It was a whirlabout of a weekend, as I took my putushski off to the crisp skies above, and set my sails towards the San Francisco parts of the world. Yes, my old stomping grounds, and my hands down favorite alma mater,
The very mention of it elicits cheese mania within me, as a cheese education makes for a divinely delicious and memorable experience. The subject matter may be seemingly intimidating for some due to its steep "learning curd", however I always find myself quite thirsty and pluckystruck for a new lesson.
Glossy-sheened, milky plates adorned with sumptuous varieties included a satiny, spoonable cows milk variety, Harbison, by Jasper Hill Farms (seen here on left in bite-sized ramikin). It's as creamy as vanilla custard, and its bloomy gooeyness is kept together with the help of a few strategically-wrapped, spruce bark strips.
Txiki (meaning "little" in Basque) in the center is a raw milk rockstar, and a California cheese champion from Barinaga Ranch. I'd personally like to thank the good sheeptenders, for ensuring that the fruits of their flock supply this feasty-good, final product.
To the right is the sweet, fruity and famously nutty Montasio DOP (Protected Designation of Origin). This fantastic raw cow's milk from Italy is a gorgeous scrumpet made from two separate milkings. It tastes like a fresh mountain pasture, and I trust it would be smashing grated over pasta, or melted into a risotto.
I consider myself quite lucky to have been able to take another seat with a Cheese Champ of an instructor. Yes, Steve Jones, the man behind Portland's Cheese Bar, led the lessons with much gusto and splendor. After tucking away a championship at the 2011 Cheesemonger Invitational under his belt, he's truly the Big Cheese, and never a small fish, no matter the pond.
He'll be journeying down to the San Diego parts come Spring, and I just can't wait to show him the cheesy way around America's Finest City.
Additionally, I was delighted to meet fellow cheese queens and kings of doing things. My new friend, Chris, is launching his cheese operation late this year. He has a lovely cheese blog, Wedge in the Round, which can be found here.
I was delighted to meet the very Kirstin Jackson, a cheese scholar and published author.
You can find her beautiful blog and links to her book, It's Not Me, It's Brie here.
Lunch was lovely as ever with fresh Farmer's Greens and perfectly hand-sized sandwiches.
I'm always impressed with the cheese library of learning materials available in the classroom, but imagine my delight to see the international publication of my recent cheese article on the esteemed shelves of this fine establishment!
Kiri Fisher, co-owner of The Cheese School, was kind enough to gift me one of each of these fantastic postcards, only now I find myself longing for the remainder of the cheesy alphabet set.
Mr. Jones, slating and plating like a boss.
Our final flight of fancy followed with a lesson in plating. Here, we enjoyed Roquefort, a raw sheepy from France. Then a French mountain Comté, a pasture-fed cow's milk morselbit. We concluded our tasting with a real special treat, a Foster Lake Camembert, a raw goaty that tastes of homemade ice cream.
Of course, a trip up to the city by the bay is never complete in my books without a trip to the Mission District, and a proper visit to my dear friend Marshka, fierce Cheesemonger and awesome Aussie, down at Mission Cheese.
It's an itsy-bitsy cheese bar, with plenty of room for a handful of good company.
We had a great crew with my pal Peter, Co-Owner of Reno's Wedge Cheese Shop, joining us, and with my gal pal Katie Lassiter, a dear lass"iter" from my former CSI days.
Alas, my snappyquick visit to beautiful San Francisco has run its course, so I'm off now to warmer pastures, and to head back to wine school. This time for my Wine & Spirits Education Trust advanced diploma.
The halls of academia are insanely delicious.
Now, why did I study Organic Chemistry?