Howto: Pick a Cheese For Cooking

I was inspired to write this post while standing at the cheese counter trying to find a good soft goat cheese and wearing a facial expression nestled comfortably between bewildered and desperation.  I was trying to find a cheese for one of my wife’s favorite dishes (queso al horno) and I found myself totally mystified by both the array of cheeses and the fact that I had a very definite picture of what I wanted in my head and nothing that lay before me appeared to match it.

Immediately I was thankful that I was at Whole Foods.   Yes, I know it is a supermarket, but Whole Foods attracts good people who are knowledgeable and passionate about their work and they carry high end product.

Realizing I was a bit lost, I asked one of the people behind the cheese counter about the various soft goat cheeses.  My choices were  immediately narrowed down to three.  Then it got hard again.  Which one?  The white goat cheese, the white goat cheese or…the white goat cheese? 

Then it hit me.  Any cheese shop worth its salt would allow me to sample.  So I asked with a bit of hesistancy if I could try a sample.  The nice lady was more than happy to give me the opportunity and in doing so, solved the mystery of which cheese I should buy.

It also reminded me that that I do not really like plain goat cheese, but that’s another story.

 So when going to buy cheese and the shredded stuff will not do:

  • Go to a reputable cheese seller.  A locally run cheese store is best, but Whole Foods is good, too.
  • Ask questions.  If the person behind the counter does not know the answer or is unfriendly, go somewhere else.  Find someone passionate about their work.  The final dish can only benefit.
  • Sample.  You will not know its good unless it hits your taste buds.  On the other hand, remember you are buying cheese, not bucking for a free dinner.

Anyone have a favorite goat cheeses or favorite goat cheese recipes?

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One Response

  1. I dunno from goat cheese, but I can tell you a recipe (ish) that I love! There’s a restaurant chain here called Louise’s Trattoria that used to have a salad they called Insalata Mista. (Unfortunately, they don’t carry it any more.) It came off the menu with baby organic lettuces, gorgonzola cheese, roma tomatoes & caramelized walnuts, tossed with their balsamic vinaigrette. However, a friend of mine ordered it one time with goat cheese instead of the gorgonzola and it made a HUGE difference. Soooo amazing. I still miss that salad. 😦

    Not sure if I can put in HTML, but here’s a link to the basic info (minus the goat cheese part).
    http://tinyurl.com/38cqu2

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