Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ackawi Cheese + Peach Butter

My Dad once traveled to UK for work. He came back laden with loads of chocolates (where do you think I got my sweet tooth from?), an assortment of cheeses, nifty kitchen implements and some other knickknacks that I can't even remember. Maybe I should ask Mummy about them. He was gone for a long while and my younger sister fell sick during that period. I have a hazy memory of those days... I was probably 7-8 years of age. I wonder how my Mom handled it all by herself. But she's one of the coolest people I know; she made running a home PLUS managing two kids without any daycare/help PLUS working full-time look like a breeze.

I remember that I was so fascinated by the cheeses that Daddy got back with him. There was a huge block of cheese with a red rind. Mildly smelly with a creamy texture... maybe it was a Gouda? Or Edam, as this link tells me. Then there was probably a wedge or two of Cheddar. Any others? Wish I could remember! I am not a fan of stinky cheeses; I still have some reservations about Feta. I suppose it could have something to do with my Pitta aggravation issues. Cheese is one of the food items that can definitely trigger a Pitta imbalance since it is made by way of fermentation. As much as I would love to sample new varieties of cheese, I am held back by a couple of things. One, use of animal rennet and second, the level of sourness.

So, when I peered into the freezer at Jerusalem Bakery and saw so many kinds of cheese, most of them made using non-animal rennet, I was happy. But I still had to get past the sourness factor. I picked up a packet with 'SWEET CHEESE' written on it. I thought it would be similar to paneer and figured that I couldn't go wrong with it. The guy at the counter informed me that it was a sweet variety used to make desserts. He recommended that I get Queso Blanco instead. I wasn't convinced - why would I get Mexican cheese from a Middle-Eastern bakery? Finally, I picked a wedge of Ackawi cheese, all the while praying that it would taste good and my money wouldn't be wasted. Almost $6 for a packet, I wanted to be sure.

I need not have worried. Ackawi tastes mild and has a creamy texture. This morning, I toasted a slice of rye bread, slathered on some Peach Butter and added a few shavings of Ackawi Cheese. The sweet-spicy (not so spicy, actually) Peach Butter cut the creaminess of the cheese very well. This could be the beginning of a great cheese plate - add some crackers, toasted garlic bread, peach butter dip, little blocks of Ackawi.

This is my first time getting Peach Butter too. Many of these preserves and jams contain citric acid and vinegar, both of which can be Pitta aggravating. Not this one. Will write a review about it later.

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