Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cheese, Louise!

I have to admit, until recently I was pretty much in the dark about just how much food is produced within an hour's drive west of my home. Sure, I knew there was wine and lots of it, thanks to the 30+ wineries (and distilleries and cideries!) that line the Finger Lakes; and I knew about the organic meats and the fabulous greens; but when it came to other stuff you can chew, I had merely an inkling.

It started with a visit to the Regional Market in Syracuse two weeks ago. I was innocently minding my own business, trying to fill my grocery list, when I spotted a woman selling cheese at a booth. Hmmm, cheese. By the time I made it to her table, she'd just sold her last bit of cheese and was packing up to go home. Awww. But at her urging I helped dispatch the remaining samples ... omg. Delicious!

That's when I learned about the newly formed Finger Lakes Cheese Trail. Because what goes with wine better than cheese? (I'm open to suggestions!) And what better trail to complement the existing Finger Lakes wine trails?

The cheese trail's first open house event was the following Saturday, May 29, and I managed to make it to precisely two dairies: Muranda Cheese Co. and Lively Run Goat Farm. What a lovely day, and what fun visiting with folks who clearly love what they're doing and have a passion for sharing it! I got to meet the goats who produce the milk that became that creamy, tangy chevre that topped that crustless leek and kale quiche I made last week. And I'm still savoring that incredible roasted garlic cheddar from Muranda ...

There are nearly a dozen artisanal cheesemakers in the Finger Lakes; Muranda and Lively Run are but two. I'm definitely looking to the next cheese trail open house on July 10. I just need to remember to get out of the house a lot earlier ...