Sunday, January 10, 2010

Conquering the Cheese Counter: Goat Cheese

Whole Foods is a dangerous place. I only ever go in when I have a very specific - and very short - list of things I need to get, but the post-workday frenzy that goes on between 6 and 8pm is intoxicating. I grab my few necessary items, take a deep breath and nine times out of ten, opt to take just one more exploratory lap around the store. The freedom of knowing that I am not doing my actual weekly shopping convinces me that, hey, it is okay to spend a few extra dollars on pomegranates or that I need to experiment with soba noodles or even that I really should practice my knife techniques on a ripe pineapple. Obvi.

Recently I was talking with one of my best girlies, Bex, about the cheese counter at Whole Foods and all the delicious, unknown wonders therein. Invariably, we both buy our favorite types of cheeses, (she likes goat cheese and I never met a cheddar I didn't want to take home and introduce to Mom) but what if we didn't? What if we tried the blue, the green, the nutty, the fruity, even the stinky? What if we ventured into our own veritable undiscovered country of cheeses? It could only fabulous. And as a double bonus, I will no longer wander the aisles of Whole Foods on a Wednesday night, idly running my fingers over everyday and exotic fruits. Instead, I get to spend twenty minutes perusing, smelling and scrutinizing the hills and valleys of the Whole Foods cheese landscape.

This month's selections are:

FireFly Farms Allegheny Chevre
Ok, so it is a bit of a bummer to start out with disappointment, but this cheese really didn't do it for me. My immediate thought was: unwashed gym socks. Granted, my cheese palate is not all that developed, so maybe I am missing something. I stared at the package forlornly, when I read, "Serve at room temperature." Ok, let's try this again. I let the cheese warm up and it did improve. It tasted more of earthy tang, than sweaty foot. Boyfriend's comments, on the other hand, are not fit to be printed. Bygones.

Capricho de Cabra with Fine Herbs
A significant improvement over the last cheese. It had a subtle, milder taste, which really propped up the herbs. This cheese was creamy, with that goat cheese tang, but it wasn't overpowering. The flavors kind of floated in and out of my tastebuds while I was eating it. It reminding me of something, which I couldn't quite place. (Every really great cheese should always remind you of something, even if it is itself). I would be happy serving this cheese to guests or just munching  away on my own. This one was hard to put down.

Drunken Goat
For my final cheese of the month, I decided to go with the drunken goat cheese, mostly because my two previous cheeses were the super soft, spready kind and this cheese was firmer, like a swiss. (Also, check out Mom's super classy dinnerware in this picture). I guess the big selling point on drunken goat cheese is that is it soaked in red wine, but as sexy-party as that sounds, it really didn't make a difference in the flavor. In fact, this cheese was too mild. I feel like I was chewing on it for a minute before that goat-milky flavor even announced itself.  Bummer.

This month's winner is: Capricho de Cabra with Fine Herbs! Runner-up: Drunken Goat. I can't help but think that if I had more time with DG, we might have bonded, but as it was, I had a plane to catch. On Boyfriend's recommendation, I decided not to attempt to fly my cheese home with me. I am pretty sure TSA would have had a thing or two to say about that. Additionally, sitting in my purse for 3-plus hours probably wasn't going to do my cheese any favors.

No comments: