NCheeseAA: The Final Four-mage
May 1, 2008

Frequenters to the Grub Report will know my fondness for turning beloved, sacred, "can't get 'em outta your head" tunes into songs of cheeses. Given this NCheeseAA match-up between my beloved British Cheddar and that young, freedom-wanting upstart, Vermont Cheddar, I was moved to musical heights once again. I do hope my British and Canadian readers will forgive me, it is only my deep, Anglophilic love for British Cheddar that propels me to such heights of irreverence. Please stand for the National Anthem of Cheese! (Or ignore all this, scroll down, and read the Final Four-mage write-ups before you go and vote.)

[Throat clearing]

[Fanfare]

Blog save our sumptuous Cheese
Long live our veiny Cheese
Blog save the Cheese
Eat her victorious
Tasty and glorious
Long to slice over us
Blog save the Cheese

O Ched, our Choice, you bet!
Retrieve thine coronet
And wear it proud
Unwrap thy sharpest wedge
Show all you have the edge
On thee our buds we pledge
And are not cowed

Thy choicest round in store
On toast be pleased to pour
Long may she age
May she adore to melt
And then enlarge our belt
To eat with tongue and teeth
Blog save the Cheese.

British Cheddar v. Vermont Cheddar. Here it is! The match-up I've been waiting for the American Cheese-olution! As I said before, Vermont Cheddar has been the Virginia Slims of the cheese world, but even if it has come a long way (baby), I don't think it should beat British Cheddar, the King of Cheese. Note that I said "should" there. While a look at the numbers reveals that Brit Ched didn't have too much difficulty beating its opponents Camembert (with 68% of the votes), Stilton (78%), and Roquefort (83%) it definitely struggled to the death with Parm-Reg, the cheese that would be King. Vermont Cheddar, on the other hand, had slightly more trouble with each opponent and never beat one by as large a margin as Our British Cousin did. But do these numbers really mean anything? Who knows. I tend to go with my stomach rather than numbers and I far prefer British Cheddar over anything we put out in the United States. I want the rounds from Keen, Montgomery, and Westcombe Farms to be singing, "Melt some cheddar in a pot and call it macaroni," but I think the Vermont variety will emerge victorious in this historic battle.

Mozzarella vs. Mt. Tam. As we come to the final stages of the tournament, our choices come down to how we view cheese in general: as an ingredient, an enhancement to other foods, a loyal helpmeet; or as a flavor experience in its own right. Most of us see cheese as both of those things, of course, depending on the cheese and the situation, but in the mozz/Mt. Tam vote, each aspirant falls quite clearly into one category or the other. Mozzarella goes in, and/or on, everything; Mt. Tam doesn't, and doesn't need to. Mozzarella is bland and versatile; Mt. Tam is rich, rich, rich. But as much as I'd like to say that it's a tough vote to call, it isn't. Mozzarella has an emotional hold on us as an eating culture that Mt. Tam, its passionate adherents aside, just doesn't. It won't embarrass itself, but it won't win, either. Mozz, with little effort.

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