Saturday, 19 July 2008

Say Cheese!

On July 1st, Haalo published her 700th post! Most of you would be familiar with her food blog Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. I always learn something new when I visit her blog, and the photos are just simply stunning. That’s why I was prompted to participate in the event “Say Cheese” that Haalo is hosting. The requirement was to post and photograph a favourite cheese in July.

I did not eat much cheese in my childhood because my mother’s culinary repertoire did not include the use of many dairy products. But as I traveled to other parts of the world and was exposed to different culinary habits, I learnt to savour different types of cheese as a course on its own, rather than on a cheese burger or grated on my pasta. Although the proper cheese etiquette is to serve cheese after mains and before dessert, I've fallen into the Australian habit of having it as an appetizer before mains. Oh, and don't get me started about the art of cutting cheese!

My first love was with Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, especially in a insalata caprese. My favourites since moving to Sydney have been washed rind and ripened brie and I tend to buy only Australian milk and goat cheeses (or a blend), especially local produce from New South Wales and Tasmania.

As a “newbie” cheese lover, I am still getting accustomed to the pungency of stronger and more ripened cheeses. Hence, I have only a teeny-weeny piece of blue cheese on my cracker. Happily, last year I discovered a cheese by Binnorie Dairy (Hunter Valley Region, Pokolbin, NSW) that suited my palate and what I consider a good “training” product for the non-blue cheese lover. It’s called Duetto and is a combination of Gorgonzola and Mascarpone cheeses, both produced on the Binnorie dairy farm. The flavour of the Gorgonzola was prominent enough to give it a nice "bite" and the addition of Mascarpone meant that it was not too pungent for me and lends a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The downside is that I can only buy it during my annual visit to the Hunter Valley because Binnorie is a small dairy company with a small list of distributors. Quikong suggested that I try to blend my own version of Duetto. Maybe I will!

Haalo did write “no cheese in a can or similar plastic products” for this event. But this cheese in a tub did win the Blue Mould Section of the 4th Fromage du Monde last year. Fromage du Monde claims to be the largest public cheese judging event in the world. So I hope that I can still enter to win Haalo's very own cheese photo book.


Anh said...

Ah this is excellent. I start to like cheese a lot more these days. But nothing beats some good brie and bread for me! :D

Haalo said...

This is a wonderful cheese - my statement was more to do about "plastic cheese" - cheese that is stored in the pantry and not the fridge!

Eva said...

Hi Nora,
Just about to go home and crash into bed - what would I give for some of your wonderful food that everyone else has been enjoying tonight but me....
Anyway, off to get some sleep before the finale!
CU soonish,

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

What a great event! I love cheese in all forms, and recently I've been lucky to find some wonderful Rhode Island made cheeses, too (we don't have an artisan cheese industry here, yet). But on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, there's a great cheese called Great Hill Blue, that's perfect in salads.

katiez said...

I grew up loving cheese... and now I live in France where we have far, far too many choices.
And some of them come in tubs, too.
I really like that gorgeous bread that you're eating with it, too!
And, just to be different from the rest of the world, the British eat their cheese after dessert. I think it must be so they can enjoy the port with it....

Nora B. said...

Haalo - Great!! It is wonderful cheese and it's almost finished.


Eva - You must be so tired with all the events and writing. Don't worry about the food, I am sure that it won't be long before you guys are over our place again for a meal.


Lydia - It's wonderful to discover local cheeses. Cheese in salads is what I've started to try as well.


Katie - You are indeed spoilt for choice. Cheese as a last course with port isn't such a bad idea :-)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

This reminds me how little I know about cheese. I wish I had the selection!

Bellini Valli said...

If I were lactose intolerant I don't know what I would do.....I just love cheese.

Nora B. said...

Anh - Brie and a crusty bread is a perfect pair indeed!


Mike - I am still learning about cheese. There is just too much to know. But just like wine, you should go with what you like and not worry so much about what the "experts" say.


Val - I can't imagine that either!

Dhanggit said...

this looks one delicious just like you..the only cheese i have in my culinary repertoire was cheddar cheese LOL but my french hubby introduced me this smelly but delicious world of cheeses :-) great photos you made!

Big Boys Oven said...

cheeze .. . . .cheese!

Haalo said...

Thank you for taking part Nora - the recap is now up!

Jude said...

Looks great. That studded bread looks amazing and I bet the cheese can only make it better.

Sauvi said...

You can buy Binnorie Dairy cheese at Eveleigh Markets every Saturday including the Duetto, brie, washed rind.