Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Elusive Bishop

This stinky, funky, pungent, and amazingly tasty cheese is my White Whale. I had my first taste of Stinking Bishop two years ago at the Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. The aroma was a mixture of wet dog and athletic shoes after a 10K. Not for the faint of stomach, to be sure. Then I took a bite and just lapsed into silence (a feat nearly impossible as those who know me can attest). I was in heaven! This aggressive yet smooth cheese had a powerful and earthy flavor that just wafted through my mouth. I know strong-smelling cheese isn’t most people’s idea of awesome, but I could eat a whole 5lb wheel of this stuff without so much as a soda cracker. Stinking Bishop was by far the strongest cheese I had tasted and it soared to the top of my list of must -haves. And then it was gone.

Stinking Bishop rose to popularity after it was used to revive the main character in the movie Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Wererabbit. Demand grew 500% within a month. Unfortunately, this unctuous treasure has a limited production of only 20 tons a year (that’s less than half the normal production of most artisan cheeses). With such high demand, Stinking Bishop vanished from cheesemongers’ cases.

It has been a year and a half since I tasted my elusive delicacy. Requests at my local Whole Foods are met with a sad shake of the head or pathetic shrug of shoulders. I could order it online, but I fear the unknown distributor. Some dishonest shyster who tries to pass off Epoisse as my aromatic Bishop. And so I search in hope if one day procuring that creamy, stinky gold once more.

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Cheese World

Growing up in Shaker Heights, the highlight of the week was my mother taking me to Cheese World at Van Aken. Upon opening the door, my nose was aroused by the aromas wafting of glorious artisan cheese being sampled and sliced behind the counter. This was my playground. My mother knew taking me here meant sacrificing a better part of her day, but she understood my love of cheese better than anyone so she indulged her little house mouse and let me go wild. The 70′s weren’t really known for cheese so my selections by today’s standards may seem rather pedestrian. Back then, Leerdammer, Camembert, Emmental, and Chevre were rather extravagant for anyone,especially a five year old. In a world of Ritz crackers I preferred stone ground wafers to accompany the various cheese spreads made on premises. My favorite was the sharp cheddar with horseradish followed by the red caviar and chevre. Continue reading

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