There are few things in life more satisfying than the first bite of something truly delicious. There are few things in life more comforting than when that first bite is full of cheese. Be it cow, sheep, goat, or a mixture of all three, cheese comes in many shapes and sizes, tastes and textures, and makes an appearance on more than its fair share of menus in some form.
National Grilled Cheese Day is Friday, April 12th, and to celebrate, here are our Top Five best cheese picks from around the city.
March 28th kicks off the first installment of “America on the Rocks: Local Spirits and Cheese,” a first-of-its kind tasting event organized by Rhys & Rylee, a New York City-based producer of handcrafted vermouths. The pairing series, set to be held at Murray’s Cheese Shop on Bleecker Street, will celebrate artisanal New York State spirits while pairing them with a range of cheeses curated by the city’s most famous cheese-monger. Although it seems unusual to pair cheeses with vermouth, as it is much more common to pair cheese with beer or wine, vermouth, a type of aromatized wine, has a distinctive, robust flavor that pairs very nicely with cheese.
The best cure for the iciest of winter days is curling up by the fireplace with a glass of gluhwein and a heaping portion of baked mac 'n cheese. Here's a recipe for the latter from one of Chicago's cheese experts, Executive Chef Leonard Hollander of Marion Street Cheese Market. Chef Hollander was just awarded a Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin Guide, recognizing the bistro as an excellent option for diners on a budget.
Looking for a cheesy way to spend this Saturday evening (June 23th) but don’t want to hit up an overly parroted tiki bar? Head out to Long Island City for “an epic battle of monger vs. monger” at the 3rd Annual Cheesemonger Invitational! 40 passionate cheesemongers from around the world will compete in eight challenges until the cheesehead stands alone (hi-ho the derrio the cheese stands alone). Held at Larkin Cold Storage in LIC, contestants will battle it out for a cash prize of a thousand dollars in front of a panel of judges comprised of cheese shop proprietors, dairy farmers, and cheese makers from around the world.
We all have that crafty family member who knits beautiful sweaters, the co-worker whose baking skills makes Martha Stewart look like an amateur, or the friend of a friend who makes their own illegal booze (we’re talking moonshine—making beer and wine is legal). Do-it-yourself hobbies are rewarding whether you’re making seasonal jams from your own homegrown strawberries or you just decoupaged half the surfaces in your apartment. Luckily for those of us who aren’t The Next Great Baker and a far cry from those rednecks making mash in the backwoods of Kentucky, there are kits for us to buy and try our hand, and hopefully impress our overachieving peers, at making all sorts of foods and beverages.
Nowadays there are parties dedicated to everything from Tupperware, jewelry, and even sex toys. Need to change up your routine potluck dinners? Try a cheese tasting party! Any reason for a party is a good one. A cheese party is relatively stress-free for the host because cheese comes pre-made and is a fun, casual, delicious party idea.
FIRST: Invite a small number of guests, around 6 but no more than 12, to keep the party intimate. More than 12 guests can create cliques during the party, since this is a way to engage with each other over delicious cheese, keep it on the smaller side. Anyone who loves cheese is an ideal guest but don’t limit yourself to cheese mongers. Help expand a friend’s mind by encouraging the discovery of something different.
As a cheese lover, it’s great to see that cheese - real cheese - is gaining quite the following in a country whose cuisine has quite the fondness for Velveeta and Kraft Singles. What’s even more pleasing for South Florida’s cheese lovers is that the fine cheese culture (pardon the pun) has become increasingly prominent in our little corner of tropical paradise. Purveyors of fine cheeses in South Florida were few and far between ten years ago, but now we have seen the rise of previously unheard of specialty shops strictly devoted to the mounds of cultured, molded curds, as well as bounteous supplies of European cheeses available in even the most mundane of grocery stores. We now even have cheese weekly specials provided to us every Thursday by the likes of City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill in West Palm Beach.
Fromager Jeremiah Bennett is offering diners his knowledge of more than 40 varieties of artisanal cheeses every Thursday during City Cellar’s Cheesy Thursdays. For $30, cheese lovers can sample five different cheeses paired with five different beverage tastes, all personally selected by Bennett. In addition to Cheesy Thursdays, City Cellar will be offering Cheese To Go - perfect for that elegant dinner party you plan on hosting. Jeremiah Bennett can help you select the perfect cheeses - by either the ounce or the quarter pound - for that dinner along with the perfect wine pairings from among City Cellar’s collection of over four hundred wines.
City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill
700 S. Rosemary Ave
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 366 - 0071
Tucked away on 52nd Street just off of Hell's Kitchen's raucous 9th Avenue lies Caselulla: an intimate, hip, and always-bustling gem of a restaurant. The spot has redefined the typical over-the-top, over-priced cheese plate and brought it down from the often pretentious heights of fine-dining and into the mouths of lactose-happy New Yorkers.
There are a number of ways to navigate the menu. Create a plate of three, five or eight cheeses or chat with Caselulla's in-house fromagier for a personalized experience. Each dish comes with accompanying bites ranging from spicy peach mustard puree to charred, balsamic-drizzled baby asparagus.
Remember when you were a little kid, coming home from school in the rain, dodging bullies, soggy and tired, and your mom would set you up with a steaming bowl of tomato soup and a...grilled cheese martini? No? Bet it would’ve made those hours of studying fly by.
Your savory sandwich wishes and vermouth dreams can be fulfilled at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, now open in the Flatiron. The Seattle-based cheese making store and restaurant, which opened its first Manhattan location in June, is a “living museum where visitors witness the 5,000 year-old art of making cheese.” And eating cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.
Can’t decide if you want that chunk of Manchego with a hearty Cabernet or a mug of pale ale? For $30 you can help answer this question and others on August 25th and 26th with the help of Scardello Artisan Cheese at their Beer vs. Wine SMACKDOWN!
The high-end cheese store, whose products range from designer dairy to complimentary smallbites, describe themselves as “Cheese Enthusiasts.” Constantly aiming to share this passion with their customers, Scardello offers up samples of any product in their case. Just ask. And with around 150 different varieties to taste, including both American and European farmstead cheese, you might want to clear your schedule for the afternoon. Additionally, Scardello is currently offering 21 of the recently named “Best Cheeses in the Country” at their store, including four local Texas varieties.