I’d like to start this entry with a denouncement of Black Diamond cheese. Particularly the Old flavour. For all I know, the Extra Old has sharpness and bite to it, but their old cheese is milquetoast. There’s no oomph, grunt or punch. It’s an embarrassment to the highly commendable nomenclature of “cheese”. Like others in its ilk (anything by Kraft or its subsidiary Cracker Barrel), it has the shape, colour (artificial) and density of the general category of cheese but severely lack’s the category’s culture. The only way I’ve been able to garner any form of taste from it is by slathering it in marmite. In doing so, however, I’ve just created a fatty marmite receptacle with little deviance from marmite’s gloriously yeasty taste. At the mention of marmite, I’m sure half of you have been given reason to doubt my tastebuds. Obviously if this bloke eats marmite, anything less potent would be tasteless. Wrong again, dear sceptics, I know what it is for food to have subtlety, but subtlety is no excuse for an absence of flavour. I can but deduce that instead of purchasing cheese, I’ve found myself saddled with some dairy based shapeshifter. Is it going to stalk me while I sleep? To suffocate each one of my skin pores with its melty body? Or by eating it am I incrementally feeding an inner parasite, destined to turn my heart into some blackened cancerous structure? A black diamond perhaps?
I hurl my mind back home, back to the cheese I grew up with. The cheese was delicious and tasty. Literally. The name of our standard aged cheddar was “Tasty” and it was sharp as a knife would taste if it were cheese and not a blade. The next step up in bite was “Vintage”. Crumbly as fuck but oh so splendid. Melting some of that atop a hearty rye bread slathered in marmite was a divine snack. Comparing my new Canadian (well not that new any more. It’s been about 31 months) life to treasured memories is rarely gonna come up Drumpf for Canada. I’m aware that I do it more than I’d like and it’s not fair. New Zealand cheese shits on this shite my mind says, when in reality I’m stumbling over shitty mainstream brands here and of course Canada’s lagging. Yes, the more common mainsteam brands in New Zealand do seem to have a higher quality, but Canada also has a vast dairy industry that produces its own outstanding cheddar.
This came to a fore for me the other day when I hung out with a Kiwi friend who’d just returned from a down under holiday. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been grumbling about the price of fresh food. Apples are expensive, tomatoes are expensive, meat is expensive. Hell no she said, food in New Zealand is expensive as. Produce costs a ton and going out for a meal is ridiculous. She said brunch as a couple cost upwards of $50. Drinks in bars were a little more reasonable, but alcohol in stores was not. The quality of the food was good, but you were paying through the roof for it. It shook some of my held notions a little. Manufactured goods and electronics I understood to be more affordable here. Produce though? Especially stuff grown domestically? Apples? Maybe it’s time for me to revisit some of those core beliefs.
Get it? Because apples have a core too?
Must be the cheese talking.