As a relative newbie to the world of cheese, I’m still unpacking and learning to harness the versatility of fresh goat cheese. I had a 10.5 oz log of it sitting in my fridge on Sunday night, and after two days, half of it is gone. I’ve been spreading it on toast for breakfast–it functions as a superior alternative to cream cheese, tangier and less processed. In a similar vein, it’s wonderful as a spread for sandwiches in place of mayonnaise (again, superior I think). And of course, you can’t go wrong with crumbles of goat cheese on your salads. I also recently learned that it does wonders for a humble pasta dish. Simply add a hunk to a steaming, just-cooked bowl of pasta and keep stirring to break it up, and it essentially morphs into this creamy-ish cream sauce that adheres just right. If you’re not a fan of heavy cream sauces but like the illusion of a cream sauce, this is my gift to you: throw some goat cheese into your pasta. Along with a light squeeze of lemon and lots of pepper, and I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
Cheese 101 is billed as Formaggio’s most popular cheese course, and at $35, it’s a bargain. They offer it about once a month, and it sells out fast, so you’ll have to plan accordingly. I reserved a spot for the March class back in January. They have a generous 24-hr full refund policy, in case you realize you can’t make it as the date closes in.
The coworker with whom I had originally signed up unfortunately had to back out at the last minute. I went solo and had a great time, but I definitely recommend going with a friend if you can (most people were there in pairs).
Adam Centamore and Vince Razionale, two of Formaggio’s genial cheesemongers, led the class. I will not dwell on the frustration of my failed zipcar reservation, but it did make me a half hour late. I got there toward the tail end of the introduction on the history of cheese and the basics of the cheese-making process (the function of rennet, separating curds from whey, adding flavoring, aging). In a later aside, I was given the 30-second version of the history, and I will give you the one-sentence summary: a very long time ago, cheese was discovered by accident. I thought the intro provided a broad but scant overview, this impression colored by the fact that I missed some of it. The more interesting details came out over the course of the night via questions raised and by explication through the particular cheeses that we tasted.