Wine-and-Cheesing: Want Some Wine in that Cheese?

October is National Cheese Month, but don’t get too excited. There’s still no designated national holidays and if you’re working from home, a day off means you’re waiting in voting lines or hiding from your kids in the laundry room to eat their Halloween candy while they don’t learn how to read because you suck at distance learning.

We do need to honor cheese in some way. Forget cheese plates: here’s some Kraft slices on a paper plate. Taking the plastic off makes them fancy. Charcuterie tray. Seriously? I took the plastic off the cheese, what does the universe want from me? Also, who really wants a plate of tiny bits of cheese and meats and crackers arranged by someone else with potentially Covid-covered hands? That would be like having a snotty-nosed toddler make my lunch.

When I was a kid, the trendy version of today’s book clubs (i.e. Tupperware parties) was a table full of mysterious foods including pink cheese that looked like a drunk unicorn created it. I snuck a bite one time and it tasted like a cheesy, circus peanut. My mom made me spit it out in her hand before showcasing the way Tupperware burped; I didn’t fight her. To honor the month in a new way, I take inspiration from those vintage wine cheeses. What happens when you get a cheese drunk? I imagine the talking Cheez-It wheel of cheese rolling until it lands all Long Duk Dong on my front yard. Note: the links below are to gaze upon their cheesy glory, there’s no affiliate money to be made unless you buy a Tupperware pitcher and matching glasses too and then my mom gets $.30 forever.

First up, take a trip to the Big Island of Cheese (Wisconsin, not Hawaii) with Kaukauna’s “new white cheddar cheese balls infused with Rose Wine.” I’m waiting to see when Rose Wine takes on Rose Nyland in a cheese v. cheesecake battle. In this case, white cheddar plus wine plus traditional cheese ball almonds make it look like a bleeding cheeseball, even though the packaging label shows a white cheese wedge.

A month of drunk October cheeses wouldn’t be complete without some Oktoberfest beer cheese. I did an Amazon search and found: New Bridge Spicy Beer Cheese. If you’re going to name a beer cheese (even with all the beer boiled off in the cheese-making), maybe it shouldn’t have a name that invites slurring. I ironically don’t drink and tried saying it stone-cold sober at 10:00 AM, ending up with Brew Nidge Bicy Seer Cheese. I also like cheeses that haven’t been captured by a Big Lots food company. Give me Kraft. Give me Sargento. Give me Liberty. That last one’s not a cheese company, just my wish for November.

For a more low-brow cheese when your inhibitions are low and the Tupperware-is-popping,  behold pub-themed drunk cheese: Pub Cheese Spread White Cheddar. This is obviously a cheese named for SEO purposes. No one is going to call it that even in an actual pub. This is “that cheese where no one knows my name, but this sure tastes good on crackers and if you bring me that stupid tiny knife with a pumpkin on the end that we got for our wedding Tina, I’m going to scream.”

Apparently, it’s hard to make alcoholic cheese without them being spreadable. There’s a really dirty punchline in there but I’m not going to go there. The word “cheesemonger” sounds dirty too. Maybe that’s just a Whole Foods way of sounding fancy? Nope, still sounds dirty. If you’re the kind of foodie that wants a cheese in every port, the Merkts Port Wine Natural Cheese Cheese Spread, 14 oz is the cheese for you. Available at Walmart in the refrigerated Port of Merkts, no one is buying this is a “natural” cheese. Not even the tipsy Wisconsin Guernseys weaving around the milking barn.

I’ve saved the “best” drunk cheese for last: Red-Wine Infused Cheese 1.1 pounds, $29.95. This is some high brow stuff. Not spreadable. Not sold at Walmart. It’s in my directed ads forever because I searched for it. For $30, you get a half wheel of purple cheese with “red wine blended into the milk before aging.” I think that is called “wine milk before bed” in most circles. Each one of these drunken cheeses has some stellar ad copy but this line stood out to me.

“This delightful purple cheese is the invention of the Alvarez Valera family in La Mancha.”

I’m now declaring October, “The month when the Alvarez Valera family in La Mancha adopts an American and lets her make drunk cheese instead of agonizing over the election.” The title needs some work. For now, I’m going to stick with “Cheese Month” but, if you kill my drunken cheeses, prepare to die.

Amy Barnes has words at a variety of sites including McSweeney’s, Robot Butt, Weekly Humorist, College Humor and Botnik Studios. She reads submissions as a member of the Taco Bell Quarterly Day Crew. You can find her on Twitter at @amygcb and hiding from her teenagers in the laundry room. 

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