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Cheese, Ham, Wine and Friends

October 7, 2010

On Saturday night we had our neighbors Deb and John over for some cheese, ham and wine brought home from NYC the day before from Murray’s Cheese Shop. The run-down: mouthwatering, “Surryano” Ham from Surry, VA (Take that, Serrano!). The Virginia-native Surryano, unlike it’s Spanish cousin, has a hickory-smoked finish that is perfected over more than 400 days of aging and, dare I say, is more complex in its combination of smokey, buttery and salty…way to go USA on stepping up your fine aged ham production! And from Virginia, no less! If you’re in NYC, next time you stop into Murray’s, ask to taste a slice!


Before Dinner

The cheeses:

Black Label Cambozola: Germany, Pasteurized Cow,  Brie-style Blue. We paired it with Bowman Honey.

Quadrello di Bufala: Italy, Pasteurized Water Buffalo, creamy and slightly strong. Fig Jam from the local Mennonites at the Country Canner.

Leonora: Leon, Spain, Pasteurized Goat, pretty darn tart & creamy with an ashed exterior–considered a “farmstead” cheese, as it’s made from a single herd. Our pairing choice was Strawberry-Raspberry Jam, also from the Country Canner.

Last but not least, by far the star of the cheese board, Roomano, aged three years. The cheese monger at Murray’s, after I had made my selections, asked that I try just one more. As he slipped me a huge chunk of golden, flaky, almost dry cheese, I wondered what could be so special about a Romano–and what did I learn? NEVER underestimate a well-aged hard cheese. And don’t confuse Romano with Roomano. Roomano is in fact, more like a good aged Gouda. As I slipped the golden nugget into my mouth, he looked at me and smiled. “Tastes like butterscotch, right?” YES! That was it! Truly, if a cheese ever tasted like butterscotch, this was it!!! I’ll take some of that please! I think this is the moment that all cheese mongers live for, that moment where the buyer and seller for a moment leave their respective roles and become, simply, in awe of the magic of cheese. And by far, I was in awe–and Jason, Deb and John agreed! I took a risk with pairing here; I had always wanted to try Buckwheat Honey from Washington by Bee Raw–it looks so attractive in its dark, mysterious thickness in the jar. It’s description on the jar: a brown-black stout and complex honey, hints of mossy earth… not for the weak of heart. Mossy earth and butterscotch? A brilliant burst in your mouth!

After Dinner...

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jewells permalink
    October 13, 2010 4:49 pm

    That’s one sexy cheese board/tray if i do say so myself!

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