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Cheese basket

Metropolitan Market has the perfect slice

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I love cheese the way some people love coffee. I need it, want it and think about it at least once an hour. When eating, I’m considering what type of cheese would make whatever I’m munching on better. I love trying different cheeses, as I am on the never-ending search for the perfect cheese. Metropolitan Market has a little thing in the cheese aisle that I adore. It’s a basket about a foot long by six inches wide that holds little bits of expensive cheeses. Much like carpet remnants that you can buy on the cheap at the Rug Barn, the cheese basket offers one the opportunity to try these luxurious cheeses a tiny bit at a time and without the commitment to eat an entire $60 softball-sized lump of frommage you may hate.

My only complaint is that in recent months the cheese fairy seems to have gotten a little stingy.

No more are there luscious triple creams, blues with rivers of sharp tanginess through them, Camemberts. Lately it seems all that’s available are hard cheeses along the lines of Parmesan, Romano; nothing that spreads easily on a cracker or that can be literally mopped up with a good hunk of Como Piccolo bread. I’ve been forced to try things I’d rather forget: a sharp, overly acidic Cana de Oveja ($3.15) that particularly disagreed with me. I’m guessing this three-inch piece of Saran wrapped Spanish goo had been passed over many times by others, and by the time I got to it the flavors had intensified to the nuclear level.

A recent positive rummaging through Met’s cheese basket yielded a sample of Marco Polo cheese ($1.44), which was new to me. This creamy bit won the 2007 Gold Medal at the World Cheese Awards. Green and black Madagascar peppercorns are blended with cheese — made to celebrate adventurer Marco Polo (credited with bringing pepper and other discoveries to Europe). Marco Polo cheese makes for an amazing grilled cheese sandwich.

Met has a good variety of wines that are still within a reasonable price range and can easily be paired with cheeses, fruits, fresh produce, seafood and meats as well as an impressive cracker/bread isle.

[Metropolitan Market, 2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.761.3663]

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