Grilled-cheese sandwiches taste better afloat

A grilled-cheese sandwich—with fine cheese, good bread and lots of butter—is great eating just about any time, but when you’re aboard your boat, cruising around Lake Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe for two weeks, it’s golden.

We tried grilling a sandwich using a light rye with caraway with, for the first time, German Limburger cheese (above) and it turned out sharp yet delicious. Later that day, when I talked with Julia Rogers on the phone about The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, I mentioned the Limburger variation and she suggested we sometime try Pont-l’Évêque, the pungent cheese of Normandy. Which we will do.

Another delicious sandwich resulted from the use of St. Albert Extra Old Cheddar. Cheddar is such a natural on toasted bread, but we did expect Extra Old Cheddar to have more oomph. On the other hand, as I believe it’s aged only 22 months, our expectations were unreasonable.

But, combine the St. Albert with a supermarket Blue such as the Danish Rosenborg, and it immediately became our favourite of the cruise. The Blue gives the Cheddar the zing that we love. (We almost always have Rosenborg Castello in the cheese bin. Not so much for snacking or eating as for use in salads. It’s inexpensive and readily available in supermarkets.)

Our all-time favourite grilled-cheese was the Camembert and Blue combination we enjoyed maybe 15 years ago, also on a boat, this time in Southwest Florida. The sharp Blue was the perfect counterpoint to the creaminess of the Camembert, all of it oozing out of crusty French bread, well-buttered, of course!

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, loves boating as much as he enjoys cheese.

Marie Harel, I lust after your Camembert!

One of these days, I’ll have to spend time in Normandy, tasting my way through the 12 cheesemakers who produce Camembert under Apellation d’origine controlee standards (AOC). Tonight, however, I must be content with only one, Camembert d’Isigny, made by Isigny Ste-Mere, #3 on the map above.

And content I am! Although Camembert dates back only to the 18th century,  it is one of the most famous cheeses in France, and my d’Isigny is outstanding. Ten weeks after it was made, my small wheel has developed a deliciously strong creaminess, with the typical salty taste, and with the paste still white at its heart. Cheese Boutique, 250 grams, $16.99.

Camembert d'Isigny: Outstanding.

Camembert is named after a Norman village where there is a statue of its creator, Marie Harel. In 1855, legend has it, the cheese was presented to Napoleon, introduced as from the village of Camembert. He enjoyed it greatly and from that moment Camembert became known everywhere by this name.

As tradition and the AOC require, d’Isigny is made from raw cow’s milk cheese. Most of the Camembert we eat in Canada is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. When you first place a chunk of d’Isigny on your tongue, there is no doubt the source is a cow. Despite the aging, it tastes fresh, a testament to the quality of the milk from the herd that likely grazes overlooking the English Channel.

I had some bread at hand, and plenty of nuts and dried fruit, but, one hour later, I see I devoured most of the small wheel neat. As I’m in training for Lent, I washed the cheese down with San Benedetto, an Italian mineral water, splashed with cran juice.

For dessert, there were several slices of Lactantia on rustic white bread. Man, I love my unsalted cultured butter!