Cheesy musings

Cheesy musings: Moving is such sweet sorrow

Two whole weeks since my last post – yikes! They’ve gone by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been busy purging and packing – and then purging again – all of my earthly stuff, in preparation to move to a new neighbourhood. Where I’ll be living on my own, sans roommates, for the first time.

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I will not actually be piling everything onto a bike (partially because I couldn’t pull off this balancing act, but also because I have a slight, irrational fear of biking, less irrational when you’re familiar with cycling and cyclists in Toronto). But that’s a pretty good representation of what my mind feels like, juggling stuff like tenant insurance – man, deductibles are straight-up buuulls–t – and saying goodbye to my defect La-Z-Boy chair, from which I am writing this now.

I’ve had this chair for going on five years now, during which it’s seen me through a lot of ups and downs, not to mention thousands of words written. My college roommate got it from a defect warehouse for a song because it was supposed to be part of a sectional couch and is missing an arm. I know it’s supposed to be a drawback, but I always loved that about it. I could – and did – roll out of it onto the floor if I was feeling a particular sludge-like brand of lazy, but a quick getaway was also equally possible. I can sit cross-legged without feeling confined. It is the most comfortable, bum- and back-hugging setup I’ve ever had.

I’ve curled up under a blanket on it, watching reruns of favourite shows to fend off loneliness on the day I moved out of my childhood home for good. My boyfriend tried to balance a soccer ball on my head while sitting on it, almost four years ago now, in lieu of finding something normal to say to me while we were still shy and getting to know each other. I once found my ex-roommate’s now-ancient Blackberry wedged inside, somehow still a passenger after two moves and countless deployments of the foot rest.

At first, my boyfriend said he’d take the chair. I know he just wanted to make me happy, after realizing (once he recovered from probable surprise at my choked-up tone) how much it meant to me. But after a nitty-gritty details conversation tonight – during which he conceded it’s going to be hard, if not near-impossible to work out how to get this sizeable monster to his house with no truck – we realized how little sense it made to save something when I couldn’t keep it myself. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye and it was kind of him to try to delay it. I’m still not ready. But that’s life, and that’s moving. You parcel up, tape shut, and hopefully recognize what isn’t going to fit into your new situation before you’re crowded into realization.

Later this week, I’ll defy the laws of matter by squeezing the chair through my tiny entrance and drag it out to the curb. I’ll wave goodbye (yes, I really will) and hope that it finds a new home with loving bums to sit on it.

In all likelihood though, people will think it’s infested with bedbugs and give it wide berth, much less pick it up. I’ll be gone before I know for sure.

You have to give yourself space to move freely. My next great chair-love will have it, too.

Blue Haze

Blue, Blue Haze

Yes, just like “Red, Red Wine.” I’d serenade it if I could think of something more original than “daze” to rhyme with “haze.” (Note: Hit the adjacent F instead of D the first time and am now onto something. Thank you, universe.)

I first tasted Blue Haze under a clear, fittingly-blue summer sky at the Mill Street Beer Hall. It had just opened and it was my first time there. I obviously wheedled my way into “splitting” (read: racing to devour as much as possible) the cheese board with my boyfriend before deciding on a main. I don’t remember much about the other cheeses that were seated like sultans among the cured meats, garnishes and spreads; I think there was a Manchego-esque block in the bunch. All I remember is the silky, smoldering feeling of falling in love with Blue Haze.

It’s smoky in a welcome, all-encompassing way, almost ashy, “like mould without the edge” (according to my most recent tasting notes) at the rind, where the flavour is most concentrated. It’s sweet and almost tastes hoppy, like beer. The texture is creamy like any run-of-the-mill pâté, but melts like a fine foie gras (which coincidentally, I still don’t like the taste of, despite my best efforts, but which I will eat anyway if you put it in front of me).  My notes also say “Milliners underneath”, which I can only assume was meant to be something else but was Autocorrected to “Milliners.” So, thanks for that, Apple. You’ve probably ruined a masterpiece in observation.

Blue Haze

It starts out as a blue cheese in Quebec, but earns the faded-yet-defining tendrils of smoke from Provincial Fine Foods in Ontario, where it’s cold-smoked.

“The small amount of heat in the cold-smoking process will crack the cheese,” Cole Snell of Provincial told Fiesta Farms, for a post titled “A Cheese That Will Change Your Life,” natch. “We smoke it for an hour, then vacuum seal and age it for another month to let the smoke really penetrate the cheese. My favourite way to eat it is with honey or chocolate.”

I met Snell when he owned About Cheese (#RIP) in Church Wellesley Village, my first friendly neighbourhood cheese shop. It was there that I first set a cheese budget for myself, indulged in more than my fair share of samples, learned the difference between bloomy rind and Brie, and a lot more, at the hands of Snell. I didn’t know he was a big deal, he was just a maybe-stoned (sorry dude, you’re just so chill) aficionado with a bevy of passion and recommendations. You’ll hear more about Snell on this blog eventually, but for now, suffice it to say the guy knows his sh-t: Honey and chocolate are indeed, the unequivocal best things to eat with Blue Haze. (I humbly suggest maple syrup, too.)

Word to the wise: If you’re going to Google it, be sure to include “cheese” at the end. Go try it now without, and you’ll see why. Suddenly the name makes more sense, yeah? And is more funny? Okay, put down the Blue Haze, you’ve had enough.

Etorki rind smile

Introducing: Cheese profiles!

It may seem obvious to you, but I’m finally accepting the importance of some sort of database of cheeses, their tasting notes and pairings, as well as any other relevant info about them, to a cheese blog. At least, the cheese blog I want to have, which I am slowly building, little by little.

I’ve been avoiding beginning the profiles in earnest (despite the litany of notes on my iPhone waiting to be fleshed out) because to be honest, I don’t get excited to write them. Once I’ve started, I’m on board and enjoying the process. But I can’t get jazzed enough to start them because they’re evergreen, one of my least-favourite kind of pieces to write. They’re not timely (uh, unless you never start them), there’s no hook, and worst of all, you know you need to have them, giving them a bit of extra drag factor.

While I might be more in the mood to write musings that are cheesy in nature rather than in actual practice sometimes, I recognize that I have a better chance of delivering an enjoyable product if I add an element of news you can use, so to speak, in information – while still tailored with my own personal spin and opinion – about cheeses I’ve tried.

So, this evening, in one of those moods where you aren’t attracted to doing anything (even mindless Netflixing! Gasp!), I decided to use my uninspired time for good and take a stab at a profile. I started with the one I knew I could write in my sleep, as it’s a cheese I’ve tasted countless times; one of my all-time favourites, Blue Haze. I hope you enjoy it.

I love recommendations and suggestions, too! If there’s a cheese you think I have to try, please let me know at @xCheeseTheDay or cheesetheday [at] outlook [dot] com, and I’ll write a profile on it the next time I’m virtuous enough. Thanks for reading!