Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blue Cheese Meets Vodka

Annie Baum-Stein, blue-cheese model
Today’s submission for the Blue Cheese Invitational comes from blogger Mike Lyons of West Philly Local. Lyons snapped this shot at his favorite West Philly cheese joint, Milk & Honey, where owner Annie Baum-Stein keeps her cheese case stocked with local gems, like Royer Mountain, along with international dream wheels, like leaf-wrapped Valdeon from Spain.
Lyons and his wife Julija, who is Russian, serve blue cheese as Zakuska – a chaser for vodka. In Russain, Zakuska means "snack."
“After a shot, you need something salty and punchy,” Lyons says.
He recommends a less crumbly blue with a sharp hook at the end. The Valdeon sold at Milk & Honey has become their go-to cheese. Baum-Stein (pictured above) also carries Black River Blue, a customer favorite from a dairy co-op in Wisconsin. I know it well -- what a coup!

For a Blue Cheese and Vodka party, Lyons recommends:
  • pickled tomatoes
  • black bread
  • Valdeon blue cheese
  • chilled Ruski Standard Vodka
Lyons also likes to shop at one of two Russian grocery stores in the Philadelphia area, Bell’s Market and Net Cost Market. Expect a full-on Soviet experience, complete with Russian pop, blue eye shadow, and plenty of pickled fish – both in line and at the seafood counter.

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