Dec 9, 2009

Cheese, Please.

So there is this phenomenal food store up the street here in Oakland called 'Market Hall.' I go in there every day. Incredible selection of cheeses! I recently went in there to buy a bunch of cheese for a cheese course that I was in charge of at a big dinner last Friday. I really wanted to focus on mountain cheeses- similar to the cheeses I grew up eating from Switzerland. Sharp, smooth, crystally, sweet, and so good that you cry one single tear. Here are a few of the cheeses I picked out with some description. The only mountain cheese that isn't pictured here that really needs mentioning is an American cheese- 'Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve'- it's from Wisconsin and might be one of the top 3 cheeses from America in my opinion and you can buy it online! The 2 families that make this cheese uses centuries-old techniques that originated from the alpine region in France. You can taste the fresh grasses, herbs, clovers and wildflowers that the cows graze. The cheese counter at Market Hall might have one of the biggest selection of cheese in all of California. On a fateful evening last week, I had some peeps, Terri, Jamie, and Lauren over at 3am to try the cheese and last weekend I was at a karaoke bar and served cheese from the trunk of my car to a girl from Grindelwald (in Santa Barbara!). I felt like a pusher. Ps. My dad made cheese in his little town of Grindelwald. P.P.S. My twin sisters husband Adrian was a cheesemonger there at Market Hall. I guess we got a thing about it. Tell me about your favorite cheese. Cheese, please.
Everyone loves this one! It won. It has Fenugreek in it. Fenugreek is a herb and seed that has a maple-like smell and taste. Nutty, fresh, no lingering aftertaste. A super gouda.

A cheddar from the UK. Super aged, tangy, sweet. Such a different flavor profile compared the the sharp mountain cheeses from Germany and Switzerland.

Wowzers. Imagine your favorite Gruyere- now times it by a million.
Super aged German mountain cheese. Aged cow's milk cheese. This cheese was introduced the the San Francisco area a couple years ago by a German woman whose Grandfather was a master cheesemaker in the Allgäuer alps where this cheese is from. It's very similar to some cheeses from Grindelwald. There is a timeless practice where cowherders lead their herds up the mountains in spring to graze on the new grass, then bring them back down in the fall to the barns for the winter. Around September 18 marks the official start of "Almabtrieb" (descent), where the farmers decorate their cows with flowers and the prize cow with really elaborate bouquets. It's a rad thing to check out if you are in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. Hirtenkäse literally meand 'herdsman cheese.' Superyum.
Another cheese from the Allgäuer region. A washed rind artisan cheese. Semi-soft- super creamy, buttery, and somehow still bright and fresh. Earthy flavor and begs to be melted. I had a BLT toasted sandwich on a great loaf of crusty bread with this melted on it. Really good raw or melted.

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