Holy smokes…Tillamook makes some spicy cheeses…
…and after sampling the Hot Habanero Jack Cheese, I actually checked to see if I had smoke billowing out of my nostrils, singeing my whiskers…had it happened, it would have been worth it…like The Lady, I love spicy food (funny how that works, don’tcha think???).
Tillamook takes its creamy, mellow Monterey Jack and kicks it to the Yucatan Peninsula (where habanero peppers are believed to have originated) and back to the Oregon Coast by adding habanero and jalapeno (no slouch either on the Scoville Chile Pepper Heat Scale) peppers. This cheese is not for the faint of heart; but if you like spicy, this puppy will fit the bill. The Man is not big on spicy which means he is not a big fan…but he remains The Man as far as The Lady is concerned…
I, as your spicy Feline Foodie, give Hot Habanero Jack 4 Steaming Paws out of 4 Steaming Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got and after eating this cheese, I’m lucky to still have all 4…).
Serving Suggestions: The Lady served this with an apricot preserve and the combination was amazing. Habaneros have a hint of apricot naturally before the fire blows the apricot flavor out the door. The Lady also mentioned substituting this cheese for the Tillamook Medium Cheddar she usually puts in her pimento cheese spread. This cheese would also make one mean grilled cheeses and I mean that pretty literally…
Wine Pairings: Ferngrove Shiraz, Frankland River, Western Australia
Beer Pairings: Habanero Pilsner, The Brewhouse, Santa Barbara, California
Source: Cows’ Milk
The second flavored cheese from Tillamook was Garlic Chili Pepper Cheddar Cheese, which The Lady sells in her BH-adjacent Cheese Island. This cheese also has a “kick” because Tillamook decided to lace the cheddar with red chili pepper flakes. The garlic does “domesticate”…not to be confused with the manner in which The Lady “domesticated” me (more on this below)… the chili pepper slightly. The Lady and I both enjoyed sampling this cheese…The Man, again, not so much…
I give Garlic Chili Cheddar 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: The Lady combined the Garlic Chili Cheddar with my personal Tillamook favorite, Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and made a Quesadilla…man oh man…now that was one tasty Quesadilla. Living with The Lady is quite a culinary journey; you just never know what she’ll think of next. When I was assigned observation duties of The Lady and The Man, The Brain told me, “I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is The Lady will love you unconditionally and pamper you in a style to which you will become accustomed quickly. The bad news is…” …well the bad news had to do with the loss I suffered during my first trip to the vet…I mis-heard (something The Lady says The Man does…a lot) and thought The Brain said I was going to be “tutored”…I sadly digress…(but I must also give credit to Gary Larson for the use of “tutor”)
Wine Suggestions: Atwater Estates 2007 “Finger Lakes” Pinot Noir, New York State
Beer Pairings: Rogue Mocha Porter, Oregon
Source: Cows’ Milk
The third cheese we sampled was Horseradish White Cheddar. This one was the favorite of The Man, who eats horseradish on his French Dip, his prime rib and even has The Lady add it to deviled eggs. You might dub this cheese “The Lady’s Peace Offering” to the Man. The horseradish, while pungent, is not overpowering and adds a nice edge to the creamy, mellow medium cheddar.
In honor of The Man, I give Horseradish White Cheddar 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got)…I would have given it 4 paws anyway…but I have to blow some smoke at The Man because he and I spend so much “quality time” together while The Lady is off in the cheese mines…
Serving Suggestions: The Lady served this cheese with some of the private selection rare roast beef that is sold in her deli. She added organic field greens aka “weeds” affectionately referred to by The Man, a slice of Vidalia Onion, tomato and fat-free mayo on Dave’s Killer Bread (Good Seed). This makes a great table cheese served with grapes or pears.
Wine Pairings: Black Mountain Malbec (one of Trader Joe’s private labels) Napa Valley, California
Beer Pairings: Lohrer Dunkles
Source: Cows’ Milk
There are several other “flavored” cheeses from Tillamook and I will be reviewing them in the near future…stay tuned…but for now, it’s my nap time…