Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Malbec is a strong, fruity, dark, red grape that’s grown around the world. It’s one of the few blending grapes allowed for red Bordeaux. It’s grown in much of the world but truly thrives in the soils of Argentina. In turn, Argentina has gained a reputation as the country best known for its malbec wines.


Creme cheeses are perishable and should be examined with care at the store before they're bought. If they are wrapped in paper, the paper should be clean and fresh. If any of the paper is discolored and sticky or otherwise unattractive, the cheese is possibly not at its best.

Camembert and Brie

Camembert was developed around 1790 by Marie Harel of France. It is plentiful and cheap compared to other cheeses. The best Camembert is found in France, because it doesn’t have to endure travel. Napoleon allegedly named the cheese after the little town where he first tasted it, a tiny community in the department of Orne. The cheese is creamy, with a mildly soapy taste. It should be eaten within three days or it goes quickly past perfection. Connoisseurs consider brie the ultimate cheese, the queen of cheeses. Poets and writers have written paeans to this cheese. A perfect brie is golden beneath its crust and perfectly, meltingly creamy, with the scent of ripe pears. The best brie to buy is French and should be bought between October and April, the best months being between December and March. A brie with a heart of hard white curd in the center is to be avoided. If one buys a wheel of unopened brie and finds the hard curd, the cheese should be covered by a damp cloth and left to sit at room temperature for a day or two or however long the problem takes to correct.

Roquefort, Bleu de Bresse, Stilton

Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images

The origins of blue cheese are humble. Roquefort has been made for centuries. It originated in Causses in Aveyron in France on land that was too poor to support anything but sheep and was full of limestone caves. The sheep’s milk is inoculated with penicillium roquefortii, a mold collected from rye bread crumbs, and then put to rest in the limestone caves. The taste is incomparable, pungent and tangy. Bleu de Bresse is a rich, dark blue-veined cheese made from unskimmed cow’s milk. Pipo crem’ is a delicate blue that comes in cylinders about 4 inches in diameter. It's a very pale yellow, higher in cream content than most other blues. Stilton is English, and like brie, it’s been immortalized in poetry. The cheese is difficult to make, for the wheels must be turned and brushed every day. It was first eaten in the early 18th Century.

Other Cheeses

Other blue cheese includes blue Cheshire, gorgonzola, which is the third most popular blue cheese after Roquefort and Stilton, and Danish blue, invented in 1914 when the supply of blue cheese to Denmark from Italy was cut off because of World War I.