Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peppercorn Dry Jack Goat Cheese

Noah and I just spent 3 wonderful days celebrating a good friend's 40th birthday - at Disneyland of all places! I hadn't been there since I was very, very young and I was amazed to see how different the place looks through adult eyes. The rides were still fun, the shows were entertaining, and it was heavenly to escape the "real" world for awhile. But for someone as particular about food as I am, it was a culinary nightmare. I don't want you to get the idea that I'm a food snob, because I'm not. I've been known to eat a greasy cheeseburger and fries, or even a deep-fried something-or-other on occasion. But I seriously need to have my daily allotment of fresh veggies, not to mention the fact that I eat artisanal cheese at least once a day, and both of these items were missing from any of the menus I encountered. So after 72 hours of quitting cheese "cold-turkey," this junkie was delighted to get back to the cheese counter!

What was the first cheese I ate upon my return, you ask? It was Petaluma Creamery's Peppercorn Dry Jack Goat Cheese. YUM. This aged cheese is produced here in the Bay Area (not that far from where the original Vella Dry Jack is made) by Larry Peter who also owns Spring Hill Jersey Cheese Co. Its light beige paste is infused with whole pepper corns, and the rind is rubbed with olive oil, cocoa, and black pepper. One of my favorite things in all the world is a cheese which has a mildly sweet attack but has a savory, even spicy finish and this cheese hits the nail on the head. Although it would be great in cooking, I choose to eat Peppercorn Dry Jack by itself so I can fully enjoy the complexity of flavor brought about by the combination of high quality goat's milk and the traditional dry jack rub.

When you bite into this cheese you can just imagine happy goats frolicking across the rolling hills of the North Bay, feeding on nutrient rich grasses and breathing fresh ocean air. Perfect....

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