Oh god! Get it off!

I inadvertently bought some Farmhouse Tilsit cheese (the wrapper simply said “Tilsit Cheese”) from the Central Fresh Market on Monday. There was a section of wrapper still attached to it, and it had a pattern of words all across it — “Havarti”. So, no warning bells went off at the time. It was a big brick, and the expiry date wasn’t for at least three weeks.
Tilsit cheese, if you’re not familiar, is supposed to have originated in Tilsit, which is now part of Russia and Poland. Dutch immigrants accidentally created it while attempting to make Gouda. According to epicurious.com, commercially produced Tilsit is made from pasteurized milk, ranges from 30 to 50 percent milk fat and has a pale yellow interior surrounded by a dark yellow rind. Its flavour is mild but becomes more pungent with age. The key word here is “pungent.” And, notice it doesn’t mention “smell”, just flavour. I mean, a strong, old cheddar won’t necessarily smell “pungent,” but sure tastes strong.
Now, it’s no secret that I like cheese, especially stinky and difficult-to-eat cheeses. Port Salut, Oka, English Stilton, Roquefort, Danish Blue, Cambozola cheeses — I’m friends with all of them. So a slightly pungent Havarti clone should be no problem. I even sniffed the block when we picked it up at the Central Fresh Market. All I can say is that that is excellent plastic wrap. It shielded the stench nicely.
Apparently, the cheese was more ripe than I could have possibly envisioned. Either they mislabeled a batch of Farmhouse Tilsit, or that cheese was on its way out the door. Saying it smelled like feet, or vomit is being courteous. I couldn’t get the stuff past my nose. Mix in a green banana, and you have the stench of durian (which I had the misfortune of trying a few years ago).
I played a prank on R, telling her to try the cheese out, thinking she would have the same reaction. Unfortunately (or perhaps quite fortunately, for her), she grew up in a German/Hungarian household, where eating Limburger was not uncommon. She sliced of a section of cheese, placed it on a slice of baguette, and munched away happily. Ok, maybe not “happily,” but she wasn’t bothered by it. Years of eating potentially deadly cheeses had hardened her tastebuds.
So, I got called a pussy, and R ate a second piece without any big issues. We’ll be throwing the rest away tomorrow, since now I can’t tell whether my shoes need deodorant insoles or not.

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