Let the less sophisticated turophiles* make witches’ broomsticks out of string cheese. Here at The Nibble, we’re celebrating Halloween with sophisticated cheeses and…of course…pumpkin ales. If it’s fun you want, check out our article on Halloween fun with cheese. If it’s connoisseurship you want, keep reading.
These cheeses belong on a cheese board, but they also shine on a sandwich (including grilled cheese), on pasta and pizza, and in casseroles. Serve a thin wedge to a salad, or cube them for finger food skewers or snacks.
This is Part 1 of Halloween Cheeses; part 2 arrives tomorrow.
You can find most of these cheeses online. There are specialty cheese sites like iGourmet; and specialty cheese sites also sell on Amazon.
Basiron Pesto Rosso & Basiron Hot Sauce
Basiron is a Gouda-style cow’s milk cheese that is so popular, when we first wrote about it 11 years ago there were a whopping 13 different flavors. Today, there double that: an even-more-whopping 26 flavors, including trending flavors like hot sauce, lavender and za’atar.
For Halloween, the new Basiron Hot Sauce and the classic Basiron Pesto Rosso are cheeseboard show-stoppers. Basiron is a Gouda-style cheese made in Holland. Basiron Pesto Rosso gets its harvest-red color from the addition of a pesto of red tomatoes, and its exciting flavor from the addition of basil (pesto) and garlic.
Basiron Hot Sauce gets its flaming hot flavor and color from Tabasco.
The cheesemaker, Veldhuyzen Kaas, also makes an emerald-green version without the tomatoes called Basiron Pesto and a lighter-green Basiron Wasabi which can be presented as “green cheese from the moon.”
Think ahead to a red and green cheese plate for Christmas! Basiron is so popular, the company makes thirteen different flavors, not all of which are available in the U.S. One which is, is the bright green pesto variety, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.
Gouda: Extra Triple Aged
The longer a Gouda ages, the more golden-brown the paste becomes. You can find Goudas that are aged for a full five years, and have intense and complex flavors.
One of the nuances in an aged Gouda is the crunchy white calcium lactate crystals, which precipitate from the lactic acid. Call them “creepy crunchies” for Halloween.
The color reminds us of a pale yellow—not orange—moon. Who knew that there were 48 different colors of the moon! Here they are, from NASA.
Aged cheddars take on the color of a harvest moon. Any of them can grace a Halloween cheeseboard. Here are two of our favorites.
Take a sturdy English cheddar and add the spicy North African spice blend, harissa, and you’ve got a cheddar that packs some punch.
A harissa spice blend usually contains roasted chili peppers, toasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds, smoked paprika, chopped parsley, kosher salt, and garlic. Flakes of harissa provide bursts of heat and flavor.
This one isn’t easy to find, but we found it on Amazon.
Cahill’s Farm: Flavored Irish Cheddar
Cahill’s Farm Flavored Irish Cheddar comes from County Limerick in the Emerald Isle, where Marion Cahill developed a group of flavored Cheddars that are as fascinating to look at as they are exciting to taste (photo #4).
The red-marbled Elderberry and brown-marbled Porter flavors are ideal for Halloween. You can look at them as beautiful and marbled…or as creepy “blood Cheddar.”
Serve a pumpkin ale with the Elderberry, and a glass of porter with the Porter.
*A turophile is a connoisseur or lover of cheese. It’s a combination of the Greek word for cheese, tyros, plus the English -phile, meaning lover (which derives from the Greek -philos, meaning loving. You’d think it was an old word, but turophile first seems to appear in 1938 [source].