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Minnesota's First Vermouth
By: | Posted: 09/01/2012
It’s so strange, but I swear every year it seems to come out of nowhere. The winds start gusting, the sun sets earlier and earlier, and man, it feels REALLY cold out there! Fall is here at last.
We had a beautiful, sweltering summer, one that I will surely miss, but there is something about fall that is downright seductive. As I pull out my favorite sweaters, scarves, and well-loved moccasins, I get so excited about the warm, cozy, comforting feeling that fall brings to the table. Just as I thought I couldn’t stand to eat one more salad, fall’s chilly nights bring about an insatiable hunger for rich, satisfying meals. Suddenly food seems craveable again.
It should come as no surprise that cheese is an excellent treat for those early days of fall. Perhaps the ultimate comfort food, cheese also happens to pair well with autumnal staples like apples and darker, toastier beers. And since we’re having our Fall Favorites Sale in the Cheese Shop this week, the time couldn’t be more right to pick up a few new cheeses for your table. Check out my favorites:
1. Ascutney Mountain: This alpine-style cheese comes to us from the lush pastures of the oh-so-green state of Vermont, a veritable fertile crescent for American artisanal cheese. Grassy, earthy, rich and nutty, this raw-milk cheese is a no-brainer match for crisp slices of apple and Oktoberfest beers.
2. Epoisses de Bourgogne: The classic “stinky” French cheese, Epoisses has a silky smooth texture, and a meaty, earthy, and delectably potent flavor. Washed in brandy, the rind is pumpkin-orange – perfect for fall! Enjoy with toasted bread – I love Rustica’s nutty, hearty Multigrain for this – and a nice bottle of White Burgundy.
3. Marieke Smoked Gouda: I know, I know. Smoked Gouda tends to get a bad rap, but I beg you to give Marieke’s version a try. Made from a traditional Dutch recipe using local, raw Wisconsin milk, this Smoked Gouda is, dare I say, downright sophisticated. With a light, delicately smoky flavor, this cheese (quietly, subtly) screams fall. I love it paired with a hard cider and sliced pears.
The bad news: Summer is over. The good news: Fall is here and these cheeses are all on sale. Embrace it. – Emily Dunne, @surdykscheese
Andrew Zimmern is a columnist for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.See bio
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