Thursday, March 11, 2010
Chatting about Cheddar
You know I like to talk about Cheddar.
This blog wouldn't exist if I didn't!
But the on-line world of CheddarBound hasn't been my only platform for spreading the word about this cheese (if you can believe it!). In the past six weeks, I've been out and about, away from desk and computer, getting the message out there.
For two successive nights in early February, I ventured forth from suburban New Jersey, where I've been chilling as a slacker for the past seven months, to lead two cheese and beer tastings. The first was held at Murray's Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village. Twenty or so people attended the class and listened to fermentation guru Chris Munsey and me talk about "English Ales & Cheddar: Best Mates." Chris led the way with his potent selection of English Ales (by the end of the 1.5-hour class I was feeling no pain!), and I followed with information about six different clothbound cheeses (not all Cheddars, and not all from England): Kirkham's Lancashire, Appleby's Cheshire, Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, Blue Mont Cheddar, Quikes Cheddar, and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. The next night, I was on my own, but was very competently assisted by the staff of Jimmy's No. 43 in the East Village, where the tasting was held, and by my dear friend Rich Pinto, who cut individual portions of five different cheeses, Keen's Cheddar, Isle of Mull, Montgomery's Cheddar, Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, and Stichelton, while I was talking. All five dairies are located in the U.K., and I visited each of them during my 10-month Great Cheddar Adventure. That trip, in fact, was the subject of the evening's gathering. As well as tasting the cheeses (see photo above), the forty people who attended also sampled a cask ale from Somerset, a "hard" cider from New Hampshire, and an apple wine from Enlightenment Wines in the Hudson Valley. It was a lovely and lively evening, and I am so appreciative that Jimmy Carbone gave me a venue to share the stories of my travels with old friends and new.
After a two-week trip to Mexico during the final miserable days of February (I fortuitously missed two snow storms), I'm chatting about Cheddar again, but this time not far from the realm of cyberspace. For my employer, Sickles Market in N.J., I wrote an entry for their blog which is a new feature on their Web site, and this Sunday I'm heading back into New York, to Brooklyn, to be interviewed by the one-and-only Anne Saxelby on her weekly radio program, "Cutting the Curd," on Heritage Radio. You can catch us live from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. at http://www.heritageradionetwork.com/programs/14 or download the show at a later date.
My next speaking engagement won't be until mid-May, when I'll be teaming up with spicy cocktail expert Kara Newman to lead a seminar on monastic drinks and cheeses at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Until then, fair reader, is there anything in particular about Cheddar that you would like to read about in this blog? Do let me know!