It's big cheese!
Food For Thought
By Chef Tim Tibbits
We made our way to Florida again this week to take in the Gourmet Food and Wine show. As guests of the main hosts of the show we had access to a massive amount of ingredients from all over the world.
I love going to shows like this because each time I do, I find new inspirations for new dishes we can create. Anytime you get away from your normal routine, you can expand your view of both the world and its food options.
Modern food sometimes has the ability to transport people to a time not yet seen. That's why it can be such a special experience for people. It gives you a look at what can be when science, technology, creativity and tradition collide. However, there is something to be said for doing something good and sticking to it.
We had the unique opportunity to meet with some of the best cheese makers on the planet and talk to them about the products they dedicate their life to. The best of the bunch were truly something to behold.
We have used some of them in our cheese plate at Flying Fish and hope to use others in the near future. We tasted most of these cheeses previously, but not until you taste them all side by side with the cheese maker with you explaining the processes and methods do you really get enough insight to understand why it's so special.
This is one of the biggest reasons why I like to give people so much insight into our food at Flying Fish. It helps you to understand why it's so special.
Here are the best cheeses from the show in my opinion and not coincidentally, the ones with the best story.
Rogue Creamery, from Rogue, Oregon, in the USA is becoming world famous for their blue cheeses. They make many varieties and each one has its own unique characteristics and personality. I really enjoyed their Oregonzola as well as the Smoky Blue. Both were very different from each other. The Smokey Blue has an amazing depth of smoky flavor without becoming overbearing as some smoked foods can do.
However, their best cheese of the show was, without a doubt, the Rogue River Blue. An amazing aged blue cheese that is wrapped in pear brandy soaked grape leaves that macerate for 10 months before wrapping the cheese. It is then aged for one year before its release. This cheese was named the best blue cheese in the world twice at the world cheese awards and sells out very quickly. It is released once a year on September 27 (their anniversary date) and usually sells out within a month of release. I was very lucky to secure a wheel for Flying Fish. It will be coming out in November for our cheese dinner we are planning.
Another cheese that will make an appearance at our cheese dinner will be Point Reyes Blue. This was by far the smoothest and creamiest blue cheese I have ever tasted and is going to find its way into our menu. It will also be in the dessert course of our cheese dinner.
Point Reyes is a farmstead cheese company producing all their own milk on site. They have been a family owned and run creamery for 53 years.
The secrets of the Giacomini family have been passed down through generations to the current cheese maker, Lynn. We had the great fortune to talk with her for a while about the products and get some insight into the history of the farm and it's unique geography on the coast of California. I'm very excited about trying some of this cheese into some interesting recipes.
We spent a lot of time talking with a gentleman named Bob Reese. He is the owner and cheese maker at Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery. We have had at least one of his cheeses on our menu since we opened Flying Fish.
Every product they make is spectacular. They are primarily a goat milk based cheese company and each of these cheeses will change your perceptions of what goat cheese is; incredibly deep, developed flavors in each of their cheeses. Our favorites were definitely Bonne Bouche and Cremont. Each of these is a washed rind soft cheese that is nothing like the chèvre style goat cheese you may be familiar with and each with its own unique flavor, texture and aroma. Starting with the same milk, they create two different cheeses you would never guess were related. Amazing craftsmanship and one of the best things I've ever eaten.
OOur biggest surprise of the show was a creamery from Bogata, Columbia, which is making fresh water buffalo mozzarella that will change the way you look at mozzarella. Annabella is the world's only free range, grass fed water buffalo creamery. The buffalo are never confined, never fed grain and graze, on grass year round. The milk from the buffalo has double the fat content, half the cholesterol and twice the nutrients of a cow's milk cheese. This gives this cheese a unique flavor and mouth feel. High butterfat content gives a creaminess not achievable in cow cheese. We will definitely find a way to include this special cheese into our tasting menu of cheese. Then you can judge for yourself the difference in quality.
Getting to go to events like this is one of the benefits of our job. It helps us to see what is available out there for our customers and ourselves and makes us better at what we do. Hopefully we can pass on the knowledge of these amazing products and share them with you over the coming months at Flying Fish. In the meantime, you can always find a unique list of cheese and cheese preparations on our menu. Hopefully you'll come by soon and try them for yourself.
And, as always, if you have any questions or comments regarding any of these products and how to get them for yourself for your upcoming holiday entertaining, please email me at email@example.com.
© 2012 The Freeport News