Thursday, July 14, 2011

NorCal Cheese Plate

Northern California has become a major center of artisan cheese, so I always try to sample some when I'm in town. These cheeses come from all over the North Bay, but we got them all at the great local cheese section of Sonoma Market, the fabulous grocery store on Napa Street which carries all kinds of locally sourced food and drink.

This plate features, clockwise from the triangle at the top:

Cypress Grove Bermuda Triangle (Humboldt County). From the makers of Humboldt Fog, these little triangles have long been one of my favorites. Coated with ash, they are spicier tasting than the Fog but have the same creaminess as they age. I actually prefer the triangles to Fog.

Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk (Marin County). Long one of my local favorites, Red Hawk is a washed rind cheese. Buying them can be risky. When sold too young, they are chalky and raw tasting, but when just right, they are creamy and stinky like a French Epoisses. For best results, visit their dairy in Point Reyes or one of their shops, but in a pinch, I take a chance at Sonoma Market, which treats its cheese pretty well for a general market.

Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning (Marin County). This is a fresh cow cheese that's light and fluffy. It could easily substitute for ricotta in a lasagna or pizza or go in a salad with figs.

Nicasio Vallye Formagella (Marin County). A bloomy rind cow cheese. this one is quite mild but has a nice flavor, reminding me a bit of the Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery.

Not Pictured: Bellwether Farms San Andreas (Sonoma County). This is a hard, raw milk sheep cheese with a lovely, subtle flavor giving just a hint of sheep.

Sonoma Market
500 West Napa Street, Suite 550
Sonoma, CA 95476

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