3 Weeks Without Cheese: A Tragedy

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a king and queen celebrated the birth of their first child- a little princess. And then suddenly one day, the princess began having tummy upsets more than usual. The queen sprung (sprang? sprung?) into action and began researching all of the possible reasons that the little princess could have been experiencing this. The most likely cause of the upset scared the queen right out of her fancy pants- cow’s milk dairy in mom’s milk.

“NooooooooooooooooooO!” She exclaimed. But the queen would do anything for her little princess. So she embarked on a journey of 3 weeks without dairy. FORTUNATELY, they discovered that this did not make much of a difference after three weeks and the queen returned to normal eating patterns.  But here are a few things she learned in the meantime:

  1. When one cannot eat cow’s milk dairy, avacado must be present at all times.
  2. Coconut milk ice cream is actually very good.
  3. Lack of dairy left the queen with a HUGE craving for sugar- interesting? (Guessing because of the lack of lactose)
  4. Goat cheese is amazing, but we’ve already established that elsewhere.

If YOU ever find yourself in this un-welcome predicament, please keep these things in mind!

The end.



Back to the World of Cheese: Triple Cream, Goat, and Farmstead

It’s been awhile, but if you remember, my sister and I attended Surdyk’s The World of Cheese and experienced seven slices of heaven. Today I’d like to describe the first 3:

  1. Delice de Bourgogne (France)
  2. Montenebro (Spain)
  3. Taleggio Pasturo (Italy)

Delice de Bourgogne is a brie-style cheese and is called a triple-creme because creme is added twice during the cheese-making process. It is a cheese VERY high in moisture and spreads almost like warm butter (A-Maz-ing!).  It is only aged 4-6 weeks, a very short time for cheese. This cheese pairs well with dried apricot or any of the sweet stone fruits, preserves, cranberries, and walnut flavors. I wasn’t supposed* to eat this cheese, being pregnant, but I *may* have snuck a small, intsy-weentsy piece. 🙂 It was DElicious.

Delice de Bourgogne- bloomy (mold) rind, tangy, buttery, triple creme

Montenebro was our token goat’s cheese.  Now, let me tell you something about goat’s cheese-if you’ve never had it, you must stop reading this immediately and go an get yourself some right now.  Goat’s cheese is what drew forth from my heart this passion to start this cheese journey. It. is. heaven.  (Heading picture of my blog- goat’s cheese platter at Muffuletta for my birthday in 2010.) And as I posted in my last blog about goat’s cheese, it is always white, not the hinted yellowish color of cow’s milk.  This is because sheep are able to digest beta carotene and cows cannot. Goat’s milk is also the leanest of the cheeses, generally. There are so many amazing things about goat’s cheese. Please do me a favor and go eat some- for me- come on, I’m pregnant. Take one for the team ;). Goat’s cheese goes great with aged meats like salami and soft preserves like grape or you can copy the cheese platter from Muffuletta above (everything drizzled in honey).

Montenebro- P. roqueforti mold rind, densely creamy, intense, lingering flavor

Taleggio Pasturo is a name-protected cheese from Italy. This cheese is not pasteurized and takes great care to make.  It goes great on burgers, with hard meats (salami, prosciutto, etc.) and with fig jam or honey. My notes say that it tasted very salty so I must have snuck a sneak of this one too- wow, shame on me! It had a washed rind which means that the cheese is covered in B. linens culture to create the rind for aging (Ever wondered why cheese can smell like feet? Check out the B. linens link- good thing it’s so tasty!).

Taleggio Pasturo- washed rind, pungent aroma, sticky texture, savory
Well that’s 3 out of 7… stay tuned for the continuing saga of The World of Cheese!

*Generally, in pregnancy you want to avoid any cheese that has not been pasteurized since unwanted microbes could be hanging out after the cheese making process and in storage.  Usually this would be the case with the softer cheeses. Check out the Mayo Clinic for their view, scroll down to “Avoid unpasteurized foods.” Since the packaging wasn’t available to peruse readily during the class, I just played it safe and stuck with the hard cheeses… mostly.

Who moved MY cheese?

Why do you think the author of Who Moved My Cheese decided on cheese?  Why wasn’t it titled Who Moved My Bread or Who Moved My Fruit? I have to confess that I’ve never read the book, so maybe he offers a real explanation, but I like to think that it’s because cheese people are (slightly) fanatical and you don’t mess with their cheese…

Anyway, in my first blog I promised to write more about recent life changes that inspired me to FINALLY start blogging. I’ve been dying to expound on that for the last several months!

Now I can :).

The first major life change was my resignation from my full-time professional job in the nonprofit world at the end of June. This was a HUGE leap of faith on both my husband and I’s part because I didn’t have another job lined up. Due to different circumstances and much counsel, we felt that it was the right move to make and that God would bless that decision. Little did we know just how He would bless it…

Shortly after my new-found-freedom, I started to notice changes in my body (of which I will not go into great detail since I assume men may read this as well!) so I pulled out a pregnancy test from the back dungeon of our under-sink medicine cabinet supplies. Unfortunately, all I had was the test, but not the key on how to interpret the test.  But I was pretty sure that you had to get a plus sign (+) to confirm pregnancy.  Well, all I saw was a line (-) in the first window. So I assumed false alarm.

Still feeling suspicious, I visited Target the next day where I found a box of tests similar to the one I had used the day before and saw this.

I literally BURST. OUT. LAUGHING in the middle of the Target aisle and then sent a text of the picture to Adam, who was at his night class (who told me to buy another box of tests 🙂 ).

So, long story- short, EVERYTHING is about to change. I’m no longer looking for full-time work and adjusting to being at home full time. Also, pregnancy puts restrictions on what one can eat, so I am limited to venturing into just the hard cheeses for the time being, not wanting to risk any type of infection/illness for baby. For that reason, I didn’t do much cheese tasting in Europe, but I did find this amazing cheese shop in Paris— A good reason to go back some day.

The World of Cheese: Cliff’s Notes

Seven different cheeses imported from all over the world- as far away as Italy and as close as Wisconsin.  My sister and I had the tasty opportunity to attend Surdyk’s Introduction to the World of Cheese a few Mondays back.

Seven Cheeses from Around the World (Starting with the flat white cheese at the tip of my sister’s fork and going counter-clockwise)
Delice de Bourgogne (a brie from France), Montenebro (Goat’s cheese from Spain- my FAVORITE), Taleggio Pasturo (Farmstead Cheese from Italy), Ossau Iraty (A 2,000 year old recipe from France), Blue Mont Bandaged Cheddar (Good ol’ Wisconsin Cheddar), Beeler Napfkase (Swiss cheese from Switzerland), Stichelton (British Blue Cheese)

With three full pages of notes and quite a few pictures, for this blog I am only going to cover new Cheese Words that I learned.  Learning the lingo is probably one of the most important starting places for any new journey.  Here are a few insider terms that I picked up:

Farmstead Cheese: The animals who produce the milk reside on the same location where the cheese is produced.
Fresca: Means a cheese is younger or has not been aged as long
Cheese: A way to store milk without refrigeration or milk in a controlled state of spoilage
Penicillium roqueforti: The culture added to blue cheese (and others) that creates the signature taste and blue lines

Other fun tidbits!

Country of origin is a great way to start for pairing cheeses and wines (makes sense!).
Goat’s milk is the leanest of cheeses and is always white and not yellow (can anyone guess why?).
The most aged cheese in the U.S.A. is Tony Hook’s 18 year aged cheddar and sells for $50/lb.

And… the best part of cheese together? As always, the fun and memories made with family and friends.


Cheese Groupies

Apparently, there are other ways to talk about cheese than, “Oh. My. Gosh. More please.” or “What is this deliciousness?”

Cheeses can be grouped into several different categories- type of milk used, hard & soft, stinky vs. mild, regional groupings, etc.

The most basic categorization strategy seems to be the following four categories, and I like things to be simple– so for my blog, let’s go with that :).


Soft cheeses are cheeses with a high moisture content, generally with a spreadable consistency

Examples: cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, brie, bleu, Roquefort, mozzarella, muenster, fromage blanc (French for ‘white cheese’), mascarpone, queso blanco (Spanish for ‘white cheese’)


Semi-soft cheeses are slightly harder than soft cheeses, still with a high moisture content. They also tend to have a slightly longer shelf life and are great for melting.

Examples: American, Colby, co-jack, Quesa Fresca, Taleggio


Semi-hard cheeses are made similarly to hard cheese, in that most of the moisture is drained out. Unlike hard cheese,  semi-hard are allowed to set in a mold with little or no pressure.

Examples: cheddar, provolone, Gouda, Jarlsberg


Hard cheeses are longest lasting, with a low moisture content, and are pressed and aged.

Examples: Parmesan, Romano, asiago, Swiss, Gruyere

For cheese experts, we’re at the “duh” level, but I’m just beginning my cheese discovery journey (and maybe you are too!), so let’s start at the very beginning- a very good place to start!

My wonderful husband surprised me with tickets to The World of Cheese on Monday, August 13th.  I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot more about the basics as we go to this class together. I’m SUPER excited and can’t wait to share everything I learn! I only wish I could send you each a taste ;)…

Why Cheese?

A better question?

WHY the heck NOT?

This blog was inspired by a recent life change (more about that later!) and the very first Minnesota Cheese Festival.

My beautiful sister got married on Saturday, June 2nd and delayed leaving for her honeymoon so we could attend the first-of-its-kind Minnesota Cheese Festival on Sunday the 3rd. She had won tickets, and we are both huge cheese lovers.

My sister, the beautiful bride. She makes me laugh better than most. Photo courtesy of Barclay Horner Images: http://www.barclayhorner.com/minneapolis-wedding-photograph/

While at the Cheese Fest with my sister and my amazing husband Adam, I was totally inspired and knew exactly what I was going to create my blog about- cheese.

A little beef, if I may, one thing that I have noticed about foodie pictures is that there are very rarely PEOPLE in them (a problem in my header picture that will soon be remedied!).
Now I understand, appreciate the food for it’s own beauty.


But in my world, food is most beautiful when enjoyed with the ones you love.

SO as we travel together (literally- to Europe in 44 days!) on my cheese tasting journey, I also hope to introduce you to the people in my life that make cheese together even better than cheese alone.