Eat Cheese, Drink Beer, and Meet Celebrity Cheesemakers

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Flickr/ Yellowj
Get sharp with celebrity cheesemakers from around the state next Thursday.
For a gouda time, The Cheese School of San Francisco is hosting its annual Meet-the-Cheesemaker event next Thursday. Proceeds of the event will go to the California Artisan Cheese Guild, an organization dedicated to artisanal, specialty and farmstead cheeses made in the state.

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La Fromagerie Drops in Dogpatch

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Mary Ladd
Stroll, shop, repeat: with La Fromagerie moving into the same 'hood as Mr. and Miscellaneous, Poco Dolce and Little Nib, this increasingly morphing Third Street area is becoming an easy stop for gourmet goods. It's easy to get cheesy at La Fromagerie, which is housed in a light, sweet spot. The petite sized store from French Alps native Ruben Donze offers cheese of the European and domestic variety, charcuterie, escargots, fruity jams, Firebrand artisan bread and truffle mousse ($5.99).

See also:
- Two Cheese Plates That Educate
- Frog Hollow Pears and Bellwether Carmody Cheese: Best Hostess Gift Ever?
- Watch Talking Goats Dressed as Elves Sell California Goat Cheese

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Tonight: Try Dessert First at Mission Cheese

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Flickr/jen.rizzo
Mission Cheese.
Dessert First: Night Cheese Volume 7

Where: Mission Cheese, 736 Valencia (at 18th St.),
When: Mon., Nov. 25, 6 p.m.
Cost: $45 (purchase in advance via Brown Paper Tickets)

The rundown: The seventh installment of Mission Cheese's occasional evening events is certainly the sweetest. And while cheese as a culture (sorry) in general has numerous virtues as a whole to extol, one shining example is that its versatility is appropriate both for a meal's beginning and end.

See Also:
- Two Cheese Plates That Educate
- Burrata and Hand-Pulled Mozzarella Are Not Cheesy Trends
- Dandelion Chocolate: Now Open

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Burrata and Hand-Pulled Mozzarella Are Not Cheesy Trends

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Tamara Palmer
Burrata and frybread at State Bird Provisions.
Cracking into the year's umpteenth portion of burrata (fresh cheese made of mozzarella and cream), this time over frybread at State Bird Provisions the other night, and a trendy thought occurred. Like sliders or tacos, burrata has officially achieved near-ubiquity on San Francisco menus. But unlike those dishes, burrata's omnipresence is a most welcome wave, and we've yet to find a version around these parts that is not competent. Drape it over meatballs, in sandwiches, pasta, or bread, or just plop it on the plate -- and we're gonna come a-calling.

See Also:
- Turns Out a Giant Meatball Topped With Burrata Is 100 Percent Delicious
- The Corner Store's Fried Green Tomato Sandwich Makes a Cal-Southern Spectacle


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Two Cheese Plates That Educate

Categories: Cheese, Palmer

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Tamara Palmer
California flight at Mission Cheese.
Eating cheese in San Francisco can be more than just an exercise in indulgence, as we've learned from two recent meals designed to offer a crash course in the, um, culture of cheese through exploring commonalities as well as differences.

Mission Cheese offers flights ($12) of three cheeses that are divided by region; current options include California, Midwest, Vermont, and "Monger's Choice." The flights are accompanied by crostini, pickled vegetables, and fruit (apple or fig). The selections change daily, so there's always an opportunity to learn about new varieties. When it is brought to the table, you'll get some passionate descriptions akin to the recommendations behind the cheese counter at Rainbow Grocery (or in front of the CDs at Amoeba Music, to make a non-edible comparison).


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Central Coast Creamery: Taste-Testing Paso Robles' (and SFO's) Surprise Cheeses

Categories: Cheese

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Most airports continue to ignore the obvious truth that the feet that flow through their halls are connected to hungry people with both cash and palates -- and little interest in airports' plebeian gruel and fast-food fare. Fortunately, SFO has taken the bold step with the new Terminal 2 of actually having great food, even great packaged food. I spent a half hour wandering the aisles and saw many familiar labels from posts past, and even found a few new ones, including an artisan Cheese Company from Paso Robles.

I remember Paso Robles when the only entertainment was a karaoke machine that moved from bar to bar depending on the night, and the Paso Robles Inn -- your only real place to stay, there -- stretched the meaning of the term "Inn." Today Paso has an upgraded Inn and several high end competitors, plenty of restaurants, several of which are quite good, an array of wines well worth drinking, and a growing community of artisan retailers and producers, so cheese had to come along eventually.

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"Fat Bottom Girl" Cheese Makes the Dairy World Go Round

Categories: Cheese

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One great thing about Northern California: Whatever your foodie pleasure, there's always more of it out there than at first seems possible. We've lately discovered yet another great cheese out there in the hills: Fat Bottom Girl, spring cheese from Bleating Heart in Sonoma.

Like so many pursuing their crafts, founder and cheese maker Seana Doughty has a day job. Yet she went from zero farm or cheese experience to producing a very nice piece of cheese in less than a year. She also worked as a cheesemonger, founded a licensed sheep dairy (the fifth in California), and become President of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Quite a lot of sheep and cheese for a Sociology Grad from UCSD who still pays the bills as a research administrator for a scientific research institute. But let's talk about the cheese, which is excellent.

We tried two.


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Jasmine Smith Introduces Strong Cheese To San Francisco

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Jasmine Smith
A child of northern Wisconsin, Jasmine Smith grew up on a steady diet of processed cheese and Milwaukee's Best. "We used to get this cheese spread every year for Christmas that as a kid I liked but I now realize it was terrible!" Smith told us. 

 With her new venture Strong Cheese Provisions, she hopes to turn San Franciscans on to her holiday favorite by utilizing high quality cheese and local beer. Smith seems just the right person for the task. After stints at Cowgirl Creamery and Whole Foods, she is currently the cheese monger at Little Vine in North Beach and also writes the blog Beer at Joes with her husband Joe Ruvel.

Smith debuted Strong Cheese Provisions last August at the New Taste Marketplace but recently procured space in the JCC's kitchen, allowing her to ramp up production. "I've based it on fromage fort, the French cheese spread made from leftover cheese bits and wine. But since we're so into beer, why not make it beer?" she explained. Currently, Smith offers two variations, goat cheese with Telegraph Brewery's White Ale and three-year old Gouda with 21st Amendment's IPA.


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Mixed Milk Cheeses: The Tasty Joys of Combining Goat and Cow

Categories: Cheese
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Often, cheese makers blend milk from different animals to create flavors a single milk can't provide. La Tur, a three milk cheese (sheep, cow and goat) from Caseficio dell'Alta Langa in Italy, is an exceptional example.
 

But sheep- and goat-milk cheese producers blend milk for a functional reason as well: The animals don't produce milk year round. Sheep and most goats only breed during specific seasons (hence the concept of spring lamb), and pregnant animals don't produce much milk, because they have no new offspring to feed. It's a natural cycle.



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Bellwether Farms' Pepato Cheese: Whole Peppercorns Are Just Enough

Categories: Cheese

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Back when spice-trade fortunes first were made from what we now use as condiments, pepper was a semi-precious stone. The traditional salt-and-pepper pair up is said to come from salt's necessity -- before refrigeration it extended the life of foods better left for dead by masking their rancid flavor -- and pepper's place of pride. If you were fortunate enough to have pepper, you wanted everyone to know it. Pepper was the new car in the driveway of its day.

In modern times, whole peppercorns seem more something to avoid than embrace -- that's why we left the middle ages with grinders. Understandably, you might hesitate to find one in your cheese. But Bellwether Farms' pairing of firm, high-tang sheep's milk cheese and whole peppercorns works out perfectly. Perfect Pepato.


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