cheese cheese lifestyle

Camping with cheese

If i could only give one piece of advice in regard to camp­ing cheese, it would be this: avoid ched­dar. the worst is the cheap, gener­ic ched­dar, which turns to moist, crumbly shag car­pet­ing after about 18 hours. when i was camp­ing in wash­ing­ton this sum­mer, i brought a pound of fan­cy wis­con­sin three-year ched­dar because i thought it would be dry enough to with­stand three or four days of hik­ing. wrong! the cheese expe­ri­enced a major mal­func­tion some­time dur­ing the morn­ing of day 2, and i mis­er­ably choked and gagged on it for the next week. the best camp­ing cheeses are the parme­sans and dry goudas. why didn't i bring them? who knows? it maybe had some­thing to do with the fact that i was wicked­ly hun­gover when i was shop­ping. there are some with­in the back­pack­ing com­mu­ni­ty who believe that the cheese argu­ment has been moot since the cre­ation of indi­vid­u­al­ly wrapped mozzerel­la sticks. i would like to point out that (a) i can't find any doc­u­men­ta­tion prov­ing that those sticks are actu­al­ly cheese and not some par­tial­ly hydro­genat­ed fac­sim­i­lie, and (b) they have this nasty, flac­cid, rub­bery qual­i­ty that is un-food-like and frankly repul­sive. as far as the best camp­ing cheeses: argen­tine parme­san is cheap and not too crumbly like its sis­ter the reg­giano. old ams­ter­dam is clear­ly packed with the sweet sweet sodi­um that i crave on the trail. any of the asi­a­go fam­i­ly are rea­son­able; i'm 'bout em, even if they're not as tangy or tasty as the oth­ers. remem­ber, avoid ched­dar. avoid it!

2 replies on “Camping with cheese”

I think parme­san is the all-around best camp­ing cheese, and here I'm going to dis­agree with Doug and say that I think reg­giano is bet­ter for camp­ing because you get the thick­er rind, and we all know you can use the rind to make plain camp stew taste a lot bet­ter, par­tic­u­lar­ly if the bouil­lon cube pur­chased to fla­vor the stew gets lost and you are faced with the prospect of starchy food with no salt. Also, if a big storm leaves you strand­ed for days in a port-a-ledge on the side of an enor­mous moun­tain, you can stick a lit­tle piece of rind on a fork and hold a match or a lighter to it and make it all melty and yum­my for a treat. That hap­pens to me a lot when I go camping.

Let me start by say­ing that Reg­giano is a great cheese. There is no ques­tion of that. But here are three things that you need from a camp­ing cheese: open-end­ed preserv­abil­i­ty, salty taste, and struc­tur­al integri­ty. The Reg­gie will keep for­ev­er, and is plen­ty salty, so the first two are sat­is­fied. But it tends to crum­ble when being cut, espe­cial­ly after being packed in and jos­tled with oth­er food for 4–5 days. I will say this: It is pro­found­ly upset­ting to lose crumbs of cheese that you've car­ried for 75 miles. You only need to spend a few min­utes tweez­ing Reg­gie crumbs off the ground in the Russ­ian Wilder­ness before you say decide to bring a low­er qual­i­ty, but more struc­tural­ly sound cheese the next time.

Comments are closed.