According to an entry on Wikipedia, Cheese is a food derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. During production, the milk is usually acidified, and adding the enzyme rennet causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Some cheeses have molds on the rind or throughout. Uh, sounds delicious, eh?
In a recent drawing on the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Page for a gift certificate to The Melting Pot in Thousand Oaks, entrants were asked to mention their favorite cheese. I discovered that 1) people are not shy about their love for cheese, as there were over 850 responses in just eight hours; and 2) there are a lot of cheeses I've never heard of.
So here is a tabulation of responses to this drawing that may strike a fancy with some of you. I am certainly tempted to try out some new cheeses this weekend!
The Top 15 Cheeses (as surveyed):
- Cheddar* was voted most popular cheese overall, with 138 votes
- Gouda received 108 votes
- Brie: 86 votes
- Havarti: 45 votes
- Gruyere: 43 votes
- Swiss: 41 votes
- Pepper Jack: 38 votes
- Mozzarella: 34 votes
- Goat: 32 votes
- Blue: 31 votes
- Manchego: 24 votes
- Feta: 20 votes
- Muenster: 19 votes
- Provolone: 14 votes
- Gorgonzola: 13 votes
- Dubliner: 10 votes
*Includes all types - sharp, mild, white, smoked, English, etc.
Cheddar, Gouda and Brie were the clear top three most popular cheeses named in this survey. Havarti, Gruyere and Swiss duked it out for the next three spots. Pepper Jack had quite a strong showing also.
Other notable cheeses receiving 3 or more votes included Monterey Jack (7 votes), Fontina (7), Parmesan (7), Jalapeno/Habanero Jack (7), Asiago (6), Port Wine (6), String Cheese (6), American (5), Emmenthaler (4), Camembert (4), Port Salut (4), Spinach Artichoke (4), Edam (4), Burrata (4), Pecorino (3), Colby Jack (3), Jarlsberg (3), Raclette (3), Stilton (3) and Toscano (3).
Others mentioned include Morbier, Saint Andre, Manouri, Purple Haze, Red Windsor, Red Hawk, Emmental, Ricotta, Butterkase, Parrano, Bel Paese, Mascarpone, Double Gloucester, Fiesta, Romano, Cream Cheese, Conte, d'Affinois, Asadero, Camenzola, Cotija, Velveeta (hmm), Limberger (hmm again), Mizithra, Roquefort, Cambozola, Parmigiana Ressiano, Flagship, Chevre, Robusto, Haloumi, Fromunda, Lamb Chopper, Barely Buzzed, Babybel, Iberico, Telema, Horseradish, Leyden, Stinkin' Bishop and Montano. There were a few sillier choices that I'll refrain from mentioning here.
I have not looked up all these cheeses so forgive me if there are typos. These are as reported by CVG folks. I part with the following quote pointed out by a friend by Charles De Gaulle, President of France, in 1962: “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”