Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[photos] Guerilla cheese party

It doesn't take a lot to get me onto cheese. After the Australian party in New York last week, a number of us went to a lovely Italian dinner under the intrepid leadership of ellen_datlow. I sat between Margo Lanagan and her highly entertaining husband, and in the course of the meal we discussed cheese — specifically sottocenere al tartuffo, which is pretty much my favorite cheese. (I believe it came up in connection with a comment on how different people taste truffles differently.) I told Margo I'd try to drum her up some truffle cheese in Saratoga Springs.

Fast forward to Thursday of that week, and me in the Putnam Street Market (which is not on Putnam Street, but I digress). I went to the cheese counter and began speaking cheese, whereupon someone appeared who spoke cheese back to me. It was sadly agreed that there was no sottocenere to be had in Saratoga Springs, but they did have this lovely Oregon chevre with a truffle infusion, truffle tremor, and would I like to have some? $150 later, I was all set.

The next problem was venue. This cheese party was not on programming, and had never been on programming. I was fine with it being open, but didn't want it to be so open it became a buffet line. We switched venues about four times before the magnificent dave_gallaher (to whom congratulations are in order, btw) got us the use of the swag room for an hour or so. Sharon Sbarsky was very kind and patient about that, as well.

With logistical leadership from lasirenadolce and a strong assist from klingonguy, set up ensued.


The cheeses are, in order, Colton-Basset Stilton, Truffle Tremor, Drunken Goat, Urgela and Pierre Robert. Only the truffle tremor and the urgela were new to me. The truffle tremor has no goatiness at all, and a very nice mellow flavor with a bit of contradictory kick to it. The urgela was a strong, borderline stinky yet firm cheese — I'm used to the stinky cheeses being softer. Strongly recommend the truffle, recommend the urgela if you want to experiment just a little without going crazy.

We also had a drop-in cheese from icedrake and katfeete, who are professional cheesemakers from Meadow Creek Dairy called Whitetop. I have lost my notes on the name, but I believe it's Whitetop. Semisoft, a young cheese they're still working on, very buttery and pleasant. They want to bring it to a lighter texture, more like a triple cream, before they start marketing it. Test cheese or no, it went over very well with the cheese partiers.

To round things out, Team Oz was able to provide some very nice wine, courtesy of I'm not sure exactly whom except that Garth Nix and Trevor Stafford were involved.

Then people showed up.


Including the guest of honor.


The moral of the story? Cheese can happen any time, any where. And I always do like a well rinded convention experience.

All photos courtesy of lasirenadolce. As usual, more at the Flickr set.
Tags: cheese, conventions, new york, photos

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