The kids are in bed and the husband is away in NYC for a bachelor party weekend, so I am finally getting around to catching up on my blogging. Sadly, I have no good cheese to eat as I blog, but because I can’t think of a reason not to, I am enjoying some Sargento mozzarella string cheese with my favorite beer at the moment (and soon to be out of season), Harpoon Summer. While I can’t say much about the pairing itself, I am sitting on the porch listening to the sounds of the crickets with a cold beer, laptop, some tea light candles, and two sleeping children upstairs, so I am a very happy girl on this lovely Saturday evening.
Anyway, just a few days after my last post we had a beautiful afternoon sipping wine and cheese on my in-laws’ deck in Sonoma, CA. While visiting with our favorite electrician, Gary, and his son, Trey. During the summer of 2010, Gary and the rest of his crew drove all the way from Sonoma, CA to Newton, MA to do work on my in-laws’ house as well as a few odds and ends at our place. During the months they were in town we became fast friends and have kept in touch via text message ever since. My mother in-law had assembled a beautiful cheese plate which included my favorite, Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove (amazing, as always), an aged Gouda, and Mt. Tam by Cowgirl Creamery, which hails from Petaluma, CA. So now that I am learning more about cheese and forming my own opinions about it, I have to say that my taste is tending towards the triple-cream varieties (I actually once bought a huge piece of double-cream brie from Costco thinking that i was scoring a major bargain and I was super disappointed with the rubbery texture that I am assuming was due to the fact that there was less fat in the cheese and hence it was less delicious to me. Cheese aficionados, please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I am making an assumption). I have yet to have a triple-cream brie that I do not like, and the Mt. Tam was no exception. It was melt-in-your-mouth fabulous and was just perfect on the thinly-sliced baguette that Kathy served as the mode of delivery. Awesome, especially along with the Humboldt Fog!
While we are on the subject of triple-cream brie, I must also mention that one of my oldest friends, Nick, payed us an impromptu visit a few weeks ago when he was in town from NYC for his annual family camping trip. He had stopped at our local Whole Foods and picked up two cheeses that the cheese guy recommended, one of which was Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon, which I wrote about in my last post. The second cheese was a triple-cream brie that was very tasty, but I did not take any notes or photos, so I can’t say much beyond the fact that it further cemented my love of triple-cream. I doubt you read this blog, Nick, but if you happen to, please comment if you remember what brie that was!
Two weekends ago one of my dearest friends from my NYU days, Katie, came to visit from Connecticut with her husband and three-year-old son and we had a great time catching up and eating some delicious cheeses that she brought from her favorite local cheese shop, Fairfield Cheese Company. They are also avid cheese lovers who probably know more about cheese than I do. They brought us this spectacular gift basket with three cheeses, crackers, chocolate and a bottle of Viogngier. We had such a great time chatting and nibbling (okay, devouring) these treats. The basket included the Cora’s Robiola La Rossa from Piedmont, Italy, the Berkswell from Britain (England, I think) and the Kinsman Ridge, which is from the U.S. but is in such small production that I could not find any info on it online or in any of my books. I have to say that of the three the Robiola was my favorite. It is a sheep’s milk cheese wrapped in cherry leaves, and the sweetness of the cherries penetrated the cheese beautifully. The crackers we ate it with had a touch of honey baked into them, and at first I thought that the sweetness was from the honey, but when I dug into it again the next day with some plain baguette, I realized that it was actually from the cheese itself and was just awesome! I hope to find the La Rossa somewhere in the Boston area next time I host a gathering. I did not take notes that evening, so I don’t have much to say about the other two cheese except that the Berkswell is the first English cheese I have tasted and I am so mad that I did not take more notice of it and at least jot down a few thoughts, as Laura Werlin mentions this cheese in Cheese Essentials as an “off the beaten path” cheese to try in her chapter on semi-hard cheeses.
Lastly, I have to mention that on a whim I gave my 9 month-old son his first taste of cheese. It was Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Shredded Cheddar. He was into it, but I kinda wish I had started him off with something a little less sharp. One of these days I will learn to be a little less impulsive, but I don’t think this experience scarred him for life or even put him off of cheese, so it’s all good!