Tasting and Learning About Cheese

We have the most incredible cheese and wine café in our town – Old World Deli. I love them so much that I threw my last birthday bash there. They had the best selection of artisan cheese, salumis and olives. They also carry a wide assortment of bitters and cocktail mixology ingredients. The owners, have a rustic café, with beautiful old growth, reclaimed wood floors, open exposed shelving (like a high-end but charming deli), and tall ceilings that draw the eye right up.

I’m continuing the journey of all things milk as I work through my way through my latest book; it’s all about transforming dairy into soap. It has reignited a dream I once had of making cheese and mastering the concept of all things related to cheesemaking.

As part of that journey and re-education process, I’ve been seeking out cheese experiences. Thankfully, this includes cheese tastings. You know those quizzes that ask all sorts of fun questions, like “If you were stuck on a desert island what food/movie/book would you like to be stuck with?” My answers are always cheese + sourdough bread/The Princess Bride/The Success Principles. Cheese is the perfect food; it is milk’s try for immortality.

The great irony is that cheese isn’t awesome for any of us in large amounts but in moderation, it can transform many a dish to something of splendor. I was so excited to do this amazing tasting and educational experience with Amber from marketing. She and I have worked together for a decade and have shared many a cheese and wine meal together. We made this a working tasting and talked 2018 Bramble Berry planning as well as learning everything we could about the cheeses we were tasting.

Old World Deli-11.jpg
Old World Deli-13.jpg

The most interesting thing about this tasting as that Old World Deli carries so many cheeses from the same creameries. As we tasted cheeses, the deli bustled around us; tables were full of people enjoying salads, libations and good conversations, people rushed in and out to grab their cheese choices for the night. Amongst this bustle, the excellent curation of cheeses at the deli meant that we got to taste the same exact cheese that was aged for 3 months versus 7. The differences were extraordinary. The younger cheese wax more creamy with a subtle rich flavor. The older 7 month aged cheese was almost salty and so translucent in its appearance. We were in awe of the restraint it took for the cheesemaker to wait that extra four months to see what would happen to the flavor.

Old World Deli also has the same type of cheese with different types of milk. We were able to taste different cheese varieties made with goat milk versus sheep milk versus cow milk. It was a revelation in flavor. The goat milk was so much more tangy than the sheep milk and the cow milk was so smooth compared to the other two animals.

Old World Deli-5.jpg
Old World Deli-7.jpg

Amber and I loved our cheese tasting and educational lecture from their lead cheesemonger. If you’re ever in Bellingham, WA, definitely head to Old World Deli on State Street and taste your heart out.