Some of the Unsophisticated Woman’s favorite cheeses.
Epoisses – A French cheese from the Burgundy region that is washed in local pomace Brandy. The cheese has existed since the 16th century, but had almost died out after WWII. In 1956, Robert and Simone Berthaut began producing this cheese again and found success. Today their son, Jean still runs the Fromagerie. This cheese gives off a strong odor but has a salty and tangy taste. This is a washed rind cheese and has a texture similar to room temperature brie. One bite and I wanted a warm pretzel or bacon stuffed anything to put with this cheese! It was rumored to be one of Napoleon’s favorites. Pair with classical Burgundian wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Camembert – This is a beautiful French Cheese from Normandy. This cheese will be found in the brie section of specialty cheeses. It is made from cow’s milk and uses the same recipe as Brie. The difference is the terrior of the area and the size of the cheese as it is aged. Camembert is cut into smaller pieces before ripening which intensives the flavor. Legend has it that this cheese was created by a farmer named Marie Harel who was hiding a priest during the French Revolution. He was from Ile De France where Brie was created and he gave her advice on improving her cheese. Later the cheese was industrialized and was placed in wooden boxes that are still used today. These boxes were passed out to the French soldiers of WWI solidifying the popularity of the cheese throughout France. Pair with Chenin Blanc, a Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lagrein – This cheese is made in the region of Alto Adeige in Northern Italy. It is made from cow’s milk that only eat Alpine Grass. The cheese is soaked in the red wine from Lagrein as well as herbs and spices. This cheese almost has a meaty taste to it. It has notes of the wine and spring onion. Great for melting, use in pizza or for a gourmet grilled cheese.
Raclette – This cheese is made in France and Switzerland. It has a very “notable” smell to it. It melts well and has a nutty, milky and slightly acidic taste. Raclette is from the French word “to scrape” and this cheese was often used in campfires and would be melted by the fired and scraped onto a plate or directly on your food. There are even special machines to melt and scrap the cheese off, mostly put on potatoes and onions. Or, really anything, it’s good cheese!
P’etit Agour – This is a pure sheep’s milk cheese made in the Basque region of France. It is rubbed in Espelette peppers. It is mildly spicy, nutty and crumbly while staying creamy. It is often used as a dessert cheese. I put it with any kind of bread or cracker, add jam and the cheese and broil. Then top with raspberries or blueberries and a touch of honey.
Henning’s White Cheddar with onions – This delicious find is from the Henning’s dairy farm in Wisconsin which was started in 1914 and today is on it’s 3rd generation of Henning family cheese makers. This exceptionally creamy cheese has the wonderful bite with the onions. I love it on tacos, burgers and all by itself.
Gubben – This is an artisan cheese from a dairy farm in Ireland. It is the only cheese they make, and have been making it since the 1970’s. It is a washed rind, semi soft, cow’s milk cheese. It matures into a bloomy mushroom tastes. It is very creamy, full bodied, rich and savory. This melts well and is great on any burger with grilled onions and mushrooms.
Campo De Montalban – This is a Spanish cheese also from La Mancha, the same region where Manchego is made. This cheese is similar to manchego, except it is made from a blend of milk from cows, sheep and goats. This cheese has a nice, rich buttery flavor and is more complex from it’s cheese blend. I loved this cheese! Eat this cheese alone or with salty meats, shred in your salad or on any type of tacos. Pair with Tempranillo, Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon or a dry Rosé.
Etorki – A beautiful cheese from France made from sheep’s milk. It melts well and can be used in any recipe for baking. It has an earthy aroma and nutty taste with hints of hazelnut and caramel. This cheese has been made in the same tradition for 4,000 years! Pair with Chardonnay, Riojas or a white sparkling wine.
Port Salut – semi-soft French cheese that was first made by monks in the 18th century. Their cheese became so popular that when their cheese was delivered weekly to Parisian markets, it was quickly announced “the cheese has arrived” by raising a flag. In 1874 the Monastery registered the name Port Salut. It was then sold to a creamery in 1959. This is a mild cheese with a mellow nutty flavor. Enjoy it with light bodied wines. If you choose to melt it, monitor it closely as it melts quickly. While the rind is edible, it is waxy and detracts from the cheese. Pair with a dry Rosé or a Cabernet Franc.
Manchego – Another sheep’s milk cheese but from Spain. Look for the actual Manchego Spanish cheese for the best cheese. This is a semi-soft cheese with a mild nutty taste. I love to use it in Paninis with prosciutto, pancetta or avocado. Manchego goes well with fruity wines, tempranillo, or a cab.
St. Andre – This is a triple cream Brie from France. More cream is added to the cheese. Brie on steroids, and it’s wonderful! I love it with warm toasty French bread and a class of either Rosé or a strong red wine.
Bucheran – Another lovely French cheese. This one is from the Loire Valley. It is made with Chevre goat cheese, the rolled in brie. The cheese is then rolled into logs and cut into rounds leaving the goat cheese as a middle disc surrounded by the brie. When eating, the best part are the pieces that have both cheeses. It is fantastic with green apples or bread. Pair with Loire Valley wines such as Vouvray (Chenin Blanc), Sancerre, or Puilly Fumé (both Sauvignon Blanc).
Cana de Cabra – The Spanish version of Bucheran. This cheese hails from the Murcia region of Spain.
Cambozola – Despite the Italian sounding name, this is actually a German Cheese. It is a triple cream brie with an injection that forms gorgonzola, or blue cheese. You can also get this taste from blue brie. It is fantastic! Creamy, buttery, and then a little bite of the blue cheese. I may be in love. It goes well with Chablis (dry Chardonnay), Chenin Blanc, Barolo (a red from Italy), and any Bordeaux.
Comté – A French cheese from the region of Jura. It dates back to the times of Charlemagne. It is made from cow’s milk and has a nutty carmelized flavor. It goes well in fondue or can be melted, grated, or chopped and served. It goes well with Sauvignon Blanc.
Gruyere – This is a Swiss cheese that has a nutty taste with mushroom flavor notes. It can also be a little salty. It melts well in fondues and bakes well in any seafood dish. Gruyere is often used to top French Onion Soup. It goes well with Sauvignon Blanc or a hearty red such as Bordeaux.
Tintern – Tintern is a semi-soft Welsh Cheese. Made from cow’s milk, it’s a creamy cheddar with chives and shallots. It is perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich. Add tomato, mushroom or bacon or leave it plain, it is simply fabulous. Tintern is very tangy and savory. This is a great pub cheese if you have a beer lover around. If you are sticking with wine, try Shiraz. Fun fact – The Welsh take their cheese seriously. Long ago, what types of cheeses were kept by a divorcing husband and wife were included in the divorce decree!
Cotswold – One of my original favorites when I began experimenting and trying new (to me) cheeses. This is an English double gloucester and is also a great pub cheese. I like to have a strong red wine with this. For cooking with it, grate it and put it in biscuits or muffins to bake. It’s is fantastic in Baked Potato Soup.
Gouda – This cheese originated in the Netherlands. The name is not protected, so it is often used for cheeses that are made in a similar manner to the original. Most cheeses that are named after a city are because they were made near the area. However, for Gouda, it was the only market place for farmers to sell their cheeses. Dutch Gouda has a sweet and fruity flavor that can intensify with age. This pairs well with Chenin Blanc, Riesling or Zinfandel.
Huntsman – This cheese is blue stilton cheese sandwiched between 2 layers of double gloucester. This is a very big cheese. Put it on a burger or eat it with crackers, and bring a big red to wash it down. If you like cheddar and blue cheese, this is the cheese for you!