There’s no recipe with this post, but it is a food I highly recommend sharing with your holiday guests.
It’s the most amazing cheese ever made. Now I haven’t tried every cheese ever made, but I have tried a lot.
In 2004/2005, my husband and I lived in England while he pursued his MBA at the University of Birmingham. While there, I worked at a Paxton and Whitfield, a cheese shop/cafe at an upscale mall in the city (which, sadly, is no longer there. But they still have other locations in the country).
The job was great – I met fantastic people, made a little money (and I do mean little) and ate amazing food. At the front of the cafe was an approximately 250-square-foot refrigerated room that held dozens of types of cheese, from enormous wheels of cheddar – which is nothing like the yellow rubber sold in American grocery stores – to pungent blues. Five days a week I ate cheese, and loved nearly all of it. Shropshire blue, Montgomery’s Cheddar and Ossau Iraty were favorites. It was hard to get past the horrific smell of Tallegio, but I tried it once or twice.
The best of them all was a triple cream called Vignotte.
My co-worker, who is now one of my dearest friends, and I would treat ourselves every now and then to a sandwich of Vignotte with aubergine and mango chutney on thick slices of the softest white bread ever made.
When my husband and I moved home, we set about looking for local cheese shops. Luckily, there are several great cheesemongers in San Luis Obispo County. Paso Robles has the fabulous Di Raimondo’s Italian Market and Cheese shop, and San Luis Obispo has the lovely Monterey Street Wine Company.
It was at the latter that we found it. My husband and I stop in the shop from time to time to pick up a couple of cheeses. I was always on the lookout for triple creams, and one day, there it was.
It’s glorious. Creamy and salty and buttery and rich. Pair it with a baguette, and I’m pretty much in heaven.
My fabulous husband surprised me this past Friday by bringing home a nice chunk of Brillat-Savarin from 15 degrees C in Templeton (another of our fabulous local wine and cheese shops). And while I’m not typically a big beer drinker, it does go well with this cheese. So next to my favorite cheese was my favorite beer – Leffe, a Belgian ale.
Sadly, these photos don’t do the cheese justice. By the time I thought to take pictures, we had eaten most of it and photos of mostly-eaten cheese aren’t very pretty. And no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t capture the snowy white rind.
But if you are thinking about serving cheese at any upcoming holiday events, I strongly recommend this one.
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