Cheese Tasting

The following is a piece written by Raven, our designer, organic guru, and to our surprise, a fantastic foodie. Bon appetit!

About a month ago we had a meeting about the cocktail event we threw at the Lampworks showroom last Thursday. We decided on a caterer serving local upstate and organic/sustainably harvested fare. When it came to a discussion of cheese and fruit platters, I found my arm flailing up in the air to volunteer for this job. I had visions of grapes suspended in air on invisible threads hanging like chandeliers in the lighting showroom; my mind was spinning and everyone looked at me with blank faces, slow to acknowledge my task.

To begin, we had a wine tasting the night before to select the best organics available to us. Diane buys Bonterra by the case for her casual drinking and entertaining, so that was definitely in. The next day I headed out with my shopping bags to the farmers market in Union Square, only to find it closed. My second favorite place to select fine cheeses is actually Whole Foods. Their selection is quite astounding and they do a great job of stocking local artisanal cheeses that really can out-do their brethren across the ocean. Though I could not find my favorite item that they sometimes carry (Sweat Grass Dairy’s Green Hill – the best Camembert I have ever had), but I had several other excellent cheeses to choose from. I chose to focus mostly on goat and sheep cheeses (although rarely introduced to public gatherings in any other form than the standard goat cheese log) due to the findings connecting a significant global warming cause to cows. I selected a coarse-ground pepper encrusted goat cheese round, Cowgirl Creamery’s award winning Mt Tam, Blythedale Farms Vermont Camembert, Cypress Grove’s otherworldly Humboldt Fog (I will also add that their lavender infused ‘Purple Haze’ is also incredible), and of course, Parmigiano Reggiano. To accompany this selection of cheeses I walked through the cracker aisle picking up poppy-seed cheese twists, rosemary wafers and other seeded crackers in a variety of forms and colors. This season is mostly known as the pear and apple season of fruit, which I threw in alongside pomegranate, black mission figs and Valencia oranges.

Being autumn and all, I couldn’t resist the idea of making a bobbing-apples inspired bowl of sliced apples infused in a marinade of fresh ginger, lemon juice and a touch of honey. An easy recipe and a real hit:

  • 4-5 Heirloom Apples of various colors and flavors (crisper are better)
  • 1 large chunk fresh Ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp Raw Honey
  • 2 Fresh-Squeezed Lemons
  • Directions: Peel ginger and slice thinly and add to 2 cups of water in a saucepan; bring to boil, then let simmer for 15-30 minutes. Add honey and melt; remove from stove and let cool. Core apples and slice into 8ths, emerging them into 2 cups of cool water and lemon juice as you work to prevent oxidation. Add the ginger infusion and let marinate for up to 3 hours in refrigerator or with ice cubes resting on top. Serve in a beautiful punch bowl with toothpicks on the side to grab the floating apples.

I had a lot of fun arranging crackers and figs, red and green grape stripes around a center bowl of chocolate truffles, black and white crackers surrounding a green apple on a black glass platter, and more! The platters served as great conversation starters for the event and expanded many people’s palettes as they were quick to find their favorites. The traditional Parmigiano block was hardly touched by the end of the night and to my happy disappointment, of the other cheeses there was hardly anything leftover for me to take home. It may have been a surprise to everyone who knows me that I was such a foodie, however it’s none such to me. I realized after this event that there isn’t a meal that I prepare that doesn’t involve some laborious work to arrange into a beautiful display of art work too good to eat!

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One thought on “Cheese Tasting

  1. Hey there Raven, great article…. it made me hungry. And, I just might use your recipe for the bobbing apples…. great idea. Sorry I missed the event.

    Great article too.

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