Monday, September 26, 2011

Marin French Cheese Company tour

Marin French Cheese Company, located in Petaluma, California near the coast, is a beautiful property with a quaint cheese factory, a large picnic area, & a crystal clear lake. The actual cheese factory is small, but they produce large amounts of brie-like cheese every week. I got to learn about the processing, aging, and how to eat it.

the cheese refrigerator

before we went into the actual factory, we had to be covered from head to toe - hair nets, mouth & nose, body suit, & booties

cheese fermentation

there are different stages of fermentation, multiple rooms, & unique flavors

you can see the rind growing

fully grown rind & definitely edible

cheese makers at work

our tasting - 7 different variations of fermentation stages starting from top left

all of the ones we tried in the above picture

The most interesting thing I learned is that many people think the rind is the most moldy part, however, the mold (cheese) grows from inside out, so the actual cheese in the middle is the moldiest!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hukilau Poke Festival

Hukilau's poke festival in San Francisco is something I look forward to every year. This year, they celebrated their 10th year & I feel honored to have been to 8 of them! The poke fest is known for their infamous spam musubi eating contest - whoever can eat the most in 3 minutes. And of course, the poke contest where restaurant chefs create their best poke platter. This year, restaurants such as Butterfly, Ozumo, The Slanted Door, and Pacific Catch participated in the contest. 3 'celebrity' judges, as well as one 'normal' person, ME :) got to judge the poke on its taste, originality, & presentation.

ahi with wonton chips & nori

"bibimbop" served with uni, ahi, soft shell crab, tako, brown rice

this contestant had 3 different dishes - the "bibimbop" one, white dish with toro & foie groie, and a shooter with uni, ikura, and ahi

three different types of poke

poke with caviar mix with furikake chip

ahi in a spam can!

left: crab salad with poke cone, right: mango salsa ahi poke

ahi, avocado, tobiko mix

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cheeses of France

One of the best parts about living in the Bay Area is that cheese & wine are easily accessible. Two of my favorite things in life. There is so much interest in this topic that a woman, Daphnes Zepos, actually opened up her own Cheese School of San Francisco. Here, different classes are offered about cheese where you can learn about the history, where it's from, what kind of milk is used in it, and what it pairs well with. Since french cheese is one of my favs, I decided to try out one of the classes.

Don’t knock the French for sometimes acting like the world revolves around them. In the case of cheese, they’re right. France is undeniably the historic and cultural epicenter of all things fromage. This class will cover the age-old grand dames, small production treasures, and extraordinary everyday wheels that put the ‘ooh-la-la’ in French cuisine. Instructor Colette Hatch

8 different types of cheeses were served with 2 types of wine (1 red, 1 white). The cheeses consisted of cow, goat, and sheep milk, starting from the lightest (a triple cream) to heaviest (sheep's bleu). My favorite of the night was at 1:00. This cheese is a goat's milk and is known as a soft-ripened type. The texture is soft & oozy. It pairs well with figs and white wine. The cheese itself is a mellow flavor, whereas the moldy rind adds a mushroomy taste to it.

Other interesting facts I learned:
1) Softer cheeses have less butter fat than harder cheeses.
2) When storing cheese, do not put in plastic such as ziploc bags. Always put in paper like wax paper and remember to change the wax paper every time you eat the cheese, because bacteria grows on the paper while it's in the fridge.