Monday, October 4, 2010

Worth its Weight in Cheese

The Scene: Todd Lake
The Setting: Marmot tent, picnic table, tidy fire, and three backpacks with their guts strewn everywhere.
The Action: Dinner

Who knew that dinner would be the scene of a totally sublime gustatory moment worthy of Remy in Ratatouille? This little moment was brought to us courtesy of a local goat dairy.

Granted, everything was staged pretty perfectly for Resident Kid’s first backpacking trip. The hike was short, the weather mild, the menu included s’mores. But it was a last minute item tossed in the pack that stole the show that evening and completely obliterated the trail food we’d brought.

Resident Kid is pretty typical in that a favorite food is mac and cheese, so that was on the menu as being easy to transport and cook along with sugar snap peas with dip, grapes and the previously mentioned s’mores. But Resident Kid also likes more complex (and often stinky) cheeses and had talked me into buying a small chunk of Pondhopper made by Tumalo Farms at the St. Charles Farmer’s Market one Friday not long ago. The consistency is somewhat like a chedder with a rind but the flavor comes from goat milk and, as the label says, a local microbrew (Mirror Pond Pale Ale, I wonder?)

As I brought it out, Resident Kid helpfully pointed out that the chunk cost $5.00, to which Resident Spouse responded, “Then the dog doesn’t get any.” And indeed, the poor Mimsical creature didn’t get anything but a taste of some mac and cheese that night because we three were entranced with the Pondhopper. We savored thin and sometimes not so thin slices alone, or with sugar snap peas or, best of all red globe grapes. That flavor combination was the one that caused the fireworks and rendered the mac and cheese that was on the menu, completely bland.

For someone on a budget, the price is high, but this is a farmstead cheese crafted locally and definitely delicious. I’d say we got our $5.00 worth.

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