As you pass those poor excommunicated souls in ante-purgatory at the gate, you may be quite famished. Just remember that during your stay at Mount Purgatory, you are not forsaken — simply set aside. Before you may bask in the glory of God’s grace, this harrowing multi-terraced mountain may be your last chance to binge before you purge. So while you’re here, try the cheese.
Blue Ledge Farm — Salisbury, VT
What? Where am I? What is this place? Oh, God, what is this cheese? Lush, cakey, with a citrus zip and a fruity sweetness reminiscent of blackberries, its ash-veined paste will lift you to the gates of heaven. You’re in Purgatorio, but this is one last sin you can’t miss out on.
Nettle Meadow Farm — Warrensburg, NY
Pasteurized/Cow & Goat
Jim Carrey once said, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…of finally feeling God’s love.” Well, with 25% cow and 75% goat’s milk, there’s no chance you won’t love Kunik. This cheese, like this prison, isn’t a destination, but a state of being. Enjoy its tangy robustness over crackers or dried fruits (God loves figs, too).
Cowgirl Creamery — Point Reyes Station, CA
Is the pain I feel the eternal flames of hell? No, but it’s close. Is this cheese a triple cream? Fuck yeah it is. Didn’t think Jesus was your lord and savior? Then worship this other little golden hunk of organic, buttery goodness instead (don’t actually, though).
Bayley Hazen Blue
Jasper Hill Farm — Greensboro, VT
Named for a revolutionary war road commissioned by George Washington (whom you can visit on the pride terrace and also ’cause the slaves, if you’re wondering), this stilton-style cheese smells of tobacco and tastes of roasted nuts and dark chocolate (again, just like G-dub).
L’Amuse Brabander Goat Gouda
L’Amuse — Brabant, Holland
Looking for a snack that says “I’m sorry for masturbating”? Then lust over this young Saanen goat’s milk from the Brabant region of southern Holland. Tangy and creamy with a touch of sweetness, it melts in your sexy little mouth. This wax-wrapped treat hits all the right caramel and brown butter spots. So good-a!
Alemar Cheese Co. — Mankato, MN
This fudgy, funky, dense washed rind is given baths of oatmeal brown ale and may cleanse more than just your gluttonous soul. Purge yourself on up to God’s sweet embrace on a gaseous cloud of good thunder (that ain’t Mount Purgatory trembling).
Caña de Cabra
Mitica — Murcia, Spain
A Spanish take on a French recipe, this cheese is in some sort of weird limbo. Delicate, citrusy, with a slight saltiness in its taste; this cheese ages over 21 days and ripens from the outside in (similar to the burning sensation enveloping your body), so try eating the rind to bring out the most in its flavors.
Vermont Creamery — Websterville, VT
You’d have to be clinically insane not to love the cheese known as the “little brain” — and if you are, welcome to purgatory! Light, bright, and blessed with an unctuous goaty flavor, this cheese has versatility for any broad classification or treatment option.
Cypress Grove — Arcata, CA
Feeling a little confused about your debt to God? Don’t be confused by the dark blue vein that bisects this wheel — that’s a thin layer of vegetable ash that cuts the tanginess of the goat’s milk and lends a slightly earthy and subtly smoky flavor to this not-quite-heavenly funk. Shouting “Oh my God” can’t be another sin with this cheese.
Epoisses — AOC
Berthaut — Burgundy, France
With origins dating back to the 16th century and having such fans as Napoleon and the epicure Brillat Savarin (prodigal and avaricious, respectively), this rich custardy paste sleeps beneath its famously pungent ochre rind. Be more generous than they were with this appellation d’origine contrôlée (controlled designation of origin) delicacy.
Caseificio Sias — Sardinia, Italy
Want a cheese that makes skipping church that Sunday nine years ago so worth it? (That is, until you understand the feeling of God’s absence.) This Bronze Age cheese (before God — shh!) is smoked on top of fireplaces in huts over burning cork tree bark and has an addictingly dry and savory flavor. Be sure to share with the un-baptized plague infants (yes, they’re here too).
Now, Dante, you may pass above to the kingdom of heaven. Just promise that you’ll write about all of the dank-ass cheeses you tried down here.