My favorite food to eat, but not cook myself, is great artisanal cheese. Tasting different kinds of cheeses is a great joy in my life. Last Friday I had a wonderful experience dropping by The Cheese Cave in Red Bank, NJ for their weekly $5 BYOB cheese sampling event.
I had already visited The Cheese Cave last week when my boyfriend and I stopped in Red Bank on the way down to our shore house. The proprietor had seen us peering in through the store window and accommodated us more than 20 minutes after their official closing time; we ended up leaving with a wheel of Kunik, a decadent triple creme goat and cow milk blended cheese from Nettle Meadow Farms in Warrensburg, NY. We devoured it in under an hour with a french baguette and a few sliced pears. The next Friday, on the way back down to our last weekend at the shore, we returned with a bottle of Bordeaux in tow, ready to sample more incredible cheeses and mingle with the local food enthusiasts.
The spread was impressive, and highlights included a gouda from Holland that had been aged 4 years, a smooth and spreadable Roquefort, and a chewy Carmody that would be great in a sandwich. My personal favorite of the tasting was the Midnight Moon, a white goat gouda from Cypress Grove Creamline that packed a fresh and nutty flavor. The enthusiastic proprietor and cheese monger paired the cheeses with a scoop-able raw honey comb, various chutneys, sliced dried figs and a tangy cured meat- I didn’t catch the details on what kinds, but it all tasted amazing. For just 5 bucks, to taste all of these incredible cheeses and drink any delicious wine of your choosing, this turned out to be a really great deal.
Of course, we did not walk out of there empty handed. The friendly cheese monger heard of our appreciation for goat cheeses and let us sample two that we had never tried. The first was the Truffle Tremor, another winner from Cypress Grove Creamline, which is enhanced by the sweet and salty goodness of truffles. Then, we were totally blown away by the next sample of Le Rove des Garrigues, a herbaceous French cheese made from the milk of goats that had been grazing in fields of thyme.
We were stuffed and dehydrated by the end of the tasting, but the next morning we awoke to this amazing cheese in our refrigerator and slathered it on a nutty 7 grain toast with a runny egg for breakfast. It was my last meal at our summer shore house, right before we packed everything up and cleared out, and it was absolute perfection.