Dan’s Papers November 25, 2011 arts & entertainment danshamptons.com Page 54
HAMPTONS EPICURE Stacy Dermont
Cheese is my drug of choice.
You know what I’m talkin’ about. Cheese may be at its best with a complementary glass of wine— but—be it a wheel, a curd, a sauce, a cake or a shaving, cheese rocks my world. Recently I had my first bleu cheese fondue at the Chowder Pot Pub in Greenport. Right on! What makes cheese so great? Fat, salt, terroir, sometimes mold. Cheese is mother’s milk condensed and turned to savory gold. I appreciate Long Island’s local cheeses— Catapano Farms, Mecox Bay Dairy. I’m especially enamored of Art Ludlow’s Blue Cheddar. That’s right, blue veins inside cheddar cheese. Last winter Art told me he was still tinkering with it. I asked “Why?!” He pointed out that at that time, the blue wasn’t distributed evenly throughout the cheese. I love this man. Speaking of men I love, my husband used to dabble in making the fresh Indian cheese paneer. He used standard cow’s milk from the grocery store and the stuff wasn’t bad. Maybe—apart from heretics who badly season perfectly fine cheese curd—you can’t go far wrong with cheese. If you serve a selection of it after a dinner for company, it’s often what they remember most about the meal. Wanna compare favorite cheeses? I’ll go first: Stilton, bleu, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Smoked Gouda,
Little Nemo dreams of cheese.
Parmesan, cheese curd, Monterey Jack, provolone, Swiss, mozzarella. Pretty pedestrian, I know. I even have a special (clogged) place in my heart for American cheese—the first cheese I can remember eating. (I’ve blocked out my childhood Velveeta memories.) I’ve never really been tempted by the stuff you have to hold your nose to eat or the fabled casu marzu which comes with live worms in it. Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo experienced a whole world of comic strip adventure due to some cheesefueled childhood nightmares. Ebenezer Scrooge tried to blame the “Dreadful apparition,” his first sighting of Marley’s ghost, on “a crumb of cheese.” Science now tells us that consuming 2/3 of an ounce of cheddar half an hour before bed helps normalize sleep, thanks to the amino acid tryptophan. However, the British Cheese Board’s Nigel White stated that consumption of a more colorful cheese
variety before bed may induce “wacky” dreams. Wish I’d applied for that grant funding. I ate an enormous amount of cheese when I was pregnant with my son. I think it was partly why he was so allergic to cow’s milk in his early years. A hint of dairy, just a touch of whey on a flavored potato chip, for instance, would set him off. There were no physical indicators—only psychological ones. He became moody, then sad, and then teary, over about an hour and a half. He also lost control—he HAD TO MOVE—even if it meant kicking something until he hurt his foot or walking into traffic while everyone else waited for the light to change. It was scary. Thankfully he lived to outgrow his food allergies, which included wheat. Now he can subsist on pizza like a normal, American teenager. I’ve taken to making jams and chutneys to complement cheeses. Mint, sage, oregano and basil jellies trip the trigger, as does my tomato jam and mango chutney. I often find my way to Lucy’s Whey in East Hampton. So many American artisanal cheeses right in my backyard! And a new cheese shop, C’est Cheese, has opened in Port Jefferson Village. Love the name. C’est Cheese is a gourmet cheese shop and café. I might drive to Port Jeff for some of that cheese love. Owner Joe Ciardullo serves lunch, light dinner and an after-dinner menu consisting of cheese pairings with boutique wines or craft beers, sandwiches, salads, and made-to-order cheese plates. One hundred twenty-five types of artisanal cheeses that change seasonally! C’est manifique. Pass the cheese, please. Read a profile of Art Ludlow in “Who’s Here” on page 37. Lucy’s Whey, 80 North Main Street, East Hampton, 631-324-4428, www.lucyswhey.com. C’est Cheese, 216B Main Street, Port Jefferson, www.cestcheesepj.com, 631-561-1296.
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Dan's Papers November 25, 2011 Issue