Scardello’s Cheese 101

Scardello Cheese 101, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

This post is for my mom. Growing up, I disliked cheese. Really that’s an understatement. I detested cheese. I remember eyeing and sniffing mom’s noodle and rice dinners (anything with more than a single ingredient), which I’m sure were really tasty, and accusing her of sneaking in cheese. I would become nauseous watching her and my dad eat queso at the Paradise II Mexican food restaurant. The smell of my dad’s shaker of Parmesan grossed me out. Once, I heard Bryant Gumbell say on the Today Show that he didn’t like cheese, and I bet I repeated that a million times. I am sure this behavior was annoying.

I’ve softened on cheese since then. I’m challenging my adult palate, as Tom Colicchio might say. A few days ago I visited a stinky cheese shop called Scardello’s. Along with a friend I took a class there called Cheese 101. We tasted 18 cheeses from soft, lemony chevre to stinky, blue stilton. I don’t think I’ll ever be a cheese lover, but I am no longer a hater, and I can appreciate a fine piece of fromage, as the French might say.

Class tidbits you may or may not already know about cheese:

  • Parmesan tastes like pineapple
  • Gouda tastes like caramel
  • Chevre tastes lemony
  • Cheddar isn’t really yellow, that’s just food coloring
  • Truly stinky cheese is “washed rind” cheese (I still say steer clear!)
  • Good blue Stilton tastes like bacon
  • To impress guests, serve Stilton paired with truffle honey

The next time my mom visits I plan to take her to this cheese shop.

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