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 DairySquid 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.