I have to tell you we really enjoy evenings when we just snack on cured meats, cheese and smoked salmon. It is also another reason to buy good Olive Oil as it is not only great with the bread but also with the cheese and charcuterie. Aged cheeses like Manchego pair well with EVOO but it is not a common sight. Also sweets like figs, fig preserves and membrillo or quince paste pair nicely with cheese. We call a slice of Manchego paired with a slice of Membrillo paste Romeo and Juliet.
Also Artisan Cheese is an incredible adventure across the country. You’ll not only find the best cheese from Europe but Artisan makers from the US take a back seat to no one. It is the same for Charcuterie. Salumerias producing salami, cured meats and bacon using heritage pork and high quality spices and no preservatives are better than a lot of the imports available. The FDA doesn’t understand cheese making and charcuterie to a large extent and restricts the cleanest and many of the best products made in Europe. It has really opened the door for makers in the US so support them and be adventurous.
Any way here are some of my favorites foods.
Sheep Milk Cheese ….Abbaye de Belloc, Manchego 1605 , Manchego Pasamontes, Manchego el Trigal 12 Month, (Yes all these Manchego are different), Dante and Mona (Anything from the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative)
Goats Milk Cheese… Vermont Creamery (especially Bonne Bouche don;t let the rind put you off it’s been named the best cheese in America many times, Coupole, Bijou and Cremont), Avalanche Cheese Company (Goat Cheddar, Cabra Blanca, Midnight Blue and Lamborn Bloomers) Haystack Mountain (Red Cloud and Haystack Peak),
Cow’s Milk Cheese… Uplands Cheese (Pleasant Ridge Reserve & Rush Creek Reserve), Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam and Red Hawk, MouCo (ColoRouge, Ashley both are perfect up to 10 days past the 3rd ripening date),
Charcuterie… Creminelli (Everything he makes is fantastic), Avalanche Cheese Company (Wendy makes a Chorizo and a Salami from a combination of pork and goat meat they are delicious), Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods (everything is excellent we love the Rosemary and Apple Hams), La Quercia (artisan cured meats or salumi — prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, speck, lomo, guanciale, and lardo it’s all great), Smoking Goose Meatery (Gin and Juice and Fist Full of Hops Salamis are quite good and unusual a great maker from Indiana)
I will elaborate on this list as time goes on!