Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 748 : Dressed up Cheeses for a Dressed up Evening

Last night as we all know was the Oscars -- the biggest night in movies, period. The dresses, the high-jinx, the host, the winners, the losers -- there's something just so fabulous about the spectacle surrounding the Academy Awards that I feel is lost in other award shows -- a very special "je ne sais quoi."

Truffles and champagne, decadence is how you should enjoy watching them. A curated tasting of truffle cheeses from both near and far was on the menu for last night. I'd like to specifically focus on two of the cheeses here:

First off let's start with Wild Boar hailing from Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse in its namesake city, Charleston. Each and every cheese is crafted by hand with love and care -- in fact our tasting last night was one of the first times their cheeses had been shipped to New York City, let's only hope this is the beginning of their popularity in the Northeast. Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse crafts Wild Boar and Battery Park, both bloomy rind cow's milk cheeses modeled loosely on their interpretations of Brie and Camembert style cheeses. Wild Boar's creamy oozy gooey paste is separated by an excellent center of Oregon black truffles.

Did you know that the Oregon truffle is sometimes confused for the Perigord truffle or otherwise known as the Black Diamond, the truffle that people really want from across the pond? Well the Oregonian version is less than one tenth of the price but still infuses a fabulous rustic, mushroomy, decadent, earthy punch. So why not right?

One of the many things that stands out in this cheese is the fact that not only are the pieces of black truffle larger than what one normally tends to see infused in creamy cheeses, they are cut randomly as the cheesemakers see fit. The mixture of the fresh honest milky buttery qualities of the melt on your tongue cheese with the rustic, mushroomy, earthy, fruitiness of the truffles is just a plain and utter delight. This is small production artisanal cheese done splendidly -- if you haven't tried it yet, I recommend you do!

And what of our other cheese?

Let's move over to the West Coast to Mt Townsend Creamery to be exact, located in Port Townsend, Washington. The North Olympic Peninsula's first artisan creamery, Mt Townsend is truly imbued with the local terroir coupled with a sense of innovation and gumption. That sense of adventure shows through in each and everyone of their delectable cheeses. Mt Townsend crafts approximately ten different cheeses ranging from Fromage Blanc's to washed rind Toma's, to jack style cheeses to Camemberts and other bloomy rinded cheeses, of which Trufflestack is one. Trufflestack starts with the base of Seastack -- named for the rock formations along Washington State's coastline, this is a soft-ripened, bloomy rind cheese infused with vegetable ash. To become Trufflestack, one takes Seastack and infuses Italian black truffles and local sea salt to create this limited edition show-stopper of a cheese. The truffles are evenly dispersed throughout the cheese's paste providing you with an elegant smooth earthy, rustic mushroomy truffle mouth feel on each and every bite. The addition of sea salt here cuts through the weightiness of the interior creamy paste providing you with a light yet round and full bodied cheese with a denser paste to it, less melt on your tongue and more coat the entire mouth excellent sort of feel. True Pacific Northwestern cheese done to impress -- delicate and wonderful all rolled into one.

Two totally different interpretations of bloomy rinded cheeses infused with truffles - one with a center truffle line and one with the all around infusion of truffle. Each was wonderful and provided an intricate thought out artisanal flavor profile that will delight each and everyone who has the pleasure of enjoying them.

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