Who can believe I haven't covered this topic yet?! Hanging out with my best friend John I asked him to choose a top five list for me to write about today. His response was, "best cheeses" but in such a matter of fact way I felt as though I had let him down for not thinking of it myself. We sit now in his kitchen while he cooks and I write as we debate our cheese MVP's. Our lists are similar if not exactly the same as we do much of our explorative eating together and have pondered the matter many times before. We had no trouble with the top two, but when thinking about three, four and five realized there were so many we love and want to mention. John sums this up perfectly when he says, "Cheeses are like NFL Quarterbacks; once you get past the top three or four there is not as big a difference in the greatness of them."
We got there though and I think I originally imagined this list would have a lot more rare cheeses on it, but when thought through it made sense to have the winners be the everyday heroes of the cultured dairy world.
5. Fresh Mozzarella- The key here is that it be fresh. All mozzarella is delicious, but the stuff sitting behind the glass in a supermarket Caprese would not have made this list. For anyone who hasn't tried high quality fresh sliced mozzarella, go now. Read no further. You have one objective, get too it and thank me later.
4. Cheddar- It's cheddar cheese. Seriously.
3. Swiss- This remains my favorite sandwich cheese, it adds a unique flavor that reminds me there is cheese. I get anxiety when I forget that there is cheese in my food.
My theory is that swiss cheese has holes in it because it is so tasty it self mutilates out of guilt. It knows it needs there to be bites where I hit a hole and have minimal swiss so that the other ingredients can have their moment. So if that is the case I will also give swiss bonus points for being the most philanthropic cheese.
2. Smoked gouda- Oh dear pooh bear, just writing about it is getting me all uppity. The smoky flavor, the smooth melt in your mouth texture, the lingering aftertaste like a scrumptious campfire. If this is on a platter at an event, I will consume most or all of it. I cannot be stopped.
John also brought up the incredibly brilliant point that this is the best "smothering cheese". That is to say that melt this over a food until said food can no longer be seen under it's smokey coagulated blanket. Heck, I would smother just about anything in smoked gouda. Good ideas are happening today.
1. Goat cheese- This was a tough call as this one is nearly tied with number two if not perfectly matched. I deemed this the best, in part because of how often I consume it. This is one of my magic ingredients which, if seen on a menu, I will almost always order the dish it comes on (other magic ingredients include capers and artichokes).
Also, it comes in log form. I think more delicious foods should come in log form, it's truly wonderful.
Also: I am not allowed to purchase said logs. I learned long ago that I cannot be trusted once it is open and I am humbled to have to admit that I have, on many occasions, eaten an entire log in one sitting. I believe my record was consuming the entire thing in the duration of one Full House episode. Towards the end when Danny Tanner was teaching his lesson I had abandoned the pita chips and was simply cutting chunks off and eating them directly off the knife.
I would like to personally thank goats for making such tasty lactation. Thank you from the bottom of my salad bowl.