A frigid day calls for a brutal eye-opener, preferably of the congealed-dairy variety. After getting lunch at Liam Flynn's, we grabbed a $6 to-go box of Amish Der Edel blue cheese from its fridge. A mere crack of the box emitted the odor of a foot that's been Saran-wrapped for a month—so naturally we had high expectations. And the stench did not deceive us.
Artisanal blue cheese is harder than the kind you'd typically buy at the supermarket to dress your salad or burger with, so there's no creaminess to make the flavor palatable to the weak of spirit. Still, it's somewhat velvety in texture, interrupted by the hard clumps of greenish-black mold. The flavor is super salty and tangy, a sweaty and slightly bloody fist to the face—but all in good fun! Really, there isn't an analogy that can accurately describe the taste of a strong blue cheese: It tastes like blue cheese.
We're breaking our own rule of eating cheese by itself (though still with a fork) because this demon demands a palate cleanser, and in this case, the toasts included in the to-go box work well enough. If the cheese is too much for you (for shame), try the rind. Unlike most cheeses with edible rinds, this rind is less flavorful than the core.
Nose pinched, we held up the crumbled lumps to examine the Penicillium roqueforti—that's the mold—wishing we had a microscope to magnify the fluffy fibers. Fascinating and strangely delicious as these peppery clusters are, we found ourselves asking, "Who thought it'd be good idea to eat this?" There are a couple of variations to the blue-cheese creation story, but essentially some drunk guy left his cheese out, forgot about it, and decided it would still be good to eat when he found it a while later. Of all the happy accidents alcohol and general forgetfulness have given the world, blue cheese is among the greatest, even if it requires bleach to rid the odor.