Hi everybody! My name is Chris and I write the Artisan & Farmstead cheese blog Wedge in the Round: http://wedgeintheround.com/
Someday I hope to own my own shop. For now I eat, write, eat, eat and write a little then eat more cheese. I enjoy shooting pics of cheese, food and wine in general.
I'll be blogging my impressions of Jasper Hill's new cheese here at Culture. I cannot say thank you enough to Culture and Jasper Hill for selecting me to be a tester this year.
Three generous wedges arrived yesterday and I'm about to dive in for the first time. I'll let you know my first impressions soon.
Last Friday afternoon my wife and I drove into Cambridge, Massachusetts to pick up dinner. On the menu: cheese, a crusty bread, and any other specialty foods that caught our eye. We luckily found parking right outside of our destination—Formaggio Kitchen.
Although we aimed to get there a little earlier, my scattered brain and rush hour traffic put us at shopping an hour before closing time. It was fairly busy, and with everyone milling about in their coats it was a little cramped at times. Nevertheless, the staff remained enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuinely excited to see customers. They offered us samples of cheese, salami and wine, ready to answer any question.
Although I’m a Leo, I really despise being the center of attention. Like, really despise it. I take-an-F-on-a-presentation-so-I-don’t-have-to-speak-in-front-of-the-class despise it. So, it’s easy to understand why I haven’t had a traditional birthday party in over ten years. Don’t get me wrong; I like celebrating my birthday (i.e. I like free stuff), but anyone, even people I love, singing a bizarre, repetitive children’s song makes me want to scamper upstairs and hide under the bed like a dog frightened of thunder.
I'm munching a Trader Joe's cheddar CheeseStick and reading Eric Asimov's article on The Pour (NYT) about tasting 18 Bordeauxs from the magic year of 1982; made so by the perfect storm of Robert Parker's enthusiasm for the vintage, a new parched public eager to learn about wine, and changes in Bordeaux economics that would sweep away sleepy local wine production in France...or so I have recently read!
The wines are 30 years old, and according to those who know, a club you can tell I am not a member of, they are now "in their prime." They have been stashed in a collector's wine cellar, enriching their "opulence" and gaining in value and fame.
For the past 10 months, Laurel Miller (culture contributing editor) and I have been working on the "Cheese For Dummies" book for Culture. Yes, THAT For Dummies title. You know, the yellow & black series that attempts to distill all kinds of topics down to their most basic, most understandable form. It was quite the experience, I can assure you, even with the Culture crew supporting us. And although it may not be how other books or cheese experts classify cheese, we decided on very simple designations for a pretty confusing subject that we feel speaks to those of us who aren't experts nor care to be. Because we just want you to love cheese even more without having to feel like you're tackling a science project. I can't let the cat outta the bag yet (sorry!) but if you're interested, the book will be out in June. Or you can contact me directly for more info: email@example.com.
The culture team is at it again! We're proofing the entire spring issue before it goes to print early next week. Such a hardcore work day requires an epic lunch break, which is happening now, thanks to a local (and wildly talented) chef in Brooklyn - you may know her from her restaurant, Homemade
Here are some pics of what's going on in our design team's office today!
I'm full steam ahead planning and editing great content for culture 2012, but before I do that, I often look back at what we've already done in past issues. Doing this recently, I was reminded that one of the best parts of my job is interviewing luminaries in our cheese world to capture, in their own words, reflections on success and failure, and the ever-changing cheese world, for our Voicings feature in every issue of culture. In case you missed them, here's some of my favorite comments from the cheese intelligentsia:
“Dairy used to be an industry that was run by Washington and big companies. It is now run by the consumer. [The issue of] rBGH is a good example; consumers said ‘I want rBGH-free milk’ and it happened. Washington didn’t know what hit them.”
-Dan Carter, cheese marketer and ACS Lifetime Achievement Award winner (Spring 2010 issue of culture)
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.
I’ve just been informed by my daughter that I’m a lousy nachos maker. “Your chips are too soggy, mom,” she said last night, after I served a platter of this mounded corn chip-melted-cheese-salsa-bean concoction to her and some friends who were occupying our dining room for their common cause—homework.
I was wounded. Can it be that I—a former pastry chef and 25-year veteran food writer, recipe developer, and consummate dinner party giver—can’t make a decent plate of nachos?! This is amateur food, after all! Any teenager with a microwave can throw this %^@ Superbowl stuff together.