A Visit to the Cheese Counter

There is nothing my taste buds enjoy more in the world than a good piece of fromage. In fact, mon mari knows that I consider cheese to be a food group all on its own. My love of cheese makes me a frequent visitor to the cheese counter at my local market, and the cheese-monger and I are beginning to be good friends.

All of my favorites. Yum.

I eat cheese for breakfast with a crispy hunk of baguette, on an appetizer antipasto platter, as a small meal with an apple or some crackers, paired with a nice glass of wine, or just because I’m hungry. For me, there is no wrong time for cheese.

On trips to the market, I like to peruse the cheese offerings on display and bring home small wedges to try in my cooking. One of the things I enjoy about visiting the cheese counter is that sampling is free and encouraged. The cheese-mongers often carry crackers, breads, and wafers of all kinds near the counter, and they can advise you about wines and other tasty pairings to make with your cheese finds.

Here are three of my favorite cheeses of the moment:

→  Herbed Gouda

I was actually turned onto this type of cheese by my local cheese-monger recently. I think she could sense that she had me with the free sample chunk she cut from the wedge on display. She quickly gave me two more small morsels and I wolfed them down eagerly. I had a foodie moment, there, in the market, as I savored the flavorful richness of Herbed Gouda paired with a crispy cracker.

Herbed Gouda is obviously Gouda cheese that has been blended with a variety of herbs and other ingredients, including: tomato, garlic, and olives. This cheese is delicious, and priced reasonably at $6-8 for a nice-sized wedge.

→  Cotswold or “Pub Cheese”

This mix of Double Gloucester, onions, and chives was a bold addition to some pan-fried potatoes I made one evening when my household decided to have breakfast for dinner. I paired the cheesy potatoes with eggs and bacon and it was heavenly.

Incidentally, Cotswold or “Pub Cheese” is very famous in Britain where it is used on a wide variety of foods and is frequently served with beer. I can honestly only imagine good things happening whenever “Pub Cheese” is used.

Cotswold retails for around $5-6 for a nice chunk and is often on sale for less.

→  Havarti Dill

For me, Havarti Dill is the gold standard of cheese, which should tell you that I clearly have cheap taste since a nice portion of this cheese is only $6 or so. I love the combination of creamy Havarti cheese speckled with fresh dill bits.

Havarti Dill is a rich cheese, but for me, it’s a sandwich staple. I love to cube it up in salads or just eat it by the slice. If you enjoy the flavor of dill, as I do, you should add this cheese to your next grocery list.

♦♦  Brie Cheese is also a favorite of mine, and it would make this list, if I weren’t saving the deliciousness of Brie for a few future blog post topics. Keep checking back á la Maison, I promise to post about Brie soon!