My oldest daughter has fallen in love with cheese, so she insisted that we have a cheese course as part of our Xmas Eve dinner this year. I don’t think I’ve ever done one before, but boy am I glad I did. The cheeses were wonderful, and for a couple of my guests (including my husband) the best part of the dinner. Those guests won’t be invited back 🙂
I did my cheese shopping at Trader Joe’s, as it made it easy, so I was able to research TJ cheese recommendations before. The day I went shopping, TJ was offering samples of one of their cheeses and it may very well be my favorite cheese of all times – my daughter also loved it. This is what I ended up serving, in addition to sliced french bread and sliced apples (I also had jams but they proved less popular). Remember that the key to a good cheese course is that the cheeses be close to room temperature, cold cheeses are less flavorful cheeses.
– Le Délice de Bourgogne, a triple cream softened ripened cheese from France. It’s similar to a brie, though even creamier than the triple cream brie they have at TJ, but with a stronger, richer flavor. It’s really delicious.
– Castello Blue, a triple cream soft blue veined cheese from Denmark. This is a real winner, and a real competitor to TJ’s stilton. I think we all liked it, and was one of my 10-yo’s favorites.
– Double Cream Gouda, from Holland. Another all around winner, but not as spectacular as the other two.
– Cotswold Double Gloucester with Onion & Chives, from England. This is the cheese that they were offering tastings of and that blew us away. It has an intense flavor, it’s super cheesy and slightly bitter, and just delicious.
– Arla Dill Havarti, from the US. I got this at Grocery Outlet and my daughter liked it, but it was mild and boring in comparison with the other cheeses.
I just found some Rougette Bavarian Red triple cream cheese at Grocery Outlet, and I had to try it. I *love* it. The cheese is super creamy and tastes pretty much like any good brie, though it’s not as bitter as most. It also has a thinner rind. It retails for about $20 a lb, but it was just $7lb at the San Leandro Grocery Outlet. The catch? It expired yesterday (March 1st). Unopened brie should be good for a whole week after its expiration date, but that still means you need to eat it by next Wednesday. Still, if you are around town before then, it’s definitely worth it.
I ate it on Sensible Portions Pita Bites, and they went amazingly well together.