Few cookbooks have revolutionized the dairy realm like Chester Hastings’s The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen (Chronicle Books, 2012). When my copy arrived in the mail this summer, I spent an afternoon leafing through it on my stoop, agog.
Category: Madame Fromage
Officially, August is National Goat Cheese Month, but let’s agree: we’re past campaigning for goat cheese acceptance. Back in the 1970s, when the first goat-cheese pioneers were emerging from their milking barns in coveralls, Americans found chèvre exotic.
At the height of summer, it’s hard to think about eating anything other than fresh tomatoes and light cheeses, like mozzarella. Luckily, great mozzarella is easy to come by in Philadelphia – Di Bruno Bros. makes it fresh daily, and you can buy it in any number of sizes, from baseball-shaped rounds to braided strands to tiny beads that are great for tossing into salads.
If you ever want to see a pageant involving knives, muscles, and cutting boards, book a trip to Long Island City for the Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI) on June 23, 2012. Now in its third year, the event draws makers, mongers, and rabble from the cave to compete for cash prizes and a chance to throw down against the best in the business.
Before I moved to Philadelphia from Wisconsin in 2005, friends told me I needed to visit a cheese shop called Di Bruno Bros. in the Italian Market. When I arrived in July, this narrow store with salamis hanging from the ceiling was one of my first stops. Now, the store feels like my home away from home.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stick around Di Bruno Bros. on 9th Street for an after hours party. It’s what the store likes to call “a private shopping experience” – a chance for customers to linger around the olive bins, eating pairings that cheesemongers dream up.
It’s the year of the goat. Everywhere I turn: goat dinners, goat tacos, goat talk. This means I should let you in on a little secret about Leonora. It’s the most luscious Spanish goat cheese on the planet. The texture is gooey-soft, and it comes in a slightly flattened brick that looks like a melting ice cream cake roll. If you’ve sworn off sweets for Lent, you might want to pick up some Leonora for dessert.
At our house, we have squash issues. My beau and I love to stock up on butternut and acorn every fall, but unless we make time to cook with them they stack up like heads on the counter. On a recent Sunday, I decided to have at them. I invented Eggs Tarentaise.
I never grew up eating Pecorino, but this winter it’s become my go-to cheese to serve with soups. The nutty flavor of this quintessential Italian specialty comes from sheep’s milk, and because it’s a rich, fatty cheese a few curls shaved onto a broth add beautiful dimension.