I took this picture in Union Square yesterday – right out in front of the Whole Foods. It was a table display of smoking apparatuses. I just think that clown has so much personality – in an evil spooky kind of way.
Anyway – I finished my 9th hour of cheese boot camp classes today at Murray’s. I was a little nervous because my stomach has been a bit on the fritz. However, I got some very helpful, guiding advice this morning from my nutritionist sister-in-law Robin, so I started the day with a large glass of water with fresh lemon squeezed in it and followed this up with a fresh squeezed vegetable juice (to get my greens in). I feel much better than yesterday with only 6 hours left to go so I think I’m going to make it! Thanks Robin.
So far in my 9 hours of cheese boot camp, I have tasted 34 cheeses. In my opinion, in terms of flavor and overall yumminess, the standouts have been:
- Epoisses – a very stinky, oozey, pasteurized (because it has to be) cow’s milk, washed rind cheese from the Burgundy region of France. It is an FDA regulation in America, that any raw milk cheese imported into the US has to be aged 60 days or more. Epoisses is generally only aged 30-45 days, so in America, we have to have the pasteurized version, which is supposedly far inferior to the “real” unpasteurized version you get in France. Epoisses is a good choice if you are a bit adventurous and are interested in enjoying a more robust and funky cheese. I love it.
- Garrotxa – a pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from Catalonia Spain that has a slight tangy, salty, sweet & nutty taste. It’s delicious.
- Tomme Crayeuse – a raw cow’s milk cheese from the Savoie region of France. Apparently, it was made by accident in the late 90’s while trying to emulate another, much older, traditional cheese from the region called Tomme de Savoie. Meanwhile, we did a tasting comparison of the two in our “old world vs. new world” section of boot camp, and the Tomme Crayeuse BLEW the Tomme de Savoie away! “Crayeuse” means chalk in french, and when this cheese is a bit younger, it has a chalkier consistency in the center. The way we had it tonight, it was a little more aged and it was unctuous and creamy throughout. It was probably my favorite of the whole boot camp thus far.
- Cabot Clothbound Cheddar – I’ve written about this one before. It is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheddar cheese from VT – made by Cabot (the big, huge dairy company) with the aging help of Jasper Hill. It’s a bit caramelly, salty & sweet with those crunchies (tyrosine) that you typically find in Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Pleasant Ridge Reserve – an award-winning raw cow’s milk cheese from Dodgeville, Wisconsin that is made in a mountain style -modeled after the classic French cheese Beaufort. To me, tonight, it had flavors of caramel and onions with a bright & tangy zip. It is a favorite of many of the Murray’s cheesemongers.
I’m looking forward to my last 6 hours of class tomorrow, where we’ll be focusing on milk chemistry & the cheesemaking process and then enjoying a battle of the pairings – wine & cheese vs. beer & cheese. I have a hunch beer is going to win! I’ll fill you in tomorrow.