It would be a huge understatement to say that I like cheese. The unsuspected arrival of the Food Network Magazine’s “Cheese Issue” has kept my face out of sight nearly every waking hour since last Thursday. My darling mother—who sent the magazine along with a box of Lactaid Fast Act pills (oh, the irony)—knows all too well how to keep me from getting into trouble during midterms.

Food Network Magazine's Cheese Issue

Food Network Magazine’s Cheese Issue

 

But let’s backtrack a bit. The cheesy love affair started two years ago, when I traveled to Italy for the first time. It was then that I was introduced to the cheese plate—il piatto di formaggi—as an alternative to the traditional post-meal treat.  My initial reaction was something along the lines of, “People order don’t always order chocolate desserts?!” but after ordering a cheese plate at a small trattoria in Florence, my taste buds would rarely return to chocolaty decadence in favor of a cheesier one. In high school, the store across from the bakery where I worked sold only cheese and cheese-like products. As you can imagine, I made it a priority to try every one of their samples when I went on break.

Upon enrolling at Wesleyan in the fall, I was ecstatic to learn from my brother’s close friend that the school had a student-run Cheese Co-Op. I immediately signed up, much to my meal plan’s chagrin, which suffered significantly from a lack of points at the end of the semester.

How I feel about cheese

 

Needless to say, it was well worth the price, and I am participating in it again this semester! This column will be dedicated mostly to the cheese that I get weekly, sometimes to other cheese-related things, and whatever I feel the foodie blogosphere needs to know.

This week I received my second shipment, which included Aged Bloomsday, a crowd favorite, and Dutch Farmstead. Personally, I prefer sharper cheeses, so the Bloomsday wedge better fit my taste. Aged six months longer than the Co-op’s usual Bloomsday variety, its flavor combines sharpness and a hint of sweetness, making it pair well with Granny Smith apple slices for an afternoon snack or a touch of apricot or fig jam for a tangy dessert. The Dutch Farmstead is less sharp, has a more creamy texture and nutty undertones. According to the writers of the Co-op emails (who I trust dearly) “the Dutch was recognized by both Saveur magazine in 2005 and Slow Food USA in 2003 as one of the best American raw milk farmstead cheeses.” Quite an honor! I bought some of my favorite multigrain crackers, the Kashi TLC variety, cut up a few squares of the Dutch, and drizzled each with a little honey.

Thankfully, my cheese-mates and I have more than enough cheese for some good cooking this weekend; I’ve already spotted a few recipes from the issue of Food Network Magazine that I’d like to try out, even though I might have to alter them a little bit depending on what I have in my mini-fridge and what I can find at Weshop.

Until then, happy eating!

-Becca Brand ’16
A freshman fromage fanatic

 

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