I've been planning for a week - reading my books, day dreaming a little, and contemplating how many Andrew Jacksons I would be spending at the cheese shop. I knew I wanted goat cheeses. The books all suggest it, and I really wanted to dive into some of these cute little cheeses. The tangy flavors of the cheese will go well with the mineral-y flavors of the wine. I hope these little jewels will be enjoyed! I also hope there will be enough for me!
When you want cheese, go to the source, and don't feel like you are on your own in the store. Don't be afraid of talking to your local cheese monger. They know stuff! It helps to know a little bit about what you are looking for when you go in, but you can also just tell them what you are planning on doing with your cheese. Are you making fondue? Are you drinking a big Cabernet? Do you want some "stinky cheese" for a picnic? Or, do you just want to learn more about Spanish cheese? This is often enough to help them help you. If you have a great cheese monger, they will give you samples, and help you identify some of the flavors you are tasting. They can tell you stories, explain how cheeses are made, where they are made, and what you can eat them with. (And, if you're lucky - they might give you a little wine to taste with it!) There are no stupid questions. I repeat - there are no stupid questions! Have no fear. The people who work at cheese stores are so excited to share their treasures with you. In fact, I have found that even when I know what I am looking for, they have other suggestions that end up being so much better or surprising than what I was originally thinking about.
Today, I went in for the darling goat cheeses you see above. I was expecting to buy Selles sur Cher (with and without ash-stacked in the pic), and a Chabichou (to the far left). I left with those tasty jewels, but also with an amazing Cypress Moon hard goat cheese and an incredibly rich goat cheese from Nantes that tastes like red wine (the most suprising find). Granted, I spent a little more than I had planned, but I learned so much! I'll be sharing more about the cheeses I bought after I taste them, but the lesson today is that you should go to the store with some idea of what you are looking for, but it is ok to ask LOTS of questions, to ask for samples, keep an open mind, come away with something new, and to enjoy.