Central Market’s Hail to the Cheese Event Touts American Artisan Cheeses

Clark Wolf's Sonoma Goat Cheese Salad

Last night, author and curd connoisseur Clark Wolf kicked off Central Market’s Hail to the Cheese event — a fortnight of events paying homage to the bacteria, mold, and fermentation we all love so well — with a class in American Artisanal Cheeses. The class’ instructional menu opened with fresh cheeses (Bellweather Farms’ fromage blanc, Dallas Mozzarella Co.‘s goats’ milk ricotta, and Pure Luck’s chevre), wended through soft-ripened cheeses (Cowgirl Creamery’s Mount Tam and stinky Red Hawk, and the poplar ash-tinged Bonne Bouche goat cheese), noodled around in aged cheeses (Rumiano Willow Maid‘s 1-year-old dry jack cheese, Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve artisan farmstead cheese, 4-yr-old Widmer cheddar, and Cabot’s Jasper Hill aged, raw-milk, cloth-bound cheddar), and finally came to rest in the Penicillium-rich bleus (Rogue Creamery smokey blue and the exquisite Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen blue, one of the finest cheeses I have ever introduced to my taste buds).

Jump for the joy of cheese.

Clark Wolf sings the parises of American fresh cheeses, especially those from Dallas' Mozzarella Co. in Deep Ellum

I’m not sure which to praise most highly: Wolf’s spritely good humor, the 13 cheeses we tasted (all of which are available in CM’s cheese department), or the accompanying dishes — specifically the arugula & goat cheese salad pictured above (so simple) and Wolf’s cheddar & chive strata (both recipes available in Wolf’s book, American Cheeses). Wolf was a pip, the cheeses thrilled, but the strata, which contained — and I don’t mean to startle you — 15 eggs and 5 cups of half-and-half, is what I woke up thinking about this morning. It’s an indulgence, to be sure, and is best eaten before a day in the fields, milking goats, draining vats, and digging caves, but let the record show that I did eat my entire portion and lived to tell the tale.

Want to make your own cheesy memories ? Check out the line-up, especially this Friday’s Learn @ Lunch, Cheese Please! class, or that evening’s The Cheese Board sampling event — two and a half hours of cheese tasting with wine and beer pairings.