How to Save:
Looking for an affordable and American version of the Spanish classic -- Manchego? Sole Gran Queso clocks in at $5.00 cheaper a pound than the Spanish version and it is just as fantastically fabulous in its own ways. A pasteurized cow's milk cheese, not the traditional sheep's milk utilized in Manchego, this cheese surely is very closely inspired by its Spanish roots, but is definitely it's own cheese. The Roth Kase team behind this Wisconsin creation works very hard to achieve a similar look to its Spanish cousin -- imprinting the classic basket weave on the exterior even. You may be wondering, what makes the exterior rind reddish? It is actually a light cinnamon rinse that imparts a sweetly aromatic finish. Even though the milk utilized for this cheese is different from the original cheese inspiration, Sole Gran Queso succeeds at imparting that the classic olive oil-y, nutty, buttery notes of a good Manchego but with its own unique grassy twist.
Sometimes, not often, it's worth looking towards European inspired cheeses made here for more affordable deals.
Image courtesy of http://www.murrayscheese.com/
How to Splurge:
Interested in getting an obscure, small production, beer washed firm cheese hailing from Switzerland clocking in at $46.00 a pound found only at one cheese purveyor in New York for a special treat? Then you should go to Artisanal cheese to get Beermat or otherwise known as Aarauer Bierdeckel but I find Beermat much easier to remember and of course pronounce! A cow's milk cheese aged for at least six months, this reddish round cheese is washed with wheat beer imparting not only a hoppy toasty flavor but also quite the interesting scent profile. Don't get scared off but the smells though, this is a fabulously decadent cheese -- semi soft and milky, gooey, pungent, biting in that way quality artisanal washed rind cheeses are. This surely isn't for the faint of heart but boy does it delight! When you splurge on this stinker, grab a nice bottle of Alsacian white to go with it and enjoy!
Image courtesy of http://www.artisanalcheese.com/