Smile and Say……”N” is for Neufchatel

Smile and Say……”N” is for Neufchatel


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“N” is for NEUFCHATEL

Creative Commons/Myrabella

Creative Commons/Myrabella

 

Neufchâtel is a soft cheese made in the region of Normandy, France. It’s one of the oldest cheeses in France, with production believed to date back to the 6th century in the town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray. Similar in appearance to Camembert, the taste is sharper and saltier. Unlike other soft, white-rind cheeses, Neufchâtel’s texture is grainy. It’s typically matured for 8-10 weeks.

In the late 1800s, a New York dairyman made the first American cream cheese as a result of his attempt to create a batch of Neufchâtel. This American Neufchâtel is softer than regular cream cheese due to its lower fat and higher moisture content. These days, it’s found in most grocery stores as a reduced-fat option to regular cream cheese.

 

 

Smile and Say……”M” is for MANCHEGO

Smile and Say……”M” is for MANCHEGO


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“M” is for MANCHEGO

Creative Commons/Zerchund

Creative Commons/Zerchund

Yes, going for the obscure. Manchego takes its name from the dry plateau of La Mancha, south of Madrid and not far from Toledo, Spain. Originally named by the Arabs “Al Mansha” (meaning land without water), La Mancha is a vast, dry, flat region with few trees, and scorched by temperatures that can reach 122 degrees F, with minimal rainfall.

Manchego is one of the popular cheeses from Spain. Authentic Manchego is only made from the Manchego sheep’s milk. The farmhouse version is produced from unpasteurized milk while the industrial version is made from pasteurized milk.

The rind is inedible with a distinctive, traditional herringbone basket weave pattern, pressed on it. There are specific differences in Manchego cheeses, depending on their aging period.

Semi Curado – Young Manchego cheese is aged around 3 months are supple and moist. The flavor is fruity, grass, hay with a tangy note.

Curado – Manchego cheese aged for 6 months acquires a caramel and nutty flavor. It has distinct acidity.

Viejo – Manchego cheese aged for a year becomes crumbly in texture while the interior of the cheese acquires a butterscotch color. It has a sweet, lingering taste.

Manchego cheeses are best paired with a sherry.

Smile and Say……”L” is for Lappi

Smile and Say……”L” is for Lappi


A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“L” is for LAPPI

No, not Limburger, that smelly cheese! (I know some of you are guessing – so let’s just say that from L to Z, there are maybe half a dozen that are familiar – the rest of the posts should serve as something new and different) :-)

Lappi, as you can imagine, originated in the Lapland region of Finland. It’s derived from skimmed cow’s milk, and is similar to Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese, except that the milk is pasteurized. It’s smooth and creamy, and gluten-free. Lappi pairs well with a Riesling.

Smile and Say……”K” is for KASHKAVAL

Smile and Say……”K” is for KASHKAVAL


A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“K” is for KASHKAVAL

Kashkaval

Kashkaval

 

Made since before the Roman Empire, Kashkaval’s name is derived from an Italian cheese called “Caciocavallo.” That translates to “cheese on horseback.” It is believed that  the name comes from the fact that two cheese forms were always bound together with rope and then left to mature by placing them ‘a cavallo,’ or straddling a horizontal stick or branch.

Kashkaval is popular in Eastern Europe and Mediterranean regions.

It’s made from cow’s milk (Kashkaval vitosha), ewe’s milk (Kashkaval balkan), or both milks (Kashkaval preslav). In Romania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia, kashkaval is a generic term for all kinds of yellow cheese.

It ages for six months, during which time it develops a spicy, somewhat salty taste with a hint of olive oil. The slightly hard texture of this cheese makes it suitable for grilling and grating. It can be served as a cheese platter or used in salads, appetizers, pizzas, and lasagna.

And if you’re in New York City, stop by the Kashkaval Garden for a glass of wine and some fabulous Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food!

Smile and Say……”J” is for Jarlsberg

Smile and Say……”J” is for Jarlsberg


A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“J” is for JARLSBERG

Creative Commons/Howcheng

Creative Commons/Howcheng

After Halloumi and Idiazabal cheeses, you were hoping for this, weren’t you? Yes, something familiar. Lovely, mild Jarlsberg, from Norway.

It was created by Anders Larsen Bakke, and is very similar to Swiss Emmental (what you think of as ‘Swiss cheese’). Jarlsberg is generally stronger and sweeter in flavor, though. It has a nutty taste, and melts well, so is used in sandwiches, quiches, and even in fondues. But if you read my post on Gruyere, you wouldn’t even consider adding Jarlsberg to a real cheese fondue. At least, I wouldn’t.

Pair it with a good Merlot. And you can find recipes at the official Jarlsberg website, HERE.

Vel bekomme!

Smile and Say……”I” is for IDIAZABAL

Smile and Say……”I” is for IDIAZABAL


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“I” is for IDIAZABAL

Creative Commons/Ardo Beltz

Creative Commons/Ardo Beltz

Did I fool you with this one? You were wondering, weren’t you? :-)

In order to find the source of Idiazabal, you’d need to find the Latxa or Carranza sheep in the Basque regions of northern Spain. This cheese was named after the village where it originated.

In summer, the sheep migrate to higher pastures to graze on the blossoming, new grass. During this time, artisanal cheesemakers milk the sheep, make the cheese and leave it in the rafters to mature. At the end of summer when the cheesemakers return back to the lowlands with their sheep, the cheese has ripened and is ready for sale.

Idiazabal has a hard natural rind. The cheese is dry, but not crumbly, and feels “pleasantly oily” in the mouth. The characteristic smoky flavor is the result of the cheeses having been stored near the fireplaces. There were no chimneys in the simple mountain huts, so the cheeses absorbed the aromatic smoke. The taste of the cheese is reminiscent of burnt caramel and bacon (Come on! What could be better?!). It pairs well with red wine and cider.

Smile and Say……”H” is for HALLOUMI

Smile and Say……”H” is for HALLOUMI


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“H” is for HALLOUMI

Grilled Halloumi cheese. www.wikipedia.com

Grilled Halloumi cheese. http://www.wikipedia.com

Something a little different today. Halloumi is mostly made from goat’s and sheep’s milk, and originated in Cyprus. Its texture is similar to that of mozzarella or thick feta, except that it has a strong, salty flavor from a brine preserve. When you cook Halloumi, the saltiness is removed and the cheese is very creamy.

Halloumi is an essential part of a Cyprus Meze and often offered in warm weather, as an accompaniment to watermelon and cold beer. The photo above is grilled Halloumi. It also can be fried, or sliced into a salad. To grill it, just slice into 1/2-inch thick slices, brush with olive oil, and grill for a few minutes on each side. The outside will be crispy and the inside will be soft and melted. Enjoy your meal with gladness and health!

Smile and Say……”G” is for GRUYERE

Smile and Say……”G” is for GRUYERE


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“G” is for GRUYERE

Photo by M. Reynolds

Photo by M. Reynolds

Same view, different seasons (and my photo is from 1979).

Now, you may recall that my “G” post last year was similar. Right! Last year, in my “Oh! The Places I’ve Been” theme, I listed the small village of Gruyères as my “G.”

Gruyere cheese is probably my favorite – yes, partly because it’s made in my beloved Switzerland, but its taste is so unique. It’s a good melting cheese, and you shouldn’t make a cheese fondue without using equal amounts of Emmanthaler (“Swiss”) and Gruyere cheeses (that’s known as moitié-moitié - half and half).

gruyere ch

 

Smile and Say….”F” is for FONTINA


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“F” is for FONTINA VAL D’AOSTA

Creative Commons/Dominik Hundhammer

Creative Commons/Dominik Hundhammer

Fontina! From the Aosta Valley in northern Italy, where the Alps are surrounded by Switzerland and France. Where chestnuts roast on open-air braziers in the chill air. Fontina has a thin brown crust and the cheese has tiny holes. It’s pale yellow if produced in winter, when the cows are fed hay, and becomes a deeper yellow if produced during the summer. It has a sweet taste and its aroma intensifies as it matures.

Fontina is rich in phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A and B. Its production is controlled by a rigid discipline which defines it, and in 1996, Fontina gained the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) stamp from the European Union, which decrees that it must be produced exclusively in the Val d’Aosta.
Look! A little movie – it’s only a minute and a half, so watch it and take a virtual tour!
Smile and Say…”E” is for EDAM

Smile and Say…”E” is for EDAM


A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese! I hope you enjoy these posts!

“E” is for EDAM

So, what do you know about Edam? It originated in northern Holland (Edam is about a thirty-minute drive northeast from Amsterdam). A young Edam cheese is soft and mild, but like most cheeses (and some people), it gets harder and sharper as it ages. The first time Edam was mentioned was in 1439, when the cheese was shipped from the Port of Edam. (By the way, the name ‘Edam’ comes from the fact that there was a dam on the river E. I kid you not.)

You’ll likely remember Edam because it typically comes wrapped in bright red paraffin wax. Yes, that Edam. And because it’s often made with skimmed milk, it has a considerably lower fat content. Win!

But don’t count on lower fat content when you use it to make macaroni and cheese. That’s comfort food at its best. For the ultimate cookbook of mac ‘n’ cheese, go get a copy of MELT – The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. I don’t want to infringe on their work by including the recipe here, but they have an incredible recipe for käsespätzle that you will love.

 

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