I’m not bitter
about it, but as I write this, Will Fertman is embarking on my trip to Veneto, Italy. When the Italian Trade Commission had to change the dates of this proposed press junket, it created a conflict for me; and Will was self-sacrificing enough to take (think steal) the journey. Still, I wish him safe travels and eagerly await vicarious travels through Veneto along with our readers here on our new blog.
Far from a total loss for me, while Will was packing his laptop, Flip camera, and favorite Italian cheese-tasting attire, I did get to go to Alphabet City in Manhattan, try some Uzbek cheese, and hang out with my new doc filmmaker friends from the What Took You So Long Foundation. They are mid-process on a film project about the significance of the camel as a dairy animal in lesser-known parts of the world, and they were in NYC on the first leg of a fund raising and PR tour.
Sleepy and bedraggled from their long, low-budget journey from Uzbekistan to NYC via Moscow and London, Sebastian Lindstrom and Alica Sully hosted a small gathering at The Blind Barber on 10th Street near Ave. B, where they played footage from the film in progress and brought some Uzbek cheeses to share with their guests.
There were some fairly simple, cow’s milk cheeses that reminded me of gouda, but with less complexity and flavor; and there were these unusual, ball-shaped, white cheeses called kourt that, for me anyway, had the consistency and flavor of chalk infused with pure citric acid. Perhaps this was simply the bitter taste of envy over, y’know, the Veneto thing; but others seemed to enjoy these delicacies that, I am told, the Uzbeks will pop whole into their mouths like crunchy snack foods, often accompanied by beer.
Although Uzbek cheese is unlikely to wind up on my personal appetizer list, I’m intrigued by the efforts of these young filmmakers because the idea that cheese is infused with human history is, in fact, part of why we call our magazine culture. Cheers!