Wednesday, February 22, 2012
An Ode to Hard Cheese
Hey you, with the package of Kraft "cheese" slices...freeze! Put it down. Just put it down, don't argue with me! Put it down and step away from the cheese food. Slowly. That's it...
So here's one reason why I would classify our new eating habits as "primal" or "grain free" rather than "paleo": we won't stop eating cheese. GOOD cheese. Like, ever. Paleo folks say no to dairy and primal folks say yes to it as long as you are lactose tolerant, which we seem to be. Cheese is just too delicious to ditch. And we love the good stuff. The fancier the better. I read this blog with a vengeance. Not only does she love cheese, but she's also local so I can actually go to the same fabulous places she goes to buy her recommendations.
Historically, the hubs and I have been soft cheese fans. We dig triple creams like the St. Andre (my personal fave), bries, crumbly and gooey blue cheeses, and anything goat's milk based. (Um, if you want a cheese experience that will rock you to the core, try the "Truffle Tremor." Your life will never be the same.)
But the problem that arises with loving soft cheese and being grain free is what do we put the cheese on? I'm not against eating it with fingers, or crumbling it on salads, but there is something very nice about spreading a good cheese on a cracker or slice of bread. I miss that. A quick google search does yield a ton of recipes for grain-free crackers, so we plan to try that route in the near future.
Another solution we've found is to get more into hard cheese. Nowadays, I enjoy a good slice of the hard stuff as a snack while I prepare dinner. Trying something new in cheeseland has exposed us to a whole slew of cheeses that we now like just as much as our tried and true favorites. One of the best parts of this adventure has been seeing the beautiful rinds that form on some of the aged cheeses. They are seriously like works of art. We get the Havilah (pictured above) fairly regularly with our CSA. Just look at the rind on that beauty! I used to just shred it over salads or melt it for cheese sauces, but I've come to appreciate it solo or with a couple of grapes. But the best hard cheese discovery of all? Aged Gouda. The popular aging time for most aged goudas is four or five years - long enough for calcium lactate crystals to form and give a satisfying crunch to each bite. It's sweet and rich, and feels like a treat. Funny enough, we didn't realize this when we bought it, but most cheese experts would say that aged gouda is meant to be eaten alone without any accoutrements. Perfect for the grain-free eater!
We buy most of our cheese at Downtown Cheese in the Reading Terminal Market, DiBruno Bros, or Claudio's. I think every city, large or small, needs to have its own specialty food shop that includes a full-time knowledgeable cheesemonger. But if that's not possible where you live, find a Whole Foods. We got our last hunk of aged gouda at Whole Foods and it's been the best cheese I've had recently.
This post is part of Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Works for Me Wednesdays, Welcome Wednesday, and Real Food Wednesdays.