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It tastes so Gouda

Chesapeake library hosts cheese tasting event

CHESAPEAKE — Feta, Havarti and Gruyere. Oh my!

It was these and many more at the Chesapeake branch of the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library cheese tasting event.

From soft French Brie to crumbly Greek feta, tasters at the event sampled the gourmet delight and learned a little about how it is made and where it comes from.

Lori Shaffer, the adult services librarian, first had the cheese tasting at the Ironton branch during the summer “Around the World” program.

“Cheese is something that most people identify with,” Shaffer said. “But many people don’t take the time to try different cheeses.”

The reason being mainly because of the cost, she said, of gourmet and specialty cheeses.

The tasting was paired with a PowerPoint presentation about the proper methods of cutting cheese and how to pair cheese and wine.

Shaffer explained that, when in doubt, white wine pairs with many cheeses.

The most important rule in slicing cheese, Shaffer said, was making sure that everyone gets an equal share. Also, slices of cheese are to be cut lengthwise, while wheels of cheese should yield a wedge shape piece.

Among the cheese enthusiasts in the group, Rhett Miner joked that he was a turophile, something the group learned at the tasting.

A turophile is someone who fancies cheese or is a connoisseur of cheese.

“I love cheese,” Miner, of Chesapeake, said, especially of the semi-soft, Swiss Gruyere. “Blue cheese is still weird to me. It’s moldy. I know it’s not bad for me, but it’s still moldy.”

Kay Wilmoth, of Huntington, W.Va., was also in Miner’s camp in regards to the crumbly cheeses. Wilmoth said she preferred the soft and separable mozzarella with sun-dried tomato and basil Laughing Cow cheese.

“It was really different,” she said, pleasantly surprised. “I expected it to not be good.”

Another fun fact the group learned was that cheese comes from many different animals, not just cows and goats. It can come from sheep, buffalo, camel, reindeer, yak and even horses.

“I didn’t realize cheese came from horses,” Dawn Aiken said. Aiken said she most likely would not try horse cheese if given the opportunity, but rather preferred the chili-lime Gouda.

From Chesapeake, Aiken said she comes to many of the library’s programs because she likes to try new things.

Shaffer said she would continue with the tasting classes and hopes to branch off to different foods.

“(Chocolate) might be something we’ll do,” she said. “This won’t be the last class.”