28th, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.I'll be there. Will you?

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"The Cheese Project" - 5 new articles

  1. Hot Damn!
  2. i have found what you are like... (Ricotta Salata)
  3. For Folk's Sake (Appenzeller)
  4. The Reign in Spain....
  5. "The Union of Want and Sentiment"
  6. More Recent Articles

Hot Damn!
....April 28th, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
I'll be there. Will you?

i have found what you are like... (Ricotta Salata)

Ricotta Salata (shown on toasted baguette with fig preserves)
region: Sicily
type: sheep's milk

i have found what you are like
the rain

(who feathers frightened fields
with the superior dust-of-sleep. wields

easily the pale club of the wind
and swirled justly souls of flower strike

the air in utterable coolness

deeds of gren thrilling light
with thinned
newfragile yellows

--in the woods
And the coolness of your smile is
stirringofbirds between my arms;but
i should rather than anything
have(almost when hugeness will shut
your kiss

e.e. cummings (from Tulips & Chimneys, 1923)

For Folk's Sake (Appenzeller)

region: Appenzell, Northeast Switzerland (Alps)
type: cow's milk

As the world grows more accessible, universal, and ultimately more generic, I find myself hungry to experience a deeper sense of "place".  Outside of design, music and travel, food (specifically cheese) seems to satisfy this desire. From pasture to product, it so-remarkably reflects the context from which it came. 
The region of Appenzell has been producing the same herbal-rind cheese since the 14th century. Only 67 sq. miles in area, it is home to over 70 cheese-making dairies. (My friend Claire, who lived in Switzerland as a child, remembers "...the scent of cheese permeated the air".) Steeped in tradition, farmers continue to celebrate "Alpfahrt", an annual customary trek through Alpine pastures between late summer and early autumn. 
This from [www.]:  
"The long trek up the mountain begins in the small hours, maybe around three a.m. From far away you can hear the sonorous harmony of the three large cowbells, the plaintive yodelling of the herdsmen, the deep lowing of the cattle, the snapping and yapping of the Appenzell cattle-dog, known in dialect as Bläss. At first they are only silhouettes, and then, as dawn breaks, the magnificent choreography underlying every journey to and from the alpine pastures becomes ever more distinct: a little boy in herdsman's costume leads a herd of white, hornless Appenzell goats driven by a little girl wearing the everyday Appenzell dirndl dress. Then comes the herdsman, every inch a king, proudly dressed in his traditional outfit with all its accoutrements. Over his left shoulder he carries a wooden milking pail, the base of which (the Bödeli) is decorated with a small, round hand-painted picture. He is followed by three fine cows wearing the great heavy bells called Senntumschellen, on artistically decorated leather straps. Four more men in costume march ahead of the rest of the herd, and finally, bringing up the rear of the procession, come the horse-drawn carts carrying the equipment needed for summer in the mountains and the pigs." 
(Interesting to note: Until the 20th century, only farmers were allowed to paint such scenery, for fear that the tradition would not be depicted accurately.)
The character of this cheese is lovely (smooth, very nutty, sharp finish), and it paired beautifully with the muscat grapes I just picked up at this morning's farmer's market. I am eager to try this with a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, per the cheese vendor's suggestion.

The Reign in Spain....

If you are particularly fond of Spanish cheeses, you might want to check out this site:
It is an overview of cheese varieties, producers, as well as a few organized by the Trade Comission of Spain. There is much detail about which regions the cheeses derive from, the associated animal breeds and landscape, and the process utilized...making this a great agriculturally-oriented resource.

"The Union of Want and Sentiment"

About a month ago, I decided to attend a wine / cheese pairing class at The Beverly Hills Cheese Store. Somewhere between my second or third glass of wine, in combination with my after-work fatigue...I found myself intensely distracted. Chalky-white goat cheese pyramids stacked high above the countertops; Crumbling Stiltons, with caverns of blue; Massive wheels of Pecorino and Romano, finely decorated with metallic foils; Fresh, delicate leaves wrapped around tiny morsels; These are just a few of the sights from that evening.....

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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