In England, and at almost every well - appointed table in America, cheese is a positive necessity to a good table. Brillāt Savarin, in his "Physiologie du Gout," says, "Un beau dīner sans vieux fromage est une jolie femme ą qui il manque un œil."
Among the best cheeses of England are the Stilton and Cheshire; of France, are those of Neufchatel, Brie (fromage de Brie), and the fromage de Roquefort. The fromage de Roquefort is, perhaps, one of the most popular of all cheeses. The Gruyčre cheese of Switzerland is also a well-known cheese. It is made from new milk, and flavored with a powdered herb. In serving this cheese, French mustard, pepper, and salt are usu-ally passed at the same time. The Roquefort cheese is made of a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk: the first communicates consistence and quality; the latter, whiteness and a peculiar flavor. The Parmesan (an Italian cheese) is made of skimmed milk. It is a high-flavored and hard cheese, and is not sent to market until it is six months old, and is often kept for three or four years. It is extensively used, grated, for cooking. The Stilton cheese is made by adding the cream of the preceding evening's milk to the morning's milking, producing a very rich and creamy quality. This cheese is preferred by epicures when it is old, after having been bnried for some time in tin cans to become moldy. The Cheshire is made with rich new milk. This cheese can be appreciated without cultivating a taste for it.
Our American cheeses, since the introduction of the factory System, are exported in immense quantities to England, where they are much sought for, and considered by epicures as great luxuries. This is generally astonishing to Americans abroad, who, at home, often consider it only in rule to offer guests cheese of foreign manufacture. I think, however, in comparison with our own, the celebrated foreign cheeses have one advantage. The latter take the name of the exact locality where they are manufactured; consequently, when people speak of a Stilton or of a fromage de Brie they know exactly of what they are talking; not so of American cheese. American cheese means that which may be superior, good, bad, or indifferent: it is too general a name. America has hundreds of cheese manufactories, and not a famous one; although many of them make that which would do credit to America as the greatest cheese - making country in the world, if only these best specimens were more generally known.
I have taken great pains in trying to decide which of many samples is the best American cheese, and have decided upon one made in Otsego County, New York, which is called the "English dairy" cheese. Before proceeding any further, I shall enter my protest against that name. Why do they not call it Otsego cheese ? If it were eaten in London, an Englishman would certainly flatter himself that it was made in England. If they will only change the name, then, I will take more pleasure in saying that the Otsego cheese is undoubtedly one of the best specimens of American cheeses. It has a dark-yellow color, is very rich, and highly flavored.
The pastures of Otsego County are exceptionally fine, and its general advantages of climate, etc., render its locality one of the best adapted for the manufacture of cheese.
One of the best specimens of cheese of a milder character, white and well-flavored, is made at Milan, Cayuga County, New York, the name of which might be Cayuga cheese.
Perhaps the cheapest of the foreign famous cheeses is the Neufchatel. It comes in little rolls about an inch thick and three inches long, is enveloped in tin-foil, and costs about twenty cents a roll. Two rolls are quite sufficient for a large dinner. It is a delicious cheese. Care must be taken, however, when purchasing, to ascertain that it is not musty.
The tariff may be saved by purchasing the Neufchatel manufactured in New Jersey and Westchester County, New York. As for that, the Stilton made in Cayuga County can hardly be detected from the Leicestershire manufacture itself; and, in fact, nearly all the famous cheeses are very perfectly imitated in America, so that those who choose may indulge in foreign names and encourage home manufacture at the same time.
In serving Stilton cheese, the top should be cut off to form a cover, and then the cheese should be neatly surrounded with a napkin. Whenever the cheese is taken from the table, the cover should be replaced.
Cheese should form a course at dinner. For further particulars concerning cheese as a course, see page 345.
Place a pan of clabbered sour milk over the fire, and let it become well scalded; then, pouring it into a clean cloth, squeeze out all the water, leaving the clabber quite dry. Put this into a kitchen basin, and work it with the hands, making it a little moist by adding cream. Add also a little butter and plenty of salt; mold it into little balls.