Photos by Hillary Ehlen
I don’t know about you, but this time of year makes me a little goofy in the head. The holidays are over, the excuses for excessive eating and drinking are gone and there is seemingly no end in sight to the arctic temperatures. It can be downright depressing sometimes. I will do anything to fight off those blues … even write an article filled with terrible cheese jokes. Full disclosure, I have been known to roll my eyes, turn up my nose and even openly mock people who use cheese puns. So, as penance for my cattiness, I combed through every bad cheese joke I could possibly find and came up with these little gems.
1. What is Jay Z’s favorite cheese?
Little Lucy Brie/Shafer Dry Riesling: Since using local ingredients is kind of our thing at Luna, it makes me happy to find such incredible cheeses in our own backyard. Minnesota’s own Redheaded Creamery is kicking butt and taking names in the cheese world and though they are considered youngsters, they are already winning awards left and right. As far as the wine goes, I’m not a huge Riesling drinker, but a dry riesling can be something special, and this one is no exception. Made with organic grapes, and with a flavor profile of grapefruit and white peaches, the acidity of the wine marries well with this little hunk of love.
2. What’s a Pirates favorite cheese?
Barely Buzzed/Corazón del Indio Red Blend: I have a confession to make, this is not really a Cheddar, but there were only so many bad cheese jokes that didn’t just totally suck. This unique cheese is referred to by the company as an “American original” because there truly is nothing quite like it. At Luna, it sits in the Cheddar section of our cheese case and is one of the most popular cheeses we sell. Its unique edible rind made from ground espresso and lavender may sound odd, but it is oh so delicious. Since it’s full-bodied like a Cheddar, it makes an excellent partner to this full-bodied red wine from Chile. This beautifully structured blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Syrah tastes like a $30 bottle but retails for more like $18 a bottle.
3. Where do they put the crazy cheese?
In the Emmental(er) asylum
Emmentaler/Lagunitas 12th of Never: I am more of a wine gal myself but am quickly learning from my peers that a great cheese and beer pairing can be just as heavenly as the perfect wine and cheese pairing. If you like plain old American Swiss cheese, you will adore Emmentaler. This Alpine-style cheese in all its buttery, nutty, fruity deliciousness makes a great melting cheese and an equally good eating cheese. Although traditionally made in Switzerland, this one comes from Edelweiss Creamery in Wisconsin. (We sure do love our Midwest cheesemakers.) The Lagunitas Pale Ale makes a nice compliment the sweet and nutty components of this cheese.
4. What hotel do mice like to stay in?
Stilton/Fargo Brewing Company Sodbuster: In this case, the cheese is nowhere near local but the beer sure is. Stilton is an English cheese, considered by many to be one of the best cheeses in the world. If you like a really funky blue cheese, you are going to love Stilton. Usually, when I pair blue cheese I think of a sweet dessert wine such as Port or Riesling, which does make a wonderful pairing, but it turns out a nice heavy dark beer such as this Porter from our boys at Fargo Brewing Company is amazing as well.
As I re-read my work, I find myself rolling my own eyes at these absurd jokes and wondering to myself, how did I get here? The good news though is that at the end of the day, there are some really tasty pairings going on here as well. Let me leave you with my favorite cheese joke of all time: What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you? Nacho cheese. That one gets me every time. The best of the worst, shall we say. The Gouda and the bad. I’ll stop now.