Maple Leaf Cheese Plate: Red Wax Gouda and a Trio of Jacks – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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Maple Leaf Cheese Plate: Red Wax Gouda and a Trio of Jacks

The Lady is buried deep inside the Burlingame Fred Meyer Cheese Kiosk transforming it into a Murray’s Cheese Shop for Kroger. As reported here in the past… that’s what she does in the cheese mines… it’s a job she loves and a job that brings cheese home to moi… a win/win situation around The Manse. I’ll be writing more on Burlingame later today… having the “inside track” and all…

One of the cheese producers that will be a part of the new Murray’s Cheese Shop is a small cooperative in Wisconsin, Maple Leaf Cheese which has been making quality cheese since 1910.

They have two Certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers, Jeff Wideman and Paul Reigle. The Lady has been in a cheese  “make room” twice and tells me that making cheese is no easy profession… she always adds that she would much rather sell cheese than make cheese… so… to become a Certified Master Cheesemaker must really be the cat’s meow… it requires ten years experience in a Certified Quality Assurance Cheese Plant and at least 5 years making the cheese in which you wish to be certified. Jeff Wideman is certified to make Cheddar and Jack; Paul is certified to make Gouda, Jack and Yogurt cheeses… holy smokes… that a lot of certification…

I have previously reviewed the two Yogurt Cheeses made at Maple Leaf under the Cultured Way Brand and I awarded those cheeses 3 Paws… I have also reviewed their Smoked Gouda (another 3 Paws) which was sent to moi by The Man’s BFF, Gary (RIP 2011), back in 2009 when he visited the Rogue Creamery Cheese Shop. Smoked Gouda wase Gary’s favorite cheese and he spent some of his foodie life’s journey searching for the best one… The Man and The Lady miss Gary and speak fondly of him almost everyday…

This week The Lady brought home more Maple Leaf cheeses for me to taste and review… I love it when a cheese plan comes together…

She created a cheese plate and we began with the Red Waxed Gouda; a young, sweet and nutty Gouda that is delightful on the palate and suitable for a variety of uses. I have a feeling this Gouda is on its way to becoming our “Everyday” Gouda here at The Manse. The Lady has her “everyday cheeses” and never found a priced-right and tastes good Gouda for the list… ta da… less than $10 a pound, which for this quality cheese is a steal… and wait till you read my “insider’s scoop” on the opening deals at the new Murray’s at Burlingame… get ready… wait for it… no seriously… wait for it…

Following the Gouda was ML’s Monterey Jack, a mild, melting-style cheese that is also a snacker. Plain MJ is a tad milder than we like around the manse but for cooking, it’s got it going on…

And I suspect that the fine Masters at Maple Leaf like it with a little more punch because following the Monterey Jack on the plate were two Jacks stuffed with stuff: Their Monterey Jack stuffed with Jalapenos and the final cheese on the plate was a MJ stuffed with Habanero Peppers.

Did you know that “Pepper Jack” cheese is the #1 selling cheese in America right now… taking the crown from Cheddar and the “cheese” called American Cheese that can survive a nuclear winter…

Maple Leaf, unlike most of their competitors who make a Pepper Jack, use fresh jalapenos, not freeze-dried. Somewhere in America, there is an army of choppers chopping red and green jalapenos and sending them off to Maple Leaf to be stuffed into their creamy Monterey Jack cheese.

The jalapenos add a nice kick to this cheese and make it well worth all that chopping… on a burger and inside a quesadilla… or on top of nachos… well get out of town…

Ditto with the Habanero Jack, except, you need taste buds with cojones… these peppers measure between 100,000 and 350,000 heat units on the Scoville Scale while the weenie jalapenos only hit the scale somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,500 to 8,000. The Lady loves this cheese; The Man prefers his cheese without flames… as do I… but for those of you seeking fire… well, you’ve come to the right place…

I give the Maple Leaf Cheese Plate 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got… and one of them is recovering from third degree burns…)

Pairing: Lots of ice-cold beer!!!

(Note to those humankinds of the male persuasion chopping those peppers… be sure and wash your hands before… well… you get the picture…).

We’re giving away one assortment of Kitchen Table Baker’s 100% Parmesan Crisps this month to one lucky email subscriber. All you have to do is subscribe (or currently be a subscriber) to our email notifications (enter your email address in the window top right). We promise to never sell or use your email address for nefarious reasons… 

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