Rogue River Blue
From the Rogue Creamery right here in Oregon comes a blue cheese that tops them all, in my opinion. This one has a depth, complexity and richness that I have never tasted anywhere else. I had a sample at the cheese counter of our local store, and it forced me to close my eyes and enjoy a genuine “cheese moment”. Naturally I had to buy some. Not cheap, but absolutely worth it. This blue is is made from Holstein milk from a select herd of cows that have a strict diet of native grasses, hop clover and wild herbs; cave aged at least nine months, and comes wrapped in grape leaves that have been macerated in pear brandy. Delicious beyond belief. On its own or crumbled on a salad, not to be missed.
Rated: * * *
Fra Fol Epi
Mild Swiss cheese, even if it is French and not Swiss at all. Similar to Emmental but not nearly as powerful. Would probably go well in Fondue if you couldn’t find Emmental, or as an addition for a smoother flavor. Usually comes decorated with toasted flower and embossed with a wheat stalk. It’s rich in protein. Not a bad cheese, but nothing spectacular.
Greenleaf Black River Gorgonzola
Creamy yet crumbly, intense and tangy cheese with moderate greenish blue veins running throughout. A good sub for those who don’t care for blue cheese yet like a strong flavor. Would go great on a salad. We tried it with garlic flatbread crackers and it was excellent that way.
Rated: * *
Parrano Originale 5 month
Mild, but with a light, nutty smoked cheddar bite. Really good with black pepper & sea salt chips and a snort of Maker’s Mark. Would probably pair well with fruit such as strawberries or dried apricots.
Rated: * *
Beecher’s Smoked Flagship 18 month
Rich, smoky and very smooth flavor. Excellent for topping plain or rosemary crackers. Would probably pair well with a sweet red apple like Braeburn.
Rated: * * *
Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar
Worth mentioning. This 18-month aged beauty is the workhorse cheese around our house. Intense, tangy Cheddar taste. Great for pairing with Honeycrisp apples for a snack, for melting in a cheese sandwich, or as part of a cheese sauce to go over whichever vegetable would be otherwise unpalatable.
* rating system:
1 star: Tasty, worth buying a second time.
2 stars: Very good. Worth going out of your way to buy.
3 stars: Outstanding. Worth a special trip, and paying the arm/leg per pound price.