A Day in the Life of Madame Fromage
A few weeks ago, Philadelphia Magazine raided my fridge. Well, not exactly. But they sent a photographer, the fabulous Jauhien Sasnou, to my house one morning with a long list of things to snap. Earring collection. Favorite cheese knives. Cheese boards. A cocktail. Condiments. Cheese.
If you’re interested in reading the full story in Philly Mag, take a gander. It’s online but also in the printed version (maybe you are a subscriber?). In it, you’ll see a bit more of my strange life than I typically share on this blog, from my favorite places to unwind in Philadelphia (it’s true, I love a good Russian sauna and I’m partial to Gin & Tonic menu at Root) to the dictionary my late grandparents wrote early in their marriage. It may explain why I like to write so much, and why I can’t help but call everyone by a nickname.
But let’s talk about the cheese board and the stunning photo of it that Jauhien captured in the morning light streaming across my coffee table a couple of weeks ago. I picked out three cheeses I love to eat this time of year. They’re compact — good for packing in lunches or sharing with a friend or two.
To me, these cheeses form a little runway of flavor. And when I say runway, I do mean runway: I like to serve a gateway cheese (at the top) that’s approachable, then introduce a middle cheese that has a fascinating element (like an ashy rind), followed by a challenge cheese (a stinker at the end)!
On the Cheese Runway…
Pico: Approachable and oozy, this little round of French goat cheese is friendly, easy to find at major retailers (Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s), and terrific to pair with dry cider or sparkling wine. I love to pack this round in my overnight bag when I travel. It comes in a little balsa wood box, like a compact mirror. Major bonus.
Bonne Bouche: This ashy round of goat cheese from Vermont Creamery is one of my go-to party cheeses. Its lunar-like surface is made of vegetable ash, which always intrigues people. The ash is virtually tasteless, but it helps the pillowy rind develop. Bonne Bouche is also an example of great American cheesemaking, a fun comparison cheese to place next to Pico. They are similar in style but very different in taste.
Tiger Lily: You know I love a good stinker. My latest find, from Tulip Tree Creamery in Indiana, is small in size but full of beefy flavor. I love to pair it with funky ferments, like some curried cauliflower from a recipe by Phickle. It’s also a great cheese to enjoy alongside Belgian-style beers. I found this guy at Di Bruno Bros., but you may also be able to find it at other specialty cheese shops. If not, select an Epoisses or a hunk of Taleggio.