Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meet Dolores

Oh my goodness! I have been so negligent! I have not been ignoring my life with cheese, but I have been taking care of many loose ends as we prepare to make a move to the Pacific Northwest. We just had our house painted. It is a beautiful blue-gray with cream trim. Once we have a place to move to, we'll paint the interior. The problem is, we haven't found a place that we like, yet.

Perhaps this weekend. We'll be back on the prowl this Friday, Sept. 21-Sunday, Sept. 23. Keep your fingers crossed. Maybe the right place is ready for us this time. I'm growing weary of the search. It is disheartening to see so many places that haven't been taken care of nor updated since the Carter administration. We'll be looking at places with 5 - 20 acres in the towns of Newberg, Yamhill, Carlton, and Amity. Some have barns. Some are on gravel roads. We'll have a lot to see and do this weekend. We've arranged a meeting with a lawyer to see if we want to work with him while we set up our small business. We also want to open a bank account and rent a mail box. We're getting serious!

This past weekend was my husband's birthday. We spent some time exploring West Marin, about an hour's drive north of San Francisco. The farmer's market at Point Reyes Station was hopping on Saturday morning. We picked up some apples, lettuce, lamb, and a dozen oysters from Marin farmers. Drakes Bay Oyster Company's oysters are some of our favorites, too. We were happy to see their booth. Saved us a drive out to their oyster farm on Drakes Bay.

After stashing our oysters, fruits and veggies in our cooler, we walked across the street to the barn of Tomales Bay Foods. Naturally we had to pay a visit to Cowgirl's "factory" and cheese counter. We took a peek to see who was working in the cheese room and there was Maureen, turning a fresh batch of Mt. Tams. She gave us a big smile and waved. A few minutes later she popped out of the make room and we filled her in on our goings-on.

Michael, the manager of Cowgirl Creamery's Pt. Reyes cheese counter gave us a warm hello. I introduced him to Jim. We talked for a little bit and he helped customers as they approached the counter. When things quieted down he asked, "Do you want to pick anything up?" I had spied a cheese that looked kind of like a Mount Tam hiding in the cheese cage. It had a white, bloomy rind with a grape leaf draped across the top part of the cheese. "It's Dolores," he explained. Cowgirl Creamery makes it only once a year for a special event. It is a lactic cheese, meaning they use less rennet to set it and it sets up more slowly. Inverness, the small thimble-shaped cheese that Cowgirl produces is also a lactic cheese. Dolores, being a special cheese made for a special event isn't a cheese that one finds for sale. I've never heard of it nor seen it at the counter during my stint at the Ferry Building. I was surprised and excited to see this new cheese. It is even rarer than the rarely seen Sir Francis Drake! There were two Dolores' hiding in the cheese gage. "Is it ripe?" I asked Michael. He gave one a gentle squeeze on the sides and nods. "Oh yeah. This one is perfect!" Sold! We walked away with a Dolores and a washed rind goat cheese called Soft Wheel from Twig Farm in Vermont. I haven't tried the goat cheese. We devoured the Dolores first.

So how was Dolores? Delicious! Perhaps the best cheese in the Cowgirl Creamery repertoire. When I cut into it, my knife glides right through as if I am cutting softened butter. There is a nice, gooey breakdown around a firmer center. The firmer part is light and velvety in texture, like a mousse. The smell: milky straw that's been blown around by the beach. There's a touch of salt air. And the taste is just as nice. It just pools onto my tongue. Coating it in rich butterfat. The bloomy rind give it a chewiness and adds strong mushroomy notes. The center part of the cheese body has a nice lactic tang. This is a very nice cheese. It lingers on the palette. Oh, it is making me crave a nice amber ale. Hmmm. What's in the fridge?

1 comment:

Momily said...

Dolores sounds heavenly!

Best of luck on the search this weekend.