Southern cheese, my friends, has arrived. Or rather, it has been thriving, and the rest of us are finally noticing its presence. This last Sunday I taught the Cheese School of San Francisco’s first Southern Cheese & Spirits Class. Quite an honor. It was great. We ate. We drank. We marveled at the jug of corn whiskey.
The idea of the class arose one day when I was telling Kiri Fisher, co-owner of the Cheese School, how excited I was about the region and its dairy goodness as a result of my cheese book research, a friend from Tennessee who’s introducing me to its bounty, and a new distributer to the bay area bringing in southern cheese. We were chatting right before I was about to start teaching a class, and I was just rambling my little heart away when Kiri said, “You know, I like the idea of a southern cheese class.”
Although southern cheese is thriving in the south, it’s still hard to find a lot of the small production stuff around here. Plus, it’s spring, when many mama animals need more of the milk that might otherwise go into our cheese to feed their young- there’s just less of the small-prouction cheese around in general. So to source enough cheese, we had to diversify. We ordered four of the eight cheeses from my friend Kathleen Cotter who owns The Bloomy Rind in Nashville, Tennessee (beautiful cheeses, arrived in perfect condition, even though they were FedExed all the way from Nashville). We ordered others through Darren, the owner of Cream and the Crop cheese distribution, and Tomales Bay. All beautiful.
And did I mention we served booze? Whiskey heaven, plus New Orlean’s own Abita beer.
1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, Templeton Rye Whiskey, Platte Valley Corn Whiskey (a.k.a especially tasty legal “moonshine”), Abita IPA.
Here’s a a little look at our favorite pairings from that night.
1. Lambert Hoja Santa ♥ St. Abita IPA & Platte Valley corn whiskey
2. Capriole Kentucky Tomme ♥ St. Abita IPA & Platte Valley corn whiskey
3. Sweet Grass Green Hill ♥ Platte Valley corn whiskey
4. Cumberland, Sequatchie Cove ♥ Templeton Rye Whiskey, Platte Valley corn whiskey
5. Chapel Hill Calvander ♥ St. Abita IPA, Templeton Rye Whiskey
6. Looking Glass Chocolate Lab ♥ Platte Valley corn whiskey, Templeton Rye Whiskey
7. Blackberry Farm Singing Brook ♥ 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon
8. Sweet Grass Asher Blue ♥ 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon
Moonshine shined bright, folks. A lightly oaked pure corn whiskey stole the pairing show.
Again, thanks to The Bloomy Rind for getting us amazing cheeses at the drop of a hat!
What are your favorite southern cheeses? What do you drink them with?