Originally Posted by KJT
Want to do a charcuterie and cheese platter for dinner tonight, with some great bread. Problem is, I never know what to buy when I go to a cheese counter. I like pretty much every cheese, from hard and mild to creamy and super pungent. Are there any types/brands/etc. that are ubiquitous enough so I can probably find in my whole foods or other cheese store that would be a good learning experience? Or are there characteristics I should look for (other than just price), that could be a good determinant of quality?
Just to qualify this, I'm not looking for "try brie" suggestions, but more along the lines of "there is this type of blue cheese
that is pretty easy to find that is very good". Or just what's a favorite type of cheese that I probably wouldn't buy that maybe I should try.
I prefer soft cheeses, but am happy to try hard ones too.
With a really good bread, the only thing on God's green earth that I like more and some wonderful salted butter is a cheese called Brillat-Savarin. It should be pretty ubiquitous. I love it to death, the creaminess is captivating.
For blue, I second the recomendation for Point Reyes, What I love about it is that though the moldy bit is funky, the white cheesy part (I swear, if there are names for these parts of cheese, school me) is so....white. That is, it is creamy and fresh and an excellent counterpoint to the funk--so unlike, say, a Stilton, that is funk on funk (and also excellent, but a different experience).
You must also be able to find a good aged Manchego -- a semihard aged sheep's milk cheese. It has pockets that have begun to crystallize (what is that called?) like a parmagiano-reggiano, but not quite, and it is piquant and salty like a Pecorino.
And then there is Mimolette, the orange softball. The thing about Mimollette is the unctuous waxy texture, the way the fats melt on your tongue, trapping the Doritos-like flavor and binding it to your receptors to send zings of deep cheesyness to your mind.
Dammit, I need some cheese.
BTW, can anyone rec a good cheese book?