Get your cheese back!

September 7th, 2010 | Posted by greg in Daily life...

While reading food magazines, browsing the internet on sites like or reading the latest books, there are trends you just can’t miss. For example, molecular is one of them. Another clear one, and especially in Hong Kong, would be the adulation of special, exclusive, unavailable-to-ordinary-people, utterly-über ingredients. Coffee and oil respectively from monkey’s and goat’s droppings (go figure…), rare matsutake mushrooms, Iranian saffron, you name it… The simple fact that it is rare, expensive and exclusive will bring high-spending customers to your table. As for the question: “Does it taste good and is it worth to fork out thousands of dollars for a mushroom?” – You’ll be the sole judge.

Nonetheless, there is one type of food that is part of our daily lives, often classified as common food especially melted and stuffed in burgers (if you can still call that cheese! :) ), yet I classify it as an exclusive one: Cheese. I was never considering cheese as an absolute wonder of nature until I actually met with a passionate cheese affineur who really kicked my neurons and taste buds with his amazing work. Not long after, I straightforwardly proclaimed myself as a cheese snob.

In the foreword of my latest book “Got Cheese?”, my friend Jean-Francois wrote: “We must allow time for multiple fermentation, to let nature do its work of art.” Indeed, cheese is a simple product but a work of art. If you follow the seasons, find out what different terroir has to offer or listen to cheese producers for example, you may find yourself in a whole new world of flavors, textures and experience that can easily be offered to your guest. As a matter of fact, Hong Kong (and other cities…) is clearly evolving towards a more cheese connoisseur audience and it might be the right time to give justice to your cheese board. The sure value of a “Brie – Gruyere – Gouda” cheeseboard seems to be from the past. Don’t get me wrong, they are fabulous cheeses when they’re of good quality, but how about treating your guests with a touch of je ne sais quoi, perhaps with a ripe Coulommiers, an aged Cantal or a Livarot?

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