Humbolt Fog: Joyce Carol Oates
This is a classic from Murray’s Cheese – its ashy middle and layered texture make it the perfect cheese counterpart to Joyce Carol Oates. Its mysterious, yet tantalizing flavor has wooed the hearts of many, making it a staple at cheese tastings. In the gourmet cheese canon, It's like the inevitable English class discussion of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been." It's hard not to love stories like “Heat,” that are layered, revealing only bits of the narrative at a time, making it a close cousin to the taste of Humbolt Fog.
La Tur: F. Scott Fitzgerald
This triple-crème cheese is decadent and worthy of any decadent West Egg socialite bash. La Tur is made of goat, cow, and sheep milk, and a go-to for those with well-rounded, luxurious tastes. Not to mention its cake-like rind and gooey, soft interior. It’s the perfect cheese to impress a woman like Zelda Fitzgerald and whisk her off to a night of drinking and dancing on table-tops.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar: Ernest Hemingway
This traditional, natural-rind cheddar is a very straight forward cheese – it wins you over right away. No bull. Its taste is clear and concise, salty and sweet, yet there is a great deal below the surface. Perfect for the writer known for his subtly. It takes a true cheese expert to identify the caramelized, sweet fruit and toasted nut flavors inside this cheese’s milky goodness. Once you taste it, it’s a little like the first time you realized what Hemingway was really talking about in Hills like White Elephants. The Cabot Clothbound is also the perfect party cheese to compete with La Tur – hear that Fitzgerald?
Taleggio: Tom Robbins
An approachable washed rind, taleggio is funky yet somewhat familiar. Its raunchy taste can put off some people, but it’s unmistakably delicious (think Still Life with Woodpecker). The cheese is a little meaty, nutty, fruity, and earthy – with thick, playful, and almost pudding-like texture. Once you love it, there is no going back to simple cheeses – only the crazy mixed-up world of taleggio will do.
El Trigal Manchego: Junot Diaz
This is not your average Manchego. Like Diaz’s stories, this cheese is strict on structure and famous for its excellence and wide appeal. The cheese is made from fresh, 100% sheep’s milk from the rocky, central plateau of La Mancha, and aged to a rich, nutty, and gamey flavor. This cheese has great pride in its cultural roots (more Spain than the Dominican Republic), and shows this through its patterned, wax rind – a nod to the grass baskets previously used to form the classic Manchego.
Bayley Hazen Blue: Virginia Woolf
It would be too simple to say this is any ordinary cheese with the blues – it’s dense with flavor, care and feeling. The Bayley Hazen has a balanced mix of flavors that range from buttered toast, to chocolate and hazelnuts, and even the dark bitterness of liquorice. This Stilton-like blue is a mix of narratives – the Mrs. Dalloway of cheeses, if you will. It’s a delicious modern classic. Its taste, and the moment you first fell in love with it, will permeate in your memory for years. Don’t let this one get away.
L'amuse 2 Year Aged Gouda: Toni Morrison
This gorgeous, aged Gouda is true cheese candy. It has rich notes of hazelnut and caramel, and a deep, complex finish. A great cheese for a writer known for her intricate themes, vivid dialogue and skill for detail. Considering Morrison’s long and fruitful writing career, this refined, gracefully aged cheese is the perfect counterpart – full of well distributed protein crystals, for a captivating texture, and a rich, detailed flavor.
Hudson Flower: Amelia Gray
A young sheep’s milk cheese for a great, new writer. The decadent, young cheese is rolled in flowers, lemon thyme, rosemary and elderberries – a dreamlike combination. This is a great pairing with the mysterious and surreal qualities of Gray’s first novel,Threats. There are so many gorgeous flavors in this cheese – it will have you questioning everything – its gorgeous rind and dangerous name. Hudson flower? There are no flowers on the Hudson River -- what flowers? Where did these come from? But there is no need to worry, the berries used to flavor this cheese are no threat to your well-being. Go ahead, try it.
Cheese Curds: Emma Straub
Playful, down to Earth and incredibly addictive – these are characters that come to mind when I think of both Straub’s gorgeous prose, but are also arguable characteristics of another addictive classic – cheese curds. Straub may be a Brooklyn native, but she has a ton of ties to Wisconsin – the state known for its curds. Wisconsin is where she went to graduate school. It’s also the state both of her parents grew up -- where they met and eventually married each other. Plus, these curds pair excellently with a cold Brooklyn Lager. The best of both worlds.
Up In Smoke: Kevin Wilson
After reading “Blowing Up On the Spot” from Wilson’s first story collection, it’s hard not to associate him with a deliciously smoky cheese like this chevre wrapped in maple leaves. Not only has this cheese been smoked over alder and maple wood – its leaves are lightly misted with bourbon, giving it a taste reminiscent of barbecue. This cheese has a woodsy, small town feel to it and will make you want to gather around the campfire and leave your job at the Scrabble factory.