The Cheese List

When I saw this bit in the movie Ratatouille, I got goosebumps all over!!! I could totally relate to Pareng Remy the Rat. I actually thought to myself “Wow, this RAT just gets me.” and I actually felt guilty for hating rats all my life. Here’s the clip to refresh your memory!
Hooray for all things QUESO! Cheesy pizzas, cheesy pastas, cheese with hot pan de sal, cheese with honey, cheese with candied walnuts, cheese with figs, cheese with grapes, cottage cheese with fresh mango cubes, and of course the cheesiest cheese of all…cheese with the boyfriend, oops, I mean the fiance! Nakkkks! I love saying fiance, kinikilig pa rin ako! Told you I was cheesy! Hahaha 🙂 
Although I fancy a glass of Moscato or Reisling on some occasions, I’ve never been much of a wine drinker. I do appreciate the flavors that go into each bottle, the importance of identifying each note, and recognizing the difference of a “good year” from a bad one. But I’m a weak drinker and obviously a very strong eater.  Eating is more my thang. And more specifically, cheese is my specialty! Whenever I’m at a buffet, I dedicate my first three plates on cheese! 🙂 And every time I travel, I’m always on the lookout for markets and little shops that sell homemade cheese. 
Enjoying a plate of Mozzarella di Buffala in Milan. 
Checking out some cheese wheels in Toledo.
I love these images I stumbled across on the web. These cheese markers are perfect for labeling your cheese platters for parties and events. Speaking of events, wouldn’t it be so awesome to have a cheese wheel wedding cake??? Or an entire cheese buffet? I could invite all my mousy relatives! Hmmmm..ideas, ideas!:) Let me list that down on my wedding notebook..ooops, I forgot–I dont have one! Darnit! I really should start planning my wedding already! hahaha.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the different types of cheese and share my same passion for queso. But for those of you who aren’t all too chummy with cheese, here’s my little CHEESE 101 course for you! Kung mahilig ka sa Cheese Pimiento sandwich just like me, I promise you will enjoy these types too. Since cheese(s) are not all created equal, it’s important for you to do your research. Each block of cheese comes from a different country, aged and prepared in unique settings, and paired with different types of food. There are hundreds of types of cheese all over the world but I’d like to narrow it down to my top 10 cheeses. These are my “happy cheeses” as most cheeses I still find stinky and intimidating, funny how I also know a lot of people like that too! Hahaha!:)
(with supporting quotes from The Fifty Best Cheese)
1. Manchego Curado
    I could eat this cheese all day long and I’m not even exaggerating! Take a sliver of Manchego, drizzle some honey and truffle oil and kapow! kapow! It’s an explosion in your mouth! Manchego is a slightly sharp and salty cheese which compliments the sweetness of honey so beautifully. For diabetics, you could opt to glaze on some agave instead which has a lower glycemic index.
2. Camembert de Normandie
Soft-ripened cheese is simple and delicious stuff, and owes much of its flavor to the quality of the milk, hence the pastureland where it is made. In this regard, it doesn’t get much better than Normandy, and some of the cheese’s fame no doubt rests upon the shoulders of the famous Norman milk. As far as flavor, look for the same you’d seek in any soft ripened cheese: Mushrooms, garlic, green peas, fresh mold, and milk.-TFBC
    My creamy favorite! It melts in your mouth so perfectly. Pair with with some herb crackers and you have a winner. This is my sure fire quick merienda when I’m abroad and too lazy to go out. 
3. Brie de Melun
Brie is popularly known as the “King of cheese”. In spite of the plethora of knock-offs, real, raw milk brie from the lush pastures of Ile-de-France is a singular pleasure; in particular the bries of the village of Melun stand out. The milk gives the cheese its rustic, lactic backbone, and the molds add an earthy note of mushrooms and garlic.-TFBC
    The consistency is quite similar to Camembert and oftentimes comes in a white wheel as well. But personally I think that the Brie can turn out a bit bland if not paired properly with dried fruits, nuts, and honey. It’s an easy cheese though, works well with just about anything. If you’re a bit intimidated about foreign cheese, start with this one. 
4. Gruyere

Representing the host of great cooked-curd alpine cheeses, Gruyère is probably one of the most famous cheeses in the world. It deserves every scrap of its fame. Gruyères, both the select and the standard, exhibit a lovely pliable texture coupled with the flavor intensity of a drier cheese.-TFBC

     This screams SWISS all over. It’s clean and easy on the palette, a neutral cheese from a neutral country. This works well for sandwiches, paired with some turkey ham or salami.

5. Feta

True Greek Feta, made with sheep’s milk, is a delightful balance of milk and salt, and a great way to spice up cuisine, or relax with some olives and a beer.- TFBC

Feta is my favorite salad cheese. With some lettuce, tuna chunks, walnuts, tomatoes (optional!hehehe), slices of grapes..Greek feta with olive oil and balsamic will do wonders for your summer salad!

6. Mozzarella di Bufala

Fresh handmade mozzarella is a huge jump up from the supermarket stuff, and di Bufala a step farther still. Water Buffalo are cultivated around Naples to make this fabulous cheese. It has a more melting texture and slightly more lactic flavor than even the best hand pulled mozz.-TFBC

I love this stuff! These white balls of cheese are just heavenly. Although your standard mozarella for pizzas are a delight as well, this authentic Water Buffalo cheese is much more delicate and pairs well with parma ham and rucula (arugula).

7. Tomme De Savoie 
Tomme is proof that great cheese can be humble. It’s a very simple mountain style, sort of a rustic little brother to the great gruyeres of the Western Alps. It alternates between creamy, beefy, mushroomy, buttery, and occasionally vegetal. When buying remember the three cardinal rules of tomme: Seek out those made by the village of Thones, always buy raw milk versions, and the best time of year is late November through early February, when the spring and summer milk are available.- TFB
I’ve sampled this cheese for only a few times, but on those rare occasions it always left me wanting. Ang sarap talaga nito!!!

8. Ricotta Di Pecora

Ricotta isn’t technically a cheese, but the process is so similar, and intricately bound up in the cheese making process, that we consider it one anyway. Ricotta is made from whey, the liquid that runs off during the curdling process. In the whey, perfectly good protein runs off, and all it takes to curdle it is a little heat. The best ricotta is made with sheep’s milk; its whey has the most complex chemical makeup for an incredible density in the mouth, and more lingering flavor. -TFBC

Ricotta works well with just about anything! You can use it for pizzas, pastas, salads, and even desserts. It’s light flavor allows it to jump from savory to sweet dishes seamlessly. You can also put a dollop of ricotta over your favorite fresh fruits!

9. Parmigianno Regiano

Everything about its history and recipe is a testament to nutritional ingenuity. The make process is one of the most sophisticated in the world, and a pinnacle of efficient cheese making technology. It shows in the flavor, alternately buttery, nutty, fruity, and always saliva inducing.- TFBC
I love saying Parmigianno Regiano!!! Say it 10 times and you’ll get what I mean. Sprinkle authentic Parmigianno on any dish and it works!

10. Smoked Dutch Cheese
We used to fly via KLM ever since we were kids and we’d stopover at Schipol airport all the time. It became sort of an unspoken tradition for us to bring home some smoked Dutch cheese home as pasalubong to our relatives and friends. Thankfully, nowadays this type of cheese can be easily found in your local supermarket. 

11. Gorgonzola

If you like blue super creamy and sweet, this is for you. Gorgonzola is Italy’s contribution to that great constellation of world class blues.All varieties of the cheese are soft with a unique sweet butterscotch note, so do yourself a favor and skip the cremificato or dulce versions, and seek out the longer aged naturale or piccante. They simply have more flavor.- TFBC
Paired with dates, dried apricots, or grapes with a crisp bed of lettuce and you have a winning salad! Drizzle some strawberry vinagerette and VOILA!:)

12. Kesong Puti
Need I say more!!!! Nothing beats our local favorite! Slice open a freshly pugon baked pandesal, slip in some kesong puti, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some Italian herbs..ayyyy, caramba 🙂 


8 Responses to The Cheese List

  1. thanks for this post, patty. this left me drooling after reading your post. i so love cheese. i put them on baguettes (bagets?!, hahahaha), crackers or simply gnaw it with olives. sarap! =)

    but truth be told, i dont’t know the names i just look at delis, and once it tickles my fancy, ayun bibili na then attack!

    thanks! thanks! encyclo-patty? wiki-patty?

  2. I’m not a big fan of stinky and intimidating cheese. I like them sweet, creamy and mild.

    I’ve yet to try your list though I’ve been cooking with Parmeggiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano all my life since I’m a big pasta fan.

    I’ve tried gorgonzola, they are also perfect with grilled cheese with pesto and tomato sandwiches.

    Ricotta? Need I say more. I use them for cheesecakes, pasta (lasagna-YES!) I love how mild and versatile ricotta is.

    Mozzarella di Bufalla, check! My fave amongst all. I love how gooey it is when cooked and how yummy and mild it is when fresh! Perfect for Eggplant Parmeggiana!

    Feta is heaven! I use them for my pasta when I have no ricotta at hand and lalalalala!

    Kesong Puti! 🙂 I’ve tried them on a slice of sweet mangoes! Delish! Even with pesto on a hot pandesal! 🙂

    And to the rest of your cheese list, I’ve yet to try and since you’re intimidated by stinky cheeses as well, I am trusting you on this one! 🙂

  3. I don’t know a lot about cheese, but I like munching on the ones that I do like. Ang gulo. I guess I don’t care yet what they’re called or where they’re from but when I taste and I like, i LIKE. Know what i mean? haha 🙂

  4. i sooo love cheeses, too. like many others, i’m not very particular with the names. if it’s cheese, then it’s cheese. tapos ang usapan. i once had blue cheese on my burger, i thought i’d not be able to take it because of its smell, but hey, it’s yummeeehh!

  5. Hey Patty! If you’re planning a trip to Davao again, my friend Joel Rodriguez (Pastry chef/ good cook) owner of Osvaldo’s (Pelayo St. Legaspi Compound Dvo City) makes the best Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Cheesecake with Honey drizzle, you should try!!! Super yummy!!! and the red velvet cheesecake too…and the pomelo cheesecake too…lol And if Mye is here sa Pinas, will definitely tell her to bring you to Paseo de Legaspi. =) Ginugutom na ako shet! LOL