Please welcome Jake Lahne, a former cheesemonger who is currently studying food science at the University of Illinois. He'll be chiming in every week with Serious Cheese. Take it away, Jake! —Editor
My life as a cheesemonger at the rightly famous Cowgirl Creamery began partly out of desperation (I needed an escape from my death-spiral of a line cook's job) and partly because of a religious experience involving Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog, an epiphany most cheese lovers can relate to.
However, unlike most cheese lovers, I'm allergic to cow's milk, giving my continuing romance with fermented dairy products a certain Capulet-Montague cachet. Thus, if I tell you that a certain cow's cheese, say Pleasant Ridge Reserve, is delicious, I have weighed its tastiness against certain internal distress.
With this hard-earned knowledge, I'd like to talk about some good cheeses done wrong—cheeses that have had their reputation spoiled by mass-market, lowest-common-denominator clones, chalky bricks or milky pap unfit for any thinking person's consumption.