Last we checked in with Andrew Steiner of Andrew's Cheese Shop, he was telling us that, like farmers' market produce, soft cheeses in particular are "seasonal" -- and that we were in the middle of the wrong season (it was January).
Now that we're in the middle of the right season, we circled back to the notoriously snarky cheese shop owner (Gouda love him) for a few of his favorite summer cheese picks. Get his picnic-friendly suggestions after the jump.
Squid Ink: When we last chatted, you were telling us that some cheeses are better in the late spring and early summer when cattle, goats and sheep are often eating fresher, better-tasting grass.
Andrew Steiner: Yes [smiles]. But it's July. June is probably still your best month.
SI: Ha. Fine. So what do you recommend now?
AS: Well, July is good, too. Winnimere from Jasper Hill Farm is smelly and gritty and really nice right now. It's this one here [pulls out the cheese]. It comes wrapped in [spruce tree] bark.
SI: Very cool. While we're on the topic of trees, what about that other one in the case that looks like a birch tree? What's that? Gorgeous.
AS: Oh yeah, the Tumin Rutulin. It's great, soft goat cheese from Italy. Piedmont. It's also a complete pain in the ass. It's rolled in [juniper] ash, so you have to cut it really carefully, or you'll get ash everywhere. If someone slices it with the wire [cheese] cutter and doesn't clean the wire -- and I'm probably the jackass who did that -- then someone else slices some brie and you've got black shit right through the center of your brie. But it's a really good cheese.
AS (continues): Also Roves des Garrigues from Provence, goat cheese. Great right now [Steiner pulls out a tray line with a half dozen small goat cheese crottins]. And Ticklemore, a British goat cheese. Don't forget that. Here, take the tasting notes.
SI: Ticklemore. Sounds like something in a British sitcom. Pretty funny. [As was Steiner's tasting card description of the cheese, below.]
The name Ticklemore, however poetic it may sound, is actually due to a misspelled street name. Robin Congdon once explained it as: 'The cheese is named after Ticklemore Street, and Ticklemore Street used to be called Picklemore Street. A picklemore is a hard track of land lying in a swampy marsh. We have one here in Totnes. Somebody messed up and replaced the P with a T.' Ticklemore has delicate, floral, lactic flavours with a coolness that reminds us of ice cream. Its texture is crumbly, moist and succulent. -- Neal's Yard Dairy
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Squid Ink note: Steiner likes to pair the Ticklemore with fruity red wines such as a light California Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. His shop also happens to stock a small but diverse selection of wines from Santa Barbara and Central Coast wineries (Melville and Tablas Creek among them). And if you're a Belgian-style beer fan, it's pretty evident that Steiner is, too.
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