Saturday, November 27, 2010

Goat Cheese or Night Cream?

That’s what a certain Scottish cheese fanatic asked on Thanksgiving as he bit into this glorious powderpuff from Capriole Farm. Actually, this goat cheese is called Wabash Cannonball, but I’m not sure I can ever call it that again. To me, it will always be Night Cream, a cheese so fluffy and light you might as well smear it under your eyes, especially if you’ve been up half the night cooking.

That was the case for the Blue Cheese Brit, caught here on film, between mad dashes to the oven. The royal BCB, as he’s called on this blog, hosted a mini expat T-giving, and it fell upon Yours Truly to pull together a cheese plate that would illustrate the glory of American values.
The Blue Cheese Brit

Yours Truly, Madame Fromage
I also paid homage to a few foremothers by wearing Great Grandma’s glittery smock. Where there is great cheese, there must be couture. The BCB backed me up with an impeccable table setting – note the vintage glassware.

Oh, what a spiffy creature.

The turkey was tender, the BCB’s mashed “tatties” were divine, and by the time the cheese board was unveiled I feared everyone would be too full.

But lo, the Brits have bovine cheese stomachs, and out came the port, the baguette, the heavy Brogue.

(models: Fusty Camembert and Sweet Cheese Lass)

Of the 4 stellar cheeses sampled, there were two sparkle causers – cheeses that lit up our mouths:

Both of these cheeses come from matriarchs of the artisanal cheese movement in America. Wabash Cannonball is made by Judy Schad of Capriole Farm, owner of 500 goats and a Ph.D. in Renaissance lit. She lives in southern Indiana, where she has made cheese since the ‘80s. In between reading books and raising kids (goats and humans), she’s been active in Slow Food and in the foundation of the Raw Milk Cheesemakers' Association.

Her Cannonball is so airy and light that if you press on the downy surface, it bounces back like a sponge. The rind is etherial, thin as silk, and the center is the consistency of Nivea.

Tomme Dolce comes from the fingers of a Bay Area pianist and scientist, Soyoung Scanlan. Her light touch turns goat’s milk into the most delicate dreams, garnering praise from Saveur and Thomas Keller of The French Laundry.

Andante Dairy's Tomme Dolce

The Tomme Dolce was exquisite -- nutty and soft, with a caramel finish. Washed in plum wine, it tasted like a flowering tree in your mouth.

So what am I thankful for? Night cream, flowering plums, lady cheesemakers, and dairy-loving expats who know that the heart of any meal is a hand-made cheese.

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