favorite local and international cheeses.
think it's important go out of your way to try new and different (sometimes
questionable) cheeses. After all who knows what you've been missing?
Important - if you are able - try and locate the best cheesemongers in
your city or neighborhood. Find a retailer who loves cheese, where the staff is
knowledgeable and they're always sourcing new products.
And most important,
somewhere where they indulge you with samples!
Unpasteurized cows milk cheese from Jura France. I find it very similar perhaps
a bit stronger (ergo tastier) than Comte de Montagne. Its a firm cheese with a
lovely honey hue and thin inedible rind. It has a nutty, sweet earthy aroma and
a smooth nutty, toffee/caramel flavour with a salty backbone.
It comes in large drums so you can have yours cut to size.
Wine Pairing: Great with full bodied wines like Rhone Syrahs.
approx $4.25 per 100g
Stink Factor: Medium-low
Delice de Bourgogne
A triple cream cows milk brie from Bourgogne France. This creamy white uber-soft
cheese spreads like butter and is decadently rich. It has a mild aroma and
flavour similar to the inoculated blue cheese- a distinct sharp medicinal/mouldy
flavour but in a mild and appealing way.
It also has hints of earthy and herbal nuances but mostly its just incredibly
As you can see by the photo at right it has a mottled thin rind where the
flavour is sharpest and it gets creamier toward the centre. It also doesn't
travel well so keep it safe!
Wine Pairing: A red Burgundy would be the obvious choice but I love it
with Champagne and sparkling wine that cuts through the richness or a Sauterns
approx $3.99 per 100g
Stink Factor: Medium
Tomme Corsu Vecchio
This sheeps milk tomme from Corsica has a rough, gray mottled rind
and ivory interior.
The aromas are of wild herbs, earth and has lovely sweet milky nuances. The
texture smooth and creamy with amazing sweet, nutty flavour and hints of
rosemary and thyme. Try this next time in place of your regular Tomme de Savoie or Tomme
Wine Pairing: perhaps a wine from Neighboring Italian Sardinia (Carignan
or Vermentino) or
creamy, nutty white like Chardonnay or rustic French or Italian red.
approx $7per 100g
Stink Factor: Low
This is a hard cows milk cheese
from (generally from Northern Italy) that has been brushed or immersed in red
wine. Generally it's aged 6-10 months. One would expect it to have a wine-ish
hue seeping in from the rind but it has a lovely creamy flesh with a distinctly
purple rind with just the faintest hint of wine-colour soaking in underneath. It
has a briny aroma similar to parmesan with fruity, nutty and smoky nuances
with a very pleasing and distinct wine-y flavour. The texture is very firm and
crumbly suited to an aged cheese.
Ubriaco means "tipsy" or "drunk" in Italian and another interesting
version called Ubriaco al Prosecco is brushed with Prosecco must (skins
and leftovers from winemaking) giving it a delicate floral fruitiness.
Sounds like a perfect pairing to me.
Wine Pairing: A lush Italian red wine made from Cabernet, Merlot, Raboso
or Nebbiolo or a Valpolicella or Amarone would be nice.
Stink Factor: Medium-low (in a very good
Le Nuits d'Or
A cows milk cheese from Nuits-St.-Georges, Burgundy this is a
cheese that will rock your world without emptying your pockets.
If there are cheese fiends and cork dorks knocking at your door, this is the
cheese to serve. And, since it's from Burgundy it goes extremely well with-of
course, Pinot Noir.
It looks far more expensive than it is, all dressed in gold foil then unwrapped
to a light amber washed cross-hatched rind and creamy interior.
It is soft and sufficiently smelly enough to replace an Epoisses. Blasphemy you
say, I say its a smart, affordable indulgence! The
washed amber rind is slightly tacky, left on the counter to warm for sufficient
time (one hour at least please) it begins to sag slightly and bulge out out at
The texture is creamy, smooth and slightly rubbery with slightly fruity,
mushroom and bolder "ripe" barnyard aromas. On the palate it's creamy sweet on
the entry with faint herbal/grassy nuances and a nutty finish...dreams are made
Wine Pairing: Perfect with red Burgundy,
young-ish red Bordeaux or reds without overt jammy fruit and
flavour that will overpower this cheese.
approx $9 wrapped 250 gr drum
Stink Factor: high
Chèvre des Neiges Triple Cream Brie
What is it about Valentine's that makes small, individually wrapped items so
Hershey's Kisses, small velvet boxes, half bottles of pink Champagne and of
course - creamy cheese.
This widely available Quebec-made triple cream goats milk brie from Alexis de
Portneuf is a fist- full of creamy love. Brie can be boring, but goats milk
gives an extra kick of flavour and being triple cream makes the texture less
rubbery and much more seductive. It has a sweet, creamy buttery flavour with
less of the typical mushroom
notes cows milk brie has but maintains elements of earth and grassiness.
A perfect darling addition for your dinner duo.
Pinot Noir or Bubbly rosé
or crisp white wine
approx. for the 160g drum
Epoisses-Cows milk cheese Burgundy Fr.
The Queen of cheeses?
WineDiva will bow down to her!
This cows milk cheese from the Bourgogne village of Epoisses has a soft
amber-hued washed rind (bathed in marc or brine) with an intense and pungent
barnyard aroma to it. (I placed one in the overhead bin one on a short plane
trip once, quadruple wrapped and and in a plastic container. By the end of the
trip it was smelling up the entire cabin). Robust flavour, earthy, sweetly
creamy and decadently rich.
The texture when cool is pate-like but spoon soft when sitting at room
Long live the Queen (just not in my fridge)!
Wine: Fresh white wine with some body and a
hint of sweetness like Viognier, Alsatian Riesling/ Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir or
for dessert a Sauternes or sweet Loire Chenin Blanc like Vouvray.
$18.00 approx. depending on the retailer
Stink Factor-Off the chart
Le Brin, Savoie France
Cows milk cheese.
Amber hued, washed rind hexagonal shaped cheese with a gamy/wild
aroma and hints of sweet nuttiness. Soft,
creamy and supple this semi-soft cheese has a creamy, milky and slightly fruity
It would be nice as a dessert cheese served with fruit.
Wine: Light-med fruity reds, medium bodied fruity whites.
Stink Factor: low
$ 7.00 (approx) puck sized individually wrapped
A washed rind soft ripened cow's milk cheese from
Quebec. This perfect little drum comes housed in a clear
top container which makes it nice to travel with. It is softer and creamier than
the traditional Oka you probably purchase already cut in larger wedges at your
It has that slightly sticky golden-amber hued rind (washed) and creamy-rubbery
texture with intense sweet and nutty aromas and a fruitiness that reminds me of
Wine Pairing-Gewurztraminer would be nice or
any fruity white
or lighter bodied fruity red.
$7.25 200g drum
From Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers in SE France is a buttery,
runny, soft ripened cow's milk cheese that is quite spectacular in two ways.
First, it comes in it's own lovely little ceramic pot which prevents it from
running all over your fine wood-grained table and second it's a heavenly buttery
bliss that spreads like thick cream.
In the crock it has a vague cross-hatch pattern and is a pale straw colour with
a paler interior. The flavour is mild but rich with a sweet herbal, earthy
Make sure you serve it with a delicate little spoon-you'll need it!
And talk about impressing your guests!
Wine Pairing-Rhone style or South of France
reds wines with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre...Burgundy reds. Or Fuller-bodied
Alsatian Pinot Gris white.
$8.50 90g crock
Stink Factor-Medium low
Pont l'Evêque-Pierre Lesasseur France-
Cow's milk cheese.
WineDiva has purchased the Pont
L'Eveque before but never in this handy demi sized brick. L'Evêque
has a smooth formed surface with a fine crosshatched creamy hued (often orange)
rind and delicate yellow interior. It has a barnyard-y aromatic essence to it a
, funky and earthy. The texture is supple and creamy with a slightly rubbery
brie-like mouth-feel with earthy mushroomy, herbal flavours and a strong milky
finish. The Pont l'Evêque is not a completely mild cheese even if
it looks completely innocent peering out at you from its adorable wooden case!
Similar to an Epoisses, Livarot or Tallegio.
Wine: Burgundy (Pinot Noir), Bordeaux blend, red Rhone variations.
Stink Factor: Medium-high
$10.00 per 175 gr demi-brick (approx)
Peche-Cow/Goats milk Quebec
It's a combination of goat and cows milk cheese from Quebec. But don't let it
fool you. It looks like Brie but is quite different.
It has a soft bloomy white
rind and stunning soft white interior. Aromas are of chalky minerals , cedar,
grass and green herbs.
It has a dry texture, similarly chalky but tastes creamy and earthy with
mushroom-y nuances and a 'goaty' flavour.
Perfect with a drop of sweet fruit
compote or truffled/mushroom spread.
Wine Pairing: An earthy but light red wine,
a rose or a crisp and fruity white wine.
approx $5 per 100gr
Stink Factor: Very low
Tomme au Marc Raisin
She ain't pretty, but you'll love her!
This unique cows milk cheese from France is covered in marc (the seeds,
skins and stems remaining after making wine).
It has a sharp wine-y aroma and flavour, tangy
with grassy/herbal flavours and a
hint of sweetness.
The texture is quite rich and soft, slightly crumbly.
A great cheese for wine.
Wines: French would be best, Pinot Noir or rich/robust white or
try a Rosé.
One for Cheddar fans!
Semi-firm cows milk cheese from England has a milky flavour with
lemon-grassy/herbal flavours and a free range earthiness.
The texture is somewhat dry, chalky and slightly crumbly. If you are a cheddar
fan you'll enjoy this cheese.
Wine: Crisp, minerally white wines, Alsatian
reds with some acidity.
Fleuron de Bruges-cows
This cows milk cheese from Belgium was one of the three cheeses I picked up
at a cheese shop in Victoria, British Columbia.
The Fleuron de Bruges has a soft, washed rind with a slightly amber hue (from
the bathing) and a creamy yellowish interior. The texture is amazingly velvet,
slightly rubbery and is sweet, creamy and nutty.
It reminds me of the delightful French Fleur d'Aunis which is bathed in
Wine Pairings: Fruity and fresh reds and
whites like Pinot Noir or fruity Chardonnay or a Kriek beer from Belgium.
approx $5.00 per 100g
Stink Factor: Low
Baste her in Cognac!
Cows milk cheese from Charentes Poitou
France. WineDiva loves this cheese with its
rich and creamy texture. Its sweetly nutty and has slight mushroom-y and milky
aromas. It has a soft texture that's just a hint rubbery with a soft, orange
(edible) and sticky rind that has been brushed with the regions Pineau des
Charentes, a fortified aperitif-style wine made with Cognac.
Wine:I paired it with sparkling wine and Pinot Noir, both were wonderful!
But any light, fruity red or white would be nice.
Salt Spring Island "Juliette"-
Goats milk cheese from the Gulf Island in BC.
A soft, white mould surface ripened
goat cheese-A local Salt Spring Island
artisan goat cheese recognizable by its decorative rosemary sprig.
Fresh herbaceous and saline aromas with a typical ‘goaty’ fragrance. It has a
soft white shell exterior and soft, velvety texture with flavours of mushrooms
and sweet cream, and a fresh piquant finish.
Wine Pairing: Crisp wines Sauvignon Blanc,
Riesling, unoaked Chardonnay, Rose or light red.
$8-$10 (each 190g round)
Stink Factor: Low
Cows milk cheese from Switzerland. It has a thin hard
mottled rind (I wouldn't suggest you eat it) with milky and grassy/herbal
aromas. Nutty, intense forest floor mushroom-y elements with a sweet milky
Wine: I had this cheese with Pinot Noir but it would also be good with a rosé or a
Price-approx $4.99/100g (about)
a nice round of Goat Cheese is easier to cart along with you than a pre-cut
piece destined to become mushed up between bottles of wine. (What, you don't
carry wine and cheese with you in your purse wherever you go?)
from Quebec is simply as it says a
brie style round made from goats milk cheese. It has that slightly rubbery brie
texture with a soft rind and earthy, sweet, mushroom-y flavour which is nice
with a little fruit or fruit spread it on a spicy and savoury cracker
Stink Factor-virtually non-existent
This aged goat cheese from Spain has a delightful pumpkin orange rind from being
dusted in paprika. It has a Parmesan-like texture, dry and crumbly but the
paprika adds a hint of smoky spice to the flavour and aroma of the cheese. Salty
and smoky with herbal, grassy flavours a sharp finish and a slow paprika burn.
Price-approx $4 per 100g
Clawson Creamy White Stilton with Cranberries-Wrapped
in a glorious red wax case, a perfect heart sized drum for two and a
interior crammed full of cranberries (antioxidents+health equal good luvin'
and a nice option for Valentine's Day)
The Stilton isn't too strong...the aromas are sweet cranberry, not old socks and
it looks lovely.
Slightly creamy, faintly chalky with the sweet/sour pop of cranberries as you
let it melt in your mouth. There is no bitterness or lingering strong flavours.
Its just plain adorable and easy!
Serve it at the end of your meal or just before a sweeter dessert with some
dried fruit and nuts, some fruit and nut crackers and a dessert wine.
It comes in several flavours...including blueberry!
Approx. $9 200g drum
Stink Factor: Low
Caveat: As stated on the bottom label "Do
not eat the wax layer", "Do not throw wax layer onto open fire"
Pecorini de Fosse-Sheeps
milk cheese from Romagna Italy.
This hard Pecorino style cheese is aged in
underground caves for 4-6 mos. giving an deep earthy aroma with flavours of
roasted nuts and herbs. Rich, earthy and smoky!
approx $6 per 100g
Stink Factor: Med-Low
Smoked Gouda- You can get
smoked gouda (cows milk) in the grocery store in processed rounds (a slightly
rubbery texture) that would do in a pinch if you were melting it. Or you can get
the good stuff from your cheese monger.
WD is a smoked cheese lover and the gouda has such a
smooth creamy texture (great for melting on a grilled cheese with caramelized
onions) and is the perfect accompaniment to wines with any smoked,
toasted or oaky flavour to them (ie: Chardonnay, aged Champagne or a numerous
$ Prices vary
Stink Factor: Low
Papillon, Aveyron France-Goats cheese-An adorable 100g short
barrel of medium consistency and lovely strong aged goat aroma/flavour. Very
earthy with herbs and pasture grassiness. The dense weight and flavour translate
into smooth chalkiness. Let it sit on your tongue and melt to really appreciate
it's wild goat-y flavour.
Appox. $6+ each
Wine:-Sancerre or a crisp new world sauvignon blanc
Sevre & Belle,
Chevre du Poitou, Celles-sur-Belle France- Goats cheese-As opposed to
the firm chalkiness of the previous posted cheese, the Poitou is fresh and
runny. This individually cardboard encased 125g puck has a creamy white shell
with herbaceous, mushroom-y and fruity ooey-gooey goodness. Perfect for
spreading on a baguette. Carries well for a picnic and all you need is a bottle
of wine with a screw cap!
Wine:-Off-dry riesling or fruity rosé
Italy-Cows milk-Medium soft and supple with a bloomy rind
(edible when young) but gets mottled and thick as it ages (I suggest you don't
eat the aged rind). Earthy and barnyard-ish with sweet fruity and truffle
flavours. Mild but inspiring. If you like good quality Camembert and Brie-try
this...you'll love it.
Comes in a larger disk/drum-have them cut you a piece.
Wine: Barbera d'Asti, Pinot Nero, smooth fresh reds and fruity whites.
approx $4.50 for 100 gr
Spread a small amount of Urbani Tartufi-Truffled Porcini Crema on
a cracker and top with a slice of the Toma.
Sniff, bite, savour and swallow!
Repeat as needed.
Urbani Tartufi-Truffled Porcini Crema This creamy concoction of porcini, white
truffles, bianchetti truffles and spices is heavenly.
It's not cheap $20 for a tiny 80g jar but like truffle oil-you don't need
Products can be purchased at Urban Fare
My favorite Olive spread comes in a glass jar and is called,
Aiello Bruschetta-Chunky Olive Spread. What makes this
one so special? It's the addition of the walnuts to the usual green
olives, lemon, olive oil and capers concoction. Also great with a cheese
$7.95 (249gr) at Les Amis du Fromage
Neal's Yard Dairy-Spenwood-
This goats cheese looks a bit like
Manchego in disguise but is much more expensive. Neal's Yard Dairy carries
cheeses made by small producers, kind of an agent for small British artisanal
cheese makers, and sells them through it's two retail stores in London (Covent
Garden and Borough Market), to specialty food stores across the UK and around
Les Amis knows of my predilection for all things goat (in the cheese world) and
suggested this beauty. Firm and creamy white, it comes in drums about 7" x 5''
high (like Manchego) and has a strong chalky, earthy and nutty flavour slightly
wild and herbaceous with a texture just bordering on crumbly.
dee ah zah bahl)-45-50% butterfat. I was looking for a slightly fruity, not
grassy, cheese to go with a 1997 St. Francis Reserve Merlot, from Sonoma. I
wanted something I had not had before, then I spotted this option on my cheese
monger's board. Hailing from Spain
this med-firm sheeps milk cheese is gently smoked, just enough to
achieve a wonderful sweet, savoury flavour. It went extremely well with the
smokiness in the Merlot as well. If you like Manchego, you will
love this cousin.
Stink Factor: Low
Vacherin Mont D’Or-(vasher-ANN-moan-Dor)
France, cows milk cheese.
If Epoisses is the Queen, this may very well be the King of cheeses!
I get this cheese one time per
year…just before Christmas.
General information-Cows milk, un-pasteurized with a delicate
apricot-hued washed rind and supple, runny interior.
It comes packaged in a
round spruce-wood case. I've purchased the 500 gram drum and the 250 gr drum.
You don't want to miss the potent aromatics and unparalleled buttery texture - earthy, fruity and
nutty flavours of this rare queen of cheeses.
Vacherin is produced in the fall, hence the pre-holiday arrival and comes
from France or Switzerland (although there are replications) similarly labeled
Vacherin…The producers vary as do the flavours depending on the region but your
local cheese monger should receive
shipments from France and Switzerland
every year. So do you research and pre-order next year in the fall.
$40 + 500g
Le Trou du Cru-
50% butterfat (or 24%
actual dry fat content)
This adorably small orange puck is the perfect size for two, if you
are having a cheese only dinner with a couple other selections and a bottle of
wine. The interior is creamy yellow and demands to bulge out of its washed-rind
exterior as it warms at room temperature. It has a very soft, creamy texture and
intense raw cows milk flavour, slightly wild, barny and grassy. The Trou
Epoisses, Burgundy (a consummate cheese snob's utopia) and
shares the strong aroma and flavour of its famous Epoisses
cousin. No wonder it goes so well with red Burgundy or Pinot Noir!
Stink Factor: Medium-high
Mountain Meadow 'Brie'
from Chase, B.C. (29% milk fat)
A certified organic sheep's milk brie with a low enough fat content as to be
considered a January 'diet' cheese. It has a soft open-meadow aroma of
grass and herbs. It is richly creamy in the mouth and much milder than expected
(for those of you who think you don't like sheep's milk cheese) and as with
cheese (or wine) as it heats up on your tongue it blossoms, into delicate earthy
I served it with a reduced
red wine and cranberry compote I mixed up on the stove with honey and star anise
to sweeten, and pecans on the side.
$8.00 each (approx)
*You can make any
'compote or chutney' quickly at home to serve with cheese by dicing fruit
(pear/apple/berries/kumquats peaches/nectarines or whatever) into a saucepan on
medium-low heat and adding honey, sugar or maple syrup to sweeten. I cook down
unused red wine and keep it in the fridge to thin out and give the
'chutney/compote' a compatible wine flavour. Then I add whatever additional
flavour elements I like, star anise, cardamom, rose water, orange water, ginger
candied or fresh (all found in Asian or Middle Eastern stores). Stir until
heated and thick, then puree or leave in chunk style.
Tomme de Muscadet-
Cows milk cheese, France.
Wine Diva loves Tomme (great with Burgundy) and Wine Diva loves
wine…Muscadet. By brushing cheese with wine you have combined W.D’s two major
The Tomme de Muscadet has a lovely (slightly sticky) edible,
orange rind that is the result of brushing the Muscadet wine onto the outside of
tomme disks. It imparts not only the gorgeous colour but a grapey/Muscat-y
flavour into the cheese. The cheese is earthy, herbascous and sweetly
grapey-fruity with a fresh, nutty finish and creamy mouth-feel. Could be a new
Excellent with slightly sweet white wines with good acidity.
Queijo de Nisa-Portugal-Sheeps Milk
Smelly yes, earthy, sheepish, barnyard-y and wild tasting with a long
herbasceous grassy finish. Soft washed rind amber/orange rind-edible.
Stink factor- Medium High