Those of you who know me well will certainly remember that my great cheese awakening moment occurred in the US. At the 2001 Slow Food Cheese in Bra/Piedmont I attended a class with American goat and sheep milk cheeses, moderated by Rob Kaufelt of Murray’s Cheese in New York. Full of arrogant prejudice I thought it would be a joke…
Well I had to eat humble pie (or rather cheese) – those six excellent cheeses made me go to California and visit their makers. And that in turn made me realize what was going on back home, in terms of handcrafted, artisan, real cheese. The rest is… HeinzelCheese.
For past four, exciting weeks I had been traveling along the US east coast, and on my last day in New York City I went to all the great cheese stores of that great city and bought samples of my favorite American cheeses – to taste with you, my HeinzelCheese friends. Even some soft stuff made it home with me, Kraft Singles it certainly weren’t…
And you showed a wonderful openness of mind, worthy of every effort and the NYC spirit. We started our adventure with Dorset from Consider Bartwell, dived deep into the creamy delight of Jasper Hill’s Harbison, and sailed over to the west coast with the aromatic Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery… In the glass Wernher refreshed us with a Vinho Verde from the north of Portugal (obrigada!), but then it was North America here too.
My last bottle of 2003 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Williams Selyem had been waiting in its rich silky beauty for a moment like this one. Likewise, the Chardonnay from Tantalus in the Canadian part of the Okanagan Valley tasted much better sharing it with you – a brilliant, very straight and mineral Chardonnay for Riesling lovers. The alpine Alpha Tolman took us back to Jasper Hill in the Northeast Kingdom that is upper Vermont, while the Vineland Cabernet Franc from the Canadian part of Niagara showed once more that there is more to Canadian wine than icy stuff!
Finally, Cabot Clothbound (Vermont) and Beecher’s Flagship Reserve (Seattle and New York) reminded us that great Cheddar doesn’t necessarily have to come from England; with the Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling from Washington State reinforcing the point… But you’ve left this kind of prejudices behind you since long. The world is our cheese and wine (and sometimes our oyster) – I am grateful for your continuing support.
HeinzelCheeseTalks take place regularly, usually on a Friday at 6pm at Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I bring some interesting cheese, open a few bottles of wine, and we sit around the large table opposite the Suff wine stall, tasting, drinking, talking, discussing (mostly in German – but we usually manage to cater to English speakers too). Invites are sent out about ten days before we meet, to a mailing list you can join here. Reservations need to be confirmed and are strictly by first come first serve – so be quick! And please do let me know if you can’t make it – there is always a waiting list. A donation of ten euros per person (or one or two euros more if you really had a lot of fun…) is much appreciated. Cheesio!