Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dubliner Cheese

Kerrygold© Dubliner Cheese

Created at the same time as the Irish Dairy Board in 1961, Kerrygold© provided its customers with a line of premium all-natural, grass-fed cheeses and butters. Now Kerrygold© Irish dairy products are proudly available in over 80 countries and still follow their small farm approach and rely on independent dairy farmers to supply the company with all-natural milk. Of their cheese selection they offer Cashel Blue Farmhouse, Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey, Dubliner with Irish Stout, Red Leicester, Swiss, Aged Cheddar, Blarney Castle, Dubliner, and Skellig. As far as their butters are concerned, they offer Pure Irish Butter, Unsalted Irish Butter, Garlic and Herb, Naturally Softer Irish Butter, and Reduced Fat Irish Butter.

-The Gamer-

For this entry we end up looking at what is, in my own opinion, a very nice cheese. It's Kerrygold© Dubliner, a fine aged cheese imported from Ireland. The first thing you will notice after opening the package is the lovely, tangy scent that the cheese gives off, giving you the first hint of the deliciousness that will be soon to follow. I would describe the texture of the cheese as being reminiscent of Parmesan or a similar hard cheese. It crumbles nicely, but it's also not too difficult to slice. The taste is wonderfully sharp and tangy, as one would expect from Parmesan or Romano, but not quite as strong as either of those. I would definitely recommend Kerrygold© Dubliner to anyone who is a fan of aged cheeses such as me. You will not be disappointed with your decision.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goat Cheese & Espelette Pepper Potato Chips

Brets© Chips Saveur Chèvre & piment d'Espelette

One of the many overseas brands that is being carried by World Market, Brets© is part of Altho, a company located in France that specializes in gourmet potato chips. Started in 1991 by Alain Glon who had formed partnerships with farmers, by 1995 the company founded family-owned Altho located in central Brittany. Starting with only 16 employees and an annual production of 800 tons of chips, the company has since grown to 240 employees throughout the year (noting up to 400 during their high season) with an annual output of 20,000 tons of chips. Among the flavors they offer their customer are Goat Cheese & Espelette Pepper, Braised Chicken, Marine (oyster), Butter Caramel, Salt & Vinegar, Garlic & Rosemary, Original, Natural, Bolognaise, and Pizza to just to name a few.

The Artist -
While wandering one of the local World Market stores with Jerry and a friend of ours, I had spotted the bag of Brets© chips and was curious as to what the flavor would be like. I am familiar with the creamy yet robust earthy flavor of goat cheese so it did seem fitting that the French company had paired it with Espelette pepper. Bringing home a bag and opening it up, my nose was greeted with the gentle melody of cheese with a hint of spice. However, flavor was a little bit on the disappointing side. It is perhaps due to the possibility of the original recipe being altered to 'appeal to American tastes' but the flavors weren't as spectacular as I would have imagined. Mind you that alone, the cheese flavoring was light and quite easy on the pallet with just a faint hint of spice from the peppers. Also the chips themselves were crisp and had a delightful crunch to them when taking a bite. However, when used to goat cheese being bold along with the tangy sweetness of peppers, the flavoring on the chips is a bit lack luster. I'm sure that in France, the chips are perhaps much more attention grabbing so as I suggested before it could just be an Americanization of the recipe. Other then that bit of conflict with personal taste, the chips are actually quite enjoyable. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Burley Birch Beer

Hippo Size Beverage Burley Birch Beer
Created in the 1980's by Mike Bourgeois, Orca Beverages originally came onto the Carbonated Soft Drink market with Orca Sparkling which contained a juice blend of over 50 juice. After a bit of a bumpy journey in their early years, Orca Beverage not only produced their own bottled drinks but formed partnerships with other companies known for their iconic old time brands. Now they proudly have a portfolio which contains over 100 retro and specialty glass bottled soda products. 

Orca Beverage, Inc. 
11903 Cyrus Way #5 
Mukilteo, WA 98275 
Fax: 425-349-5083
Phone: 425-349-5655 

- The Gamer - 

I'm going to start this post by saying that this next entry might be a niche one, and you'll see why as you read. Today, we're looking at Hippo Sized Burley Birch Beer. It's a little different from our usual entries, as it is a carbonated beverage. What makes this one interesting is that, although it tastes quite a bit like root beer (not surprising considering the birch part), but it also smells and tastes like Pepto Bismol which itself is somewhat minty, just without the thick, chalky taste that Pepto has. For those not familiar with Pepto, it's a pink liquid generally used to settle upset stomachs and so forth. The flavor of the birch beer actually made me ponder whether Pepto had gotten their flavor from it, or if it were just some coincidence, seeing as how mint is usually associated with settling stomachs. Overall it wasn't a bad experience; it was a nice minty/root beer combination that simply made me laugh when I realized what it reminded me of. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Blended Scotch Whiskey

Chivas Regal Gold Signature Blended Scotch Whiskey

Established in 1801 in Aberdeen, Chivas Brothers Whiskey has a long standing tradition of presenting high quality aged Scotch to their customers. From awarded Royal Warrants by Queen Victoria to supply the royal household in 1843, the devastation of the 1920s prohibition, and their re-birth in the 1930s, the Chivas Brothers company has continued their quest to present their blend of scotch with the consistent flavour they're known for. Right now they offer a range of scotches aged from 12 to 25 years.

The Artist -

Knowing that I'm more of a liquor person, a good friend of mine presented me with a beautifully simple box which held a bottle of Chivas Regal Gold Signature 18 year Blended Scotch Whiskey. I thanked him repeatedly for the gift since I have always wanted to try it but never had a chance to purchase a bottle myself. For those of you who are familiar with scotch whiskey, you'll understand when I say that when I popped the cork and took my first whiff from it that my nose was greeted by a sweet yet mellow aroma. My initial sip of the amber liquid gave a warm sensation on my tongue but I couldn't help but enjoy the smooth flavor of the scotch, which is something missing from many other scotches I've had in the past. The sweetness of this one hints at the smoky barrels which held it and perhaps a bit of fruit notes. Out of curiosity, I went to the company's website and for my particular bottle they're suggesting that:

Nose – Rich, indulgent, multi-layered aromas with hints of dried fruits, buttery toffee and dark chocolate.

Taste – A velvety, dark chocolate palate yields to elegant floral notes and a wisp of sweet, mellow smokiness.

For those who enjoy a nice scotch, I would highly recommend that you give this a try. However with the price tag (depending on the seller) ranging anywhere between $55 to $90 for a single bottle, it would be one of those 'self-indulgence' types of purchases for a special occasion. If it is offered at a party then feel free, but as with any alcoholic beverage please drink responsibly and make sure that if you are in need of driving anywhere to make sure that you have a designated driver.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Smoked Gouda

Traditional Delights - Hickory Smoked Gouda 

Traditional Delights
Global Foods International, Inc. 

-The Gamer-
Well, we're on to a new year, so time for some new entries. Today we've got a nice little smoked gouda that we picked up. For those of you who don't know, gouda is a style of cheese, originally produced in Holland. It's typically sweeter than your average cheese due to how it is made, with anywhere between semi-firm and firm hardness, depending on how long the cheese has been aged.

The gouda that we got seems to fall near the middle of the scale, with a little bit of give still in it when you put pressure onto the cheese. It still has the sweet flavor that other goudas have, but due to the smoke it also is a little richer, a bit bolder than your usual gouda, with the smoky taste getting stronger around the rind of the cheese. It's a relatively easy cheese to slice, and would go great on sandwiches, but I have noticed that it doesn't tend to melt as easily as, say, cheddar or mozzarella would. Overall it's a rather pleasant cheese, but due to the richness I would suggest only eating it in small quantities, unless you can handle rich foods that is.