TCS: Peppermint Goat Cheese

Forgive me, it has been a while. The Year 2016, in addition to rapturing away all of our  favorite artists in exchange for a plague of frogs that most surely is a harbinger of the
impending nuclear apocalypse, was utterly devoid of new and exciting snacks. Well, either that or none of the new and exciting snacks have been able to penetrate my coastal elitist bubble.

I mean, some snacks snuck through. I have a blank blog post, drafted from the frontlines of the War on Christmas: “PETITION TO MAKE LIMITED-EDITION CHEETOS SWEETOS PERMANENT DURING THESE DIFFICULT GEOPOLITICAL TIMES” but I could never get past the title. My heart wasn’t in it. The whole world was such a bummer, and if I can’t find anything fun or clever to say about a snack that is essentially Cinnamon Toast Crunch-Funyun hybrid, which I realize sounds awful but hear me out it’s actually the most delicious thing I have ever tasted…

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…maybe I shouldn’t be blogging at all.

The magic, the inspiration, the curiosity, they were gone.

Nothing mattered.

Until yesterday, when I discovered motherfucking PEPPERMINT GOAT CHEESE.

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Holy fucking shit. What the fuck even is this? Ahh this is so horrible.

I have to try it.

Peppermint flavored goat cheese has given me life and The Curious Shopper is back in business.

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And then my heart abruptly sank when I picked up this ridiculous pink cheese and noticed that it was speckled with white spots.

“Oh no. The peppermint-flavored goat cheese has gone moldy. I am too late. My blog is truly doomed, and 2017 is already shaping up to be worse than last.”

“Cheer up, Chuck!”

To my astonishment Peppermint Patty appeared, right there in the middle of the Stop & Shop deli section. For some reason she insisted on calling me Chuck, I just went with it.

“Read the label more closely, Chuck. Those aren’t mold spots – they’re white chocolate chunks!”

“Good grief!”

It’s not clear to me which of the two – mold or white chocolate chunks – is more unsettling to find your goat cheese, but this is the world we live in now and we might as well get used to it.

Now, I can say quite honestly that this is the strangest thing I have ever purchased and tried for this blog, but on top of that there is an extra wrinkle of excitement/terror for me here because peppermint and I do not have a very good track record.

To illustrate, below are some representative peppermint- flavored things, ranked according to how I feel about them:

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Can you make sense of this? I can’t. Where was peppermint goat cheese going to fall on this bizarre spectrum? And oh god, goat cheese is so good with wine. Mint is so bad with wine. HOW IS THIS GOING TO TASTE WITH WINE? Gah, so many questions!

I was so overwhelmed with these thoughts swirling through my head that at the point of tasting I did something somewhat unprecedented for this blog: I asked my wife to take down some bullet point notes, just so I didn’t forget anything. I am looking her notes over now and honestly, they are much more thorough than I expected or asked for. There is no summary I can write that is better than this, so here it is, unedited:

  • what is the point of it
  • what would you put it on
  • is it a dessert? an appetizer?
  • google “can cats eat peppermint”
  • omg it’s sort of like peppermint stick ice cream
  • what kind of a fucking crazy person came up with this shit
  • Ez ate it!
  • it’s good with a cookie
  • it’s a dessert cheese
  • expected this to be horrible but it’s actually good
  • Ez wants more
  • it’s not even bad (with red wine). it’s not good.
  • what is this?!
  • it tastes like cheesecake
  • i can’t believe this is good
  • the mint is not evenly distributed
  • just hit a mint pocket

The only two things I feel the need to elaborate on are:

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1) Vehicle selection: we just got back from a trip so it is slim pickings in our pantry, and it took a while to figure out how the hell to even eat this stuff. The two things could find that seemed possibly appropriate for this tasting were pretzels and animal crackers. It was good with the animal crackers but not with the pretzels. In particular, the parts that were more heavily minted when combined with a very salty pretzel bite gave a very unpleasant, unnerving taste sensation.

2) The white chocolate bits were weird and completely unnecessary and the bites without them tasted better. I can accept that they are there, but I refuse to ever normalize them.

At this point, I was convinced that what I was eating was basically a ruse. A charlatan cheese. It was not peppermint flavored goat cheese. The flavor profile was more like that of a
peppermint flavored cream cheese or cheesecake, two things that I can accept, conceptually, as normal foods.

Thankfully I had a secret weapon to settle this question – my wife, who I’m sure you can tell by now has gone above and beyond in service of this blog post, absolutely HATES goat cheese. I think she hates goat cheese more than I hate York Peppermint Patties, if that is even possible. So what better person to test my hypothesis on than her? I was so convinced that I had been possibly cheated, and that this peppermint goat cheese tasted like peppermint but did not taste like goat cheese, that I somehow managed to get her to eat it.

She almost threw up. So goat-y, was how she described it. So, so goat-y. No matter how much we try to mask its funky, gamy musk with peppermint extract and red dye No. 5, at the end of the day goat cheese is still goat cheese. It’s an important lesson for all of us.

The final assessment, if you are keeping score is:

Flavor: Pretty good, like peppermint ice cream or cheesecake
Goat-y? Yes.
Good on a cookie? Yes.
Good on a pretzel? No.
Did Ez like it? Ez loved it.*
Does it do that weird flavor thing that toothpaste does with wine? No.
What about those white chocolate chunks? NOT MY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNKS.

Ok, that wasn’t so hard. This year, I will make it a goal to try to check in here at least once in each of the months we have remaining on this planet. So one down, here’s hoping there will be 11 more to go!

*Our Google search did reveal that cats love peppermint. However, an important disclaimer is that Ezra transformed from his former svelte self to a massive chunkster last year, and he is on strict vet’s orders not to eat any more cheese. I made an exception for this, the most exceptional of cheeses. With that in mind, it is entirely possible that his crazed excitement to eat this weird peppermint cheese was just excitement to be getting any cheese at all.

7 Comments

  1. Amy

    Your blog is my favorite thing on the internet, and I love a lot of the internet. This is the best thing to happen in 2017! Mint pockets and white chocolate mold – keep the hits coming, Giant Foods.

  2. Julie Brown

    Peppermint stick ice cream – so glad you kind of like it, because it is my favorite and my theory is that it is a December birthday kind of thing – pretty much only available in December unless you have found a small Santa Barbara ice cream company that makes it year-round. (I have!) But I don’t believe that this cheese could possibly be even close to the peppermint stick ice cream experience. Loved the blog post and I think you have satisfied my curiosity on this product! I especially liked the animal cracker as vehicle and would like to see that vehicle used in future bog posts for other dips/spreads. I’m not asking why you have animal crackers in your cupboard.

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