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  • Oyster #92: Cheese

    — By Alice on August 4, 2011

    It’s been too long!

    A nice, ripe hunk of Munster — or ‘monster cheese’ as it is often called — can bring about either moans of delight or shouts of horror from any given individual. To evoke the smell, think of someone you know who does a lot of sport, or wears sneakers without socks. Even better: think of someone who does both these things. Now, imagine bringing their sneaker to your nose and inhaling. Slowly. That odour could be likened to the smell of the Munster and yet die-hard fans are unswayed by such comparisons.

    The Greeks like their cheese — most notably feta — salty and sharp in flavour. The Cypriotes have haloumi: a cheese that is best fried before being eaten. Genius! The Italians have their mozzarella, Burrata, Tellegio, Gorgonzola… all cheeses that can stand on their own as a dish. And then, of course, there is France — the land of cheese. As President Charles de Gaulle put it during his reign in the sixties, “How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” To which we say, “But Monsieur de Gaulle — consider the perks!” (Just what type of cheese the Moon is made from, scientists have not yet determined.)

    Cheese was first made around 10,000 years ago and was an important addition to our diet. High in calcium and protein, cheese is essential for bone development and (should you need it) weight gain. For a long time, cheese production was a simple concept — the product of a bucolic life — until the Romans turned cheese making into an art form and the consumption of quality cheese became the ultimate luxury. The curdled milk of (for the most part) cows, goats and sheep, all cheese boasts the same humble
    beginnings, however there are as many processes as there are types. Consider the Roquefort: a blue cheese, aged in the Combalou caves in the South of France, given its name by the fungus it houses — Penicillium roqueforti. The texture is at once smooth and crumbling, and the taste, like having sex with an ex: a little bitter at first, yet creamy, and afterwards there are the remnants of something almost sweet. Not many of the things that we eat can evoke this kind of response.

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