Sunday, November 1, 2009

Roaring Forties Blue

It’s been a very long time since I went to a spontaneous dinner party, but tonight was a full moon, and the time change made everything seem possible. So off I shambled, summoned to a last-minute harvest supper. It was a good thing I had a blue cheese to fit the mood. I threw it in a bag with half a bottle of sherry. Voila: dessert.

Here are 5 things that make a spontaneous dinner party delightful:

Random ingredients.

People sitting around on stools.

A chopped apple salsa w/ purple onion, ginger, cilantro, and lime juice.

Conversation-piece lighting.

Experiments in the oven, in this case: lavender-infused pork chops.

My friend Shanta put on an exquisite feast in her converted garage. The best part was watching everyone chop squash and fry bacon and sip wine around her great big counter. Some people just ate pumpkin seeds and read the Sunday New York Times, which felt truly decadent.

The Roaring Forties Blue fit right into the beautiful whirr of it all. I can think of no other blue that makes a more perfect dessert. Who doesn’t love a cheese that comes in sapphire wax (spectacular by candelight). And the texture, it’s like cheesecake – ultra-creamy, sweet-sharp, with a complex, grassy head and a burnt sugar finish.

Truth is, I’ve searched for Roaring Forties Blue since I read about it on Miss Cheesemonger. What a delight to come upon it this weekend, unexpectedly, in the cold case of a small Center City market, where a grab basket of wedges drew the cheese-curious. There it was, my Roarting Forties, a peacock in the mix.

Roaring Forties hails from King Island, a craggy blip off the Australian coast. The island has a strong dairy industry, and it’s thought that seed from shipwrecks during the 15th and 16th centuries washed ashore and created the lush grasses that make the milk so rich. King Island cows are renowned for their sweet milk. The name "Roaring Forties" is actually the name of a gale.

So, there you have it: shipwrecks spontaneously generating pastures, cheese shops mysteriously appearing with curious cheese, and harvest parties happening spur of the moment. Synchronous cheese+spontaneity. Could there be a more auspicious beginning to November?


  1. Fabulous photos my dear! Sounds like a perfect evening! What's the thanksgiving plan this year?

  2. Lovely!! What did you serve the Roaring Forties with? I am curious to know! And your salsa looks delicious, as well as your pork chops, although I couldn't see them.

  3. Served the Roaring Forties with pears, biscotti, and some sherry. It was a Blitzkrieg of goodness.

  4. The Whole Foods on Callowhill stocks Roaring Forties, too. Even better, they're open until 10 (and they make fresh baguettes until 8), so it's a great "oops, is that dinner party tonight?" option.

  5. lovely idea, a no pressure dinner party. lovely converted garage. lovely cheese in a sapphire wrapping.

  6. I love Roaring Forties. I get it at the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop.

  7. Cheese, cheese and more cheese... Love your blog, will definitly visit again :-)

  8. I've never seen a wax-encased blue before. What effect does that have on the cheese? Seems like it would stifle the breathing.

  9. I believe that the cheese is actually aged in the wax. I've never seen a wax-encased blue before either, although there are foil-wrapped blues. I notice that it makes for a more uniform cheese because you don't have a rind that forms. Good question though; I'll look into it.