Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our Christmas Cheeses

Our friends at Cheese to You have again this year supplied us with a selection of delightful cheeses for the holidays. We intend to give some away as gifts, but may lose our resolve and decide to eat all of them. Of the cheeses shown in this photo, three are American and two are European. Clockwise, beginning on the lower left, they are:

Vella Bear Flag Brand Dry Monterey Jack. An American original from California, this cheese is an unexpected treat that little resembles the bland mass-produced Monterey jack cheeses we find in grocery stores.

3 Comptois Compte. Recognized as one of the world's great cheeses, this French alpine-style cheese is made from raw cow milk and aged for six months. It is a regional specialty and its name and unique character are protected by law.

Old Quebec Reserve Cheddar. This 7-year old version of North America's favorite cheese has an uncommon depth of flavor and the sharp granularity characteristic of fine, long-aged cheeses. If you haven't yet gotten hooked on cheddar, try this one.

Aged Blue Stilton. This blue-veined cheese from England is another regional specialty widely hailed as among the world's great cheeses. Related to and superficially similar to Danish blue, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola, many claim it is superior to all of them.

Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson. A product of southern Virginia, this is the only washed-rind cheese in the group. More pungent than the others, this cheese is of a kind with old-world Munsters and belongs to the family of smelly cheeses true connoisseurs seem to find most appealing.

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