Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cowgirl Creamery

A must stop on any of my trips to San Francisco is the Ferry Building, and in particular the Cowgirl Creamery cheese shop. I love this store. I like to walk into the middle of the store and just breath deep for a few moments, taking in all the smells. The cheeses with their varied, pungent aromas give a brief sensory overload.

The shop sells much more than just the signature Cowgirl Creamery cheeses. The cheeses include many famous names, including Pont l'Eveque and Colston Bassett Stilton, cheeses from Neal's Yard Dairy, one of the world's great cheese retailers and affineurs, and many American artisnal cheeses.

I bought Cowgirl's Mt Tam (a rich triple cream cheese), Coolea, an Irish Gouda and an English cloth-bound cheddar (I had the same cheese earlier at Magnolia's) for us to eat later when we got home. The salesperson did not have any beer recommendations to pair with the cheese. I suspected that a good Belgian Golden Ale would have been a good accompaniment, but settled for Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Extra IPA because that's what I had in the fridge. While probably not a perfect match, it held its own against the flavorful cheeses.

If you like the Saint Andre triple cream cheese, you'll love the Mt Tam. It is richer and smoother than St Andre. The Coolea was the first Irish Gouda I have tried, but it compares well to aged Dutch Goudas, and had a nice nutty flavor that to me is a hallmark of quality gouda. If your cheddar experience is limited to Tillamok, an English or Vermont farmhouse cheddar will open your eyes. The cloth-bound cheese had a thick rind, a beige color and a sharp, complex flavor. This is the one cheese that would have been better with a Belgian Golden Ale. I hope to do more beer and cheese pairing research in the near future.
(I took the above photo from the Cowgirl Creamery website.)

No comments: