Sadly, my California adventure is coming to an end, which means that my days with Culture are now over.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my interning experience with Culture, drinking numerous cups of mate and listening to reggae music whilst working with Will in the cafe "Delta of Venus" in Davis. We have shared more than cheese stories (Will is a great fan of fluffy ducklings and yo-yoing dogs, for anyone that is interested!) and I have learnt a great deal about cheese, writing, publishing, journalism, social media and general magazine employment life.
I can confidently say that I have become much more interested in cheese since my internship began, and, as written in a previous post, I have found my pockets a little lighter as my fridge has simultaneously been filling up with fine cheeses!
After the Ramp leaves wilt and stalks get ‘woody’, I look for another green vegetable to thrive on, to enjoy at its prime for the brief yet fulfilling amount of time. I turn my attention to another spring perennial: Asparagus.
After years of eating less that satisfactory asparagus from the supermarket (most likely from another country) I was turned on to a source of asparagus that I hadn’t heard about, even though it was literally an hour away from where I had grown up. Hadley, Massachusetts was and still is famed for its coarse and sandy silt loam soil that asparagus thrives in. ‘Hadley silt loam’ is among the highest grades of soil for that reason. ‘Hadley Grass’ is the talk of the town and even the state around the months of May and June.
Asparagus, naturally, contributes to health with detox properties, aids against arthritis and osteoporosis, lowers heart disease risk, and has age reducing agents.
Just stumbled across this nice little primer on the science of curds via BoingBoing (yeah, I read it).
I just got back from a month in Australia. What do I miss most, besides my best mates and Aussie humor? The nature and the smells. They're often linked, actually. Walking around the Barossa Valley (South Australia), strong wafts of peppermint (eucalyptus trees) backed with black pepper and lemon (also from the trees and native scrub) swirl around me. Then there's the ubiquitous rosemary and sweet lavender that grow so well that some use them for hedgerows. The air often has a dusty, clay-like scent, possibly from that iron-rich, sunbaked red soil mixed with a deep, meaty undertones that I want to believe is Vegemite...but I really have no idea where it comes from.
Although I’ve spent heaps of time in Australia over the years, I’ve never really spent any of it in the Yarra Valley. Due east (and slightly north) of Melbourne, this wine region is only an hour’s drive from the big city through horse and pony-laden pastures and undulating hills with a backdrop of the Dandenong ranges. Affluent but unpretentious, the wineries are not only welcoming but still free for tastings…and the wines made my big, fruit and alcohol-laden Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz palate SO HAPPY! Lean, expressive Chardonnays and Pinot noirs layered with dry spices pair so well with cheeses of all kinds. I swilled my way all over that valley and made sure that the local economy was in an upturn. Next blog will detail the wineries specifically and the wine/cheese pairings we found.
05 May 2011
Ha! Victory has been had in the war on finding the Middle-Eastern products I adore... I have found my Labneh, right here in Sonoma even, at Sonoma Market (http://www.sonoma-glenellenmkt.com.) Much to my surprise, I found it at a most abundant location, as opposed to the less-than-luxurious environments I had imagined trekking to Oakland or Berkley to a Middle Eastern specialty market and being pushed around by the regular customers as I have in the past. Those living in L.A. can relate if you’ve ever shopped at the fabulous Elat Market (http://www.yelp.com/biz/elat-market-los-angeles) on Pico Blvd. (Best Bulgarian Feta, btw.) But today in Sonoma is about both victory and convenience. Right on! So, what came next? Lunch.
Hola from Spain! I landed this morning in Barcelona and was then taxied to the town of Vic, an hour northwest of Barcelona for Lactium 2011—a gathering of Spanish cheesemakers and street cheese fare. As one of the fortunate invitees of this event, I get be to part of the “Super Jury,” a group of 34 international judges who will name The Best Catalan Cheese on Saturday. The festival begins tomorrow, May 6, when market stalls on the wide boulevard, Rambla del Carme fill up with cheesemakers and the contest ensues. Eyewitness reports on that to come. . .
When spring starts, I always get a sense of relief and surprise that it really is happening again. Now it’s May, that initial disbelief is replaced by complete amazement at how much life, growth, wild energy suffuses everything I can see.
Every hedgerow has gone crazy, sending out the cow parsley that grows visibly day to day, suddenly the lanes are too narrow for cars to go down without the delicate flowers stroking the sides. The thorn hedge that I laid, worried it would kill the blackthorn and hawthorn, is flowering for England on its side. Pairs of birds fly flirtatiously together, absorbed in each other, oblivious of predators for the only time in the year. The dazzling succession of greens in the woodland deepens and starts becoming one great motor of growth as all the leaves have unfurled from their delicate winter protection and open themselves, like photovoltaic cells, to harvest the sun’s energy.