I am a cheese fanatic, semi-retired. It was time to create a website for cheese lovers like I did! It is
I love gourmet, artisanal cheese, wine, France, traveling, dogs, tennis, reading and much more.

  • Website
  • Location: Florida
  • Favorite foods: cheese, wine, chocolate
  • Last bite on earth: Soft Scrambled eggs with parmigiano-reggiano, crispy bacon, a salad of mixed organic greens with organic tomatoes, basil, mozzarella di bufala campana, French bread, vanilla hot fudge sundae, espresso, a bottle of Pino Grigio

Overdose of Tomato Criticism on SE?

I agree with bobcatsteph. Don't expect great tomatoes out of season!
In south Florida where I live, the seasons are different in terms of when you can buy good local tomatoes. But in summer, you must buy Jersey tomatoes, preferably at a farmer's market or roadside stand. The hydroponic tomatoes from Canada aren't too bad. Heirloom tomatoes I find in Publix are always too, too ripe. The grape tomatoes can sometimes, but not always, be ok taste wise.
I guess what it comes down to is this...if you can grow your own, do it because they WILL taste good. Unless you are dining in a 4 star restaurant, don't expect great tomatoes, even IN tomato season!

Food you were denied as a kid and crave now

As the middle child in a family of 5, parents and 3 girls, I remember my mother would only buy the small cans of frozen OJ and 1 can to serve us all. So I always had a craving for OJ. When I got to college I was the one who made repeated trips to the OJ dispenser, under the disapproving eye of the house mother. And I always craved Tropicana, which my friends' mothers served. Once I grew up and discovered fresh squeezed OJ I thought I was in Heaven. Even today, I cannot begin my day without fresh squeezed and fortunately I lived in south Florida and have access to fresh squeezed at my local farmers' market, along with terrific artisanal cheese! Cheers!

SE Staff Picks: Our Favorite Cheeses

My votes go to the 4 year old aged Gouda from Artisanal Cheese - it blew me away with its deep orange/caramel color, its butterscotchy flavor, lingerly sweet - and its crystalline crunch. Stupendous!
Also the Rolf Beeler-aged Gruyere from Artisanal Cheese. I crave it, but it's expensive so can only order it occasionally.

Tasting the Real, Artisan Gruyere ...

Just ordered a wedge of Rolf Beeler Gruyere. Beeler is the renowned Swiss Affineur who ages, ripens and matures Swiss cheeses to perfection. When that Fed Ex pkg arrived, I was like a 5 year old on Christmas morning!

Seriously, I opened the box to find a little white paper pkg with the Artisanal Cheese seal. As I unwrapped the paper I sniffed the unmistakeable aroma of Gruyere. Then my taste buds began to squeak in anticipation. But I had to leave the wedge unwrapped on the counter for a while - until it reached proper room temperature. Sniff but not taste. Agony.

Finally, I cut off just a small piece and put it on my tongue. Absolutely divine! I bit into it and could hear and feel the slightly crystalline crunch of a really perfect Gruyere. It began to dissolve in my mouth. My taste buds were working overtime and shouting out their delight. Nutty, slightly sweet, with some mushroom-like undertones. If you love Gruyere, this is the specific cheese you will want to order as a special treat.

Although Gruyere is frequently used in fondue, I frankly would not use this pricey bit of Cheese Heaven in that way. It's perfect simply on its own, with some walnuts, slices of apple or pear and a glass of a Rhone Syrah, Zinfandel or, even Champagne. Go for it, and let me know what you think!

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