Memorial Day weekend my OG, as in Old Greenwood Lake, girlfriends came up for a visit. We snacked on an array of tidbits, including a luscious pate and a selection of cheeses. I don’t usually eat a lot of cheese, beyond some crumbled bleu or feta on my salad, but I fell hard for Manchego. I need to have that more regularly available in my cheese drawer.
The rush of falling in love, be it with a cheese or a human, is intoxicating, isn’t it?
Note: if you’re not nodding your head because you’ve never experienced those waves of excitement and joy and lust and have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re missing out.
The feelings prompted by trying something unfamiliar and learning that this new thing is absolutely delicious can cause a headiness in even the most reserved of people. Trust me. I know of which I speak.
The manchego was really that good.
As I think back on those first few bites (We’re still talking about cheese – or “fromage,” if you prefer), I’m confident that my newfound enthusiasm for manchego was caused by a combination of the cheese’s taste and my own readiness to appreciate it.
Let’s call it cheese kismet. It must have been meant to be.
While I was searching my brain for some adjectives to describe the flavor of manchego, the first words which came to mind were slightly funky, nicely textured and nutty. Wanting more of a selection of descriptors to use, I googled the word “manchego” and “taste” and arrived on this blog post on Suvie.com. Author James Aitchison provides this lovely description
“The flavor of Manchego is a pleasantly balanced mix of savory, tangy, and slightly sweet.”
…which encapsulates what I adored about the manchego. Who wouldn’t want a mix of savory, tangy and slightly sweet in their life?
Looking back on my personal history with cheeses, I can say with complete honesty that I’ve enjoyed nearly every single cheese I’ve ever eaten. The strong exception to that statement is a fromage I experienced in Alsace when, for the only time ever, I used the word “merde” to describe a taste encountered in France. Aside from that rainy afternoon outside of Colmar, I have liked all the cheeses, be they mild, sharp, or slightly smoky.
I don’t discriminate based upon milk or origin and will happily schmear, slice or grate anything once. Growing up, it was mostly Muenster cheese and bricks of knockoff Velveeta from the government. Eventually, however, my repertoire expanded to feature cheddar, bleu and triple cream delights first experienced in Europe. There are so many cheeses!
In what is either very fortunate or dreadfully challenging, I live a two minute walk from the most established and respected cheese shops with miles – The Cheese Traveler.
On the day on which I initially sampled that manchego, I phoned the shop in the morning asking for a selection of cheeses and pâtés to be put together as a hostess gift for the dinner party I was invited to for the following evening. This type of gracious and expert service is something I’m happy to support, especially right in my neighborhood.
What are some of your favorite cheeses and where do you buy them? Have you fallen in love recently?