This year is a great year of European travel for me. I am visiting Switzerland, Germany, France, and England, so you can be sure I will be writing and tasting plenty! I update my Facebook and Twitter (@msscheesemonger) daily, and you can see more of my writings on my blog, http://misscheesemonger.com/.
Photo by André Baranowski
I love cocktail party food.
It's not a dignified admission for a man to make, but it's true. I harbor untoward desires for pickled fish on a cracker, or dates broiled with bacon, or any other small salty thing that crosses my path. The feelings are especially strong when there's a drink in my hand (Tanqueray martini, two olives). It's a compulsion, and with the approach of the Fancy Food Show this weekend, one that could do some serious harm.
For those who've never attended, Fancy Food is a massive gathering of specialty food producers, a trade show closed to the public with free samples of everything from cheese to olives to jelly beans and more. Attending what's essentially a 10,000-person, 3-day cocktail party when you're at the mercy of your snacking demon is a prescription for the vapors.
I just got back from a month in Australia. What do I miss most, besides my best mates and Aussie humor? The nature and the smells. They're often linked, actually. Walking around the Barossa Valley (South Australia), strong wafts of peppermint (eucalyptus trees) backed with black pepper and lemon (also from the trees and native scrub) swirl around me. Then there's the ubiquitous rosemary and sweet lavender that grow so well that some use them for hedgerows. The air often has a dusty, clay-like scent, possibly from that iron-rich, sunbaked red soil mixed with a deep, meaty undertones that I want to believe is Vegemite...but I really have no idea where it comes from.
03 April 2011 Sonoma, CA I have no internet, nor even a chair for that matter. My furniture is coming next week. I have only what went to Italy with me, plus a few things I’ve needed since landing. There is dust everywhere from renovation, yet inches below are a fantastic kitchen and an entire house with tiled floors and a garden. My new home in Sonoma. But right now I can only see brooms, my trashed socks, white pawprints on everything, and the air mattress where Lincoln the Dachshund and I sleep folded like a taco under a 1970s sleeping bag. The past two weeks Lincoln and I have been sleeping in the loft portion of an R.V.
Late one night a few months ago, at my place of (waitressing) employment, a British couple plunked themselves down at our little bar. The bartender that night (Josh, let’s call him) chatted them up for a little while, before, serendipitously, the conversation turned to cheese.
Sidenote: I find it incredible how often this happens without even a nudge from someone like me!
Anyways , this lovely (they were!) couple from across “the pond” said:
“Well you don’t have any cheese to speak of here, now do you?”