of tomme: Seek out those made by the village of Thones, always buy raw milk versions, and the best time of year is late November through early February, when the spring and summer milk are available.

Tomme De Savoie

 

  Country: United States  
Constant Bliss

Constant Bliss
Greensboro, Vermont, USA
Made by Jasper Hill Farm

This is the darling of American Artisan cheese, and for good reason. It embodies the movement. Born of an Old World recipe, it has morphed to become a cheese unlike any in the world. Neither firm nor hard, the cheese delivers what it promises . . . a constant, nutty, mushroomy, salty bliss.

 

  Country: Italy  

Gorgonzola
Lombardy, Italy
Italian DOP, EU PDO

If you like blue super creamy and sweet, this is for you. Gorgonzola is Italy's contribution to that great constellation of world class blues. Its origins date back to the late middle ages, when the cheese was a specialty of the migration from the higher pastures. Now it's made year 'round. All varieties of the cheese are soft with a unique sweet butterscotch note, so do yourself a favor and skip the cremificato or dulce versions, and seek out the longer aged naturale or piccante. They simply have more flavor.

Gorgonzola

 

  Country: Spain  
Leonora

Leonora
La Mancha, Spain

Central Spanish goat cheese has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. The rough and sparse landscape is an ideal environment for the creation of creamy goat cheeses with an exceedingly tart note. Leonora is the newcomer to the family, but is rapidly eclipsing the others in terms of consistency. The flavor is always bright, clean, and the texture a perfect balance of whipped and crumbly.

 

  Country: Italy  

Mozzarella di Bufala
Naples, Italy
Italian DOP, EU PDO

This is a rare and special treat. We all know mozzarella; it's one of the most commonly consumed cheeses in the United States. Of course, fresh handmade mozzarella is a huge jump up from the supermarket stuff, and di Bufala a step farther still. Water Buffalo are cultivated around Naples, and now on a few small farms in the US, to make this fabulous cheese. It has a more melting texture and slightly more lactic flavor than even the best hand pulled mozz. Good cheese shops usually stock some of the Italian stuff via air freight. Get some.

Mozzarella di Bufala

 

  Country: Italy  
Calcagno

Calcagno
Sardinia, Italy

So if Parmigianino is the greatest cheese for recipes, what happens when dedicated artisans take the best milk in the world and give it the Parm treatment? Calcagno is what happens! The undeniable power of sheep's milk takes hold of your taste buds. First, it exhibits the sophisticated fruity nuances of grana cheese, and then proceeds to a nutty, meaty finish that can only be described as undeniably sheep. The multitude of subtle aromas and tastes will shift and change in your mouth for full minutes after you eat the cheese. This is one for contemplating till you get lost in the sheer enjoyment.

 

  Country: France  

Camembert de Normandie
France
French AOC, EU PDO

A much abused name, Camembert deserves its reputation, as long as we refer to the original. Soft-ripened cheese is simple and delicious stuff, and owes much of its flavor to the quality of the milk, hence the pastureland where it is made. In this regard, it doesn't get much better than Normandy, and some of the cheese's fame no doubt rests upon the shoulders of the famous Norman milk. As far as flavor, look for the same you'd seek in any soft ripened cheese: Mushrooms, garlic, green peas, fresh mold, and milk.

Camembert de Normandie

 



 
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