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Hello and happy Spring!  I apologize for my extended absence.  Dr. Matthews and I were on the road earlier this month to visit our families and attend my baby showers in each respective location.  Needless to say, they were both expertly executed and such sweet celebrations of our upcoming addition.  We felt so loved and getting all that gear made us even more excited about Baby Matthews.  Other than that, I have no great excuse for not posting other than enjoying the nice weather and working at my job.  Which, by the way, is awesome.  I have learned so much from sitting in on the cooking classes and can’t wait to share it with all of you!  But for today, we are actually going to take this thing in a different direction and discuss The Cheese Club.

The Cheese Club was an idea by my bro-in-law, Matthew.  My cousin-in-law, Kim, and I latched on to the idea and the three of us have now taken on the task of going through the alphabet of cheese.  We are trying to stick to new cheeses that none of us have tried, which was difficult during our first deliberation due to my inability to eat unpasteurized cheeses.

The initial meeting of The Cheese Club covered letters A-D.  Our method went as follows:

  • Taste cheese
  • Discuss flavors experienced
  • Look up official description (using cheese.com as a reference)
  • Eat lots more cheese

Appendaam (a form of Appenzeller)

Our description:

This version of Swiss cheese had a nutty, “feet-ish” aroma.  It was creamier than your average Swiss in texture and a bit milder in flavor.  I felt that it would be good on a ham sandwich, which is typically the only way I enjoy Swiss anyway.  According to my 3 year old niece, Gwen, “It’s good.”

Official description (I’m sharing the bullet points for this cheese due to the initial description lacking in detail):

  • Made from cow’s milk
  • Country of origin: Switzerland
  • Region: Appenzell
  • Type: hard, artisan, smear-ripened
  • Texture: firm, open and smooth
  • Rind: washed
  • Colour: straw
  • Flavour: fruity, spicy, tangy
  • Aroma: mild

Butterkase 

Our description:

Little odor.  Buttery, creamy flavor.  A finish similar to Havarti but more mild.  According to Dr. Matthews, it was “a hit” among tasters, but almost too mild.

Official description:

Butterkase is a semi-soft cheese with a golden natural rind, very popular in Germany and Austria for its creamy texture, buttery like taste. Its name, when literally translated means “butter cheese,” but the cheese is butter free. However, the appealing flavour and appearance makes it a great hit on a cheeseboard. Produced in Landhaus with original cultures and traditional German production methods, it is aged for a very brief period resulting in a mild taste and flavour.

This cheese ripens in one month and has a fat content of 50 per cent. Since Butterkase can be sliced, spread or melted it is a perfect table cheese. It is very good with a glass of beer.

Cotswold (Double Gloucester with onions and chives)

Our description:

A little sour.  Strong flavor, with aftertaste reminiscent of cheddar.  Dry.  Needs crackers or a sandwich (this was later confirmed when I had some on a burger and it was DELICIOUS).  Smell reminded me of everything bagels.

Official description:

Cotswold is a variation of Double Gloucester, which has been supplemented with chopped onions and chives for added flavour. A whole milk cheese that can be either pasteurised or unpasteurised; Cotswold originates in Gloucestershire County of England. The colour varies from golden yellow to orange and is a firm cheese similar to cheddar but not as hard. Shop owners usually sell pieces cut away from the hard and grey rind.

The taste of Cotswold is creamy, buttery, sweet and mild yet full-flavoured like cheddar. The savory taste of chives and onions gives it that extra zing. This variation of Double Gloucester pairs well with beer, Zinfandel or Shiraz and is popular as a pub cheese in England.

Derby (Port Wine)

Our description:

The most attractive of the cheeses (hence the second photo), the derby smelled like wine and tasted like grape juice and mild white cheddar.  It was creamy.  It was my favorite.

Official description:

Derby is a traditional British cheese made in Derbyshire, England since the 16th century. Hard to find these days, it is England’s oldest and most famous cheeses made in several varieties including sage and port wine.

Made with cow’s milk, Derby is a semi-hard cheese with a mild flavour and creamy ivory to a rich yellow pate. It is sometimes compared to mild cheddar because of the texture but Derby is more mild with a buttery, creamy flavour and strong melting ability.

Only a few farms in England make Derby cheese the time-honored way. Traditional Derby matured for nine months has an open texture with smooth creamy body and a nutty flavour. It has smooth melting characteristics that pairs with everything from fresh fruits, vegetables to poultry dishes. Couple the cheese with a nice Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.

We were satisfied to see that many of our interpretations were similar to what was described on cheese.com.  Next time, when I am not with child, we will have to try the suggested wine pairings, as well.

I hope you learned something interesting today.  The Cheese Club members sure enjoyed learning more about one of our favorite subjects!

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