A Love Affair With Stinky Cheese

Misc. musings • 16 Dec 2007

I know when my stash of stinky cheese has gone AWOL, my husband Mike is to blame. I have nary a moment to eat the stuff, as he can not tolerate even a morsel left in the fridge for more than several hours. However, it rarely lasts long as I truly can’t resist the seductive power of a properly ripened, smelly cheese. But he just hates to crack open the refrigerator door, revealing a wafting Pandora’s Box of pungent odor.

As much he hates the scent of an aroma-rific cheese, I adore the taste, and even the smell. To me, the stinkier the fragrance, the more gorgeous the flavor. I tend to be a reckless adventurer when it comes to cheese. I am not suggesting that I am out of touch with my taste buds, or pick a cheese based simply on the pulchritudinous color of its rind, but I will happily stick my hyper-sensitive nose into any powerfully smelling cheese. I particularly enjoy those that an overwhelming majority might characterize as possessing an odor akin to a rancid foot locker. Yes, I like my cheese so aggressive that it up and causes air raids. I want it to wrestle with my nose and fervently slap my taste buds.

My absolute favorite stinky cheese is the French Munster, not to be confused with the oily, mild American version, Muenster, a childhood favorite commonly used to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Munster is from the Alsace region of France. It is a Monastery cheese, meaning that it originated and is currently produced in French monasteries. All I can say is that those monks know their stuff! The cheese is rind-washed with brine and aged, developing a biting odor and creamy, silken texture. It is so incredibly aggressive on the nose that it could clear a room. When properly ripened, the mouthfeel is quite barnyardy. Doesn’t this make you want to run out and buy Munster?! Smells like feet, tastes like licking a cow……officially voted by scientists at Cranford University in Bedfordshire as one of the world’s smelliest cheeses. Can’t argue with science! But if you happen to be a turophile like myself, you might just appreciate its sharp, penetrating aroma and brazen flavor.

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