Saturday 19 March 2011


What's your favourite cheese?

Perhaps it's brie - with a soft oozing texture and a slight yellowish tint (from the carotene absorbed by the cow from the meadow grass and hay in its diet) served with sliced apple, fig jam and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Beloved of surrender monkeys everywhere

Or perhaps you can't resist stilton, in great buttery rounds, blue-veined, crumbly and sharp tasting inside a pitted crust? [I got that Hugh Fearnley Filling Station buttery blue veined guff by googling "pretentious description of stilton" and needless to say the Guardian (British newspaper for middle class lefties) came top but I enjoyed the fact that the stilton article went to say "The French may think they are on to something with Roquefort, but that is mere salty slime when set against a good stilton."]

Personally, my favourite cheese is Kraft Singles - there is nothing quite so gratifying as peeling back that gossamer thin cellophane and popping a flacid orange slice into your mouth in a oner. ("Pop", whether transitive or intransitive, is a verb I normally tend to eschew but there is just no other word to describe the act of ingesting a Kraft Single.)

Hence it was a matter of no little regret when we discovered that they don't sell Kraft Singles on this island. Lately, however, there has been a slight improvement in the situation in that a company called LactAçores from São Miguel has begun making "singles" out of local Azorean cheese.

Now you may say why don't we just buy a piece of local cheese and cut it into slices? But that's missing the point completely: you can't manually slice cheese to the required thin-ness and, anyway, being wrapped in cellophane and chilled for lengthy periods imparts a delicate fragrance rather in the way that Scotch Whisky acquires its distinctive character from being matured in old sherry casks.

Sorry but we'd troughed all the slices before I remembered to take the photo!

Anyway, we road-tested the local product at lunch today and rated it against various indicators including:-

# - gossamer thin-ness of cellophane wrapping - verdict: not gossamer enough, rather more the consistency of the impossible to get off wrapper of a DVD. And a real KS comes in a cellophane envelope whereas these were just sandwiched between sheets. Tacky. 4 out of 10.

# - adhesion of Single to wrapping - verdict: a real KS is difficult to detach from its wrapper in one piece. These almost literally fell away from the cellophane. Room for improvement. 5/10.

Carol's approach was somewhat less scientific and she summed them up thus: "Not very good, really - they taste like actual cheese."



Kathie said...

For me one of the joys of going to the Azores is to escape American "foods" not found in nature.

I fondly recall at Santa Cruz das Flores' Hotel Ocidental dining room one evening how the waiters brought around a complimentary appetizer of fresh cheese made by the grandmother of one of the waiters -- sublime!

And give me a papo seco or pão de água over sliced white cotton-candy "bread" any day.

Anonymous said...

The other really important feature of a KS is that once you have slipped it out of it's envelope it still looks as though it is wrapped in cellophane. It's that wonderful rubber texture with which real cheese just can't compete. Absolutely nothing else will do for the perfect cheeseburger. Cheese would just be wrong.

Marisa said...

Cheese:that's my middle name, heheh. I prefer "ours", all of them, S. Jorge, Pico, Faial, Graciosa..... minus Stª Maria (don't know any..).