Tasting Notes from an Unqualified Cheese Reviewer

Tasting Notes from an Unqualified Cheese Reviewer

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Sophisticated but approachable, this cheese balances notes of caramel and nuttiness without seeming like it’s trying too hard at either. In fact, it seems mildly surprised that you brought it up. Best served on an artisan reclaimed wood charcuterie board in an airy, minimalist loft apartment while an NPR Tiny Desk concert plays in the background. 4/5

King Island Seal Bay Triple Cream Brie

This cheese has the silky consistency of an expensive eye cream that you wouldn’t spend the money on for yourself, but you borrow from your mom whenever you visit. Eating it is like telling your taste buds they are beautiful and then treating them to a “just because” spa day that ends with a luxurious milk bath. 5/5

Roquefort Papillon Black Label

This is an aggressive, funky cheese. Pair it with toe socks and the new album from that Brooklyn band that’s just two saxophones and a drum kit. 3/5

Beemster Classic Aged Gouda 

This solid, reliable cheese never challenges you and always accepts you back into its caramely, uncomplicated embrace, even after you go looking for a cheese with more complexity and come home reeking of taleggio. 3/5

Cendré des Prés

This cheese has a bloomy rind that surprises you with its sponginess, like when you step onto the synthetic surface of one of those sad, grassless urban playgrounds. The cheese itself is earthy and mushroomy and fecund, like if you rented a bus to take all the urban children on a field trip to the country to get their feet muddy and touch some tree bark. 4/5

St. Maure de Touraine

This ash-coated French goat cheese is ideal for pairing with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc shared with your ex, whom you haven’t seen in years. The delicate dusting of black ash contrasts strikingly against the ivory cheese. But when take a bite, you find that the center is unpleasantly chalky, and the expected tanginess lacks potency. This was once your favorite cheese. “Did you know that ash was originally used in cheese-making as a bug repellent?” he asks. You did know; in fact, you are the one who taught him that, but you do not remind him. The two of you finish the cheese in silence, both understanding that the ash is a metaphor. 1/5

Monforte Dairy Bliss

This unctuous cheese is perfect for when you feel like eating a pat of straight butter but want to seem “classy” instead of “disgusting” and “shameful.” 5/5


Kelsey Rexroat is an editor and writer based in San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Millions, The Cortland Review, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

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