When I was a kid, I hated blue cheese. Of course, I only tasted it in Marie’s blue cheese salad dressing, probably not the best benchmark with which to make a decision, but we were not a culinarily sophisticated family, so I was pretty blindered, foodwise anyway.
I didn’t have my eyes opened until my early twenties: I took a couple of visiting French girls wine tasting in St. Helena. At V. Sattui, we bought a bottle of wine, some cheese and a baguette, then sat out on the big lawn in the summer afternoon sun. This was back in the days when wine tasting was still free, and we had tasted plenty, so we all felt pretty good. So, we opened the wine and one of girls spread some cheese (blue cheese) on a piece of baguette, handed it to me with a little plastic tumbler of wine and bid me eat. So I did. I mean, she was pretty and French, so who was I to complain about the stinky cheese product in my hand. Ever since then I have been addicted to decent blue cheese, especially when it’s on a decent baguette.
The key word here is decent. (Another digression approaching, here.) In the course of a year, I lived and worked in Paris (in 2000 and 2001) for about seven months, not all in one shot, but trips broken up in lengths ranging from two to eight weeks. I learned a lot: what lousy mobile service plans we have, what a closed and intimidating health care system we have, that there are places in the world where people actually look at each other on the street and acknowledge each others existence, what it is like to be openly flirted with by strange and beautiful women. Ah, so many valuable things. And I learned that I had been oblivious to many things about our food, like what lousy beer and lousy cheese we have. I just didn’t know.
Until recently, I had pretty much given up on finding really great cheese at home, until local producers started making raw milk cheese. I kept finding better and better cheeses and had become a pretty happy cheese eater. ( I mean, when I eat cheese. The boy is watching his cholesterol.) And then I was offered a taste of some cheese as I passed an unassuming booth at the Grand Lake Farmers Market. I was totally floored. It was easily the best blue cheese I had tasted thus far in my life. I bought a small package and took it home, and I think I may have eaten the whole thing in two sittings.
This is creamy, rich, meltgentlyinyourmouth blue cheese. Their site says:
Creamy, layers of full flavor. All natural and made with raw milk, Original Blue is Kosher-certified, gluten-free and made with microbial (vegetarian) rennet.
And I completely concur. It has an excellent balance of Blue tang and softcreamy goodness. I like to spread some Original Blue on a piece of Rustic Baguette (my favorite, non-Dave-made baguette) from La Farine (my favorite boulangerie). These two products make even lousy red wine taste good. But pick a nice, well-rounded red, like a Cab, a Merlot, a Syrah. That’s it. A perfect luchysnacky repast.
Ah, where are the pretty French girls when you need them?