Who hasn?t wondered, while salivating over a flatbread melt at Cowgirl Creamery?s Ferry Building outpost, How do those gals do it? How do they make their Mt. Tam (and Fromage Blanc and Wagon Wheel) so damn addictive?
Sue Conley and Peggy Smith are spilling their secrets in their first book, Cowgirl Creamery Cooks, out now ($35). Along with a detailed account of their history, dating back to 1997, are 75 recipes for beloved dairy dishes, including ricotta-asparagus soufflé and classic grilled cheese.
Here, a few of their tips for planning a cheese course:
Don?t go overboard The Cowgirls recommend putting three to five cheeses on a plate, max. Tasting more than that makes it difficult to detect subtle flavors.
Vary the age Build what?s called a ?vertical flight? of cheese, with at least three types of the same kind at different stages (12, 18 and 24 months). Taste from youngest to oldest.
Consider the milk Another way to mix things up: Serve one cheese made from cow?s milk, one from goat?s milk and one from sheep?s milk. They suggest their Fromage Blanc, Redwood Hill Farm Fresh Chèvre and Bellwether Farms Ricotta.
Ditch the plastic wrap Store your cheese in the fridge wrapped in wax or butcher paper to maintain the taste. And serve it at room temperature.