It feels only appropriate to celebrate cheese during the amorous month of February. In addition to being the main ingredient of one the most iconic romantic food symbols--the fondue pot--cheese-making is pretty much a craft of pure passion.
So this Valentine's season, perhaps on a break from writing odes, you should definitely treat yourself and celebrate the love that is cheese by enjoying the finest Valentine's inspired selections you can get your hands on. The following picks are suggested by some of L.A.'s best cheese vendors. All are enjoyable with both lovers and friends alike and, yeah, love at first bite.
La Brea Bakery recommends from their always quality line-up, a two cheeses from Andante Dairy, the small batch producer from Petaluma, CA. The first is the Minuet, a triple crème cheese, made of goat's milk and crème fraiche which pairs excellently with La Brea's fruit and nut or walnut bread. Try it with a chenin blanc to stretch out the flavor. For a sensational, firmer option, the Tomme Dolce is a goat's milk cheese washed in brandy with hints of honey, cinnamon and anise is great with all breads and chestnut or saffron honey. 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles; (323)939-6813
At The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, their Valentine's star is the Brin D'Amour, a softer, but not spreadable, young sheep's milk cheese from Corsica. Not only have the sheep been grazing on rosemary and therefore the milk elicits the taste, but the Brin's rind is then herbed in rosemary, juniper berries and chili pepper. This is a decadent cheese that is perfect with fig fruit pastes, dried dates, salamis and mousse pates. 419 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills; (310)278-2855
Froma On Melrose has Le Delice de Cremiers, the creamiest of creamy, in mind for the season of love. As Froma suggests, simply serve this rich dessert cheese with strawberries and it will taste just like strawberries and crème. And, of course, do not forget the rose champagne to make it a real celebration. 7960 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323)653-3700
For a cheese to luxuriate with, the Brillat Saverin is perfect for the season, according to the cheese pros at Joan's On Third. It's a soft, triple cream cow's milk cheese from Paris, the city of love where there is plenty of Champagne. Which is why it makes sens that this cheese pairs so beautifully with the bubbly. The creaminess give a mouth-coating satisfaction and the bubbles help to cut the fat. 8350 West Third St., Los Angeles; (323)655-2285
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Both Italian and US cheeses are synonymous with love at Cube Marketplace, where they recommend three cheeses that have all the right notes of Valentine's. The Red Cow Parmegianno Reggiano, made from the most prestigious of Parm-producing cow's milk in Italy, served with farmer's market apples and drizzled with 12 year balsamic, would be a wonderful start or finish to a meal. And La Tur, from Piedmont, is a very soft blend of cow, goat & sheep's milk cheese that pairs beautifully with a glass of the Italian sparkling wine, Franciacorta, and caramel pecans. The grand finale must have is a trio of Great Hill Blue, a cow's milk from Massachusetts, the big bodied red Amarone and nice dark chocolate. Sinful indulgence at its best. 615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles; (323)939-1148