Hello! Kris Blondin here from STINK Cheese-Meat in Tacoma, WA, back again to review another lovely cheese from Point Reyes. I was waiting with great anticipation for the next sample to be dropped at my door, and last week it landed with a bang! This time around they have sent me/us a Tomme, which is a cow’s milk cheese that has been aged for 18 months.
The notes sent with the sample described the aroma as “citrusy”, but I noted a distinct nose of browned butter and grass. Weird? Maybe, but that’s the cool thing about sending a sample of something to several people – you’re going to get different reactions.
The texture is very firm but it truly melts in your mouth. You don’t expect it to get creamy, but it does. The protein crystals are firm and frequent through out each taste. So much of your taste buds are utilized with this cheese. There’s sweet, salty, and definitely umami or savory. Thankfully, no bitterness or worse yet, sour, but this cheese does make my mouth water.
Cheesemonger Ray Bair, of San Francisco's Cheese Plus, puts out an occaisional newsletter for customers and fans of his wonderful shop. His most recent note caught our eye: besides featuring a great roundup of NYC-area cheese shops, he also described his visit to Marcia Barinaga, maker of our fall centerfold, Baserri. He graciously allowed us to reprint it here:
A Tale of 2 Thursdays, part 2
Back home in San Francisco, my niece Stefanie is visiting from Arizona. Still jazzed from my fast tour of Manhattan specialty food stores, I arrange for a tour of Barinaga Ranch near Point Reyes while she is visiting. Coincidentally, it's the following Thursday.
A Tale of 2 Thursdays, part 1:
This past week I found myself making list after list with anything and everything that one might need in preparation for a hurricane. This is not something that my fellow New Yorkers and I have to typically think about. Ordinarily, I would dismiss the hype from the media, make a couple of sarcastic remarks about buying a month’s supply of bread and milk, and then go along my merry way. Given that we felt the aftershocks of an earthquake on the east coast just a few days before, and the storm of the century projections that Irene was garnering from far and wide, I decided that I probably shouldn’t tempt fate.
Blowsy late summer seeps into the richness and edge of early autumn. Field margins are heavy with grass seedheads, hedgerows richly hanging with blackberries, rosehip, haws, sloes. Jack rabbits look fat and prosperous, foxes well covered, the buzzards well grown and lazy - meat is easy to find. They take off heavily from a branch as you walk along, do they get too heavy to take off if they eat to much?
Lucky me received another package from Point Reyes Dairy. While this one was not part of the official tasting, it was (I say was because it it quickly vanished into my mouth) very special in the sense that it is not available to the rest of the public.
As a newcomer to the North Eastern US, I was excited to be part of the build-up surrounding of one of New England’s largest annual events and cheese competitions, The Big E.
The Big E – otherwise known as the Eastern States Exposition – takes place over a two week period near Springfield in Massachusetts, featuring a vast array of exhibits and shows ranging in theme from Agricultural and food related (including an area for New England Cheesemakers) through to a Circus, Equine competitions and rock concerts plus a whole lot more.
Late last year, the cheese competition organizer, Elena Hovagimian, contacted me to ask if I would like to be one of the judges. I readily accepted, pleased to have the chance to learn more about some of the best that New England has to offer.
After going through the motions of emergency preparedness, for Irene, the Accidental Locavore started to focus on the important stuff: what we were going to eat if there was no power. Cooking through the contents of a full fridge and big freezer was an option, however some things that didn’t need much if any preparation would probably be a good idea. Smoking a chicken seemed like a good idea, so I butterflied one and, after brining it overnight tossed it on the smoker. Three hours later, beautiful bird and one that would keep if the power were off for a while.
Since the Locavore was near the Culinary Institute early on Thursday, I stopped by to pick up a dozen croissants from the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. That proved to be the closest to a psycho-drama as the whole hurricane experience provided. Turns out, they don’t want you stocking up, so they’re now rationing croissants…but there’s a work-around for that (comment if you want to know what it is).
After a long two weeks of Restaurant Week in Boston, I was poorly prepared for the impending hurricane on Saturday night. My feet were tired, my clothes and person were dirty, and there wasn't a flashlight to be found in my apartment. My roommate and I looked over our supplies, wondering how long we'd be able to survive if the power went out.
Our plan was to eat everything in the fridge first, so as not to let the perishables go bad. Sadly the fridge was a barren wasteland.