Saturday, March 28, 2020

Product Review Blitz III

This is the third massive post of product reviews. Preview: Mitica Queso de Murcia al Vino cheese, French Abbey Port-du-Salut cheese, Red Apple Cheese Applewood Smoked Provolone cheese, Noble View Creamery Juustoleipä cheese, Gabriel Coulet Roquefort cheese, Keen's Farmhouse Cheddar, Sargento Tastings New Zealander cheese, Guilloteau Saint Angel cheese, Délice de France Grand Camembert, Emmi Roth Buttermilk Blue cheese, Käserei Studer AG Der scharfe Maxx cheese, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Reypenaer Gouda, Carr Valley Cheese Glacier Wildfire Blue cheese, Ninfas Queso Tetilla cheese, Fromagerie Lincet Délice de Bourgogne cheese, Saxon Creamery Green Fields cheese, Hook's Cheese Ten Year Sharp Cheddar, Rodolphe le Meunier Sillon Bleu de Chèvre cheese, Trappiste Orval cheese, Underground Meats Tuscan Salami, Busseto Dry Coppa, Volpi Romano Salame, cape gooseberries, Aroy-D Rambutan, Aroy-D Mangosteen, Ugli fruit, Combos 7 Layer Dip Tortilla, Combos Jalapeño Cheddar Tortilla chips, Pringles Tortillas Truly Original chips, Lays Chicken and Waffles chips, Godiva Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Nabisco Lemon Oreos, Nabisco Limeade Oreos, and Nabisco Mint Oreos.

Mitica: Queso de Murcia al Vino. This is a Spanish goat cheese that is bathed in Monastrell (a red wine) during ripening. This gives the rind of the cheese a characteristic dark burgundy hue.[1] Also known as Drunken Goat or Cabra al Vino.[2] It is claimed that flavors from the wine penetrate the cheese, but realistically, the flavors probably don't get much further than the color of the rind does. When I ate it by itself, I thought this cheese tasted a lot like Mozzarella, but saltier and with a faint hint of goatiness. When I ate it with some apple, the goatiness really came out. Since the flavor wasn't remarkably distinct from Mozzarella and the goatiness was slightly unpleasant, I don't feel the need to eat this cheese again.

French Abbey: Port-du-Salut. This cheese is nice and creamy. Everywhere I've looked online this cheese is described as having a mild flavor. So there may have been something wrong with mine because it had an intense sheepy flavor (even though this is a cow's milk cheese). Once I got past that flavor the rest of the flavors in the cheese were okay. But they weren't good enough. I won't be coming back to this cheese any time soon. I ate it with cape gooseberries (see the review below).

Red Apple Cheese: Applewood Smoked Provolone: As I've mentioned before [3], I find smoke flavor in cheese to be overwhelming. So I couldn't really taste the provolone, just the smoke. I like smoke flavor just fine, but a cheap smoked cheese from Wal-Mart and an artisinal smoked cheese of the same variety taste exactly the same to me. (So it's a waste of money to buy an artisinal cheese that's been smoked.) I ate this with a casalingo sausage.

Noble View Creamery: Juustoleipä. This cow cheese is pretty dry when eaten straight out of the package. The last time I had a juusto cheese [4], I microwaved it. This time it was recommended to me that I fry it. So I cubed it, tossed it into a frying pan, and stirred it around on medium heat until they were soft. This was definitely superior to microwaving. The chunks of cheese were gooey in the middle, but firm on the outside—almost like deep-fried cheese curds! They were even a little bit squeaky!

Gabriel Coulet: Roquefort. I have previously characterized this cheese rather negatively.[5] As my experience has broadened, so has my ability to describe cheese. It does not, as I previously asserted, taste like a goat; it tastes like a blue cheese. Like other blues I've tried, this cheese was very creamy. It was a little more intense than other blue cheeses I've tried (e.g., Danish Blue [6]). And it was a little gritty. I don't know if the blue veins in this cheese are unique in producing that grittiness or if it's common to blue cheeses and I just haven't noticed it before now. I couldn't tell that it was a sheep cheese (possibly because of how sharp the mold flavor was). I liked this cheese, but I probably won't buy it again since I couldn't distinguish it from other, cheaper, blue cheeses.

Keen's: Farmhouse Cheddar. This cheese [7] mostly had a good flavor, with a nice amount of lactose crystals. However, the vein of gray mold running through the middle gave it a mildly unpleasant flavor. Even though it was mild, it was still off-putting enough that I have no desire to eat this cheese again. I ate this with dry coppa (see the review below).

Sargento Tastings: New Zealander cheese. The packaging bills this cheese as having "a bold, balanced flavor of creamy Gouda and sharp cheddar". This cheese was definitely creamy, but I didn't detect anything like the flavor of Gouda. Really, to me it just tasted like a sharp, white cheddar. So it was tasty, but not particularly unique.

Guilloteau: Saint Angel. This triple-cream brie was definitely the stinkiest one I've had. This was particularly noticeable when we tried eating it with grapes. Eating it on bread or pretzels was much more tolerable; it mostly just tasted buttery.

Délice de France: Grand Camembert. It is suggested online that Camembert is less creamy and tastes more funky than Brie.[8] However, this Camembert was mild and buttery—even next to the rind and even when eaten with grapes (in the past our experience has been that Brie tastes more funky near the rind and when eaten on grapes versus when eaten on bread or pretzels).

Emmi Roth: Buttermilk Blue. Despite descriptions by the producer that this cheese is "tangy yet mellow" [9], I only found the tangy and not the mellow. It was right up there with the most intense blue cheeses I've tried. If you were to lay a quarter over any part of this cheese, except right next to the rind, there would be more blue than white. I enjoyed it, but this is not for the faint of heart.

Käserei Studer AG: Der scharfe Maxx. The of this cheese (the one next to the salame in the picture) name means "maximum sharpness" in German. This is a washed rind cheese from Switzerland. It was only recently developed after the collapse of the Swiss Cheese Union.[10] It was a rather creamy cheese, but definitely has that bitter tang that is characteristic of washed rind cheeses. (I informally refer to this bitter tang as 'armpit flavor' since it's the product of Brevibacterium linens, which also contributes to foot and armpit odor.) I still haven't warmed up to washed rind cheeses, so this one's off my list of cheeses to eat again.

Cabot: Clothbound Cheddar. This cheese (the cheese on the far right in the picture) had a nice mouthfeel, similar to other aged cheddars, and was full of delightful lactic acid crystals. The taste was slightly funky, suggesting some microbial action, but overall I enjoyed the cheese.

Reypenaer: Gouda. This cheese (the middle of the three in the picture) was aged for one year, giving it a firmer texture than younger goudas. The flavor was typical of a gouda, but a little bit deeper and more complex. It wasn't quite as crumbly as the Cabot cheddar, nor was it quite as creamy as the Der scharfe Maxx (see the review above).

Carr Valley Cheese: Glacier Wildfire Blue. This cheese was slightly bluer than I like, but overall pretty good. The peppers added a nice touch that made this cheese unique from other blue cheeses I've tried.

Ninfas: Queso Tetilla. This cheese got its name the same way the Gran Tetons did.[11] The wrapper claimed this was a soft cheese and I've seen it described online as creamy. Well, not in my experience. This was a very hard cheese, with a texture and flavor similar to a mild Parmesan. I liked it just fine, but I wonder what I really ate. Was it falsely advertised? Or did the cheesemonger hang onto it so long that it aged? I shudder to think…

The next five cheeses and one meat we sampled while Leann's brother, David, and his wife, Amber, were visiting us. I didn't take any pictures, so you'll have to settle for pictures I gleaned from the internet.

Fromagerie Lincet: Délice de Bourgogne. This is a triple-cream brie with a nice smooth texture and creamy flavor. It went well on grapes, bread, and pretzels. There wasn't any detectable funk until you got right up next to the rind. Leann begged me to go buy some more. I think we liked this better than the Domaine du Village.[12]

Saxon Creamery: Green Fields cheese. This is a washed rind cheese, so it smells like a barnyard. The cheese had a pleasant mouthfeel and was modestly creamy, but the barnyard smell was definitely there in the flavor, especially if you ate a sizable cube. I definitely had to fight this off with lots of sausage and grapes. I feel no need to have this cheese again.

Hook's Cheese: Ten Year Sharp Cheddar. This cheddar was fantastic. But it was so intense that it could only be eaten in small amounts. The sharpness was bold and there were lactose crystals throughout. Plan on having some fruit or sausage on hand to balance out the intensity. I would love to have this cheese again.

Rodolphe le Meunier: Sillon Bleu de Chèvre. This wasn't actually a blue cheese, it was a cheese with an ash layer in the middle.[13] The cheese itself tasted quite a lot like Emmentaler (colloquially known as Swiss cheese in the US) and was only slightly goaty. Ultimately this cheese wasn't remarkable enough to justify any subsequent purchases.

Trappiste: Orval. This cheese is made by Belgian Trappist monks.[14] It had a nice texture and a pleasant Mozzarella-like flavor (except that it had a slightly bitter aftertaste). This was Amber's favorite, but I didn't think it was special enough to buy again.

Underground Meats: Tuscan Salami. This salami had a nice, bold flavor but was a little to heavy on the peppercorns, in my opinion. And after one slice Leann had had enough because it was so fatty (she said it made her feel like the entire inside of her mouth was coated with fat). David liked it better than the 'safe' sausage I convinced him to buy. I wouldn't mind buying this salami again.

And that's the end of the cheeses and meats that we tried with David and Amber.

Busseto: Dry Coppa. I liked these, but they're pretty intense. They're salty and they have a strong ham flavor ("piggy" flavor, as Leann puts it). I liked these all right, but not as much as I like salame sausages or prosciutto.

Volpi: Romano Salame. The wrapping on this salami claims "a surprisingly pepper-rich finish." It was no surprise. Looking at it (the entire outside was encrusted with pepper flakes), it would've been a surprise if it hadn't had a pepper-rich finish…or a pepper-rich beginning and a pepper-rich middle. What was surprising is that we could taste the salami at all. As it was, the salami flavor was so well-disguised by the black pepper, that I can't really say whether I liked it otherwise. I can only say that the pepper was so intense that if it weren't for the companionship of three hard cheeses above (Käserei Studer AG Der scharfe Maxx, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, and Reypenaer Gouda), I wouldn't have been able to eat it.

Cape gooseberries. Cape gooseberries are native to Peru and Ecuador, where they are called aguaymanto.[15] They have a husk around them that make them look a lot like tomatillos. After you open them they look like orange cherry tomatoes. They are sweet and delightfully tangy. They have crunchy little seeds in them, but they're not prohibitively bothersome. Unfortunately, about a third of the gooseberries in the carton I bought were moldy but I couldn't see it because of the husks. I would definitely eat these again.

Aroy-D: Rambutan. Aroy-D (อร่อย-ดี) is a subsidiary of Thai Agri Foods.[16] Rambutan (Thai: เงาะ engāa or ngeāa, depending on how you handle the preposed vowel [17]) is related to the lychee. I am not aware of anywhere I can buy these fresh (and in the case of rambutan, fresh means it's still on the branch and the whole branch is harvested), so I had to content myself with buying them canned in syrup. They have a texture similar to that of a sautéed onion (so at least one of my sisters wouldn't like it for that reason alone). In my opinion rambutan taste a lot like grape—so much so that they're not worth the expense when I can just buy grapes. To our surprise, Lilli tried them and liked them.

Aroy-D: Mangosteen. Mangosteen (Thai: มังคุด mạngkhud) is sometimes called "the Queen of Fruits". Like the rambutan, these aren't readily available fresh, so I bought them preserved in syrup. The texture is like a canned mandarin orange, but a little smoother. The fruit consists of clusters of arils. The largest arils cover a seed, so don't bite in. There was a little hint of mandarin orange but, for me, it was overwhelmed by a slightly 'off'' [18] flavor (which prevented me from finishing the can). Leann didn't notice this 'off'' flavor; she though it tasted like a blend of mandarin orange and pear.[19] Lilli tried these, too, but did not like them.

Ugli fruit: This is a natural tangelo that arose in Jamaica.[20] The flavor was reminiscent of a grapefruit, but slightly less bitter and quite a bit less sour. The flesh was yellow, almost the color of orange flesh, and had huge vesicles in wide, shallow carpels that separated easily from the partition.[21] This latter feature was nice because it made it easy to cut out the carpels with a grapefruit spoon and eat them.

Combos: 7 Layer Dip Tortilla. These were okay, but not great. The dominant flavors were cumin and chili powder. It wasn't until I was almost to the end of the bag that I started picking up any other flavors, like refried beans or tomato. And to be honest, even at the end it was missing some critical flavors (if you want 7-layer dip): cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

Combos: Jalapeño Cheddar Tortilla I really liked these! They weren't as spicy as I was expecting, but the jalapeño flavor was still surprisingly intense. The stone-ground (and presumably nixtamalized) corn in the 'tube' gave it a very nice texture and a flavor that, though not really like a tortilla, went well with the cheddar cheese and jalapeño.

Pringles: Tortillas Truly Original. These chips also come in Nacho Cheese and Zesty Ranch. The Tortillas Truly Original chips give off more of a "whole-grain" vibe than other tortilla chips do, but not because they're actually whole-grain. The ingredient list [22] specifies "degerminated yellow corn flour"…but it also tells you what those brown bits are that give it the appearance of a whole-grain chip: dried black beans. The flavor is pretty good, but a little heavy on the oil side (15 crisps give you 12% of your daily fat intake [23]). These were good to eat plain, but I don't think I'd try dipping them in salsa or guacamole.

Lays: Chicken and Waffles. Another swing and a miss for Lays. These were almost as nasty as the cheesy garlic bread chips.[24] They start out with a disconcerting brown sugar (not maple) flavor which eventually gives way to the potato flavor of the chip. But this is followed by an aftertaste composed of concentrated chicken broth and onion. Blech!

Godiva: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt. This bar was nice and chocolaty and creamy. The chunks of sea salt were interesting and gave the chocolate an almost-savory flavor, rather than just salty. But they were a little too poorly distributed and the overall effect wasn't exciting enough to want to come back to this.

Nabisco: Lemon Oreos. I'm not really crazy about lemon cookies in the first place (my fond memories of BYU 38th Ward Book Club meetings notwithstanding), so Nabisco's take on the theme was almost doomed from the beginning. The lemon flavor was really intense. In fact, it was a little too intense. And dipping them in milk only emphasized their lemony-ness.

Nabisco: Limeade Oreos. The limeade Oreos tasted so much like the lemon Oreos that it's not even worth it to review them separately. So: vide supra.

[No Photo.]

Nabisco: Mint Oreos I went into this feeling apprehensive. I thought for sure they would use spearmint instead of peppermint. But then Leann pointed out to me that the package specifically says peppermint. So I tried them. In contrast to the lemon-flavored Oreos, the flavor of these wasn't very intense. In fact, I couldn't dispel the idea that I was eating mint toothpaste sandwiched between two chocolate wafers—that's exactly what it tasted like. I won't be getting these again.


[1] See wine cheese.

[2] See

[3] See my review for Boar's Head: Smoked ButterKäse here.

[4] See my review of Pasture Pride Guusto cheese here.

[5] See my post Cheese.

[6] See my review of Rosenborg Castello: Danish Blue here.

[7] See

[8] See

[9] See

[10] See

[11] See cheese and Range.

[12] See my review of Les Fromagers de Chevillon Domaine du Village here.

[13] For more details, see my review of Les 3 Comtois Morbier cheese here.

[14] See Abbey.

[15] See gooseberry.

[16] See

[17] I haven't been able to get a straightforward answer about what 'preposed vowels' are, how they function in Thai, or how they should be transliterated, but the information I found that was closest to being helpful was at 11940.

[18] To be honest, this 'off' flavor reminded me a little bit of tuna fish.

[19] I've seen the flavor described on the internet as similar to strawberry or peach.

[20] See tangelo.

[21] See of simple fruits.

[22] See pack/NILS/Pringles Tortillas Truly Original NLI.png.

[23] This is comparable to Doritos Toasted Corn tortilla chips (see here, click on nutrition label button), Tostitos Restaurant Style tortilla chips (see here, click on nutrition label button), Fritos Scoops corn chips (see here, click on nutrition label button), Santitas Yellow Corn Chips (see here, click on nutrition label button), or Mission Tortilla Rounds (see here, scroll down and select).

[24] See my review of Lays Cheesy Garlic Bread chips here (scroll down).

Image attributions:

Glacier Wildfire Blue is by Carr Valley Cheese, available at, all rights reserved.

Délice de Bourgogne is by Beprost, available at DE BOURGOGNE 2KG LINCET EXPORT.png.

Green Fields cheese is by Saputo Specialty Cheese, available at, all rights reserved.

Ten Year Sharp Cheddar is by Hook's Cheese, available at 0094 5lb 1lb 10yr ched a1.jpg, all rights reserved.

Sillon Bleu de Chèvre is by Fromaggio Kitche, available at, all rights reserved.

Trappiste Orval is by Belgian Shop, available at default/orval-cheese-block-200g.jpg, all rights reserved.

Tuscan Salami is by Underground Meats, available at, all rights reserved.

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