Feliz QuesoMás!

I went out with some friends from work tonight. Among them were Kiri & Ms. Fox Hill who had joined me for a previous tasting in the park last week, as well as Fox Hill’s beau Kenne. They are fond of Nai, a Galician tapas restaurant down in the East Village. While much of their menu is not that veggie-friendly, they do offer a tabla de quesos, or cheese plate, which I am always keen to order.

ctmy63-tabla de queso

The menu lists it as featuring Manchego, Idiazábal, Murcia al Vino, Roncal, Tetilla, and Cabrales. As you can see from this image, the lighting in this place is quite dim. I had to hand my new camera over to Mr. Kokos, who knew how to get Bianca to behave and secured this more steady shot. In addition to the cheese, there were apple slices, a few grapes, and some quince cubes for pairing.

We were washing everything down with Nai’s deliciously intoxicating Blueberry Pomegranate Champagne Sangria. Because of this, I can’t say that I paid the careful attention owed to this smorgasbord of cheeses, but there were none that I disliked. I believe that’s Roncal sitting in the shallow dish of olive oil in the middle. We asked our server if he had a favorite, and he told us the Tetilla was made close to his home in Galicia. While his English was limited, his accent was delightful!

I suspect we will be back for more sangria, queso, and sexy accents in the future! Also, CTMY aims to continue on in 2016, so check back in the new year for new posts. In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very Merry Cheesemas!

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Cheesemastime is Near…

I am easily called back to TJ‘s by its siren song (AKA Fearless Flyer) especially around any holiday period, like Pumpkinpalooza in October. Come December, there are a plethora of peppermint-enhanced products that hit their shelves. But in carefully combing through the most recent FF, I spied a new cheese that simply had to be sampled, Sticky Toffee Cheddar!

And then, I was near the Flatiron this past weekend, so I had to pop into Beecher’s again. My initial visit a few weeks ago had in fact been prompted in part by hearing of a certain cheese, and thinking it would be a good one to feature on the blog. In November though, Yule Käse had not yet hit their shelves, but it was there, this time–huzzah!

While I certainly could have unwrapped these two holiday hunks at home, I decided, in the seasonal spirit of giving, to take them into the library where I work. I was now prepared with my new camera (yay!) so I didn’t need Perlagrigia to join me, but I invited her anyway because her face always lights up at the mention of cheeeeese. Unfortunately, it turned out that she had caught the nasty cold going round our building. And if there comes a time that one doesn’t enjoy cheese, it’s when one can’t really taste it due to stuffed sinuses. Blergh.

I thought I might postpone the tasting to next week, but then I made impromptu plans to have lunch in the park with some colleagues including DiVino, who had joined Perlagrigia & me a few weeks ago at another tasting. Also in our picnicking party were Kiri and Ms. Fox Hill. We found a sunny spot on some rocks and situated ourselves there.

ctmy61-yule käse & sticky toffee cheddar

We munched upon the variety of lunchables we’d brought with us and then as our communal meal progressed, I opened up the cheeses and encouraged everyone to try them. On the left is the Yule Käse, which is Beecher’s Flagship cheese aged in red wine and blackberry honey. You can sort of see how these two products dye the edge of the wheel. It’s not very sweet and of the two cheeses, it was definitely the milder one. Beecher’s claims one can taste nuts, caramel, and the floral tones of the honey and berries. I’m not sure I sensed all that, but we definitely scarfed this one up.

On the right is the Sticky Toffee Cheddar. It’s based off the famous British dessert Sticky Toffee Pudding. The cheese-dessert hybrid features cheddar blended with dates, raisins, and toffee pieces. To the right, is a ctmy62-sticky toffee oatcakecloser look. I had brought back what remained of the Scottish oatcakes that we used when sampling the Moliterno last month and I think that was a good idea, to have something quite the opposite to contrast the unique flavor of this cheese. While it may sound bizarre in description at first, I would almost compare it to one of those blended cream cheese spreads with some kind of nuts and raisins, except here the Cheddar, in place of the cream cheese, is a lot more sharp and less sweet. And yet, it did work! We found ourselves eating more and more of the STC and when I asked for feedback about it, most everyone remarked it was “good”. Only DiVino seemed to be on the fence; she said it was “interesting”, which at least in my mother’s book means “um, I don’t really like it”. I’m not sure if that was the case here or not 😉

But I am reasonably sure I, or another turophile contributing to this blog, will get up to some more cheesy fun during the holidays, so keep checking back to see where we went and what we tried. Happy Cheesemas!