Like lots of Budapest foodies, spend a lot of time (and money!) shopping at leading local gourmet general store Culinaris. And like lots of American-born Budapest foodies, I sometime come home with treats from the homeland, mostly the sort of tasty trash – Pop-Tarts! Swiss Miss! – that Europeans love to sneer at. Until now!
In what I am told is a first for Hungary, Culinaris recently started offering a range of very high-end artisanal cheeses from small American producers. Rather than spending precious cheese-eating time singing their praises, I’ll just reprint a promotional blurb about one of the cheeses I took home last week, which fully lived up to the hype:
It seems difficult to believe, but a mere twenty-five years ago virtually all the goat cheese sold in the United States was imported from Europe. And that’s where our story begins, with a few enterprising Americans – mostly women – who made small batches of goat cheese in their kitchens and began selling it to discerning restaurant owners and retailers. One of those enterprising Americans was Mary Keehn, and that’s where the story of Cypress Grove begins. Humboldt Fog is an elegant, soft, surface ripened cheese. The texture is creamy and luscious with a subtle tangy flavor. Each handcrafted wheel features a ribbon of edible vegetable ash along its center and a coating of ash under its exterior to give it a distinctive, cake-like appearance. An American Original!
And as if this isn’t enough, from a little digging around it appears that the price (Ft 9,999 a kilo) are either in line or lower than back in the US. So go buy a wheel or a slice and then just try to scoff at us as a bunch of Cheez Whiz-eating bumpkins. Unfortunately, given the rapid recent rise of the dollar against the forint, Cheez Whiz may be the only cheesy American treat any of us may be able to afford…
UPDATE: A reader helpfully points out that we had mistakenly spelled Cheez Whiz as “Cheese Whiz.” You can only imagine our shame.