Derby Got Green Bits Because of the Sage,

I thought it was about time for another Hard Cheeses of Old England post so when we went to pick up some salmon for grilling, I sent TheMan off with the previous list of Hard Cheeses to find some interesting new ones (and maybe an oldie but goodie of yore). He wandered back with 4 cheeses: 3 new, 1 repeat; 3 with inclusions, 1 without; 3 cow, 1 goat; 3 pasteurized milk, 1 raw; 3 squishy, 1 hard. Heh, OK maybe I’m exaggerating a little on the last but we sure could play “One of these things does not belong” with many different iterations.

We also picked up a Chianti and a white Michigan Sauvignon Blanc and accompanied the platter with Ritz and stone ground wheat crackers.

Red Dragon: This was our one reoccurring cheese (inclusions, cow, pasteurized, squishy). We had it up north for the Yooper installment of Hard Cheeses and it was pretty fab with its mustardy and squishy. This time around we were less than thrilled with the Red Dragon and I’m not sure why. Were all the other cheeses better? Was this Red dragon not so good? We decided that it was still a tasty cheese but that it was also the loser of the night. Red Dragon was way too strong for the white wine and not on friendly terms with the Chianti either. We tried it on both crackers and it went well with neither so perhaps we didn’t do the Red Dragon justice with our wine or cracker choices. Taking all the Hard Cheeses posts into account Red Dragon is still ahead of the game because its relative taste was being compared to three other fantastic cheeses.

Detroit Street Brick: This is a Zingerman’s creamery awesome something or whatever which meant we had to get a second mortgage on the house in order to actually buy this cheese. OK, I may kid but not by much. It came wrapped all in some sort of straw-like wrapping (it looked very much like bamboo sushi rolling mats) which we had to take off. It was also the size and shape of a brick which might account for some of the cost (a brick’s volume is a lot of cheese BTW). When we finally got to the cheese it had the consistency of something between a feta and a dry cream cheese. It was also laced with peppercorns (new cheese, goat, pasteurized, squishy) and had a delicious…pungent? Well goaty cheese flavor. It went better with the red wine since it completely overpowered the white. The cracker du fromage was the stone ground wheat.

Comté: This was our one hard cheese (but not from Old England – rather this one was from France. It also was uninclusioned, cow, new, and raw milk) and at first we thought it was a titch bland. Then, after munching, I decided I rather liked the subtle bite…sort of akin to asiago or parmesan. This cheese was my favorite of the cheeses. I’d buy Comté again in a heartbeat. It went well with the white wine and was better with the wheat cracker but could sit a Ritz in a pinch. The red wine was a little overpowering.

Our last cheese was Sonoma Jack which was a nice semi-soft olive and sundried tomato (new, cow, pasteurized) and the perfect pizza cheese. Or would have been had it also had Italian spices. It gave us pause to reflect though since one of us is on a bread making kick and loves him some stuffed cheese bread. It tasted like a fancy pepper jack cheese except instead of pepper it was olive and tomato jack. It was also pretty good (TheMan’s favorite of the night). It went well with everything proving that everyone loves them some Sonoma Jack…providing everyone is a red wine, white wine and two kinds of crackers.

2008: No Cheeses to wax anything.

2007: Too many cheese choices, not enough writing.

2006: Do the Men in Black leave frozen chocolate peanut-butter chip cookie dough diced up in people’s freezer?

2005: JSFR: Grape Marshmallow

2004: The Men in Black took my cheeses.

2003: And here’s an incredibly long thing-it-thing that tells you (after answering a bazillion questions about yourself, your likes, your shoe size) where your perfect town in the US is.

4 Responses to “Derby Got Green Bits Because of the Sage,”

  1. Sean K. Says:

    Hmm, that Detroit Street brick sounds really good. I’ll have to get ahold of some, perhaps the next time I’m in Michigan.

    I’ve had Comte before, from Trader Joe’s, and it is certainly a nice cheese.

    I’m currently up in New Brunswick, and we had some local cheeses with crackers earlier today. The clear winner was applewood smoked cheddar: it had a very light smoke flavor, and was a bit sweet as well.

  2. Jen of a2eatwrite Says:

    We love doing dinners like this. We’ve gone to M&Y or Zingerman’s, given the cheese monger our budget and they’ve put together amazing samplings!

  3. Boo Says:

    OoooOooo! I never thought to ask the cheese guy to put together something cheesy. Hmmmm! I might have to give that a try next time.

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