Thursday, August 20, 2009

Summer School!

My dear friend SMcG and I went to school tonight. We hadn't done our homework and we were a little worried about what the other students would be like, and if the teacher would be nice or scary. We shouldn't have worried! We were at Andrew's Cheese Shop in Santa Monica, and the class was Cheese 101. We got there before the doors opened, and just had to peer in through the glass at the classroom - chairs achingly close to the cheese.

We learned so much! We learned about pasteurization, butterfat, double creme, the importance of beta carotine, calcium lactate, monks, the importance of rye bread in making Roquefort, and a cow named Renata! AND, it was driven home yet again, the importance of sharing cheese with friends. Every seat was full. Friends doing girl's night out, comfortably married couples having date night, and inexplicably, a group of four guys in their early 20s wearing coordinating polo shirts and looking all the world like they really belonged at a cigar night instead of a cheese tasting. But, whatever! Everyone was having a great time, tasting, asking questions, sipping a little wine, and passing 2 hours like they were nothing.

The big winner of the night was probably the Humboldt Fog goat cheese, made by Mary Keene in Arcata, CA . It was grassy and tangy, with this amazing creamy, crumbly texture. And, it was just beautiful, with a layer of ash through the middle, and an almost sweet bloomy rind. It was a bright white color (extra white because apparently goat's milk doesn't contain beta carotine, which gives cows milk cheese a more yellow/orange color) , which made it feel even lighter, fresher, and more like summer. Yum!

The fun thing about these tasting evenings is that there are so many new flavors! The hard part is knowing what to talk about first. Stay tuned, and sweet dreams.

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