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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sir Francis Drake Cheese: Cowgirl Creamery

When I was in high school, my friend, Jolene, used to frequently profess how much she loved cheese. Cheese?! I thought. With my limited exposure to artisan cheese, I imagined simple images of cheese--big wedges of cheddar cheese or mozzarella or maybe even heaps of string cheese. It sure didn’t seem all that exciting to me.
Fast forward almost ten years (omg, my 10-year high school reunion is this summer!), and now I love artisan cheese and living in San Francisco provides me with daily access to arguably some of the best cheese in the world from Cowgirl Creamery.

The announcement of Spring comes in many forms. For some, it’s the datebook’s announcement that that Daylight Saving Time begins on March 14 and that the first official day of Spring is March 20. Maybe you’ve noticed the asparagus standing tall and colorful beets showing their pretty faces around the market. Or maybe you live where it snows and you spot the first speck of green and can actually start to feel your toes again. But for me, it happens when I am wandering around the ferry building and, hold up!, I spot the spring’s first rounds of St. Pat’s. It’s a cow’s milk cheese covered in mossy green nettle leaves that lend a really earthy flavor and aroma. It is so highly celebrated in this community that you can even come on down to 18 Reasons for the Saint Pat’s release party on March 11.

But, if you want to know the real cheese secret, when late March or Early April rolls around, keep your eyes peeled for a sneaky little triple cream cow’s milk cheese called the Sir Francis Drake (or “SF Drake”, if you’re among the cult following). It’s exceptionally creamy and buttery with a hint of sea salt brine flavor. In fact, sometimes Whole Foods even carries it in early-March...

People go crazy over this stuff because, as it is explained to me when I question its limited supply, it has something to do with their signature Mt. Tam production going awry, which produces “just the right kind of bacteria” needed to produce this cheese. So they bathe the rind in a French fortified wine called Beaume de Venise and press in a few currants and BAM! Magic. If you let it ripen a little, the edges will melt into a rich, buttery goo leaving a thicker cakey consistency in the middle. And, I hear, it's salty ocean flavor is really prominent with the right beer pairing.

Get some. If you’re lucky.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir Francis Drake is sublime.

Lindsay said...

K I'm sold. Can I request that you bring a bit of this along on our upcoming spring winery tour? ;)

Julie B. said...

I just bought some at WFM!!! It is THE BEST I have ever had!!! WOW!! We were going to see Springsteen and I splurged on out pre-concert food---this cheese along with Rainforest Crisps and a bottle of Rose'----heaven!!