Thursday, January 06, 2005

An English, French and Californian Cheeseboard Served with Vin Jaune & Savoury Rosemary Cookies

click on photo to enlarge

I decided to go to Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco's Ferry Plaza, to get help selecting my cheeseboard. This was a great place to buy cheese for my Christmas Dinner. I love the fact they stock raw Neal's Yard cheeses (I used to work close to the Neals Yard Dairy for many years in London), and they will let you try a sample of any cheese you are interested in.

Daylesford from England

My mother grew up in Gloucestershire, so I plumped, first, for a wedge of a cheese from that County that I had never heard of before. Daylesford is a hard, sharp, slightly nutty cheddar-like cheese. Delicious.
This cheese is made from raw, unpasteurized, organic cow's milk by Joe Schneider of Daylesford Creamery, Morton in the Marsh, Gloucestershire. The wheels are selected, matured, and exported by Neal's Yard Dairy, London.

Couserans from France

Next, the server recommended the French Couserans to me, another cheese I had never heard of. This was a dense, what I might call flabby cheese. It was the least interesting of the three. The texture, somewhere between hard and soft, is somewhat akin to a Laughing Cow triangle. Not a cheese I would rush to buy again.
The cheesemakers at Jean Faup have been making Couserans since 1904. This raw cow's-milk cheese is made with traditional rennet and is aged on the premises in Bethmale in the Ariege region of the Pyrenees. Covered with a thick beige crust, the semi-soft cheese is buttery and supple with well developed eye structure and is earthy and mildly pungent in flavor.

Andante Dairy Picolo from Santa Rosa, California

This was a tasty, slightly sharp, chevre-like goat cheese. Very good, gooey under the skin and crumbly in the centre.
When young, Picolo has a full-bodied richness that pairs well with Champagne. As it ages, it develops some complexities of cow's milk.

1995 Jacques Puffney Arbois Vin Jaune

click on photo to enlarge

This was the most expensive and least popular wine of the evening. At $64.99 a bottle, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with the Vin Jaune, which translates as Yellow Wine. It has an unusual, almost sherry-like, flavour. Perhaps I should have served it chilled. I am not sure of the etiquette with this particular wine, but I think serving it cold would have improved it.
*Wine pairings for this meal were suggested by K & L Wine Merchants*

Savoury Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

These were made using the Epicurious recipe here . The cookies were very light and crumbly. I attribute this to the fact that I didn't combine the ingredients exactly in the complicated way that the recipe directed. They still tasted good. Melt in your mouth (if they didn't crumble before getting there!)

How Foodies Can Help With Tsunami Relief. Tip of the Day #4

If you donate to a charity by check, consider blacking out your address details from the front of the check. I donated to the Red Cross after 9-11 and became quite frustrated when they kept sending me letter after letter asking for further cash. If the Charity you contribute to doesn't have your address, the chances are you'll have less junk mail piling up over the next year.

The Sales Force Foundation I highlighted a couple of days ago have increased their offer to match contributions made through their site up to a value of $250,000 ($500,000 total.)

An English, French and Californian Cheeseboard Served with Vin Jaune & Savoury Rosemary Cookies


  • At 6/1/05 15:52, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My wife and I ate at the Union League Cafe in New Haven, CT. The waiter suggested an Arbois. It was chilled. It was excellent.

  • At 6/1/05 22:27, Blogger Sam said…

    Yes, I think you are right. I am kicking myself I didn't think to chill it on the day. I kept the beautiful bottle and it still smells really good.


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