Last night, author and curd connoisseur Clark Wolf kicked off Central Market’s Hail to the Cheese event — a fortnight of events paying homage to the bacteria, mold, and fermentation we all love so well — with a class in American Artisanal Cheeses. The class’ instructional menu opened with fresh cheeses (Bellweather Farms’ fromage blanc, Dallas Mozzarella Co.‘s goats’ milk ricotta, and Pure Luck’s chevre), wended through soft-ripened cheeses (Cowgirl Creamery’s Mount Tam and stinky Red Hawk, and the poplar ash-tinged Bonne Bouche goat cheese), noodled around in aged cheeses (Rumiano Willow Maid‘s 1-year-old dry jack cheese, Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve artisan farmstead cheese, 4-yr-old Widmer cheddar, and Cabot’s Jasper Hill aged, raw-milk, cloth-bound cheddar), and finally came to rest in the Penicillium-rich bleus (Rogue Creamery smokey blue and the exquisite Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen blue, one of the finest cheeses I have ever introduced to my taste buds).
Jump for the joy of cheese.
I’m not sure which to praise most highly: Wolf’s spritely good humor, the 13 cheeses we tasted (all of which are available in CM’s cheese department), or the accompanying dishes — specifically the arugula & goat cheese salad pictured above (so simple) and Wolf’s cheddar & chive strata (both recipes available in Wolf’s book, American Cheeses). Wolf was a pip, the cheeses thrilled, but the strata, which contained — and I don’t mean to startle you — 15 eggs and 5 cups of half-and-half, is what I woke up thinking about this morning. It’s an indulgence, to be sure, and is best eaten before a day in the fields, milking goats, draining vats, and digging caves, but let the record show that I did eat my entire portion and lived to tell the tale.
Want to make your own cheesy memories ? Check out the line-up, especially this Friday’s Learn @ Lunch, Cheese Please! class, or that evening’s The Cheese Board sampling event — two and a half hours of cheese tasting with wine and beer pairings.