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.
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.
So many award-winning cheeses are made in Vermont these days that it’s easy to feel Green State envy. One Vermont cheese that’s got cheesemongers buzzing this winter is Reading Raclette. Now, the Swiss make Raclette and so do the French, but until Spring Brook Farm introduced its artisanal version from Reading, no American cheesemaker had come forward with a melt-away Alpine stinker this good.
Ask any cheesemonger for a sample of the best smoked cheese on the market, and you’ll probably find yourself biting into a blue. Rogue River Smokey Blue, from Oregon state, is cold-smoked over hazelnut shells. This cheese tastes so much like sweet, smoky bacon that you can eat it for breakfast.
Around the holidays, putting out a cheese or two in the evenings is a festive way to unwind. Here are twelve pairings to share with (or without) your true love. Combine five or six of these to create a party board. Or, count down the holiday with one pairing each night.
In winter, feta becomes an orphan, a forgotten cheese. Unless you’re basking in the Greek Isles surrounded by plump tomatoes and cukes, you skip over feta in favor of triple crèmes, butterscotchy Goudas, balsa wood boxes of Epoisses. Am I right?
Ever since I read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve had a yen to forage for mushrooms. In gritty Philadelphia, it’s a lot easier to pop down to a farmers’ market and simply buy them from a local grower since nearby Kennett Square is a fungi hub.
As we enter the season of decadence, I can’t help but crave Roquefort. It’s as luxurious as fur, and it pairs well with so many things associated with the winter season: ripe pears, dates, figs, honey, walnuts. After a big meal, this triple-crème sheep’s milk blue becomes the evening’s star, especially when served with a glass of nectar-like Sauternes.