Which Cheddar is Better?

This afternoon, I convinced Jindi Brie to host another cheese fest chez elle. The last time, my selections had included a real stinker (literally), so I promised her that I would be super careful in my choices for our second attempt. In fact, I already had a variety of Cheddars slowly accumulating in my fridge’s dairy drawer, so our tasting menu was somewhat pre-determined. ctmy70-cheddar polaroid

This first picture requires a bit of squinting, but my current pack of Polaroid film needs to be used up, though hopefully not wasted, so I set up this vintage shot. There’s a clearer, fully digital image below and in both starting on the left, there is first a Vermont Cheddar from Cabot. I got this one at my local health food shop when they were going out of business in December–gotta love the shelf life on a cheddar! This was Jindi Brie’s favorite because it was the most smooth. I was somewhat thrilled to discover the “black” wax encasing the cheese, was actually purple, my favorite color. Next to Vermont, there’s a Canadian Cheddar that I got on a whim at Fairway in the past few weeks. It was nice, but not really remarkable; shall I refrain from the temptation to say how this seems appropriate considering its origin?!ctmy68-cheddarfestThe last two are both from our beloved Trader Joe’s–we had in fact preceded the tasting with a somewhat impromptu run to the closest branch, where we also got some other non-dairy treats… more about them later. The more crumbly cheddar came from the Isle of Arran, off the coast of Scotland. When I was living outside Edinburgh, one of my favorite purchases at the farmer’s market was an Arran cheddar with mustard seeds mixed in–it made the best grilled cheeses. This was definitely the strongest of those discussed thus far. It’s a cheddar with bite, but in my opinion, a really lovely one. Finally, there’s also an oak wood cold smoked cheddar. The smokiness makes it the most pungent of the bunch, and I also think it would make a really nice grilled cheese, if I still have any left when I next get a craving for one of those decadent sandwiches.

ctmy69-babka!As previously mentioned, on our trip to TJ’s this afternoon, we had also picked up some of their tasting olives (really nice), crackers (a variety, as seen above on the platter), and babka! Jarls loves babka, so I felt I had to make mention of it here, in spite of it not really having much to do with cheese. Jindi Brie was over the moon for this one and tore off clumps for us to sample in between the cheeses.

We spent the afternoon catching up on episodes of Carpool Karaoke from The Late Late Show, as Jindi Brie & I have a mutual long-standing crush on James Corden from his days as “Smitty!” on Gavin & Stacey. You might just say we find him really cheesy, and that’s a good thing. 🙂

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Just add Comté: A recipe

It’s easy for me to get stuck in a how-I-eat-my-cheese-rut. Meaning, I usually slice or cut my cheese into small bites and just eat it with crackers, bread, a pear or by itself. It sometimes never crosses my mind to include the cheese in a recipe. So when I spotted a sandwich on the menu of a local bakery that included my beloved Comté, it was a revelation to consider that a sandwich could be graced by this cheese’s presence. I quickly read through the sandwich’s ingredients, realized I had most of them in my fridge, then grabbed a chunk of Comté on my way home. A few minutes of preparation later, I was digging into this delectable sammy. Can I also say what a joy a cheese slicer is? Norwegians always have one on hand to slice their brown cheese thin, but using it on harder, savory cheeses is a beautiful thing, especially for sandwiches. It’s officially on my list of must-have kitchen tools.

This sandwich would be very easy to make vegetarian friendly, or if you’re not a pesto fan, spicy mustard would also be very tasty (oooh, and then you could add pickles!). So the next time you have a visit from Comté, invite it to come on over to your sandwich and let me know what you think!

Out of my rut Comté sandwich:
Serves 1 (or 2 if you feel like sharing)
1 Small Baguette (or any thick bread of your choice)
1 Tablespoon Green Pesto
2 Leaves Romaine Lettuce
2 slices Prosciutto
Few slices Red Onion
Thinly sliced Comté (how many slices is up to you!)

Spread 1/2 tbsp pesto on each side of bread, layer with lettuce, prosciutto, red onions and Comté, put the sandwich together, enjoy!

Comte sammy