Colleen has been eager to try the new bistro menu at La Fromagerie since it debuted last fall, and when she finally made it there for a meal last week, she had a special guest with her – me! In town for a whirlwind work trip, I managed to squeeze in an extra day so I could visit some of my favorite people and places, and there was no question where we’d go for lunch on my way to the airport. And on a stormy afternoon, there is nothing more comforting than a hearty cheese plate, warm soup and good company.
We restrained ourselves and ordered a three-cheese plate that represented three categories: soft, stinky and blue. My sister Mandy, who joined us, was pleased her stuffed nose prevented her from fully experiencing the stink, but Colleen’s daughter E had a fine time literally licking the cheese from our knives (the non-sharp end, of course). We feasted upon:
Sofia (Capriole Farmstead, IN) This creamy goat cheese could easily draw comparisons to perennial C+C favorite Humboldt Fog, with its mild flavor and layers of vegetable ash running through the paste, but it’s a little less lemony and a tad more salty. We had to fight off E to get our fair share of Sofia.
Caveman Blue (Rogue Creamery, OR) We adore all Rogue cheeses, and the raw-milk Caveman Blue is no exception. It expertly balances the umami tones of a finely aged blue with the fruity sweetness that keeps the blue flavor from becoming overpowering. Pairing each bite with a dried apricot or fig spread made for an even better tasting experience.
Hudson Red (Twin Maple Farm, NY) Here’s our stinker! Raw-milk Hudson Red gets its pungency and bright orange rind from a brine containing B. linens. Its funkiness, dense, pliable paste and toasty flavor were well-matched with a crisp apple slice.
With some other fruits and crispy flatbreads – and, of course, glasses of bubbly – we had one of the most satisfying lunches a cheese lover could ask for. Colleen also enjoyed a bowl of stinging nettle soup with a swirl of goat cheese, while I nibbled on some steamed asparagus. We both dipped into E’s decadent, buttery, bread-crumby mac and cheese. Cheers to Sebastian and Mary for putting together a bistro menu that hits the spot!