New York: Where the Cheese Never Sleeps
True, the year-round produce isn't as good (hello seasons!) as in California, and snow flurries aren't as cute as they sound when experienced in thirty degree east-coast weather, but in spite of New York's downfalls, I fell in love with the city again. Could have had something to do with the food. Not only do the city's best restaurants all serve perfectly cooked bone marrow, the place is rampant with damn good wine, beer and cheese.
What follows is a photographic tour of my fromagical cheese experiences in New York city. I got to gaze into cheese caves (although not pictured here, I was also able to check out Murray's caves), sit in on a class with Max McCalman of Artisinal, visit the best cheese shops in New York city and Brooklyn, and taste my little heart out.
I also got to meet some fantastic people outside of the dairy world, such as Olga of SassyRadish, Zen of Zenchef and Mel of Cook and Craft. But that is a bit blurry because of my lactose-induced haze. Thus begins the photo tour, with a special thank you to the incredibly funny and generous fromagier Tia Keenan, who pretty much arranged nearly every cheese step I took and who has more boots than Bloomingdales in winter.
Sitting on on Artisinal's Iberian Cheese class, I was able to sample Ibores, Los Beyos, the best Evora I've ever tasted, Roncal, Garrotxa (which I'm convinced that Max McCalman never leaves home without, as it seems to appear on nearly everything he touches), and La Peral.
Class set up (complete with imported meats from Despana company). Go Iberico pig!
Formaggio Essex imports directly from some of the best cheesemakers in Europe. Check it out. And, they have two of the most lovely and passionate cheesemongers in the city working behind the counter who I was lucky enough to work with at Oakland's Pasta Shop. They'll tell you what you need to know.
Bklyn Larder is a shop packed to the brim with high-end cheeses and provisions, including the Von Trapp family's "Oma" cheese, and is run by a super nice man named Sergio who can lead you directly to the Salvatore ricotta, no questions asked.
Lucy's Whey is a little cheese shop in the Chelsea Market that has been open for three months. This is the only place where I tasted Dunbarton Blue, a blue/cheddar made from two brothers in Wisconsin (who look so wholesome there's no way they ever crossed state lines) that tastes divine and looks like a... brain.
One other shop that I wanted to visit but instead ended up kicking myself over missing, was Saxelby Cheese. Also in the Essex market, it had some of the best, ripest, sexiest Twig Farm cheese that I've ever seen.