Loaded with goat, Iberico, and Manchego cheeses, The View from the Great Island’s Jalapeño Poppers are baked until golden for a caramelized crunch. Serve these to guests as an addictive bar or party snack guaranteed to keep plates clean and bellies full.
In honor of our Big Cheese issue, I asked each of my editorial colleagues to name a single cheese from overseas that they love above all others. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the editors found this to be a near impossible task. “Seriously? Just one cheese?” It’s like choosing a favorite child, right? Some are mellow and comforting from the get-go, while others are obnoxious at first but gradually grow on you. Some are assertive and hard-charging, while others are more nuanced and complicated, revealing themselves slowly… You get the picture: Choosing is hard! So let’s just say these are our favorite cheeses right now.
Also not surprisingly, many of my curd-loving brethren couldn’t help but mention how much they have been enjoying so many of the fabulous artisanal, hand-crafted cheeses—sheep’s, goat’s, and cow’s milk alike—that are being produced here in the States. So watch this space for a future rundown of our favorite varieties from domestic cheesemakers.
Here, in no particular order, are our current favorite cheeses from abroad:
1) Gubbeen. When Megan visited Ireland several years ago she remembers having many beautiful local cheeses, including Gubbeen, an aged washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from West Cork. “Apparently the cows are fed nuts, which might partially account for the rich, nutty flavor of the cheese.” “Right now, I’d like to be eating it with some Gubbeen Oatcakes and perhaps a local microbrew…”
2) Halloumi. Sara prefaced her choice by saying, “So. Hard. To. Choose.” But she landed on this creamy, salty semi-hard cheese—a mix of sheep, goat, and cow’s milk—from the eastern Mediterranean for this exercise. How does she eat it? “Grilled with a spritz of lemon,” but of course.
3) Époisses. “It’s one of those washed-rind French cheeses that’s a stinker until you dollop some on a cracker. Then you’re in love,” says Kemp. The flavor is nothing like the pungent aroma, but, Kemp notes, “it’s the texture of the cheese that is so enticing. It’s ready when you can spoon thick, slow-moving ribbons of it onto a chunk of crusty baguette.” As the raw cow’s milk cheese is a specialty of Burgundy, “you might as well drink some red Burgundy with it!”
4) Leonora. “I LOVE Leonora cheese,” says Kendra. This goat’s milk cheese from the Castilla y León region of Spain has a moldy rind, and “it’s grassy and creamy with a very slight crumble.” Kendra loves it on its own or “with a little membrillo on crackers.” She adds, “It should definitely be enjoyed with a nice glass of Rioja.”
5) Pantaleo. Esther usually does her best “to stick with goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses.” Lately, she’s been enjoying this pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from the island of Sardinia in Italy. ”I like to eat the cheese by itself—maybe on some bread like a good baguette. Delicious.”
6) Kerrygold’s Dubliner. Lauren loves this aged Irish Cheddar paired with apricot jam on toast. “It seems kind of odd maybe, but it hits all the right notes for me—tangy, sweet, salty, slightly creamy. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts.”
7) Monte Enebro. Patricia and I both adore this pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from Avila, Spain. As Patricia says: “It’s a favorite splurge—it’s like Humboldt Fog taken to the next degree of complexity.” I love to eat this goat-y, creamy, characterful cheese with some sweet grapes or cherries to offset the saltiness.
8) Stracciatella. Though Carolina admits to not being a “huge cheese fanatic,” she loves this Italian cheese—basically, slender shreds of mozzarella bathed in heavy cream—so much, she claims, “I could bathe in it.” We don’t judge. Especially when it comes to cheese.
What’s your favorite cheese from abroad?
Gourmet Live’s latest issue, “The Big Cheese,” reminds me of how sublime cheese is to eat, and how wondrous it can be when cooked with other foods, but also what a pain in the neck cheese poses when you try to measure it for a recipe. That’s because cheeses vary so much. Some have edible rinds, some don’t, some are firm and suitable for grating, while others are soft.
The best way to measure cheese is by weight, which is the way it’s usually sold, but that isn’t a big help to you if the chunk you’ve bought is heavier than what you need for the recipe, and you don’t have a scale at home. Well written recipes take into account each type of cheese and give you another measure, usually a volume one, such as cups of grated or crumbled cheese, for instance, but that isn’t nearly as exact as the weight. (By the way, you’ll make your time in the kitchen so much easier—and your recipes will turn out better—if you invest in a scale that can switch from ounces to grams; it’s an invaluable tool.)
Parmesan is a real conundrum. If you buy it already grated, it’s powdery, and a cup measure will hold more, by weight, than a cup of parmesan grated into shreds. But it gets more complicated. If you grate it yourself, the tool you use can make a big difference. A box grater with small tear-shaped holes produces thicker, heavier shreds, while a microplane creates incredibly light wisps of Parmesan, which when packed into a cup—for a more accurate volume measure—lose their delicacy. Continue reading
We’re feasting on fromage with a farm-to-table cheese story, a cheese-tasting party primer, tips for making homemade pizza, and a cheese shop guide in our Big Cheese Issue.Download the free Gourmet Live app for access to all of the issues and recipes, and visit Gourmet.com to read this week’s issue in full, including:
- Sweden’s Single Cow Cheese by Lisa Abend
- Eight Great Tips for Homemade Pizza by Scott McMillen
- Seven Standout Cheese Shops In Partnership with BlogHer
- A Cheese Tasting Party
- Cheese Craze: 27 of Our Favorite Cheese-Filled Recipes
We can’t resist our cravings for melty, chewy, creamy, stretchy, gooey cheese. With delicious options like Cheddar, Brie, gouda, American, Parmesan, goat, bleu, Asiago, feta, Swiss, Fontina, gorgonzola, and camembert, the choices are almost endless. But, we want you to tell us:
What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
People have been eating lettuce since the time of the ancient Egyptians. It is a great source of vitamin A and potassium. But lettuce all by itself doesn’t make for a very filling or interesting meal. Toss in some cheese, carrots, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, seeds, onions, tomatoes, croutons, bacon, avocado, apples, tuna, raisins, or olives and you’ve got yourself a great lunch or dinner.
What are your favorite salad toppings?
- My Baking Addiction’s Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese and Rosemary is a filling one-pot meal. If time is an issue, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or roast your own the night before (pictured above).
- Caramelized leeks add sweetness when baked into Food and Style’s Mac and Cheese with Braised Leeks, Asiago, and Parmesan.
- Spicy andouille sausage, green bell peppers, and green onions join forces in Handle the Heat’s southern-inspired Cajun Mac and Cheese.
- Clean Eating Chelsey’s Vegan Pesto Mac and Cheese slims down your typical bowl of saucy pasta by going dairy free. Cannellini beans and spicy dijon keep the texture creamy, while an oil-free pesto adds a touch of green.
- Not just for crackers, garlic-and herb-infused cheese creates a base for Kitchen of Friends’ Boursin Mac and Cheese.
- 1 Big Bite’s Macaroni and Gruyere Cheese with Butternut Squash, Smoked Salmon, and Dill swaps lobster for salmon to give noodles a briney richness.
- Leftovers? Ditch the microwave in favor of the waffle iron for Waffleizer’s Waffle Mac and Cheese, which presses breaded macaroni into crunchy, gooey grids.
Artist Brittany Powell refuses to stop playing with her food in Low Commitment Projects‘ delightfully quirky and edible interpretation of a Mondrian-style painting. Classic sandwich fixins’ are geometrically cut and arranged against a canvas of multigrain bread. To see more art imitating food- or food imitating art- check out the rest of Powell’s blog, where she recreates work by the likes of Rothko, Pollack, O’ Keefe and more, all in sammy form.
Quick! Friends you haven’t seen in years just called. They’re in the neighborhood and want to drop by and you’ve got nothing to serve them, or so you think. You check the fridge and find bits and bobs of different cheeses leftover from a holiday gathering last week, but they’d look pretty sorry if you set them out on a plate.
Take a tip from the French, who know a thing or two about cheese, and make what they call fromage fort. That translates as strong cheese, but it’s as pungent or mild as your assortment of leftovers. Continue reading
I know better. I really do. Grating Parmigiano-Reggiano—the king of Italian cheese—just before using it, such as directly onto bowls of steaming pasta, is the ideal way to maximize the deliciously nutty, sweet-salty essence of this marvelous cheese. But it’s one of those last minute tasks that can put me over the edge when I’m trying to get dinner on the table before we’re all too tired to eat.
When I’m shopping in a store that carries real imported Parmigiano-Reggiano—you can identify it instantly by the letters of its name imbedded in the rind, so if the rind isn’t part of a wedge, don’t buy it—and I spy containers of the cheese pre-grated, I succumb to convenience. But I feel as if I’m committing a sacrilege. Continue reading
We’re bringing back a favorite in The Gourmet Live Store this week with our Cheese Craze collection that’s overflowing with rich and creamy flavors.
Keep it classic with Gorgonzola Chicken Breasts and Potatoes with Cheese Sauce or start planning for one of fall’s most popular produce with Roast Pumpkin with Cheese “Fondue.”
Download the free Gourmet Live app then head to the Library to access the Store for our Cheese Craze collection and more.
We recently hit the Web to find the five best farm–made foods from coast to coast. Not only did the items have to be made by reputable producers, but they also had to survive a trip through the mail to arrive in superb shape in our New York City office. Of the ten we ordered, some lasted; others perished.
After assessing the ease of ordering online, how well the packaging protected the products, and of course, the flavors, texture, and all–around quality of the item, we narrowed our choices to the following eclectic mix of favorites, including creamy cheeses, exotic mushrooms, and spicy veggie chips, all available with the click of a mouse.
3–Corner Field Farm: Battenkill Brebis Cheese
Farmers Karen Weinberg and Paul Borghard are the masterminds behind the 100–acre 3–Corner Field Farm in Shushan, New York, where they tend more than 150 sheep and 300 lambs. And it is from those grass–fed animals’ raw milk that they make a wide variety of fresh and ripened cheeses, including our favorite: Battenkill Brebis. The cheese is handmade in small batches and aged in a dark, cool cavelike environment. Light with just a hint of grassy tang, the Battenkill Brebis is a well–balanced cheese that’s firm to the touch but with a creamy mouth feel.
Price: $22.50/pound (sold in wedges or 6–pound wheels)
Where to buy: 3-Corner Field Farm online store