For over two years, I have been on the hunt for my favorite cheese, Stinking Bishop. I badgered my cheesemongers, scoured the Internet and made several futile attempts to contact Neal’s Yard, all to no avail. Then I met Samantha, the cheese and charcuterie buyer for Cheese Plus in San Francisco, California. Well, actually I spoke with her on the phone, as I live across the country in the Midwest.
Cheese Plus is owned by Ray Bair, former director of cheese, wine, and specialty foods for Whole Foods Market. Ray opened his shop about five years ago, and it is touted as San Francisco’s premier cheese and specialty food source – no mean feat. Although they don’t have an official online storefront, anyone can call and request items shipped. Continue reading
Attention all stinky cheese lovers! If you happen to be in New York City over the next four days, be sure to check out the Third Annual Stinky Cheese Festival running now until March 12th. Visit one of eight restaurants featuring variations of the same three-course meal consisting of an appetizer of Raclette De Fromage, Chicken Cordon Bleu for the main course and dessert – Poached Pear with Gorgonzola.
In addition to the pre-fix menu, the festival will be showcasing over 20 kinds of funky fromage from Epoisses to my beloved Stinking Bishop.
For more information, check out the Tour De France NYC website.
I finally got the chance to taste Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk and it was well worth the wait. To be fair, I had been offered chances on numerous occasions but hesitated because the web was saturated with high praise and I figured one more review would be one too many. After tasting the washed-rind triple-cream round of goodness, its clear that no amount of praise is enough for this flavor-bomb of fromage. Continue reading
I’m a particular fan of cheese produced by Neal’s Yard Dairy. From the intense Stinking Bishop to the tongue grabbing sharpness of Lincolnshire Poacher this dairy does it all with amazing taste texture. Not surprising that I became an instant fan of Berkswell.
Named for the village of Berkswell in the West Midlands, this earthy cheese is the epitome of rustic country living. Made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk with either a vegetable or animal rennet, the cheese is hand molded and then aged for up to two years. Flavor and texture can vary depending on the rennet. The vegetable rennet has a hard texture with a smooth fruity taste while the animal rennet is milder with a savory palate and harder texture.
More of an after dinner cheese, Berskwell pairs nicely with an aged scotch or whiskey. For wine lovers, a dry red would be nice.
Neal’s Yard Dairy work with seventy or so cheesemakers throughout England and Ireland, giving for one of the most diverse and exciting cheese collections I have yet to find. Head out to your local cheesemonger or Whole Foods and get to tasting all this dairy has to offer.
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.