I’m starting to wonder whether travel will ultimately become, for me, a quest for cheese.
Sure, I’m looking for scenery, wine, good food, tequila, excitement, photo ops and the like. But after I get home I always seem to start wondering where I can find me some of that cheese, whatever cheese it was.
For years I’ve been making a cheese stop at the Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, Vt., whenever a trip takes me up I-91 into those parts. Right near the checkout counter there’s a little display of "today’s hand cut Cabot cheese," the world’s best cheddar.
But cheddar is just one cheese.
In Russia, my niece and I bought several blocks of a solid goat cheese that we would slice up and eat with pieces of tart apples. I don’t much like ordinary, soft goat cheese. Too goaty. But this stuff was different — sharp but not too pungent.
After our return I scoured supermarket cheese counters for something, anything, like that delicious Russian cheese. Nothing.
One day I was shopping in Trader Joe’s in West Hartford when my eye alighted on a Dutch goat gouda that had the same color and texture as that Russian cheese. I took it home and – eureka! – it was the right cheese. Not 100 percent exactly, but very much and quite satisfactorily the right cheese.
Then, in Galicia, in northern Spain, I encountered a cheese that is called tetilla because it’s sold in the shape of a … Hershey’s kiss. It’s a soft, mild slightly salty cheese with a nice tang. I was smitten. (The famous sheep’s-milk manchego cheese didn’t thrill me nearly as much.)
But where to find tetilla cheese in the United States? The closest I’ve come so far is a nice fontina, again from Trader Joe’s. It’s almost right.
I guess I’ll have to keep looking.