Playing with Food – Cheese and Wine

My roommate David and I were doing some heavy duty housecleaning on Friday night and figured we’d have a yard sale on Saturday before dropping stuff off to Goodwill or The Salvation Army.  Saturday morning was bright and sunny here in L.A. (big surprise) and we spent most of the morning and a good chunk of our afternoon wheeling and dealing.  When it was over to our surprise we’d made over 100 dollars.  David and I are both huge fans of The CheeseStore of Silverlake and that money looked like cheese money to us.  We both said, “CheeeeeeeStore” and hopped into the truck to see how fast we could spend our yard sale money on cheese and wine.  Hey is there any better reason to have a yard sale than making cheese and wine money?

We landed in Silverlake within fifteen minutes and spent a marvelous time tasting, smelling and chatting with Chris, the proprieter and his lovely staff.  The CheeseStore has its own wine guy by the way who recommended an Australian sparkling white wine which we immediately grabbed two bottles of after taking a taste.  Here’s what we got with our yard sale money:

2 bottles of Puppeteer Austrailian sparkling white wine
Roasted Figs from Greece
Salted Marcona Almonds
Olives – House Mix
Mimolette Cow France – dark orange
Chimay  – Cow, Belgium $5.60 for 1/4 pound
Frommme De Sanoie Raw Cow France $4.50 for a 1/4 pound
Lavendar Cheddar, Cow – Oregon
Mature English Cheddar, Cow England
White Truffle Cheese, Soft
Drunken Goat Cheese from Spain

We added to the cheese tasting trays when we got home:
Strawberries
Blueberries
Pears
Fried Garlic Slivers
Olive Oil
Sesame Seed French Bread
Multi-grain Savory Crackers from Trader Joe’s

By the time we were finished, the glass coffee table in the living room was covered from end to end with plates of cheese, olives, almonds, baskets of bread and crackers, and fruit.  The the fun began.  We started playing with food, combining various cheeses with the other accroutements on the table and oohing and ahing over the really great combos.  I always find it amazing how one thing can completely change the chemical makeup of another and either bring out, hide or pollute the taste.  The science geek in me just goes into a weird kind of geek zone and waxes rhapsodic about chemical changes in food till people’s eyes glaze over and I take the hint and stop.

We fell in love with the Aussie wine.  Oh my god it was good!  Cold, crisp, dry, bubbly and packed a subtle punch.  We loved it so much we started Googling it to find out more about it.  Warning:  Googling Puppeteer wine will get you all manner of odd search results like The Wondrous Vulva Puppet and Puppet Monkey Bangs a Wine Bottle.  Oh and the vulva puppet was studded with precious gems and sold for $600.00 in case you’re wondering.  Between howls of laughter, we poured more wine and reluctantly left Google to focus on the cheese.

Not surprisingly, while tasting and drinking, I took notes of what different things did to the flavors.  Hey told ya I was a geek.  Here’s some of my notes from the evening.

Chimay – blueberries made it insanely good, strawberries kinda meh, garlic raised to heaven, figs made it bitter

Lavender cheese, cracker and garlic – insane amazing the cracker gives texture and even though its a savory cracker the taste hides, the burst of flavor is a pop of cheddar, and then intensely lavender, the garic an echo

Fromme de Sanoie – went well with olives, olive oil, pear, finished well with marcona almond

Borschetto al Tartuffo – Truffle cheese – amazing on its own, blueberry, brightened the flavor of the truffle, strawberry doesn’t help, garlic doesn’t do anything

Wine is perfect when just about to go to slush

Other things we talked about when replete with wine and cheese were maybe having a Twitter Strangers with Cheese/Cheese Ups in the spirit of Meet-ups and how I wanted to try making a Lavender grilled cheese sandwich with blueberries, fried garlic, crackers inside the sandwich for extra crunch on grainy whole wheat bread.  I’m so trying that!

By the way, we now host a yard sale every weekend to support our cheese habit.  The last one netted us a half pound of Stinky Bishop, more of the Chimay, some $50.00 a pound 10 year old aged English cheddar that melted in our mouths, a lovely Maytag blue and more Puppeteer.  We did NOT Google again.

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