Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To the Business of Cheese

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I started this blog over three years ago as a college student craving a varied form of creativity from my numerous art courses. I found solace and inspiration among the web pages of Orangette, Smitten Kitchen, 101 Cookbooks, Foodbeam, and Chocolate & Zucchini. Today I still enjoy these blogs and more, but my own participation in food blogging has ebbed and I have wondered if that's what I want.

Let me state that is not what I want at all. Of late my desire to food blog has turned to resolve and determination and, thus, some discipline is going to have to come alongside. Initially, post-college, maintaining One Hungry Soul as a food blog simply was not possible as I nomadicly lugged suitcases around the West Coast for two months and then on to New Zealand. I did not have a kitchen of my own, and food blogging was forced into travel blogging with a good dose of musings and photographic snapshots contributed.

It worked, and I enjoyed it. However, I have now had a kitchen for eight months, and just last week I was gifted my very own KitchenAid mixer. It's time to get down to business.

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It is rare that my sister and I get the same window of time off work, but on Wednesday we spontaneously managed to get two hours of the afternoon together. Being near Quel Fromage, we had to stop and properly refurnish our refrigerator's cheese box. Arriving home with hungry bellies, we laid out our cheese assortment and popped open a particularly barnyard-y bottle of French cider. To accompany, we took turns reading out-loud from my copy of Best Food Writing 2009.

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I am finishing the remainder of Idiazabal and Bonne Bouche as I write this post. Both are absolutely lovely, but the Bonne Bouche, the grey brainy looking round, is always a certain palate pleaser for me. I have a weakness for well developed creamy mold-ripened cheeses, and this young goat cheese by Vermont Creamery is soft and oozy around the edges of the interior (at the age I enjoyed it) with a musty aroma from the ash and humid aging environment. I would love to experience it at a further ripened more piquant point but also love the fresh chèvre acidity combined with subtly developing notes of floral and nutty maturity.

As for that cider I mentioned, I would not recommend it with this Bonne Bouche. I knew they were not right for each other, but since I had both on hand they ended up together briefly. Second time around, I nibbled on an aromatic Brie-type that was the closest I could come to an authentic Camembert and found that the alternating of sips with slices helped me appreciate the cider.

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I am quite inexperienced in the realm of ciders, especially traditional French styles and this unpasteurized version, Cidre Bouché by the Dupont Family Estate and its orchards in the Pays d'Auge region of Normandy, surprised me with the undeniable barnyard characteristics of its nose. The flavor contained deep cooked apple and savory leather that grew on me, especially when paired with that satisfying hunk of Brie. My sister preferred not to finish her glass, but I would like to keep tasting Normandy ciders in order to compare and contrast them and ever broaden my palate.

I have learned so much about cheese in the past year. Working at a fine cheese shop has done this for me, and yet every day at my job, whether conversing with customers, researching, or thumbing through one of Max McCalman's superb books, I am reminded how little I know. I hope to set aside a regular space in this blog in which we converse about a certain cheese.

As I appear more regularly again as a food blogger of sorts, I cannot help including the "of-sorts" portion. I love to food blog because I love to converse and share ideas and collaborate with others. Gastronomy is a very accessible arena, and yet I do not want to limit this space to this one topic. Food is one of many beauties in life that I desire to be ever grateful to enjoy with the ease and abundance I am able to. I want to savor other rich aspects of life within these white scrolling pages as well, so beyond recipes and favorite food and drink you can expect mentions of art, travel, relationships, and the many little details of life. Please lend your voice to my humble notations.

3 comments:

Michelle Stiles said...

I am so glad to be reading your work again. You have a very sweet and intelligent style. The photos are inspiring. You have so much knowledge to offer!
Welcome back!
Cheers!

Rachael said...

When I read what you write, I can't help but smile. Thanks for adding to my happy moments in a day.

Lael said...

Michelle: I feel the same way about your blog! Thanks so very much.

Rachael: Smiling is good. As much as possible.