What goes great with hot weather? Hot cheeses! Well, perhaps not "hot" in terms of temperature since the idea of eating a huge vat of fondue in June would make anyone nauseated. "Hot" in terms of "spicy," "fiery," caliente--a cheese that will give me the kick in the pants I need to do three loads of laundry on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, a cheese that will make me sweat through my third outfit of the day, a cheese that my lazy ass self can find the local supermarket. Here are five options:
5. Alouette Sweet & Spicy Pepper Medley. The mildest "hot" cheese on this list, Alouette Sweet & Spicy Pepper Medley is the perfect cheese to tickle your tongue and add that extra oomph to a cracker. I also recommend spreading it on slice of green pepper or salted peaches for additional sweet-savory contrast.
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4. Helluva Good BOLD Chipotle Cheddar. Helluva Good has an entire new line of "bold" cheeses that promise "real flavor." (Am I to infer then, Helluva Good's other cheeses have fake flavor?) Anyway, the chipotle cheddar, which combines the sharp bite of a significantly aged cheese with notes of smoky pepper, is great for souping up those nachos or as snack pairing for an anejo tequila on the rocks.
3. Lucerne Hot Habanero Jack Cheese. The Lucerne manufacturing company may specialize in pedestrian food staples, but their habanero cheddar definitely pushes the flavor envelope. Hot enough to satisfy seasoned consumers of hot foods yet mild enough to be withstood by spice virgins, this product is the perfect compromise cheese to serve at mixed functions.
2. Cabot Hot Buffalo Wing Cheddar. Obviously, if you really want the taste of spicy buffalo sauce, you should eat some wings and not a block of cheese. But what if you can't decide between wings and pizza (a truly American dilemma)? Use this cheddar on a homemade pie and you have the best of both worlds and a dish that technically qualifies for Meatless Monday.
1. Yancey's Hot Wasabi Horseradish Cheddar. Virtually every in cheese in Yancey's "House of Heat" collection will (pleasantly) scald your taste buds; however, the wasabi horseradish cheddar has the additional virtue of also clearing your nasal passages. Because Yancey's is out of New York, its products are trickier to find in Tejas; check your local Randall's and Wholefoods.