Over the past few months, I have increasingly found myself, one way or another, in the middle of the ever incredible world of cheeses.  Whether it was stumbling into a beautiful cheese shop in a hidden alley way, and melting from the delicious smell (that same smell that sent me running out when I was a kid) or just happening to taste one that I could not forget.  This is an international list, so depending on where you live, you may not be able to find them all.  As you know, cheese is a world of expertise on its own, but the few below were memorable, so perhaps you can save your tasting calories, by starting with a little guidance...

Aged Gouda  is simply unrivaled for that perfect balance of salty and sweet. Deep caramel in color, crunchy, flaky, and perfectly smooth.  This is a cow's milk Dutch Gouda, wild with flavor. The hint of caramel or butterscotch at the finish is its signature. Gouda pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon as well as several white wine varietals.  This aged Gouda is the closest things to caramel that you can still call dinner.
by La Cuisine

Grayson is a soft, finely textured cheese with a orange-brown sticky rind, a creamy semi-soft interior and a pungent aroma.  It has rich, beefy taste with nutty tones. It has been compared to an Italian Taleggio (one of my favorites) or a French Livarot. Grayson is made with raw milk of Jersey cows and aged longer than their Italian and French counterparts, around 60 days.This washed-rind gourmet cheese is made in the mountains of southwestern Virginia at the Meadow Creek Dairy; a small family farm dedicated to sustainable agriculture. This particular dairy farm always uses extremely fresh milk - they make cheese within 2 hours of milking.

Chaumes is a round, French, soft-ripened cheese with a bright orange washed rind (seen in the top photo) and an ivory creamy interior. The rind develops after several washings of the crust and a brushing with ferments. Chaumes is distinguished by soft, rich, creamy texture and a nutty taste. An excellent table cheese, it also melts well for a nice addition to any recipe. I have read that it is best to serve Chaumes on a cheese platter with Camembert and Blue Stilton or with Brie and Roquefort. A bright ale, a sparkling cider or a dry white wine are all good pairings for Chaumes.

Traditional Piquante semi-hard Goat’s cheese, I have discovered, is on the list of well-liked Dutch cheeses. I recently read that goat’s milk helps treat acne (I suppose that I will have to keep eating it to see if I get magically beautiful skin) and is even regarded healthier than cow’s milk.  It is a harder cheese, closer in texture to Parmigiano Reggiano, rather than the typical creamy goat cheeses.  It has a marginally piquant flavor, and an amazing melt-in-the-mouth texture.once you bite into it.


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