As I’ve mentioned in the past I’m no expert when it comes to cheese. I tend to have my everydays (Muenster/US, Mozzarella/Italian, Ricotta Salata/Italian) and my party buys (Taleggio/Italian, Cambozola/German). I guess I’ve been influenced by my stint at Vivande Porta Via in San Francisco. It took an invitation to a Cheeses of France Marketing Council cocktail reception to get me out of my comfort zone and into a much happier place indeed. I learned that day that I can eat a lot of cheese, but more importantly I walked out with a list of wheels I’d like to see more of.
I’ve already recently been turned on to Port Salut, but now I know I love these other French soft cheeses: Chaumes, Fromager D’Affinois and Soumaintrain; And also this semi-soft: Fol Epi. Each is subtle, intriguing, and with a decadence that will impress your friends. I’ll probably never buy brie again now that I can get Fromager D’Affinois at Whole Foods for just $12.99 a pound. I go for the cow’s milk variety, but it also comes in goat.
I served it on crackers with a strawberry pinot noir jam I picked up on a wine tasting in the Willamette Valley last week. I also grabbed a few bottles of a tasty pinot gris at Benton Lane Winery, but the jam is truly a show stopper. Not your pb&j jam. I also sliced up some Creminelli Salami from Salt Lake City. I had read a lot about this salumeria in my food magazines, and now we can get their wares at Whole Foods. Do not pass by the display! I don’t want to write this, because as it is my favorite type is often sold out, but the simple salt and pepper variety is the best.
Next time maybe I’ll invite someone over to share in this spread. Maybe.