I have a decades-long history of over-indulging on Bleu Cheese. The stronger the better in my opinion. Though I finally found one that got the better of me.
Last November, I bought a $1 chunk of Bleu Cheese from France from my favorite store, a place I like to call “The Hob” because it reminds me of the market in “The Hunger Games.” I won’t mention the actual name of the food discounter because the owner, who is a lovely man, might take offense (but shoot me an email and I’ll spill the beans). Casting about for bargains in his shop, I’ve picked up the best, and the worst, gourmet offerings to be had. But as Greasy Sae might say, there’s a price to be paid for everything.
I love a deal and deals they have. An entire box of Japanese pear-apples, $2. $25-$35 wine with stained labels… three bottles for ten bucks! Organic Girl salads with all the fixings are only a quarter. Tapenade for $1. I discovered the marvels of Bacon-aise there (yeah, Bacon-Mayo!). And Veganaise, another favorite, is rarely over $2. Four-dollar boxes of Kashi cereal are $1.59.
Doesn’t sound very Hob-ish, does it? In fact, it seems an awful lot like what you’d find at an upscale, organic market. It is, but there’s a catch.
This food discounter buys his stock at auction. So the offerings are a culinary version of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The owner shops auctions. It’s like “Storage Wars” with dry goods, dairy and produce. Almost everything in the store in on the cusp of its expiration date. For every ten amazing items I buy, I usually end up with a dud. Sometimes two. A box that I didn’t realize was opened. A jar with a lid that didn’t quite feel right when loosened.
Then I met the $1 Bleu Cheese. Pungent and powerful, every delicious bite seemed to permeate my sinuses with its glorious odor. This cheese was so strong it would make a Frenchman weep. I almost did. Every bite built on the one before until finally, it was like every pore in my body was oozing Blue Cheese. But something else happened, too.
A sip of wonderful red wine soured in my mouth. I spit it out. The Blue Cheese taste didn’t leave. Not even after I brushed my teeth. Not after a cup of coffee the next morning. For days, it lingered, but worse, I lost my taste for wine. Even today, wine is somehow… off. It’s like that Bleu Cheese indulgence blew out my taste buds and left me wondering, have my Hob-shopping habits cost me too much in the end?