Fifty Best Cheese
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  Country: United States  
Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Dodgeville, WI, USA
Made by Uplands Cheese Company

This is the archetype for small American farmstead gruyere. Loosely based on Beaufort, PRR benefits from smaller wheel size. It makes the cheese age faster, and allows the rind treatments to penetrate the cheese more thoroughly. The result is an uncommonly aromatic cheese, with a delightful piquancy, full buttery flavor, and a taste of meaty nuts, perhaps cashews.

 

  Country: Spain  

Cabrales
Asturias, Spain
Spanish DO, EU PDO

This blue will hold your tongue down and make it say uncle. Cabrales is the classic Spanish blue, and the prince of the Austurian cheeses, which include a cabal of wicked little blues. The best versions are made with a blend of goat, cow, and sheep's milk, and are so extensively blued, that they seem to be more mold than cheese. This is almost always the final cheese in a given tasting order. Each bite is an aromatic blast of salt and pepper.

Cabrales

 

  Country: France  
Selles-sur-Cher

Selles-sur-Cher
Loire Valley, France
French AOC, EU PDO

The Loire Valley is the land of the goat. Each little village is famous for at least one of the several little chevres it manufactures. Selles-sur-Cher is particularly wonderful because its flat, disc like shape allows it to ripen quickly. It passes from a soft fresh cheese, into a firmer chalkier cheese with a full barnyard bite with grace and ease. Of course the cheese is tasty and edible at several stages of its life, but be sure to try some that are a little older.

 

  Country: Italy  

Taleggio
Lombardy, Italy
Italian DOP, EU PDO

The great Italian washed rind, Taleggio is a unique, though mellow, contribution to the style. Think of it as stinky cheese with training wheels. The pronounced aroma will announce its presence; the hearty, buttery, beefy flavor will win over even the cheese novice. Creamy textured and salty, it is a perfect cheese to add to risotto, melt on pizza, or lay on sandwiches, when you want a more flavorful cooking cheese.

Taleggio

 

  Country: Greece  
Feta Cheese

Feta
Greece
EU PDO

Pickled Cheese! Cheese making probably began in the Fertile Crescent, and eventually migrated to Western Europe, where it would achieve its true heights. Of course, on the way it had to pass through Eastern Europe, where there is still a tradition of simple cheeses like this one. True Greek Feta, made with sheep's milk, is a delightful balance of milk and salt, and a great way to spice up cuisine, or relax with some olives and a beer.

 

  Country: Spain  

Montcabrer
Catalonia, Spain
Made by Can Pujol

Usually, goat's milk makes relatively tart cheese. Montcabrer eschews traditional flavor and starts to taste almost like a sturdier cow's milk cheese. The cheese still has a lactic bite, but is also rather sumptuous and unctuous. Of course the goat's milk still adds its own unmistakable touch. This is definitely a cheese for goat lovers looking for new flavors.

Montcabrer

 

  Country: United States  
Northland Farms

Folie Bergere
Marathon, NY ,USA
Produced by Northland Sheep Dairy

If you want to taste what we would lose if cheese was no longer made on the farm, try this. It doesn't get any more farmstead. Sure it has all the depth of flavor, the creamy nutty wonder, of a good Pecorino or Roncal, but it also has a huge sheepy bite, with all the rustic flavor of a moist wool sweater. This cheese shows how a relatively simple, handcrafted product can be overwhelmingly sophisticated.

 

  Country: United States, England  

American Farmhouse Cheddar
All over the US, Canada, Britain,
and former commonwealth countries

The modern style of cheddar has become a cheese in its own right, and when done well, an artisan "American" style cheddar can be an amazing cheese. The plastic or wax rind allows for extended aging with a long, slow development of a clean sharp flavor, occasional fruity notes, and a moist, toothsome texture. There are many fine makers of this style of cheese, but seek out a taste of Grafton Village's product. The vegetable rennet they use causes the well-aged cheeses to develop a slightly musty quality that balances out the sharpness and dovetails beautifully with the cream.

American Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese

 

  Country: Italy  
Robiola della Alta Langa

Robiola della Alta Langa
Alta Langa, Italy

The Due latte Robiolas of this area of Piedmont/Lombardy are like Brie on steroids. The cow's milk gives the cheese body, and the sheep's milk gives it a long finish, but the surface molds and yeasts give it a funky, mushroomy flavor. That, and the unctuous texture, will leave you wanting another bite and a nice glass of Barbera.

 

  Country: United States  

Teleme
San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
Produced by Franklin Peluso

Teleme is an American original developed by Giovanni, Franklin's Granddad. After a selling the farm and having a series of country-crossing adventures, Franklin is back making cheese, and his Teleme is still THE one. While tasty young, well-ripened is the best bet. It is meaty with a peculiar yeasty quality to the bold, runny paste.

Teleme

 



 
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