Things are trending downward. Bailout bills aren’t passing, one kertrillion dollars vamoosed from Wall Street, and in my house on Main Street, I’ve got a marital ache called monetary discord. What’s next? Plastic in my chocolate? My gawd!
At times like these, when defenestrating myself feels reasonable and possibly prudent, I have to remember that it’s better to chin up, stick to the budget, and make something delicious. Something like, say, a cheese plate. This is where Benjamin Roberts, the affable cheesemonger at France 44’s cheese shop, can help. Roberts specializes in domestic, farmstead cheeses. He argues persuasively that good cheeses should be accorded the dignity of thoughtful composition. A cheese plate can have countless arrangements and accoutrements (read about it here, and keep those rinds turned in), but it should always offer a progression of flavor and intensity.
Roberts recommended I try a trio of cow’s milk selections: a light, peppery Toussaint from Sprout Creek Farm ($12/.5 lb.), a creamy Bridgid's Abbey from Cato Corner Farm ($17/.5 lb.), and an earthy, morning milk blue called Bayley Hazen from Jasper Hill Farm ($12.50/.5 lb.). Add a touch of honey, a few tavern peanuts, and we’re feeling better already. Oh, and if you’re anything like me, you won’t leave without an inexpensive Sangiovese or something equally delightful from the folks next store.
The Cheese Shop at France 44, 4351 France Ave. S., 612-925-3252, france44.com. Note: Toussaint is currently out of stock. Expect more by next Wednesday, October 8.