This summer at the Vermont Artisan Cheese Festival I scored the last available Summer Snow from Woodcock Farm. Mushroomy bloomy rinds are a favorite of mine on a summer evening with friends. I brought it home to the Berkshires and that weekend we opened a bottle of wine, plunked the Summer Snow on a cheeseboard, and tromped out to the screen tent in our flipflops and shorts. We live outside all summer in the Berkshires, but barricade ourselves behind screens because it rains often, and the mosquitos, noseeums, and mayflies are ATROCIOUS. We settled in under our flimsy screen tent.
It was a beautiful evening with a cool breeze keeping the worst of the unwanted guests at bay. We were admiring barn swallows swooping, and cedar waxwings appearing to have an allout rave on the blueberries when the first drops of water hit us from behind. What the...? The western sky was black, but summer rain is a passing thing, and welcome. We scooted closer to the cheese.
Taza Chocolate in Somerville Ma.
5 years ago Alex Whitmore and partners Larry Slotnick and Kathleen Fulton (also Alex's wife) started this mesoamerican-style bean-to-bar chocolate factory. And true to their vision, this chocolate is handmade from start to finish. They buy their beans in the DR, Mexico, Belize, and they recently added Bolivia. (note: if you get a chance, try the 87% bolivian choc bar side by side with the 80% DR...then you'll really see what terroir means to the cacao bean.)
Their beans are fermented, which means, like all things fermented, flavor is amped. And then they get roasted (in the fabulous Willi Wonka machine pictured below. don't you want one? I do. and it's RED!) The beans are then stone ground, on mexican stone mills that Alex hand chisels himself (check out the pic below of him holding one.) Impressive.