Tag Archives: challerhocker

Willie Nelson and cheese

I don’t think of cheese and country music as an obvious link; one rarely hears a country song about dairy farming and/or cheesemaking even as “cowboys” are a staple. I do not have the breadth of knowledge with that genre that I do with punk, but I would bet – if we include references to Reagan Cheese – that there are more punk songs about cheese, than country ones. There are certainly more hip hop songs about “Cheddar”.

So, I didn’t expect my profession to overlap with the crowd too much at the Greek Theater last week when we went to go see Willie Nelson. Because of the people two rows in front of us taking up a lot of space, the two seats in front of us were not taken until the awesome opening band Shovels and Rope* had already started. What did the folks do first? Take out their Cheese Plus picnic of Challerhocker, Sofia,** and a blue and a brie that I could not identify from my angle. I almost started a cheese conversation with them but they had annoyed the people sitting next to us who we had already bonded with so I left it alone. Hey, it’s the first Saturday night I had off in months.

Later, it was time to go to the bathroom and who was in line with me? A dude in a Willow Maid hat! I asked him if he worked for Rumiano and he said no but that he had grown up with Rumianos. I would have gotten more information but it was my turn to pee and a urinal line can turn from surly to violent in a moment’s notice. ***

Let me add – for the sake of the truth — that the most common food I saw at the evening’s show was the nasty pump cheese nachos being sold to very stoned concert-goers.

All this leads me to ask, where are the country music cheese songs? Clearly, there is overlap and interest. I suppose twice a day milkings do not fit in with the outlaw genre, since there’s not a lot of time in a dairy farmer’s day to drink whisky, fight, or run from the law. But, there’s plenty of pathos in low commodity milk prices, mastitis, and, say, bad starter culture ruining a whole batch of cheese. C’mon Nashville, get with it.

Willie Nelson was just as awesome as expected, btw.

*Shovels and Rope = awesome:

**Could have been Lake’s Edge, but I don’t think Cheese Plus has that cheese. It definitely wasn’t Humboldt Fog unless the folks cut off the rinds.

*** Pretty sure there is a Bukowski poem about that…


It’s always fun when Janet Fletcher comes into the store. Janet is one of the few people who can write well about cheese without having been a cheese worker. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it’s not. There is a lot of misinformation and hype disguised as authoritative information and I think it’s a lot harder to sort out when you don’t handle, cut, wrap and taste a few thousand lbs. a week.

She does a weekly cheese column for the SF Chronicle so I always try to give her tastes of new cheeses for her to write about. 52 a year is no joke!

I sampled her a cheese called Challerhocker that I hadn’t even unwrapped yet and three weeks later here it is. It is truly an awesome cheese. The only thing Janet didn’t mention is that the name means something like “aged in the cellar” and has a label that looks like a child who’s been locked in the cellar for quite some time.

(I will get a better picture tomorrow)

Of course the funniest thing is that someone (Hi Laurie!) wrote a pro-Gordon comment in the comments section and someone else felt compelled to write a “whatever to Gordon, have you heard of Mark Todd, The Cheese Dude?” reply.

Long-time readers of my blog may remember Mark as the guy who tasted a cheese at an event and said, “THAT’S PIMP!” in response to its excellent flavor and mouthfeel. I love Mark Todd! He’s one of my favorite cheese people. You don’t have to choose between us!