Here's a sampling of briny, illogical, and always fun cheese events that I've participated in lately:
Mozzarella Making Class
|Cheese with some leftovers from class.|
I took an important step in my personal cheese education by participating in a Mozzarella Making class at Murray's Cheese. I was surprised by the simplicity of the process (although I must admit that I didn't take part in the entire process, since we started with pre-made curd). We ran around filling buckets of water at varying temperatures and pouring it into large bowls of curd for a few minutes, and soon everyone in the class was salting and stretching their own personal mozzarella creations. After rolling it into an "uncooked croissant," we pushed the ball through our fingers and placed it in salt water. Voila!
|Me eating the mozzarella|
I ate the cheese just two hours later with some friends, and I'm proud to say that it was DELICIOUS: fresh and milky, with a brine that accentuated the flavor. It was truly the best mozzarella I've ever eaten, and it wouldn't have existed without me.
Briny: Like a sea animal, mozzarella survives best in a saltwater environment. If you remove it from the brine you'll dry it out, and it will end up lifeless like this poor giant shark that was recently caught by Pakistani fisherman.
Giant Whale Shark Reeled In By Pakistani Fisherman (abc.com)
The Stinky Cheese Festival
I attended the annual Stinky Cheese Festival, hosted by Tour de France, which is a group of French restaurants in New York City. For one week, each restaurant offers a special cheese-filled menu, featuring delicacies such as Welsh Rarebit Tallegio, Poached Pears with Gorgonzola, Raclette Savoyard, and Fourme d'Ambert Ice Cream. It was difficult deciding which of the nine restaurants to visit, but finally I settled on Pigalle, because I had never even heard of it before. Most of the dishes were truly impressive, although I was slightly bothered by the small proportion of cheese to pairings and garnishes. Then again, I'm a cheese-a-holic, and it's always hard to have enough cheese to please me.
We ate...Camembert in a hazelnut crust with a fruit compote on the side.
Raclette with a selection of charcuterie, cornichon, and mustard.
A fresh cow's milk cheese dip with chives.
A Fourme D'Ambert ice cream served with a wine-poached pear and maple-walnut brittle. You can see that it was our favorite, because we gobbled it up before I could even take a picture.
Illogical: Some illogical thoughts become genius creations, such as the combination of ice cream and and blue cheese. Others don't work out as well, such as this man's idea to install a stove in his station wagon.
Homemade Baked Brie
Some of the best cheese experiences take place at home when you create your own cheese dish with friends. I whipped up this Baked Brie with Leah on a rainy afternoon last week, following her friend Emily's recipe. The spatula got stuck, a few "flowers" fell off, but the finished product tasted spectacular. It was made all the better by the fact that it wasn't a mass produced item, but instead a unique product crafted by our own hands.
Fun: Creating your own cheese dish at home is both delicious and fun. It could be almost as fun as shooting a marshmallow gun around the white house with the president.
Now go out and eat some cheese.