Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cheese, Qualified

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"...he sat sadly consuming that impassive pale substance known to the English as 'cheese' unqualified (for there are cheeses which go openly by their names, as Stilton, Camembert, Gruyere, Wensleydale or Gorgonzola, but 'cheese' is cheese and everywhere the same)..."
                                           Dorothy Sayers- Whose Body?

I have 10 days left of my summer break, and I am only just now getting the chance to dive into the reading I wanted to do. Oh my, I am enjoying Dorothy Sayers!

Don't you just love this quote about the cheese?  I'm familiar with all of them except the Wensleydale.  I find it interesting that her words were written in the 1920's and the cheeses have maintained their original identities nearly a century later.  Here is a little run-down on the "qualified cheeses" she mentions:

*Stilton- think blue cheese. By law, it must be produced in one of three English counties to earn the name.

*Camembert- a soft French cheese made of cows' milk.  Its name comes from the mold, penicillium camemberti used in the ripening process.

*Gruyere- sweet, a little salty, with a grainy mouth feel. Named for a town in Switzerland, it is the familiar swiss cheese we love to use in quiche and fondues.

*Wensleydale- new to me, but my internet search tells me it is still widely loved and popular. First made by the monks in the Roquefort region of France, it is crumbly, moist, and can be made from the milk of either cows or ewes. "Roquefort" salad dressing is familiar to me and gives a clue that it is a cousin to the Stilton blue cheese.

*Gorgonzola- bearing the name of the Italian town of Gorgonzola, this cheese is often associated with pasta or pizza. Pungent and crumbly, it is another member of the blue cheese family.

My husband and I drove through cheese country (Wisconsin), on our honeymoon. We took the uncharted back roads, happening upon wonderful dairy farms by serendipity. Every day we feasted upon an assortment of cheeses and french bread and 34 years later I can still conjure up the pleasure. I have often wondered if those family operations still exist, or have the big corporations swallowed them all up?

What is your favorite cheese?

1 comment:

Go quickly and tell said...

I'm not sure that I can name a a favorite cheese, since I like so many of them. And I like trying new ones.

DD#3 is researching cheeses for one of her chef/teachers who is writing a textbook for culinary school(s).