Title: Cheesebuyer/cheesemonger at Rainbow Grocery
Hometown: Kentfield CA
1. What are Bay Area cheese consumers like?
New York, Chicago and the Bay Area are the hubs for cheese in the country. The cheese buying public is looking for new tastes, and is fairly sophisticated. People have been exposed to all sorts of cheeses for a lot longer time than in other parts of the country. There is a really strong desire to buy local cheeses as well as some of the fancier ones. We are incredibly lucky with the amount of local cheeses that are available here.
2.What are some popular cheeses for the Summer?
Because tomatoes are nice in the summer, fresh mozzarella or burrata are good. It's a great time of year for fresh or ripened goat cheeses. The Redwood Hill Camellia is great with fruit.
3. What are the most underrated cheeses?
The Hudson Valley Camembert is an amazing cheese, it's a sheep and cow blend. The texture and the flavor are great, the texture is almost chocolate truffle like. The Great Hill Blue from Massachusetts is a great blue cheese. It's assertive but not overly strong. There's a great sweetness to it, and it's very well-balanced. The 4 and 6 year Widmer's cheddars are orange and made in Wisconsin but are sharp and moist; I like them a lot.
4. What's the best way to store cheese?
On some level I think people stress about it too much. If you're going to use plastic don't use a zip lock bag, use a tight clean piece of plastic. But if you use cheap plastic you can change the texture of the outside of the cheese. Waxed paper will dry it out but you won't get any plastic flavor. If you can, only buy enough to eat for a week and take storing out of the equation. My advice? buy it and eat it quick!
5. What is a favorite condiment with cheese?
Dark honey. You can use it on fresh goat cheese and aged cheese. I recommend chopping parmigiano reggiano into "fingers" and dipping it into dark honey with a touch of truffle oil if you happen to have some.