I, for one, will be reaching in amid the dry ice for a wedge of Grayson, an oozy washed-rind cheese with a surface that is crossing-guard orange. This is a pungent, dearly gooey cheese that comes from Virgina (kind of a scary place). Think of an Italian Taleggio, then add a muscle shirt.
Grayson is produced by Meadow Creek Dairy, a family farm that practices seasonal grazing – the color of the cheese is actually from the high levels of bete ceratene in the milk. This year, Grayson won 2nd place for Washed Rinds in the American Cheese Society Awards. It has also garnered media kisses from Marty Stewart.
For stinky-cheese novices, here are some suggestions: serve this oozy wedge alongside honey and dried fruit, and know that once this cheese sits out a bit the dirty-sock odor will subside. The smell is most concentrated when you first unwrap it.
The folks at Meadow Creek recommend serving this raw milk cheese with a full-bodied white, a light red, or a dessert wine. Personally, I like the idea of a strapping Belgian ale -- something to match the complex beefiness -- and a dish of salted almonds.
I plan to serve it toasted, on baguette rounds, come Halloween. This year I might just serve all the little neighborhood ghouls a hot cheese appetizer instead of candy. Why the hell not?