June is zipping right by and our band of cheesemongers are busily looking ahead to the next big excuse to eat, drink and be merry. No, no, not tonight, but on the 4th of July! So we put our curd-crazed heads together to suss out what the heat of summer says to us, culinarily-speaking.
Adam Strand, from the Cotati cheese counter is mad for cheddars. He’s currently sweet on the Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar. “This English-style cheddar from Modesto here in California has gone off to beat actual English Cheddars ( in cheese competitions). The cheese is wrapped in bandages and aged well over 18 months. It is deliciously sharp and just a bit nutty with a little hint of earthiness. It’s got just the right amount of crunch in it that you want from an aged cheese like this. Nothing’s better in my opinion than biting into a nice piece of aged cheddar and being greeted by the wonderful little protein crystals good aged cheeses should have, like this one.”
Karen Uriarte from the Stony Point counter is a long-time local cheesemonger and Francophile.
“Right now I’m loving Tomme Dolce. Made by one of our favorite local cheesemakers, Soyoung Scanlan, of Petaluma’s Andante Dairy. This is one of her lesser known cheeses, made from sweet goat’s milk. It’s only available in late spring and late fall. Aged for over 3 months, this handmade wheel is washed with plum conserves and brandy, giving it a sweet, deep flavor. The aging of the wheel turns it into a semi-firm cheese that is delicately salty to sweet and lingers on the tongue.”
Catie Stone, a Cotati cheese monger who loves to cook, is ready for summer flavors and grilling. “Halloumi is a mixed milk cheese, most traditionally goat and sheep. Due to the very high melting point this cheese grills and fries beautifully. The flavors are salty and tangy when fresh and rich and buttery when grilled or fried. It’s a fun substitution in a caprese salad grilled or fresh, or try it on caprese kabobs! Our Halloumi uses vegetable rennet making it perfect for a veggie burger – try this with a balsamic reduction!
I highly recommend a watermelon and tomato salad with fried Halloumi; a touch of cracked pepper and a splash of olive oil gives you a light and refreshing summer salad. Traditionally, Halloumi is flavored with mint. Take it to the next level with a basil mint dressing perfect for adding a jazzy note to any dish.”
Robert Deakins, head cheese whiz from Stony Point, is a foodie with a penchant for fine caviar, charcuterie and other delights. “What I like to bring out for the Fourth of July…When I’m entertaining for the holiday with the “BANG,” I enjoy sharing the Pecorino Toscano Fresco by Il Forteto. This is a semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese from Italy. It has this buttery complexity with a nice balance of sweet saltiness. Along with the cheese, I pair it with a green olive spread by Genovese Specialties located in our Italian Harvest section. I slice the cheese in a triangle wedge and dollop a small amount on the slice to create a great sensation on your palate. Try it and enjoy!!”