You’re probably wondering what the two have to do with each other. You’re probably lucky your mind doesn’t work the way mine does.
I was sitting at home recently, trying to think of the best way to describe my taste in cheese, because what else would one do on a Saturday night, and it finally hit me. Think of it in terms of polyamory because there are so many different ones that I love and different things that I love about each one.
Soft goat cheeses are my primary. Like Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove. It’s such a beautiful cheese, with that layer of ash going through the middle and on the rind.
That is a cheese I could drown in. Or at least roll around in for a few minutes. Not into food play, but I would do it if Humboldt Fog asked me to. Soft goat cheeses remind me of a lazy summer day; tart, tangy pastries; fruit that you have to eat over the sink because the juices dribble down your chin as you take that first bite. Those are the cheeses that are first in my heart. Those are the cheeses I want to come home to.
I still have deep, meaningful connections with other cheeses. I recently tried Ossau-Iraty, a delightfully nutty raw sheep’s milk cheese from France, and with one bite, I knew that was hardly the last time I’d see that cheese. And Dinah’s Cheese from Kurtwood Farms on Vachon Island. I’ve heard that he doesn’t like to refer to it as a camembert, but it also just won 3rd place in the camembert category at the American Cheese Society competition. So there’s that. Anyway, I’m going to have to borrow my coworker’s description of this cheese, because I can’t think of a better way to describe it: it tastes like a really sexy heaven.
My creamery only makes cow’s milk cheeses, so that’s what I spend most of my time with. But it’s not a “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” situation because I do truly love our cheeses. Campfire, our smoked jack, is everything you could ever want in a smoked cheese. It tastes like cocooning yourself in a blanket and drinking a cup of tea after a long day. It tastes like sitting around a fire with friends on that last evening you can all get together before summer really ends and the weather starts to turn cold (or in the case of Seattle, before it starts drizzling/misting more often than not). It tastes like driving down country roads in Indiana late at night in the summer, cornfields lit up by fireflies on either side of you.
And then there’s our Fromage Blanc. So light, so tangy, so lemony. Fantastic on its own, but makes a wonderful blank canvas. I once told a customer that I could write an epic love poem about Fromage Blanc. And I’m fairly certain I could if I sat down and focused. It’s so versatile—excellent with both sweet and savory pairings. I’m particularly fond of putting it in desserts. My absolute favorite dessert to make (and eat!) with it is a lemon mousse tart. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you more about those tarts soon.
We also have a truffle version of the Fromage Blanc, which is just as fantastic as the original. A little tip from me to you, you get yourself some sweet potato chips and eat them with that Truffle Fromage Blanc. It’s my favorite snack these days.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having that one cheese you always go back to, but I would encourage you to spice things up a bit and try something new. Loving another cheese doesn’t mean that you love your favorite less. Every cheese offers you something different. Be open to exploring that.
So. If you are ready to branch out and start seeing other cheeses, I highly recommend visiting a cheese shop that has an odds and ends bin. That’s how I met Ossau-Iraty. Go raid the odds and ends at The Calf & Kid in Melrose Market like I did earlier this week (and pick up some of those goat cheese chocolate truffles while you’re at it). It’s a great way to try just a little bit without much of a commitment. And who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a new love.