It's been a minute since we talked about cheese here, but the topic is especially timely this week. On Saturday, January 18 at the Ruba Club, Philadelphia will celebrate all things curd at Cheese Ball II: A Cave Raising. This "dairy fantasia," as hostess/blogger Madame Fromage calls it, will feature the city's largest cheese board, a raffle, a live auction, and the crowning of Philly's King and Queen of Curd. Admission? $10 and a wedge.
Best of all, proceeds go to building a new cheese cave for Birchrun Hills Farm, one of our favorite cheesemakers. Sue Miller and her family make someof southeast Pa.'s flagship farmstead cheeses - fudgy BURCH RUN BLUE, supple FAT CAT, stinky RED CAT - with milk from their herd of Holsteins in Chester County. Currently, they have to schlep their milk to a production facility in a neighboring town - and age in a space the size of a closet. To grow their business and maintain their sustainable, grass-fed operation, the Millers need to make more cheese, and a larger aging cave on their farm will help them do just that.
So come out to the Cheese Ball! I was at the first back in 2012, and it was a whirlwind of amazing cheeses local and global, plus delicious pairings, beverages (cash bar), and dancing. It's the place to be if you love dairy - or want to score amazing items like a pair of tickets to our upcoming Brewer's Plate or a season of Yellow Springs Farm's goat cheese CSA during the auction.
Now that you know what you're doing this Saturday night, which cheese should you bring? Any one of our local, sustainable cheeses would shine on the Big Board, but here are a few suggestions from our cheese case:
TALEGGINATOR: This whiffy raw milk slab is Keswick Creamery's take on Taleggio, washed in Troeg's Troeginator beer. Stinky and semisoft with a pungent rind and lush, smooth interior.
BLISS: A surface-ripened offering from Yellow Springs Farm's frisky herd of heritage breed Nubian goats. Cheesemakers Al and Catherine Renzi combined their favorite aspects of Brie and Camembert-style cheeses for this variety, milky and creamy when younger but tangy and oozy when ripe.
CLOTHBOUND JACK RESERVE: A new take on Cherry Grove Farm's flavorful, meltable jacks, this one spends extra months in the aging cave swaddled in bandages for maximum flavor development. Choose this crumbly, bite-y jack to stand out at the Cheese Ball or anywhere cheese is consumed.
FRESH MOZZARELLA: Want to get hands-on with your selection? Then pick up a tub of Caputo Brothers Creamery's authentic, Italian-style CAGLIATA CURD from our freezer and make the freshest mozzarella you'll ever eat right there in your own kitchen. Simply thaw in the fridge the night before, check the Caputo Brothers website for super-easy how-to videos, and in less than 10 minutes, you'll have tender, toothsome fior di latte.
See you at the Cheese Ball!