Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's all about the cheese: I loaf you!

I admit that it is no secret that I am a longtime cheese lover. There are a few I won't touch: taleggio makes me want to run out of the room. Havarti is a bit bland for me. Brie is good, but there are so many cheeses out there to explore, I couldn't possibly always light upon that one.

I was not very knowledgeable about Tillamook. I knew their mild cheddar made a perfect grilled cheese sandwich when you needed one, with some red onions and a little pepperoncini on wheat. However, I learned at the San Francisco stop of the Loaf Love tour just what I have been missing.

Tillamook is a farmer owned cooperative. The first Tillamook cheese plant was established in 1894, so you can bet they have plenty of practice getting it right. They have a visitor's center and cafe, so it looks like we all need to trek over to Oregon! The gang from Tillamook are fun know how to throw a party and are really great dressers!

Heather and I were early and enjoyed watching from across the street as people stopped and smiled, laughed and took pictures of the Baby Loaf buses. Truly these babies really do have a way of making you happy. I mean how can you not smile when you see them?

As they make their way across the country, or parts of it, you to can meet up with these cutest of little buses carrying some really tasty cheese. Oh, and you get to pose with them too! Here's Heather with a Baby Loaf.

I was also reminded just how good beer is with cheese! Really you have to do a tasting with beer and cheese. You will be delightfully surprised. Go for something exciting or spicy to pair with your cheeses and you won't believe your taste buds. Big thanks to Coney Island Beer et al!

The event took place at the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, who whipped some amazing treats for us, including Heidi's amazing blondies, the Piglet Tillamook sharp cheddar, artisan cured ham, apple mustard, rosemary butter, and the Jalapeño Popper chèvre, monterey jack, applewood-smoked bacon, apricot-jalapeño relish.

All of the cheeses were tasty and it was great to be able to try all of the different varieties available.
 I really loved two specific cheeses, the Vintage Extra White Sharp

and the Smoked Medium Cheddar which in no way diminishes any of the others!

One of my favorite cheese combinations ever is one introduced to me by my soul mother, Althea. We would get crusty bread, smoky cheese and pumpkin oil. Then we would drink wine and feast. Smoky cheddar and pumpkin oil are positively brilliant together. Trust me.

There was some fun swag, like a magazine and a squeezey cheese loaf! And the atmosphere of the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is nice and homey. It is also a nice walk from the BART, and right across from 21st Amendment Brewery, so it's an all around win, right?!

Thank you so much to the Tillamook team who was kind enough to fit me in at the last minute, and to the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen for hosting and cooking!

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