I had a touch of apprehension about this one. I’m only relatively recently a fan of blue cheeses, despite their general deliciousness I had a hard time getting past the fact that, well, it’s mold. You know? But I’m on the wagon now, and despite a surprise revelation from a hardcore-will-eat-anything friend that he stays far, far away from all manners of blue cheese, I had to admit I was really excited at receiving this package of Gorgonzola & Camembert Cheeza as omiyage from my friends Aki and Phil.
Cheeza is and remains one of my favourite Japanese snack foods, and a blue cheese snack is still pretty rare in North America, let alone in Japan, so this seems like a pretty special treat all-in-all.
A quick visit to the Cheeza website reveals that this is 1 part gorgonzola to 4 parts camembert, meaning the flavour probably won’t be that intense… still, Cheeza is one of the most intensely flavoured Japanese snacks I’ve ever come across, so who knows, maybe this will surprise me?
Packaging: The same great resealable foil bag as other Cheezas, with large colour pictures of what to expect inside. Other than the title though, absolutely no English on the bag so I had to put my limited Japanese skills and google translate to use. ;) I can’t tell if that blue cheese looks appetizing or not, but it does certainly look like… blue cheese.
Scent & Taste: Opening the bag, I was surprised it didn’t smell like feet. Good blue cheese should smell like something has gone wrong, and while this still has the same knockout ‘nose’ as Cheeza usually delivers, the blue cheese smell is faint. Really getting my nose in there I started to detect it, but it’s pleasant. Those a-feared of blue cheese won’t be put off.
The taste however is… really inconsistent. My first cracker had basically no blue cheese taste at all, tasting like a good, strong camembert Cheeza. My second cracker though, wow! The taste comes out immediately, and it continued to build the more I had. It’s really sharp, a little pungent on the tongue, but mellowed by the camembert. The crackers themselves are very buttery too, lending a pleasant texture to the trademark crispness of the crackers.
Maybe ‘inconsistent’ is too harsh, more like it’s subtle and then amps up real-quick-like. What a great snack!
As for the all-important beer-test, taking a swig of Sapporo cleanses the palette, and then the first cracker has an almost invisible blue cheese taste again… and yet again, the blue cheese amps up on the second bite and it’s… it’s just great.
Verdict: What a snack! This is maybe the most flavourful one yet, and that’s really saying something!
The downside to all this is that it really does taste like blue cheese, which not everyone likes and maybe everyone isn’t ready for in their otsumami. But for me, this is a special, amazing treat that goes great with beer and brings me a new snacking experience that I just can’t wait to enjoy again.
I wonder how they’d go with Chu-hai? Or wine?