Thursday, December 24, 2009

What I leave out for Santa

Merry Christmas! Or, for those who don't celebrate, Happy Friday December 25th!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time Flies

On December 3, 2008 things were different. I had a t.v., cable* and a cool job selling cheese. Thanks in part to Arianna Huffington and Jon Stewart I started this blog kind of as a hobby. A way for me to catalog new cheeses, and to share cheesy goodness with my friends and family. You see, as a cook they could see and taste what I did for a living. As a cheesemonger, there just wasn't the same kind of recognition or appreciation.

I started with this post. The early days had a few photos (mostly done at work) and were short brief snippets. The first couple of weeks just my family and friends were checking out the blog. They'd ask me questions, and I'd delve into research. After all, learning more about cheese could only help me be better at my job.

Then a few people started checking it out. From the Midwest, East and West Coast and abroad. The first time someone from Australia commented I freaked out. I mean, with all the gajillion pages on the internet, how the heck anyone found my blog is a still a mystery to me. I'm just some chick who writes about cheese.

The most surreal moment of the past year was a phone call I got at work a few months ago. I'd written about a cheese and someone called up looking for it. I told him we'd sold out but would be getting some in shortly. He mentioned that he'd read about it on some blog and when I asked him which one (thinking I might make a new cheesy friend) he said "Cheese Is Alive". How fricking cool is that?!

Since starting this blog I have gotten way more into cheese, and it's because of you guys. You guys asking me questions, sending me emails and reading the stuff I write. Every question is something that I think about before I answer. Sometimes for a few hours, or for a few days while I research and double check things. All information which I then am able to share with customers at the shop.

Fast Forward, and one year later I am the assistant buyer and one of the managers at the store. I am busting my hump like crazy and all for cheese. And rent I'm so excited and am looking forward to another year of writing, tasting and learning. Are you guys ready for year two?

*I currently spend too much on cheese and cheese related books, trips, conferences etc. to get the t.v. fixed or to pay $60 a month in cable fees. That's why there's Netflix.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Smell a Smelly Smell That Smells Rather Smelly

Here it is, December in Chicago. Cold, rain, freezing rain, snow, wind and washed rind cheese. For those of you who weren't with me last winter let me catch you up. I LOVE washed rind cheeses.

The washed rind category is huge. It includes cheeses that have been rubbed, painted, or otherwise coated in either some type of alcohol or in a brine solution. Washing the cheese in addition to a certain strain of bacteria gives you an orange colored rind.

Yes, there are the obvious washed rind cheeses like Grayson, Taleggio, Langres, and Hooligan: All of them cheeses that you can smell even before seeing, but not all washed rind cheeses have that big beefy funk to them. Comte, Raclette and Pleasant Ridge Reserve are both good examples of washed rind cheeses that don't have a "hoof".

But today is about my new stinky friend. Pave Henri is a new to me cheese from Fayette Creamery which is the artisan cheese line of Brunkow Cheese in Wisconsin. It is a big and beefy with some slight smokey, nutty, goodness. A super creamy paste with a creamy, buttery, rich mouth feel. Perfect cheese for the upcoming cold winter. I haven't done it yet, but I was thinking about taking this cheese and melting it on the top of some roasted potatoes and onions-Raclette style. Yes, it would stink up the apartment, but just like with the Grayson I plan on doing it at my brother's house and letting his neighbors suffer instead.*

Oh washed rind season how I adore you!

*Hey bro, I'm only kidding about this. Pay no attention to what I'm saying here. It's just that I have a little brick of this cheese hiding in the crisper and I'm coming over this Sunday to cook for you guys. Total coincidence.