The (Cheddar) Cheese Stands Alone


Maybe I don’t live in New York City.  Maybe I don’t buy my groceries at a cool Brooklyn Co-op.  Maybe I don’t like cheese plates.  But you know what, I count too!

I do love cheese.  I love feta, swiss, mozzarella… and SHARP CHEDDAR.  But, I just can’t get into those fancy cheeses that cost $6/ounce and are served with dried fruit, red wine jam and stale toasts.

I know I write a food blog and I should posses a more delicate palette, but you know what, give me extra sharp cheddar over a stinky cheese any day.

Feel free to berate me in the comments.

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  • Maidelitala September 23, 2008  

    Loved cheddar… though I loved cheshire more…. One thing I have to say though, and this might start a fight, Wisconsites don’t know shit about extra sharp cheddar. I went to school in MN and I was roundly disappointed by the bland Wisconsin cheeses we got up there. The best you could do was get a black diamond cheddar from Canada. Vermont cheddar (I mean cabot… the most ubiquitous of cheddars on the East Coast) has never touched ground in the Northern midwest. Maybe that’s why I’m a lactard now. Maybe my body is punishing me for years of having to resignedly eat bland Wisconsin cheese while craving the bite of a good extra sharp VT cheddar. Sigh.

  • BS September 23, 2008  

    For the record, I think cheese plates are fucking stupid. Why would you go to a restaurant and pay for a cheese plate? It’s just cheese placed on a dish. That’s not cooking. If you can’t do that at home, you’re pretty freaking hopeless.

  • Liza September 23, 2008  

    I HATE stinky cheeses – yeah give me the plain jane stuff it that’s what you want to call it – actually my new obsession is organic cheese – I’ve never been able to tell a difference with organic stuff but cheese – yes.

  • JoeHoya September 24, 2008  

    BS – When they’re done properly, cheese plates can be a way for restaurants to enhance the dining experience and support or reinforce the chef’s cooking. When they’re done poorly, they’re exploited as profit-centers that have no real relationship to the restaurant’s vibe, the cuisine, or anything else.

    Think about it this way: Is wine in a restaurant fucking stupid? What about dessert wines? They’re just alcohol poured into a glass. But if they’re chosen for specific qualities that complement the dishes that come out of the kitchen, they actually perform a useful service to the diner.

    Cheese is the same way, with the added benefit that restaurant cheese plates can introduce you to cheeses you might not seek out and purchase on your own. How likely are you to really spend $10 or more on a quarter-pound of an unknown cheese? If you can taste three or four new cheeses for roughly the same cost and use that experience to decide whether or not to buy them for yourself in the future, that sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

    That being said, there are too many restaurants that have cheese plates just for the sake of having cheese plates. French restaurants featuring Irish blue cheeses, locally-sourced places serving cheeses from Italy and Spain…not exactly paired up with sommelier-like attention, are they?

    I wrote a rant/essay about this issue for DC Foodies back in April: Curd Mentality.

    Like you didn’t know I was going to have to chime in on this…

  • Alex September 24, 2008  

    JoeHoya, where is your sense of adventure? Of COURSE I would spend $10 on a quarter pound of an unknown cheese.

  • Matt September 26, 2008  


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  • Michelle September 27, 2008  

    My husband and I also LOVE sharp cheddar. We’ve ordered cheddar made in Cheddar, England figuring we’d be blown away. I agree with Maidelitala that Cabot makes a fine Cheddar, although their “seriously sharp” isn’t all that serious, their regular “extra sharp” is a solidly consistant product.

  • Maidelitala September 30, 2008  

    Michelle, how was the cheddar in cheddar in england? was it amazing or disappointing?

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