Between my appetite and my occupation, I often have a lot of cheeses in my refrigerator. So much so, that I can lose track of them. A piece of cheese can easily go astray in those 28-cubic feet, slipping past the cartons, bottles, jars, and leftovers. That’s apparently what happened to a half wheel of Canadian camembert some time ago. I have no idea how many weeks passed since I had stored the cut cheese. But when I rediscovered it in the food ghetto at the back of my frig, the wayward curd was loosely dressed in a wrinkled piece of cheese paper.
Peeling back the covering, I expected to find a sad little corpse of a cheese. But actually it didn’t look too bad. A bit aged, of course, its youthful dewiness all gone, it’s shape deflated. But the rind was still white and flocked like camembert and inside the cheese was the color of Irish butter yet dense like fudge. (See the photo.)
I am sitting here at my laptop, thick curly white-girl ‘fro in a monstrous bun on top of my head and some ridiculous outfit that was an attempt at cuteness and comfort to beat the heat, and I can’t help but wonder... am I the Carrie Bradshaw of Cheese Blogging?
I have a fabulous home, more clothes and shoes than I know where to store, go to fabulous events with fabulous food and wine, write a column on my vices, and go through cheeses in an almost episodic rhythm. I am, however, currently going through a little “dry spell” (a.k.a. luxuries like wine and cheese are the first to go during an austerity period) and so my “column” is drying up as well. What would Carrie do for her hungry New Yorkers longing to read about her sexcapades at a time when there are no men in sight? Write about daily life, other kinds of love, weathering the blues, and good times with friends.
You may all know this already, but Best of Show at 2011 ACS in Montreal went to Oregon’s Rogue Creamery for Rogue River Blue (www.roguecreamery.com) the 2nd time they’ve taken the blue ribbon home! Second place was shared by Ontario’s Finica Food for their Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar (www.mariposadairy.ca), and perennial winner from Wisconsin, Carr Valley, for Cave Aged Marisa (www.carvalleycheese.com). Third place was Quebec’s Fromagerie du Presbytère for Louis d’Or (www.fromageriedupresbytere.com/. These are all seriously delicious cheeses. It rare to sample Canadian cheeses we, sadly, cannot get here in the US…and to get my hands on limited production cheeses too.
The countryside is taking on that internal look, drier, harder, plants ripening, getting stalky, animals fattening, birds growing, strengthening for the long flight to Africa for many. To us, it feels like we are still in the height of summer. To the natural world, the hatches are starting to get battened down for the rigours of winter. The young rabbits are getting fat on the rich vegetation, and the buzzards and fox cubs are getting fat on the young rabbits.
If you think the life of a writer is a bumpy one, you can well imagine being a lowly blogger is even more of a challenge.The competition is ON between me and Will Fertman for the most California-local, farm-fresh experiment-gone-right, and he is basically killing me. But what Will doesn’t know is that we’ve replaced regular household freezer items with these natural tree-bearing ones from over the fence next door... let’s see what happens. Yes, Will, come September, I will have a bevy of cheese-pairing chutneys from my bounty of fruit and herb, so start shaking in your Birkenstocks.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you one of the many perks of writing and blogging in a focused marketplace.
I have a rough, tough life. Aline Baly, whose family owns and operates Chateau Coutet, a 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes vineyards in Barsac, Bordeaux, France, dropped into the shop and opened up full bottles of their 1989, 1997, 2002 and 2003 vintages with the hopes of finding good pairings to accompany them. I was joined by cheese & food writer Janet Fletcher (who lives nearby in downtown Napa), Master Sommelier Peter Granoff, and my partner in cheeses & monger extraordinaire at our Oxbow cheese shop, Ricardo Huijon. Needless to say, it wasn't one of our hardest days on the job...
My sweetie pie is a devotee of podcasts, and pointed me towards this tale from The Moth Radio Hour.
Julie Kraut tells of her time in Africa, an unfortunate traveling companion, and what happened when a piece of cheese came between them.
"You know how some people feel about God? I feel that way about cheese."
You can download it via iTunes (it's free)
It's the second story, starting at 7:00. Salty language alert.
The Culture crew just got back from the Fancy food Show on Wednesday! It's quite the experience the first time around. This year it was held in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. It also happened to be murderously hot outdoors, which made the cavernous interior of the venue a welcome refuge.
Laid out in aisles by country and state, with rough categories within that structure, the show is massive. Overwhelming is a word I heard often in the three days we were there. It took a full ten minutes to get from end to end at a swift clip.
That said, thousands of vendors are there to show off their product, which means mass amounts of free food, drink, and…ummm…CHEEESE!!
My ears are still ringing with the sounds of Adam Moscowitz’s voice at this year’s Cheesemonger Invitational (last Friday the 8th). Despite a depressing drizzle outside, the competition could still be heard and smelled from many yards away. Held in Larkin warehouse, in Long Island City, the event was a big frigging deal.
For perspective, note this: three Australian cheesemongers made the trip from down under JUST for this event.
Good evening to everyone. I am sitting here after I brought my wedge of Point Reyes’ Newest Blue to test at my company’s picnic. Why not bring it to a place where all of my colleagues have lived around the world working in development and are experienced in eating new and unusual foods? My name is Karen and while this might be my first time writing about cheese, I can’t help think that I have been in countless situations where I am trying things first before everyone else will try them after me. As for cheese- I am just a plain “cheesie.” I call myself that because I start to sound cheesy when I describe some of the delicious stinky ones in the world that I’ve tried and I love them.