Summery Bites: Highlights from a Night at COOK

A couple recipes from the evening will be in your hands soon – the Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese book comes out in just three weeks! Until then, you’ll have to wing it as you crack open your first Hopfish, your first Exit 16 (made with wild rice, and just glorious!). As I read through my hasty tasting notes, a few favorites jumped out. I am writing them here for you – but also to commit them to memory myself, as a summer mantra.

Clochette, My Pet

This spring, I’ve had a love affair with brainy goat cheeses. They appear this time of year – wrinkly, rumpled, as if they’ve just rolled out of bed – which may explain why I adore them for breakfast. Put on a pot of tea, grab the honey, pop in some toast, and prepare to be awakened with a rise-and-shiny little cheese.

The Amazing Wheels of Rodolphe Le Meunier

“Puits d’Astier,” Rocco whispered. It sounded like a new frangrance. Pwee d’awz-tee-eh. And it might as well be. Since Saturday, I’ve been patting Puits d’Astier on the insides of my wrists, and wherever I go in the world I leave the aroma of sweet sheep’s milk and hazelnuts. It’s true. Riders of SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transit system, know me and thank me. Expect men who peddle scented oils from duffle bags to pursue you with bottles of faux Puits d’Astier soon.

Three Stars from Neal’s Yard Dairy

March brings the Flower Show to Philadelphia, and with this year’s “British Landscapes” it seems only proper to offer you a selection of Britain’s best wedges. Should you overdose on the smell of hyacinths, you may wish to pop into Di Bruno Bros. for a sniff and nibble. (Di Bruno Bros. will be a vendor at the show, but the flagship store at 18th and Chestnut is within walking distance.)

Get A Shroom

Nothing puts me in the mood for love like mushrooms. I know, I know – they’re a far cry from oysters or caviar, but aphrodisiacs rely on individual appeal and I happen to be mad for forest smells: wet earth, moss, the vaguely cabbage-y smell of tree rot. These are what led me to a special Valentine’s Day threesome: roasted mushrooms stuffed with Nancy’s Camembert and a spot of Brussels sprout relish.

Rogue River Blue

If you find yourself heading to a swish party without a holiday sweater, you can always make up for it with a wedge of Rogue River Blue. It’s the elusive wedge everyone’s been looking for since it won the coveted “Best of Show” award from the American Cheese Society last year. Now it’s in season, just in time to nuzzle pears and sidle up to your most intoxicating eau de vie.

The Healing Powers of Piacentinu

Remember this: birds migrate in the fall, and so do great cheeses. The holiday season draws rare imports, and you can count on cheese shop shelves to be bountiful and bright. If you’re a caseophile, now is a great time to look to the sky and ask yourself, “What amazing cheese is in store for me tonight?”

Boyfriend’s Spicy Cheese Plate

Dear Pepper Jack Lovers, let me bend your ear. I know that you get the fever this time of year – when the Crock-Pot comes out, you want your game-day dairy hotness. I’m only going to tell you this once: there are 3 spicy condiments that you can pair with sharp cheese, and they’re way better than pepperjack. Yeah, go ahead and breathe. It’s hard to hear.