A Very Cheesy Birthday

Last Thursday was my 23rd birthday, and naturally I celebrated with cheese. While searching "birthday restaurants" on Yelp, Kashkaval Cheese Market and Wine Bar came up in the results, and I couldn't believe I had never heard of this cheese-centric shop. I was apprehensive to try a new place on such an important day, but the reviews of the restaurant were very positive. The shop calls itself, "One of Hell's Kitchen's hidden treasures," and my experience there lived up to this term. Tucked into the back of a bustling gourmet market is a tiny wine bar filled with a variety of great cheese dishes, wines, and tapas. I had an unforgettable birthday celebration and would suggest the restaurant to anyone for a large dinner party, romantic date, or simply a cheese purchase.

We ordered a large tapas plate and a selection of three cheeses that the waitress suggested. All three were utterly delicious, but the cheese that stood out to me was the Gjetost, a Norwegian cheese that tasted more like caramel fudge than a dairy product. Gjetost is made from the whey in curdled milk, while most cheeses are made from the curd. This difference gives it a dark brown color and a sugary flavor. I couldn't believe how great the cheese tasted, but I also couldn't believe it was cheese. 

Igourmet.com gives this description:
It has an unusual, sweet flavor due to the way in which it is processed. The milk is cooked until the sugars in it have caramelized, giving the cheese its distinctive brown color and sweet flavor. The milk is then curded and pressed. The cheese became popular as a skiers' snack and thus the label on the whole cheese is emblazoned with the words "Ski Queen". It is widely popular among Scandinavians, and children in the United States are drawn to its sweet flavor.

We also ordered a pot of Kashkaval fondue, the eastern European yellow sheeps milk cheese that lends its name to the restaurant. After one bite I could see why they chose to name the shop after this particular cheese, as the taste was truly remarkable. Wikipedia says, "The taste of the kashkaval is sometimes compared to that of the United Kingdom's cheddar cheese", but the cheese has a flavor all its own. It was sweet and savory all at once, which happens to be my favorite taste when it comes to cheese.

Thanks to youKashkaval Cheese Market and Wine Bar, I had an incredible birthday dinner filled with Kashkaval fondue, Gjetost "fudge" cheese, and my closest friends. You can see just how happy I was here during my cheesy birthday celebration.

And speaking of incredible experiences... 
The only thing that could have made mine better would be to have beaten twelve world records during the celebration, like cricket player Freddie Flintoff attempted to do in only twelve hours:


Fastest time to wrap a person in newspaper, most kisses given in 30 seconds and more:

Most tennis balls caught in 1 minute, fastest 3 point turn and more:

Now go out and celebrate broken records by eating some cheese.