As I previously mentioned, the fam traveled to West Side Market, where we purchased multigrain bread and I made an awesome smoked cheddar grilled cheese. However, I didn’t tell you the complete story. I didn’t tell you about our cheese purchase: Le Merlemont from The Cheese Shop. That is the featured ingredient in this sandwich, and a cheese that I had never tried previously. It was on sale and the cheesemonger suggested it so we went for it. Why not try a new cheese, right? That is what this blog is all about…
- Le Merlemont Cheese
- Baked Cinnamon/Nutmeg Zestar & Ginger Gold Ohio Apples
- Italian Bread
the cheese: le merlemont
A cross between a Brie, a Camembert and very similar to the original Reblochon (now unavailable in the United States), Merlemont is a soft, unpressed cheese with a thin bloomy rind washed with brine. Made by the Cooperative of Paturages Comtois, this small disc-shaped cheese is made of cow’s milk (55% fat content makes it creamy) and comes wrapped (very much like Brie in that sense). From the region of Franche-Comté, pair Le Merlemont with light, fruity red wines and serve at room temperature. (GourmetFoodStore.com)
This is all I knew about Le Merlemont prior to cooking this grilled cheese sandwich. After cooking, I am still not sure I know much more, especially if I liked it. I tried Le Merlemont prior to eating the sandwich. It is creamy and smooth but with a very distinct and somewhat strong flavor/odor. When taking pictures of the cheese, still packed in its wrapper, I was able to smell it when brought close to me. This could be good to some and bad to others. In a way, the flavor profile reminded me of blue cheese simply for its somewhat overpowering smell/taste that may turn some people off. Once I finished tasting Le Merlemont, I decided that although this cheese was a bit strong for my tastes, I liked it. Read on to see if my opinion changed once it was melted inside a grilled cheese.
“…pair Le Merlemont with light, fruity red wines and serve at room temperature.” (GourmetFoodStore.com)
After reading this part of the Le Merlemont description, I immediately thought of red apple as the main ingredient for this grilled cheese sandwich. The sous chef agreed and we were off to the market.
Now it was time to decide how to prepare the apples for inclusion in the sandwich. After looking through our spices for a minute, I decided we would slice them and then sprinkle both cinnamon and nutmeg on top. We baked them in the oven until they were tender.
While suggesting Le Merlemont, the cheesemonger also suggested we use a very plain and simple bread for any sandwich with said cheese. The family seems to like the Italian Bread from Whole Foods, so that is what we used.
Please do not let the grade distract you from this intriguing sandwich. Honestly, if I could, I wouldn’t give this sandwich a grade at all because I am simply unsure. However, I feel like I need to give it some sort of something. The cheese, Le Merlemont, is what has made me so unsure about this grilled cheese. I feel like it is an acquired taste and I am not sure if I have yet to acquire the taste required. After taking one bite, I was ready to put the sandwich down and walk away. That is how turned off I was by the taste/odor of the cheese. However, I soldiered on and once I started on the second half, I noticed more of a mix of cheese and apples. That allowed for a more nuanced and less overpowering flavor. That is when I began to like, maybe even more than like, this grilled cheese. The baked apples added a nice contrast, creating a great overall flavor. With that being said, I just can’t get away from the strong flavor of Le Merlemont. It is definitely different, but I am not sure if it is good or bad different. That is yet to be determinedl I invite you to try Le Merlemont and let me know your experiences with said cheese in the comments below.