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Hello, my friends! This week, not only am I doing portrait sessions of two AMAZING and beautiful people and basking in this rainy San Francisco weather, I’m celebrating SPRING! I prepared a fresh, floral cheese plate that you are going to love! This session came together rather late in the day, so when M. Cheesemonger came home last night, he found me crouched on the living floor, shifting pieces of cheese around the board. It was worth it, I tell you! I also found myself playing with a slightly moodier photography edit. Get ready for hipster springtime on Miss Cheesemonger.
Condor’s Ruin + Confit of Rose Petals
Even though Condor’s Ruin, a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Many Fold Farm in Georgia, has been getting a lot of buzz since it first came out, I only got to taste it recently. Thank goodness I finally did, though, because it is magnificent. Anyone who loves cheese needs to taste this cheese. When ripe and served at room temperature, its soft, creamy texture really has the chance to shine. And the flavor! Such sweetness and soft milkiness I have never known! Many other soft French sheep cheeses we get in the US are not nearly as delicate. I almost didn’t show it to M. Cheesemonger to try because I wanted it all for myself.
Because of this cheese’s gentle disposition, it needed a comparably tender companion. L’Epicurien’s Confit of Rose Petals fit the bill perfectly. PERFECTLY. Tasting both together evoked a sweet spring kiss—of the floral, milky, and variety. I cannot rave about this pairing enough! I loved it so much that I would not be surprised if some of you enjoyed that entire pyramid of Condor’s Ruin and confit all at once. ☺
And if you want to get that Laguiole cheese knife.
Grace’s Choice + Apricot & Lavender Jam
I hadn’t heard of Plymouth Artisan Cheese before. My knowledge of east coast cheeses is pretty cloudy, so it was great to include this one on my plate! Grace’s Choice is a washed rind, raw milk, cow’s milk cheese that gets its name from Grace Coolidge, wife of President Calvin Coolidge. The cheese is made at a factory built by Coolidge’s father that closed, but then was later reopened by his son.
So what does a cheese with such significant historical ties taste like? Well, it is lightly washed, so while the rind is a little tacky (I mean in terms of texture!) and orange, it’s still rather benign. I loved its springy, high-moisture texture, and its full, buttery, well-rounded flavor.
Being on the medium body side, this made for a great pairing with the apricot lavender jam I have from L’Epicurien. Apricots tend to bring a pretty full flavor to the mix, and just a little dollop was needed to brighten up Grace’s Choice. Together, it was as though the cheese’s paste and the jam’s apricots joined to remind us of the bursting flowers and fruit of the season, while the cheese’s slightly funky rind and the lavender in the jam came together to evoke the roots and tree trunks supporting them. M. Cheesemonger particularly loved this combination!
La Dama Sagrada + Tarragon Mustard
When the cheese shop owner showed me la Dama Sagrada, a raw goat’s milk cheese from outside of Toledo, Spain, I knew I had to have it. It had that grainy, slightly crunchy mouthfeel I find so satisfying, and a full, salty, slightly tart flavor with a hint of bitterness at the finish. This is a cheese not for the faint of palate. It was pretty much love at first bite for me (although, curiously, not for M. Cheesemonger!). I told the cheese shop owner I’d be pairing this with a French tarragon mustard, and he said this would be the perfect cheese for it.
He was right. On the opposite end of the cheese tasting spectrum from the Condor’s Ruin/Confit of Rose Petals pairing is this one. Edmond Fallot mustard, from Beaune, just outside of Dijon in France, has a wonderfully smooth texture and equally walloping flavor, and the tarragon gave a great flavor boost. The cheese matched its intensity and body beautifully. It was an exciting pairing, with a raucous parade of flavors and textures. It’s another must-try combo.
Thanks for reading this week’s blog post! I hope you get to try some of these pairings! Thanks to my awesome affiliate partner The French Farm, for letting me sample and play with such great products! And thanks, Cheese Plus, for being such great cheese counsel.
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SAY CHEESE! I do natural light portrait, lifestyle, and product photography in addition to this blog. My mission is to capture you at your glowing, shining best. See my portfolio for portrait and candid work, and peruse the blog for examples of my food and product photos. Then, contact me to schedule your session!
I received free jams, confits, and mustards to write this blog article. All opinions are my own.