Smoked cheese is the Neil Patrick Harris (pre-Oscars-host) of the fromagerie. It can do no wrong. Give a slice of the smoky stuff to a cheese snob and a layman and they’ll both smile – the snob will probably have to teach you something about the wood it was smoked on, though.
But like NPH hosting the Oscars, smoked cheese is a surprisingly-difficult balancing act. The very thing that makes it appealing can also be its downfall. Smokiness tastes deliciously sinful after a few bites, but it get old really fast if it’s too strongly smoked. (Freaks like me who’ve OD’d on heavy smoked cheese know this all too well.)
Appletree Smoked Cheddar by Cows Creamery from PEI doesn’t have this problem. It’s nominated in the smoked cheese category for the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.
It’s dry and crumbly, but not so dry that the smokiness is left to its own devices and becomes pasty in your mouth (sorry for that visual, but that happens sometimes). Instead, it melts into a deliciously creamy texture, like magic. Its flavour is pure smoke, rather than bitterness or dryness inspired by it.
I was watching a Friends rerun while I tasted it, so that was the main influence for me comparing Appletree to Ross and Rachel’s relationship, but I do think my reasoning stands up. You be the judge.
It has a smoky, sexy bite at the rind (like R&R’s first kiss at the coffee shop! Watch it below), but sweet (aww, he was going to take her to prom) with caramel and whiskey notes. Leaves a good flavour in the cheeks (also a side effect from smiling when they finally get together). I used six Os in my “soooooo good,” and I would use the same number for R&R.