1. Marinated Chevre, Shellbark Farms
This artisanal goat cheese is made by Pete Demchur, a longstanding cheesemaker from Chester County who is famous for the quality of his goat’s milk. He sells at local farmers’ markets (Piazza, Chestnut Hill), where his herbed spreads and Extra Sharp Chevre are especially popular. This year, he and his wife Donna debuted three kinds of marinated chevre in jars. These marinated “biscuits” taste wonderful on top of salads, and you can use the herbed oil they're packed in as a dressing – just add a squeeze of lemon and toss. This chevre is especially good in a salad of oranges, red pepper, purple onion, and greens.
2. Saint-Marcellin, France
This bloomy cow’s milk cheese oozes satiny cream. With its clay crock, it’s especially pleasing to take on picnics – a perfect cheese for two. If you let Saint-Marcellin sit in the sun while you nap, it liquefies and releases truffly notes. Bring along plenty of crusty bread a spicy Syrah.
3. Petit Basque, Spain
The fruity, nutty notes in this sheep’s milk cheese make it a beautiful accompaniment to stone fruits – think apricots, fresh cherries – or savory picnic fare: cured meats, green olives, almonds. Try it with a dark lager, a Burgundy, or Bourdeaux. Petit Basque comes from the Pyrenees, along the border between Spain and France, the same region that produces Ossau-Oraty and Idiazabal – two other fine Spanish cheeses.
The above cheeses were featured at our Picnic Cheese Tasting on May 20, 2010 at Quince Fine Foods, a small mother-daughter gourmet shop in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. To find out about upcoming tastings, please join the Facebook page for Madame Fromage.