I started my diet a few days before Sister arrived in Manila. In her suitcase were several wonderful “raw milk” cheeses mostly from Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut, a cheddar from the award winning Cabot Farms in Vermont, and some good butter. Raw milk as opposed to pasteurized milk cheeses are probably still quite rare in the U.S., but the best ones have traditionally come from Europe. On the same day that Sister arrived, a good friend texted to say she was sending a “goody” over from a recent trip of hers… and that “goody” turned out to be a spectacular ripe triple cream cheese studded with black truffle shavings from that legendary food store “Peck” in Milan. Yikes! Now what?
The following evening, we had a small dinner at home and for dessert we put out three of the cheeses and guests brought some wonderful grapes and strawberries to complement the cheese plate. I was salivating but managed with great difficulty to have just two thin slivers of triple cream with truffles on crackers. The cheese was SUPERB. Anyone who has read this blog for years knows I have a weakness for tripe creams, and they approach say “caviar status” in my list of indulgent, extravagant nibbles, so this was really an exercise in self-control. See these posts on triple creams here, here and here. This enormous wedge nearest you in the photo up top, was devoured by 4 people without any problems. They also ate half of the other cheeses on the plate. :)
Cato Corner Farm cheeses have been garnering the spotlight on the East Coast, and they are now being served at some of the chicest restaurants in New York and elsewhere, Artisanal, that temple of cheese in NYC, being one of them. They also sell their cheeses at the Union Square Market. They have odd names, since classic names such as camembert, roquefort, etc. are only used to designate particular styles of cheeses from particular areas in Europe. So while it takes some getting used to eating cheeses with names like Bloomsday, Desperado and Black Ledge Blue, the taste makes up for the quirky names. As for the butter, I am going to save it until I get off the diet so that I can slather a nice knob of it on a freshly toasted slice of bread with some jam as well… Will give you all an update on diet results in the next post. :)