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  • 01/07/15--08:00: Pink Pearl Apple

  • Your eyes are not deceiving you, this really is a pink hued and very adorable apple.
    The Pink Pearl Apple was developed in Northern California by Albert Etter in 1944.
    It gets its bright rosy pink color by being cultivated from an older, similarly colored apple, called The Surprise.
    The flavor of a Pink Pearl is sweet, lightly tart with melon undertones. The texture is crisp and crunchy. I could see this brighten up a brunch fruit platter, be served at a baby shower, and be given as a gift to dinner party guests! 

    *You can find Pink Pearl Apples at Milk Pail Market or your local farmers' market

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  • 01/09/15--08:00: Spun Sweets

  • Bon Puf spins gourmet, all natural, cotton candy at events in the LA area.
    The concept of a chic little cart making fresh to order cotton candy in unique flavors like horchata, earl grey, and strawberry lemonade sounds magnificent.
    Oh, and can we talk about the logo? I'm loving the golden serif typeface. It looks beautiful against
     the modern white cart.

    Photography credit: Bon Puf

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    Happy Monday. I'm starting off the week off with Amy Roth's photography.
    Amy's photographs are soft, soothing and just pleasing to look at. 
    She sure knows how to capture the beauty of food, especially that head of garlic.
    Check out more of her work on her website.

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  • 01/14/15--08:23: Hump Day Humor
  • Chandler from "Friends" get's into advertising!

    photography credit: up all night creative

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  • 01/23/15--08:00: The Fancy Food Show
  • The Fancy Food Show is like the fashion week of food. Gourmet brands and importers share their latest and award-winning, creative products with food industry professionals. It's jam-packed with deliciousness, everything from cheese to pickled vegetables to ketchup! It's a wonderful place to connect with others that share your similar passion for food. I was ecstatic to have met Cypress Grove's Mary Keehn, The Pt. Reyes Farmstead team, Karin from the Truffle Cheese shop, Natasha of Cool Haus, and Chef Nancy Silverton! While there was an abundance of tasty items, here are few of the many that caught my attention and taste buds:

    Rogue Creamery's lavender cheddar
    Perfectly floral and delicate.

    Earl Grey rubbed cheese from Barely Buzzed

    Herb Crystals
    Adds texture and great flavor. I can see this used in sweet applications. 

    Juicy, briny pickled figs
    This on a cheese plate!

    Blackberry Patch's berry ketchups.
    Sooo good. It could be used to add pizazz to bbq sauces and would taste great in a grilled cheese sandwich. It's nice balance of sweet and tangy.

     If you close your eyes, it's really like eating a grilled bacon cheeseburger. Flavors were spot on!

    Vermont Creamery's new crème fraîche flavor,Madgascar Vanilla
    A dessert on its own.

    Jeni's Brown Butter Almond Brittle ice cream + fudge sauce. Pure Decadence!

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  • 01/26/15--09:57: Donut Jewelry
  • Hi all and Happy Monday! 

    How scrumptious are these necklaces by Tadam Design? It's making me want to go out and get a donut right now!

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  • 01/28/15--09:13: Hump Day Humor

  • Tina Fey on 30 Rock. 

    image from we know memes

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  • 02/09/15--08:30: Build a Charcuterie Board

  • Second to a cheese board, a charcuterie board has become my second favorite item to order at a restaurant. During my last visit in Chicago, I enjoyed a fantastic charcuterie plate at Publican Quality Meats. And, ever since consuming that plate of food, I've been a sucker for cured meats, pâtes, rillettes, and all the briny fixins of a traditional charcuterie board. 
    As simple it is to devour, it is just as easy to create.
    See highlighted links for product info!

    The Meat
    I showcased a range of meat products, from a smooth truffle mousse pâte, to silky, paper-thin slices of melt-in -your- mouth Serrano ham and coppa. The addition of Olympic Provisions' (amazing) Loukanika Salami with cumin and orange zest provides a bit more texture, chew, and punch of flavor.

    The Accompaniments
    No charcuterie board is complete without accompaniments.
    Acidic accompaniments like cornichons, whole grain French mustard, and peppery radishes counteract the richness of  meat and add texture. Marcona almonds also provide a nice crunch, and are fun to just pop in your mouth.

    Apricot preserves are a sweet, and unexpected accompaniment. A little spoonful of apricot preserves with pâte on a petit toast is a wondrous flavor combination.

    You'll notice that I addedTaleggio cheeseto the charcuterie board. I just had to! Taleggio is an Italian, washed-rind cheese with such an umami, beefy quality. It's one of my favorite cheeses and pretty darn close to eating meat. In fact, washed-rind cheeses were enjoyed by monastery monks who refrained from eating meat during lent!

    The Platform
    I like to serve a rustic baguette, petit toasts and water thin crackers. 
    Bread is a must have, I love Acme Bread's sweet baguette.
    Petit toasts are perfectly bite size and are a great, crusty backdrop for pâte and even cheeses.
    Water thin crackers are your everything cracker and have a lovely crisp texture that does not interfere with the flavor of your meats.

    Have Fun!
    One of the reasons why I really enjoy charcuterie platters is being able to mix up and come up with different flavor combinations. A little bit of this, a spoonful of that... I encourage you to have fun and layer ingredients to come up with unique and exciting combinations!

    photography by Maki Photography, styling by me

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  • 05/13/15--20:24: Wildcard Cheese: Gjetost

  • This may look like a chunk of caramel or peanut butter, but this is completely the opposite. This here, is a decadent Norwegian whey cheese called Gjetost. Although Gjetost is categorized as a cheese, it's technically not. Gjetost is made from the leftover whey of goat's and cow's cheese making, not from the curd itself. The whey is placed in a kettle and heated for hours, allowing the natural sugars to caramelize, which explains why it's golden brown in color!
    The addition of goat's milk and cream creates a fudgy texture and delectable mouth feel.
    Gjetost is best served in paper thin slices. Allow it to sit on our tongue and's just divine!

    photography credit: igourmet

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    Venice Beach print via Cassiopi Photography

    Hello, all! It's been too long since my last blog post, but I wanted to let you all know that I've recently moved back home to Southern California from the Bay Area.
    I decided to return home so I can be closer to my family, the ocean, and enjoy a fresh new start.  I'm excited to take you on this journey as I continue to share my passion for cheese, explore the vibrant food scene and just have fun.  Stay tuned, my friends.

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  • 08/04/15--07:30: A Taste Of Provence

  •  If there’s a cheese that epitomizes decadence, that would be Brillat Savarin. This French delight has a seductively rich, creamy, paste and a thick consistency that spreads on like butta. The flavor is mild, with a fresh cream taste and notes of sea salt. And if you’re wondering if you can eat the rind, go for it! The thin rind of this cheese imparts an earthy flavor, and is nearly seamless with its decadent interior. A drizzle of lavender honey and a sprinkling of herbs de provence (an aromatic blend of dried lavender, basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, savory and thyme), will transport your taste buds to the lavender fields of Provence.

    photography by Maki Photography, styling by me

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    My latest pairing obsession is Quadrella di Buffalo (the buffalo milk version of Italian Taleggio) with Sqirl LA’s Organic Seascape Strawberry & Thyme Jam. The bright acidity of local seascape strawberries and the gentle sweetness contrasted nicely with the savory, umami-ness, and subtle tang of Quadrello di Bufala. When on the tongue, the strawberries and cheese meld together and become one. This is what I call a dangerously delicious duo; I found myself eating wayyy more than I should’ve.

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  • 08/07/15--07:00: Mac n' Cheetos

  • My neighborhood restaurant,  The Attic, takes macaroni and cheese to another level by combining a childhood favorite with flamin' hot cheetos.  I must say, it was all that and a bag of chips! 

    Imagine a bowl of macaroni coated in a luscious 3- cheese sauce and piled high with hot cheetos. Dig your spoon in this cheesy mound of noodles, and you'll get the perfect bite of creamy mac and spicy cheeto crunch…it’s insanely tasty. And if you want to take it over the top, you can add other ingredients such as bacon and andouille sausage If you’re in the area, I highly suggest a visit to The Attic for more Southern favorites with a creative spin. 

    The Attic / 441 E Broadway / Long Beach, CA 90803

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    Big Picture Farm's farmstead goat milk caramels are made with fresh goat milk straight from their farm. They're unlike any caramels I've ever tasted before. The goat milk provides a creamy and soft texture. They melt in your mouth, and are perfectly sweet. Big Picture Farms earned themselves serious bragging rights; their chai caramels won a Good Food Award in 2012, and their Cocoa Latte caramels were awarded a Silver Sofi award. Besides the taste of the caramels, I'm loving the adorable packaging.

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    Have I ever mentioned that I love grocery shopping? I love shopping for ingredients and finding unique goodies along the way. I came across these Witch Finger and Cotton Candy grapes and was amazed.

    Witch Fingers are sweeter than your typical red grape and are oblong in shape. These grapes would look very attractive on a cheese platter, or even a Halloween themed one.

    When I sampled Cotton Candy grapes, I was delighted. I popped it in my mouth, closed my eyes, and couldn't believe how much it tasted like cotton candy! The grapes were candy-sweet and juicy. For a refreshing treat on a hot day, I enjoy them frozen.

    Have you discovered any new exciting produce lately?

    Side note: Cotton Candy & Witch Finger grapes are sustainably grown and non-GMO.

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  • 10/28/15--16:28: BAGuette

  • It's almost November, the holidays are almost here, and I'm already perusing the web for interesting gifts. I stumbled upon these baguette carriers, which are absolutely genius.. Not only would this make a great gift, you can carry a baguette with ease, while keeping it secure!

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  • 11/23/15--08:00: Gourmandise with Walnuts

  • When you think of the quintessential holiday cheeses, the cheeses that come to mind are typically Bries, triple crèmes, and aged goat cheeses such as Bucherondin (a log-shaped aged goat's cheese).
    These of course are all-stars, but there's one lesser known cheese that I like to bring out that is deserving of a little more attention; that cheese is Gourmandise with Walnuts. It's a spreadable processed cheese that blends Gruyere, Cheddar, and cream with a layer of walnuts. The texture is delicate and smooth, highlighting the bits of crunch in the walnut paste. The contrast of savory and sweet, is ideal for the holiday cheese board. Also, not to mention it's attractive appearance that resembles a slice of layer cake.

    Some might dislike the fact it's a processed cheese, but once you have a taste, you'll be wowed.
    I love serving this cheese with Bosc pears. When paired together, the end result is something like maple-walnut. I also enjoy serving it with quality strawberry preserves (my fave is from Mountain Fruit Co.) Either way, this cheese is a must try.

    styling by me, photography by maki photography

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  • 12/09/15--07:30: Truffle Treasures
  • How does one pass up a truffle cheese? The alluring aroma, and uniquely deep, earthy flavors of truffle, married with the richness of cheese, awakens my senses and gratifies my taste buds. It's the ultimate in decadence. I like to reserve this type of cheese for gatherings, as I know I can easily eat a whole wedge if left for myself. There are three standout truffle cheeses I am obsessing over as of now: Melkbus Truffle Gouda, Truffle Tremor, and Pecorino Moliterno Al Tartufo. All would fabulous on any cheese board.

    Melkbus Truffle Gouda
    Stunning raw milk gouda, flecked with black Italian truffles. Its texture is creamy, supple, and the bits truffles add oomph and a textural difference.

    Truffle Tremor
    I would not have thought that the tartness of goat cheese and earthiness of truffle, would meld so well together, but they do. The flavor of the goat cheese is clean, lightly tangy, allowing the Italian black summer truffles to shine. Truly an elegant cheese that is perfectly balanced.

    Pecorino Moliterno Al Tartufo
    A bold, raw sheep's milk cheese with veins of truffle paste. The cheese has a piquant. almost spicy flavor, contrasting beautifully with the savory truffles.

    photography credit: truffle tremor via fresh direct, truffle gouda via uniekaas, pecorino moliterno al tartufo viaigourmet

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  • 12/11/15--07:30: A Gift for the Beer Lover
  • This holiday season, give the gift of beer. Because, why not? I have a friend who is a beer connoisseur, and thought this would be the perfect gift. The rustic bottle caddy is a portable party, conveniently affixed with a bottle opener. Throw in a few of your favorite beers/ciders, dress it up with festive ribbon, and you're all set!

    bottle caddy available from world market, red and white twill ribbon and hang tag available at paper source, matilda beer and rogue stoutsold at bev mo

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  • 01/04/16--07:30: Crackers
  • While water crackers are an easy solution for your cheese board, there are many other tastier options  that will enhance your cheese enjoyment. My favorite crackers offer great texture and serve as delicious vehicle that will not overpower your cheese.

    Not shown, but also noteworthy are Croccantini flatbread crackers.

    raincoast crisps via dean & deluca

    Raincoast crisps add enormous texture and are packed with various seeds, fruits and nuts. The hint of sweetness makes for a wonderful contrast with savory cheeses such as chèvre and camembert. 

    beecher's crackers via beecher's

    Beecher's, the same company who brought you 
    Beecher's flagship cheese, has added crackers to their product mix. The hearty cracker is rich and buttery, with a corn-nut taste. Great with a robust gouda or a seriously aged cheddar. 

    nut thins via blue diamond almonds

    Almond nut-thins are light, crispy, nutty. It's a neutral cracker that allows the cheese to shine. I eat this with tuna, hummus, dips, everything!  And, it's guilt and gluten free!

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    Old Amsterdam cheese flagship store is just as stunning as the cheese. It's a rustic yet modern space that's so inviting. The warmth of the rustic wooden fixtures, the clean lines, and the use of repetition in merchandising the wheels and wedges is Doesn't the store look like a library of cheese? This shop is one my "must visit" cheese destinations.

    If you haven't tried Old Amsterdam, you need to. Its flavor is a cross between Parmigiano Reggiano and an aged gouda-- bold, nutty, and smooth.

    photography credit: retail design blog
    store design: studiomfd

    cheeeeese everywhere!

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    image via Jasper Hills

    Allow me to introduce you to Harbison by Jasper Hills. This rustic charmer is wrapped in spruce bark and has a wonderfully gooey texture that'll make you swoon. Its flavors range from vegetal, almost asparagus-like, to woodsy, with notes of pine and lemon. I don't think I can compare this cheese with anything else; It's truly unique! Cut the top of the rind and uncover it's gorgeous spoonable paste.

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    I work in the specialty food/cheese industry and do my best to attend cheese events to further enhance my knowledge of the subject. During the weekend, Vagabond cheese hosted a cheese pairing event at El Segundo Brewing Company. A flight of cheeses were selected and served alongside complementary brews.

    Two of the most interesting cheeses of the night were Ogleshield and Ol Sciur. This was my first time tasting either of these cheeses, so I was ecstatic to be introduced to something new! Ogleshield is an alpine style cheese made not from the alps of Switzerland or  France, but in Somerset, England!? It was pretty fantastic with its beefy savoriness, and rich mouth feel. Ol Sciur is a raw goat's milk blue rubbed with mixed berries and rose petals. Say whhatt? I couldn't believe it either! I enjoyed the sweet aroma, and the fruity flavor juxtaposed with the light peppery blue bite. A little bit dried fruit, nuts and  bergamot marmalade from Blue Chair Fruit Co. completed the cheese plate. 
    What a delicious night of cheese and beer!

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  • 04/05/16--07:30: Cheese Board Beauties

  • marble and acacia pineapple-shaped board available at anthropologie,rectangular acacia/rosy agateand rose quartzplatters from uncommon goods, petrified wood boards sold at terrain

    From its varying shape, size, materials and textures, cheese boards are an art form in itself. I own a small collection of cheese boards, and I'm fascinated by these. I don't quite yet have a mixed material cheese board or a petrified wood one (shown on the bottom right). They're super gorgeous. I'd even use it to hold my perfume and jewelry.

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    Weeks back, I took part in a wine and cheese tasting with Max McCalman, a pioneer of the cheese industry. Max is an world-renowned expert on cheese, educator, James Beard award-winning author, Maître Fromager, and someone that greatly inspires me.

    A diverse cheese flight of varying milks and textures were served: Humboldt Fog, Cacique Queso Fresco, Le Chatelain Brie, Bellwether Farms' San Andreas, Taleggio, American Grana, Scharfe Maxx, and Pt. Reyes' Bay Blue. Four wines; two whites (Josh Cellars 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Clos Pegase 2013 Chardonnay), and two reds (Laetitia Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir, J.Lohr Hilltop 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon) accompanied these cheeses. We sampled each wine with the flight of cheeses,  rather than strictly pairing a particular wine with a specific cheese. This encouraged exploration, uncovering striking and even unpleasant pairing combinations. That's how we learn, right?

    I discovered that the Sauvignon Blanc paired nicely with the Let Chatelain Brie, helping breakdown the butteryness. My favorite pairing was the Humboldt Fog with the Sauvignon Blanc, the crisp wine made a beautiful partner with the clean and tangy qualities of the cheese.

    The wine and cheese pairing was enjoyable and educational. Here are a few of the many things that I learned from the tasting:

    -When pairing, Max suggests starting with the wine first, so you can get the flavors, as cheese is a stronger partner.

    -Find the appropriate temperature with the wines.

    -Water keeps the palate neutral, lifting off acids and aroma off the palate.

    -Crackers work like  a swab, picking up flavors off the tongue.

    -Pair the inside of the cheese, or paste. The rinds can clash with wines.