Strange foods, pungent foods, spicy foods, and even disturbingly stinky foods have a mysterious appeal. Is it nostalgia? Is it the dare factor? Is it “seasoned” taste buds on a quest for the next thrill? The answer could lie in that hazy moment suspended between repugnance and pleasure when a palate wonders: “Is this good or bad?” Taste it again and again to decide – until the sheer ambiguity becomes delightful.
Eating horseradish is one such experience; it is a love-it-or-hate-it foodstuff that is ingrained in Jewish culture. It has a place on the seder plate as the bitter herb maror; it is an accompaniment to gefilte fish; and it now shows up in kosher cheese!
When I worked at Pomegranate (kosher specialty supermarket) in Brooklyn, I got to experience horseradish grating first hand. “No, you can’t go in the kitchen!” a co-worker warned. “Nobody is allowed in the kitchen for three hours.” I peaked in the door window and a big burly Israeli cook – tough enough to have served in the IDF – was no match for the pungent smell and burning sting of horseradish. He was wearing a gas mask, leaning over an industrial mixer, scraping the precious horseradish into the bowl.
The Good Life Cheese’s Horseradish Cheddar doesn’t require a gas mask, but it is decidedly hot—hotter than I perceive jarred horseradish, which usually strikes me as mildly hot and pungent. The Good Life Cheese starts off with a mellow base cheese flavor and a hint of pungency. Next comes an intense tingling and spice-driven heat that borders on a capsaicin experience. At the very end, the sharpness of the Cheddar comes out.
This cheese is excellent alone with crackers, on a tomato sandwich, or melted on whole grain bread for cheese toast. Perhaps kosher horseradish cheese pique interest in a milchig Pesach seder. Who wouldn’t enjoy a Hillel matzoh cheese sandwich with trimmings of Romaine lettuce? Warning: Keep hands away from eyes after eating this cheese. I learned from a mishap that Horseradish Cheddar can cause bitter tears!
The Good Life Cheese’s Horseradish Cheddar is one of a large selection of kosher cheese varieties. Foodworks Cheese is out of Monsey, NY. It is certified by Rabbi Dovid Katz of Avenue L in Brooklyn, NY, and it is Kosher for Passover year round.