Sunday, April 12, 2009

La Fête du Fromage - Andante's Picolo

When it comes to my desert island food - you know, that "you're stranded on a desert island and you can only eat one thing for the rest of your life" type scenario - I think I would have a seriously tough time choosing between pork (all forms) and cheese. You've heard me go on and on about pork, so today it's all about cheese.

One of my favorite blogs, Chez Loulou, does a weekly "Fête du Fromage", a tasting and write up of one of the many, many French cheeses on offer (CL is based in the Minervois region of France). And each month, she opens it up to her readers and fellow bloggers, to submit their own fromage to fête. I've been meaning to come up with a post for a while now, but I really wanted my first to be one of the Andante cheeses. Only problem? They can be difficult to find outside of the Bay Area.

I first discovered Andante on a visit to the family up in Marin, at the Sunday Farmers Market at the Civic Center. They are a local dairy, making a variety of cow and goats milk cheeses, which are also sold at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in the City. In addition, they supply many Bay Area and SoCal restaurants and wholesale to a few stores, including Whole Foods. Which is where Noah and I stumbled upon their Picolo cheese down here in Los Angeles.

To say that I was excited to see this little cheese in my neck of the woods is an understatement. In fact, Noah practically shouted across the cheese section to alert me to its presence. He'd been through many an Andante cheesehunting expedtion with me down here, all fruitless.
But enough about the search, more about the cheese! Picolo is a triple creme, one of my favorite kinds of cheese. It's rich and, obviously, incredibly creamy. The flavor was nice and buttery, with a hint of mushroom and an underlying pleasant grassiness. The rind is edible and I enjoyed it, though it might be too agressive for some. We paired it with a nice Provencal rosè, but the Andante folks also recommend it with a Gruner Veltliner or other minerally, melony white. There was some sliced baguette to go along with it, but Noah and I ended up eating pretty much the whole round on its own.

If you're in California, check your local cheesemongers for this cheese. It's a lovely, rich, artisnal treat.


Jennifer said...

Triple crème! Heaven!

Thanks for joining in. I love hearing when people discover new cheeses.
If I were on a desert island I couldn't live without cheese either. :)

Sarah said...

So happy to finally get off my butt and put together a submission. It won't be the last!

Jennifer said...

Glad to hear that! Hope to see you again in May.