Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The second-best cheese ever

Coffee, wine, and beer have all been upscaled and boutiquified, with tipplers arguing about nose and leg and finish all over our fair city. So it was only a matter of time before discriminating delis and foodies alike caught on to the new old wave: Cheese.

Fine cheese shops have proliferated around town, but we're not here to sell you on any of those. We're here today to say that we have discovered a challenger to the throne of "The Best Cheese Ever," and you can go forth and find it wherever you buy fine cheese.

The original title holder is, of course, Parmigiano Reggiano--the real stuff, not the cheap new-world knockoffs that you see coming from everywhere between Argentina and Wisconsin. True parm is a sublime and toothsome experience-- a nutty, buttery, salty kind of flavor that fills your entire mouth. It tastes great off the cutting board, or grated on pasta with butter, or on crackers; accept no substitute.

But today let it be known that aged Gouda is about as close as you'll ever get to replicating that experience. Aged Gouda--which bears no taste relationship to its youth--should be at least two years old, and have a deep amber color. It'll taste like butterscotch and pecans on the tongue, with a slightly sweet perfume. (This nose is the main difference with parm; don't grate this stuff on pasta, but it's good over potatoes.)

We've found it at Lund's and France 44, but we find it most dependably at Surdyk's in Northeast.

Surdyk's Cheese Shop, http://www.surdyks.com/