Cheese Demystified: The Funky, Stinky, and Scary
With Halloween upon us, the time is ripe to explore some fantastic cheeses which may look a wee bit scary on the outside, but which are gems of flavor perfection — a truly grown-up treat.
For the uninitiated, some selections in the cheese case may look a bit menacing, but don’t let that dissuade you. Handcrafted cheeses made with traditional production techniques and a plethora of cultures, develop a variety of unique and intriguing rinds, which can put timid tasters out of their comfort zone.
With cultured curd that runs the gamut from wrinkly, brain-like orbs to velvety-rinded pucks to blue-rinded barrels and funky, aromatic rounds, these are definitely not the "American Cheese" of your youth.
Thankfully, those truly scary, plastic-wrapped singles have been relegated to their highest aspirations: topping generic, sad burgers and oozing from Wonder Bread grilled cheese.
Rinds that form on these handcrafted cheeses appear as beneficial molds and bacteria colonize on or in a cheese. As they flourish, they transform youthful, rather bland fresh cheese curds into the wildly funky, oozy, or aromatic specimen it is destined to become.
Read on to hear more about some of my favorite "Scary Cheeses," which are fun, grown-up treats for Halloween and beyond. Seek them out at your favorite cheese shop or order online direct from the producer.
All of the selections in this article are part of the American Cheese Society Best of Show Project, a photo retrospective of three decades of award-winning cheeses from North America’s premier organization supporting and promoting American cheese.