Author Topic: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area  (Read 1026 times)

Offline Caseus

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Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« on: April 08, 2012, 08:29:36 PM »
I would like to expand my cheese tasting experience in order to learn more about the many varieties of cheeses.  I went to Whole Foods today with a list, thinking that I might start there.  On my list for today were three lactic surface white mold ripened cheeses, St. Marcellin, Crottin, Chaource, and one washed rind / smear ripened cheese, Reblochon.  I was really more interested in the white mod surface ripened cheeses, but I tossed in the Reblochon because it appears to be popular on this forum, and I'd never encountered it before.  Sadly, they had none of the cheeses on my list. 

I was told that they sometimes have St. Marcellin and Crottin, but those cheeses do not sell well and they end up with over-ripened cheese that they have to throw out.  The store associate told me that they can't import Reblochon due to the way it is made.   She told me that there are many cheeses they don't carry because the cheese manufacturer uses preservatives that don't comply with Whole Foods policies.   She mentioned natamycin, an anti-fungal agent, as an example.   She was very helpful, and she ended up giving me a complimentary 250 gram wheel of Camembert since they had none of the cheeses I wanted.   

I ended up bying some Morbier and some Port Salut to try along with the Camembert and a Brie that I had already at home, two washed rind and two lactic surface ripened cheeses.  It's a good variety but not what I wanted.

My question is, are there any other good places in Dallas, North Dallas, Plano, or Addison area, where I can find a wider selection of imported cheeses? 


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 01:47:21 PM »
Hi Caseus, sorry for delay, good question, sounds like a cop our from Whole Foods.

I don't know of any but here in Houston HEB's Central Market chain of huge general grocery stores have a much larger and better range of cheeses including from raw/unpasteurized milk than Whole Foods and there's a couple near you. Good luck!

Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 03:51:38 PM »
Hey John, thank you for that suggestion.   The Central Market store in Plano is closest to me.  I don't know why I didn't think of them, but it makes sense that they would carry a wide assortment of cheeses.  I'll make a trip over there sometime during the week and report back on whether they have the cheeses that were on my list.

Meanwhile, I discovered I really like Morbier and Port Salut.  The ones I picked up from Whole Foods were the first I'd ever had of either.  Of course, they are quite different cheeses. 

The Morbier is very stinky; a little goes a long way toward satiating my olfactory senses.   :)  I thought "sweaty socks" at first, but then I decided it was more of a musky smell.  Either way, it lingers on the hands even after washing.  But it has a fairly mild flavor, and it is a bit firmer in texture than I thought it would be.   It doesn't spread well.  I think the one I had was mature.  A younger one should be creamier, based on descriptions I've read. 

The Port Salut is simply delightful.  It is so imminently spreadable, creamy, smooth, sweet, and with a hint of tanginess.  Smeared on a hunk of French baguette, it is heavenly.   There is nothing at all unpleasant in Port Salut.  It is all goodness.

Both go on my future make list once I get a little more experience.

Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 11:10:53 PM »
I finally made it over to Central Market today, and I discovered they have many interesting varieties of cheese.  I picked up some of the cheeses that were on my list, including Crottin, St. Marcellin, and Tomme de Savoie.  I forgot to look for a reblochon. 

I haven't tried and of the cheeses yet.  I was more than satisfied with my dinner of mussels steamed in milk with onions and garlic, and copious quantities of beer, so it will be tomorrow before I will try them.

The Crottin de Champcol seems quite smelly, even without unwrapping it.  I think I'm going to like it.  It's a small thing, about an inch high and 2.25 inches in diameter, encased in a beautiful white mold.  The package doesn't say what kind of milk it is made from.

The St Marcellin is an 80 gram puck in a small plastic cup labeled Fromage Fabrique Dans Le Dauphine.  It is made from pasteurized cow's milk, and it has a thin white mold covering it.  I don't detect any strong aroma from it, certainly nothing like the Crottin. 

The Tomme de Savoie is a firmer cheese with a natural moldy rind of some kind.  It is made from raw cow's milk, and it has a creamy appearance, a fairly open structure with a lot of holes (not big eyes, but more like natural openings where the curd didn't compact).  It smells very mild. 

I can't wait to try them all tomorrow.  I'm very much interested in learning to make all of them.


Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 04:12:45 AM »
As an aside, Caseus, I don't think you're going to be able to find anything labelled as a Reblochon.  I seem to recall someone saying a very long time ago that because of the U.S. 60-day aging rule, no one bothers to send Reblochons over here any more because they'd be overripe or something. 
If I have to be a grownup, can I at least be telekinetic too?


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Offline beechercreature

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2012, 08:18:00 AM »

Offline beechercreature

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 08:43:07 AM »
 ;D

Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2012, 09:14:29 AM »
You're right beecher, I need pics!   I'll take pics this afternoon when I sample the cheeses.

Mary, I fear you may be right about the Reblochon.   I found this on Amazon Reblochon Merlemont.  I found a few other sources for it as well.  It is a "Reblochon-style" cheese, but apparently not a true AOC Reblochon.  It may be as close as I can get  without going to France.   

I also found this Reblochon at www.dibruno.com in PA.  It doesn't give any details about the cheese, though.

Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 08:13:49 PM »
The promised pics.   These are all commercial cheeses I bought at Central Market in Plano.  The St. Marcellin and the Crottin were on my list of cheeses I especially wanted to try.  The Tomme de Savoie wasn't actually on my list, but since I recognized it from reading about it on this forum, I picked it up too.   

My favorite of them all was the Crottin de Champcol.  It is a goat cheese, and it has that characteristically pure white color of the goat's milk.   This example had a mild but unmistakeable goaty flavor, and a very soft creamy paste with a touch of graininess.  The rind was pure white and very delicate.  It had a strong aroma, but a mild (yet goaty) taste.  It was equally good spread on apple segments or on rustic rosemary bread.  I ate the entire two ounce disc, which appeared to have been cut from a longer cylinder of cheese.  I'm guessing this, as the white mold rind was only on the outer edge, not on the top or bottom.  I'm going to buy this a lot, and I'm going to try to make it. 

The St. Marcellin was a wonderfully mild and smootly spreadable cheese that was best when smeared liberally on thin slices of the rosemary bread.  Anyone could fall in love with this cheese.  It is not as smooth or as elastically runny as the interior of a soft Brie, yet it is the definition of spreadable and creamy, almost like butter.  The closer it comes to room temperature, the better it gets.  There is a very light barnyard aroma, but you have to really put your nose in it to get the full effect.  It's a mild cheese.  I ate half the 80 gram disc the first time I sampled it.  Tonight I will have the rest after dinner with a glass of Cotes du Rhone.

Whenever I try to get a friend to venture beyond the ubiquitous grocery store cheddar, colby, jack, or gouda, I look for the mildest and youngest Brie I can find.  Now I know, should my victim become hooked, that St. Marcellin is an excellent second step to follow the gateway Brie. 

The Tomme de Savoie was a totally different kind of cheese from the others.  It was a firm cheese with holes, yet softer and less rubbery than Swiss.  It had a warm yellow-beige color.  It tasted nutty and sweet.  It also had a slightly buttery aroma, but it was not creamy or buttery-tasting in any sense.  In fact, it seemed like a fairly low fat cheese.  It had a very rustic, brownish colored, dry and crumbly natural rind, flecked with green and yellow and tan colors.  I wasn't sure if it was edible, so I cut it off and didn't eat it.  Now this cheese is my idea of a one to eat on a sandwich with a mild rye bread and a thick, warm slice of ham.  I bet it would melt really well, and would probably make a killer grilled cheese sandwich.   But it was also good just nibbling on it at room temperature all by itself. 

Here are the pics.


Offline beechercreature

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Re: Cheese education - where to buy cheese in the Dallas area
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 12:07:30 PM »
oooh, cheese! they look tasty.


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