Today Carla and I bought our first puppy! It's a golden doodle (golden retriever and black poodle mix) and he's very cuddly and lovey. To celebrate we had a special cheese plate with three of my favorite cheeses. First is Bonne Bouche, a soft-ripened goat cheese from Vermont with an ash coating and wrinkly, geotrichium rind. It's very creamy, almost to the point of melting lusciousness on the tongue.
Then we have Sbrinz, a hard, grate-able cheese from Switzerland. Sbrinz is what Parmigiano Reggiano aspires to be. Parm is made with skimmed milk and normally aged two years. Sbrinz is made with whole milk and aged 3-5 years. It's bone hard, savory, and intense, with flavors of broth, walnuts, and brown sugar. I love it. Only one Sbrinz maker produces Sbrinz this good (and then has the esteemed Rolf Beeler age it), and that cheesemaker is on the verge of retirement. I'm not sure what will happen to this cheese after he leaves the game, but I'm hoping he's training an equally capable successor.
And then we had Tomme Vaudoise, which is usually awesome with a hauntingly long finish. Sadly this little cheese had a bad run. It was totally over-ripe and ammoniated. Poor little cheese.
In the background you can see another loaf of bread using the Lahey method. This time I used 50% whole wheat flour and rolled it in wheat bran. The wheat flour didn't make the bread dry or dense at all, so I'm going to crank it up to 100% wheat flour next time and hope for the best. The wheat bran was a nice crust, but not as crisp and crunchy as rolling the dough in flour. Carla really wants me to try to make a dense pumpernickel with lots of walnuts, but that be better next time we have some smoked salmon or homemade gravlax.
It was a delicious spread, all the more because of the lovely little furball beside our feet.