Cheese Plate at Artisanal

As I mentioned yesterday, I received a package in the mail of three cheeses from Robinson Farm, which I intended to write about today. Unfortunately, they spent the night in the fridge at Adam’s office so I’ll have to write about them tomorrow instead!  I did however take a little nibble tonight when Adam got home from work and they were all quite scrumptious!

But don’t fret, there’s more cheese to discuss today.  I met my friend and fellow cheese cave intern Manuela for lunch today at Artisanal in midtown.  I’d only been to Artisanal once before and as a cheese maniac, I felt it was definitely time for another visit.  We split a plate of four cheeses, which we chose from a selection of around thirty or so and then we each had a cup of soup to finish off the meal.  The cheeses we ordered were:

  • Sainte Maure – a pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley in France.  It looks like a blue-grey cylindrical log. The grey color comes from the cheese being rolled in ash (edible ash – can’t really taste it but it looks pretty).  It is tangy and lemony with a nice cream line (depending on length of aging) – and the one we tried today tasted quite goaty… as if I were instantly transported to a barn – in my mouth.  I loved it.
  • Affidelice – a pasteurized washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from the Burgundy region of France.  This one is a stinker – similar to Epoisses.  This was my first time trying it.  It’s orange in color – like most washed-rind cheeses and is super soft and spreadable.  It was actually served to us in a little dish because it was all melty and gooey and luscious.  As it is aging, the rind is washed with Chablis – this washing process helps the cheese to grow the bacteria that gives it it’s pungent and unique flavor.  I thought it was totally delicious!  And it left me with the flavor of fresh baked bread in my mouth… yeasty.
  • Camembert – a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Normandy.  In France it’s made with raw milk – but here in the U.S that’s not allowed so we have to settle for the pasteurized version.  We were not too blown away by this Camembert today. It was fairly mild and creamy – with a lovely consistency, but I found it to be a little boring.

For our fourth cheese, we requested a cheese called Etorki, which is a sheep’s milk cheese made in the Basque region of France (same as one of my favorites… Ossau-Iraty).  I have never tasted Etorki before, but it supposedly has a burt-caramel flavor, which sounded delightful to me.  Unfortunately, it was out of stock today, so our waitress substituted in a Manchego from Spain.   Manuela and I thought it was a little annoying that she substituted in another cheese without asking us if we’d like to make another selection.  Yes, we are sort of becoming cheese snobs… but we were obviously very interested in cheese and we chose our selection of four with care.  But oh well… we let it go.   The Manchego was ok.  It has that salty, nutty, sheepy flavor, but I’ve had it a bunch of times already and I was excited to try something new!

Anyway, I have to say, I was at least slightly familiar with almost every cheese on Artisanal’s cheese menu.  I felt proud.  It proved to me that I actually know more more than I think I know.  You know?

Ok… enough with cheese (though stay tuned for more from Robinson Farm!) – on to photography.

Here is my photo from yesterday:

Photo 292 out of 365 – “Bird Landing on a Branch”

"Bird Landing on a Branch" - Settings: ISO 100, f/5, 1/250 sec, 100mm lens

I love how you can see a tiny bit of motion blur in the bird’s wing.  And I love the sparseness of this shot.  I did add in a teeny teeny bit of blue to the overall photo.   Without it, it felt so stark black and white.  Can you tell?  I feel like it softened the photo a tad.



2 thoughts on “Cheese Plate at Artisanal

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