2013: The Year of Cheese

It’s no secret, I’m a bit of a cheese head. Not this kind of a cheese head. But, maybe, this kind of cheese head:

Ha, get it. Cheese head.

Ha, get it? Cheese head. (Don’t worry, that’s not me. Almost had you, didn’t I?)

I can’t get enough of the curdy, creamy, smelly, salty stuff. And, this year, I decided to legitimize my love in some fashion.  I claim 2013 to be Jordan’s Year of Cheese. Feel free to celebrate along if you’d like, you have all year.

Last year was all about abstaining from something. Soda. No soda for one year. And what did I get from that? An appreciation of soda, to be honest. But, also, the realization that I don’t NEED a Coke with every sandwich, I don’t need soda for energy or as a mixer. It can be an occasional treat that is savored, and not a stable of my fridge or lunch. Great job, Jordan. But I wanted 2013 to be about something else.

I don’t take resolutions lightly, and normally don’t even make them unless I have something I’m really feeling serious about. Well, this year, at this point in my life, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more serious about cheese. And so, with the help of Steven Jenkins and his Cheese Primer, Fromage (the ultimate cheese app for the iPhone, apparently), and the cheese mongers of Philadelphia (and beyond), I’ll be making my way through a self-taught cheese education.

What I've learned so far: These ones are smelly.

What I’ve learned so far: These ones are smelly.

Luckily, Philadelphia has an abundance of cheese mongers just itching for a guinea pig to feed cheese to. And I’m more than happy to oblige.

Also luckily, my friends (whether they intended to or not) have been enthusiastic enablers for this education.

A massive cheese party for me? You shouldn't have. [Side note: they didn't, but it felt like it.]

A massive cheese party for me? You shouldn’t have. [Side note: they didn’t, but it felt like it.]

Though, I’ll admit, after a few too many tiny cups of wine, the cheese was less of an edible education and more like a sponge for vino. But don’t worry, I had plenty of time earlier in the night to enjoy a few specifics.

Primarily: Adelegger, an alpine cow’s milk cheese that is nutty and sharp, washed in white wine (and dusted with angel tears, I think). I originally was looking for Tete de Moine, and Amanda, my very favorite cheese monger at DiBruno Brothers, suggested this gem instead. It had more bite than the TdM, and a lot of body. She implied a nutty flavor, I said it almost tasted meaty in heartiness. And the best thing? We’re both right. Cheese, like beer, is a subjective delight to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone (except lactose intolerant people, whom I pity during The Year of Cheese). Speaking of beer, I paired it with a Belgian Quad, which cut right through that meatiness and made a spicy beer shaped imprint on my heart.

Cheese on Cheese

Cheese on Cheese

I’ve got a few dream cheeses that I’ll be seeking out in the city, and have already found that Reading Terminal Market alone hosts something like 4-5 excellent cheese shops featuring international and domestic cheese options galore. And, since I’m apparently some sort of grownup, people are always suggesting to get together and drink wine. And nothing goes better with wine than cheese. (And sometimes beer, when you refuse to bring wine to a Wine and Cheese party. [cough ME cough cough]).

I’m ready for you, 2013.

Give me your Gouda, your Morbier, your Chevre. I’m looking at you, Shropshire blue, you chameleon of curds. Wensleydale mixed with ANYTHING, and Ossau Iraty, you sexy beast. I’ve got a cheese plate, a set of cheese knifes, and enough lactase in my small intestine to be cheese tolerant for a woman five times my size (which would be over 30 feet tall….)

Come at me, brah.

Come at me, brah.

You trying to try some new cheeses? Just let me know. I’ll be there, cheese in hand.

It’s going to be a good year.

Any recommendations for must-try cheeses?

What’s your favorite cheese pairing (food or drink included)?

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15 thoughts on “2013: The Year of Cheese

  1. I am a huge fan of Elodie Farms’ chevre – though it’s only available in NC (Durham Farmer’s Market year-round). We can go to the farm next time we are both in the Triangle together!

  2. You have to come to Wisconsin for the real-deal cheese experience! Just west of Madison there are a few cheese factories that have store-fronts, too. I buy a huge brick of farmer’s cheese – would normally retail for probably $25-$30 but it’s about $12.
    Basil Farmer’s cheese is also another favorite. A special treat.
    I may even sometimes, maybe, sort of, totally go to a local cheese/produce market after working out to shop but also eat a quick recovery snack–cheese and fruit samples!

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  5. Confession 1: Born, raised, and still living in Wisconsin but I’ve never donned one of those Cheeseheads.
    Confession 2: Born, raised, and still living in Wisconsin and I didn’t eat cheese until I was 19. I can’t explain it. Nor do I want to think about my life pre-cheese. A recent no dairy stint made me realize I CAN live without cheese, but I don’t want to.
    At any rate, the year of cheese should proooobably include a trip here. We’ve got good cheese. And beer. But wait until summer, even the best cheese can’t make up for the misery that is Wisconsin winter.

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