When my coworker asked if I had visited Cheese on 62nd, I couldn't believe I had never even heard of the place. Where were the tweets? Where was the website? That's how I get my cheesy info, and this little shop hadn't shown much of a voice in the online cheese community.
But what this store is lacking in internet presence, it makes up for in cheese: they have a HUGE selection of fromages from all over the world (including fresh burrata imported straight from Puglia each week) crammed into a tiny space that is cozy, overwhelming, and incredibly exciting.
Based on a few complaints I read on Yelp, I feared that I might be met with grouchy ladies reluctant to give out samples and chat about cheese. The moment I entered the shop, however, my fears were lifted as I was greeted by the warm smile of the owner. When I asked him to tell me about his cheeses, he immediatly began feeding me tastes of exquisite samplings and providing colorful background for each one.
The only downside of my visit was that I forgot to pick up the fresh Italian burrata I intended to blog about. The plethora of other cheeses distracted me, and I left with a wide variety of other discoveries in my bag instead.
My favorite cheese discovery was an oozy beauty called "Préferé de Nos Montagnes", hailing from the Jura region of France. Sadly, the cheese is most often celebrated as a stand-in for another: the famed raw-milk Reblochon from France that's banned from American markets.
It's been a few years since I had Reblochon, but I can't imagine that it's much better than this gem. The consistency is ridiculously gooey, the flavor is pungent yet smooth, and the overall experience is as near to perfection as a pasteurized, legal cheese could be. It's no wonder the name translates to "Favorite from our Mountains".
Oh Préferé de Nos Montagnes, I hereby crown ye Cheese of the Week.
Here's to a week filled with stories and cheeses that are
pungent, barely legal, and imposters in their own right.
The beauty of this cheese lies in the balance between pungency and smoothness. Unfortunately, I don't think this Jesus-faced sock will maintain such a balance while it hangs in this lady's apartment for years. You can't wash a holy sock.
No jokes about holy socks, please! Image of Jesus Christ miraculously appears amid laundry (dailymail.co.uk)
If this cheese were any more alike its Reblochon sister, it would be illegal in the United States. If these underwear-clad shoppers were wearing any less clothing, they too would be breaking the law. Then again, I'm not sure if nudity is illegal in Spain.
Among a group of Americans, this cheese could probably pass as a true Reblochon without anyone identifying the imposter. This man didn't pass as well among the crowds of North Korean's gathered for Kim Jung Il's funeral. His height raised questions among the international community of whom this gigantic North Korean could be.
Now go out and eat some cheese.