Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet the Cheesemakers Event

Hello fellow cheese-junkies! After 6 hectic weeks which included a case of the swine flu and a partial remodel of our store, life has finally returned to what passes for normal around here. My sincerest apologies for the huge gap between my last post and this one, but now that I'm not battling with consultants and contractors (all while having a fever of over 101 degrees), I'll be making regular posts again. Whew, what a relief. Thankfully I bounced back just in time for the holiday season...

Speaking of which, last Saturday we had our first ever Holiday Open-house and Meet the Cheesemakers Event. We were honored to have several local (highly talented, tremendously creative, exceptionally friendly) artisans in attendance. Our lucky customers got to rub elbows with Cheesemakers from Redwood Hill Farm, Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese, Central Coast Creamery, Spring Hill Cheese Co., and Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese Co.. The makers of Fra'Mani Salumi also sent a representative to demonstrate their wares. Deeeee-lish!

This was truly cheese-junkie heaven! Laura Chenel Chevre wasn't able to send anyone down to the store, but they generously sent samples of Cabecou and Melodie (see 08/22/2009 post about these two delicious cheeses), and their neighbors at Redwood Hill Farms delighted our customers with Bucheret, a dense buttery bloomy rind cheese. RHF also brought us some perfectly ripe Camellia which they served on a cracker with Les Follies Apricot Cumin spread for Camembert. Absolutely fabulous! Rounding out our offering of goat's milk cheeses was the Tome du Corbier from Shamrock (a hard to come by cheese in our neck of the woods, but we have it, along with their Ashed Tomette and Shamrock Bouchon).

Mariano Gonzalez, the master cheese maker at Fiscalini, charmed us all with his amiable personality and his fantastic (multiple award-winning) Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar. We also tasted Fiscalini's Horsefeathers cheddar and horseradish spread. One word: tasty. I talked with Mariano about the idea of buying the spread from him in bulk so we can sell it on our roast-beef sandwiches. Just to make sure it's a good idea, I tried a roast-beef and Horsefeathers sandwich today, and yes, it's a good idea. What could be better than thinly sliced, medium-rare roast-beef (we just pulled from the oven) slathered in cheddar and horseradish? Absolutely nothing.

One of our newest additions to our cheese case is Seascape made by Reggie Jones from Central Coast Creamery. This semi-soft goat's milk / cow's milk blend just melts in your mouth. Noah fell in love with it and kept going back for more (I had to keep him from eating all the samples meant for our customers). The thing he liked the most is that the flavors are so complex you find something new with each bite you take - hence his multiple trips to Reggie's table!

All in all, it was a successful event and we're planning on doing it again next year. But don't wait until then to stop by the store! Either myself or one of my Assistant Cheesemongers - Kevin, Cammy, or Leslie - will be glad to give you a taste of something spectacular.

...And I'll be sure to let you know when the Roast-beef and Horsefeathers sandwich is making its debut!

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