We love good cheese, and eat it just about every day. We’re not talking about the mozzarella on pizza or the cheddar slices on cheeseburgers, although we eat those, too.
We’re talking about cheeses that delight, from favorite dairies like Cypress Grove, Jasper Hill Farm, Rogue Creamery, Uplands Cheese Company and Vermont Creamery.
For us, these are “serious cheeses.” But we also like what we think of as “fun cheeses.”
These are excellent cheeses that are also fun to eat: Burrata, with its oozing, creamy center; Gorgonzola Dolce, creamy, mild, and sweet per its name (dolce means sweet in Italian); Halloumi, a semisoft Greek cheese that becomes a grilled slab of cheese without melting; and Raclette, a cheese that is heated until melty and then scraped onto potatoes, vegetables and meats.
Here’s more fun cheese from Aldi.
Imported from the U.K. and exclusive to Aldi, The Emporium Selection Summer Alcohol Cheese Collection comprises three English Wensleydale cheeses, blended with the flavors of three popular cocktails.
A medium-bodied cheese that is supple and crumbly, plain Wensleydale has a slight honey aroma. It’s commonly flavored with apples, dried cranberries, mango, pineapple and other fruits. These are called blended cheeses, and are charming.
All three are a real treat, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
They’re perfect with summery wines and cocktails, delicious as a snack, and luscious as dessert cheese.
We were treated to samples, and couldn’t stop eating them. We’re headed to the nearest Aldi for more.
A popular cow’s milk cheese originally produced in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England, today Wenslydale is mostly made in large commercial creameries throughout the U.K.‡
Wensleydale cheese was first made by French Cistercian monks, who traveled from the Roquefort region of France to build a monastery in Wensleydale, England. They brought a recipe for making cheese from sheep’s milk, which is the major cheese milk in the Roquefort region.
During the 14th century, cows’ milk began to be used, and the character of the cheese began to change. A small amount of sheep’s milk was still mixed in to provide a better texture, and to allow the development of blue mold.
At that time, Wensleydale was almost always a blue cheese (like Roquefort); the white variety almost unknown. Today, the opposite is true: It is difficult to find a blue Wensleydale.
When the monastery closed in 1540, local farmers continued to make the cheese.
Plain or blended, Wensleydale is found on many a cheese board, and is a favorite dessert cheese.
At the opposite end of the country, in the area around the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, South West England, the local Cheddar is served with apple pie.
The combination is a custom that likely dates back to Medieval times. It came to New England with British immigrants, and became “a Yankee thing” (like England, New England was apple country).
The practice spread to the upper Midwest (dairy country) [source].
If you haven’t had it, treat yourself to a slice of apple pie with Cheddar—and another slice with Wensleydale!
*Food 101: Both the coffee beans and cacao beans (used in the Espresso Martini cheese) are fruits.
†Beyond the casual Port Wine Cheddar spread, where wine is mixed in, numerous sophisticated cheeses are washed (“bathed”) with some type of alcohol as it ages in the maturing room. The nuances penetrate the paste (the inside of the cheese), creating complex flavors. Examples include Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey, AleHouse Cheddar Cheese, Drunken Goat Cheese (red wine), Epoisses (pomace brandy), Finger Lakes Champagne Cheddar Cheese and Stinking Bishop (pear brandy).
‡It’s the same with Cheddar, Swiss (Emmenthal), and any other cheese that is so popular that grocers nationwide need to be filled with it. Artisan cheeses like the Wensleydale shown in photo #3 comprise a tiny fraction of the volume produced. It’s the same in the U.S. and in other cheese-making countries.
‡‡Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a status awarded by the European Commission that protects and promotes named regional food products that have a reputation or noted characteristics specific to that area.
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