Monthly Archives: March 2012

Southern Cheese & Whiskey Fever

Abita on the teacher's table.

Abita on the teacher's table.

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.

Just add whiskey.

Just add whiskey.

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.

Topping the whiskies to capture aromas.

Topping the whiskies to capture aromas.

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.

Setting the tables

Setting the tables

My Class Notes

My Class Notes

Beer and Whiskey Selection

Beer and Whiskey Selection

SouthernCheeseKnives (1 of 1)

AC- After class

AC- After class

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?

1. Lambert Hoja Santa — one case from TBF arriving at FB on Friday (with cheese paper)
2. Capriole Kentucky Tomme — at CC Ferry Building
3. Sweet Grass Green Hill – ordered 2 discs from BR
4. Cumberland, Sequatchie — at Cheese Plus
5. Chapel Hill Calvander — Darren will deliver to CP
6. Looking Glass Chocolate Lab — ordered 1.5# from BR
7. Blackberry Farm Singing Brook — ordered 1.5# from BR
8. Sweet Grass Asher Blue — ordered 1.5# from BR

Classes Galore & California Cheese Fest

Sparklers, anyone?

Sparklers, anyone?

Well, readers, it’s been a heck of a last two weeks, and right now, I’m all about spreading all the [cheese] love possible. About two weeks ago my house was burglarized, and a fair amount was stolen- computer, camera, sentimental jewelry, etc. And some Moroccan hair oil and a pillow case (so if you see someone with luscious, sweet-smelling hair that looks like they had a good night sleep, call the Oakland PD). But alas, I have renters insurance, and although my claim involved a wealth of paperwork, having that insurance has been a godsend. A case of odd timing- the day after the burglary I was supposed to get my book manuscript back and had 3 weeks to edit it. Computer-less, I was in a little bit of a bind. But my lovely editor (bless her) held off for a few days until I got a replacement computer. So now I’m busting my booty editing to meet the new deadline for that and other things. Good news- the book draft is looking pretty good, for a draft! And, the other things that are keeping me busy are work related, and are fabulous. There are just a lot of them. And, hey, I’m healthy, and I ate an awesome plate of carnitas last night while sipping mezcal.

Alas, it’s been a very full couple of weeks. So in the middle of this fury, I’m very happy to announce today two things.

1  I’m teaching a ton of classes this spring (some listed below, more on way).

2- The California Artisan Cheese Festival is back. Yay local dairy and cheese education!

I’m very happy to be teaching these classes, and I’ll  have more to announce shortly. Plus, the Southern Cheese one will be a rare class- you don’t hear about this region’s cheese often, there’s amazing stuff to be tasted, and there’s moonshine to drink. Exciting points all over.  Second, I’m happy about the the California Cheese fest in Sonoma because it is a fabulous way to meet small-production cheesemakers, indulge in vast amounts of dairy, and take some classes. If I were free that weekend, I’d go. I highly suggest it. There will even be a cheesemaker there from Utah who milks Icelandic sheep.

CLASSES GALORE (more to come)

Southern Cheeses & Spirits, Mar. 25, Sunday: The Cheese School of San Francisco

Let’s name the great cheesemaking regions of the US: California,Wisconsin, Vermont,… Georgia? The South is indeed rising again. Creameries like Georgia’s Sweet Grass Dairy, Texas’ Mozzarella Company, and Alabama’s Stone Hollow are turning out great cheese and getting national attention for it. Cheese blogger and wine maven Kirstin Jackson will lead and pair her selections with her favorite Southern spirits.

Spring Sparklers, April 16th, Monday: The Cheese School of San Francisco

It’s springtime, the birds are chirping and the blossoms, blooming! Love is in the air. What better way to celebrate than with some milky nibbles, light sparkling wines, and hopefully, someone charming and attractive with whom to share in the bounty. This class is a fresh and lively guided tour through some of the best cheeses and bubbly wines spring has to offer. Charming and attractive date not included.

Summer Cheese & Wine, June 20th, Wednesday: The Cheese School of San Francisco

In summer, foodie daydreams linger on sunshine, fabulous cheese, and thirst-quenching wines. ‘It’s Not You, It’s Brie,’ blogger and oenophile Kirstin Jackson will lead you in a fantasy tasting of summer’s best. Think fresh and just ripe cheeses and light, fun wines. You’ll find some pairings to inspire your summer gatherings.


The California Artisan Cheese Festival


March 23rd- 25th

March 23rd- all the Friday Farm tours are sold out. Sign up quick for the Laguintas beer & cheese dinner.

The rest of the goods.