Best. Library. Ever.

| September 4, 2007 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments

On rare days when all the scheduling stars align, I take a long walk during the day with fellow BAB-writer Stephanie. We use walk time to catch up on projects that we’re working on, and any other news worth reporting. For months now, Stephanie has been referring to her Library of Cheese project. While I knew that it was a project for Cowgirl Creamery, the nationally recognized artisan cheese shop in San Francisco, I didn’t know much more about the Library of Cheese.

A couple weeks ago I was clicking around on the Cowgirl Creamery website to find out more about my beloved burrata cheese — it’s a mozzarella cheese that is made with cream to create one of the most wonderful, buttery, rich tasting delectables that I’ve ever eaten — and I found my answers in the Library of Cheese. The Library includes over 250 cheese descriptions. Most entries have history and flavor profiles of the cheese along with information such as the cheesemaker, the proprietor, the affineur, the region the cheese is from, the milk type, the rennet type, the rind type, the texture, and how long the cheese has been aged.

The database is searchable by provenance, milk type, and milk treatment, which is helpful for me when doing a project such as the Eat Local Challenge. The database appeals to the part of me who wants to know all about the Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, but doesn’t want to have to ask a million questions to the cheesemongers at the store — I like to have a little research in my pocket before walking up to the counter.

If you’re familiar with any of Stephanie’s writing, you won’t be surprised that the cheese descriptions are interesting, thorough, and often witty. About the flavor of Serena, a cheese made in the Central Valley of California, Stephanie says, “If classic Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano and tulip-sniffing Gouda were to marry, Serena would be their delicious progeny.” And reading about buffalo mozzarella, I found out the following: “Stories, fables, and oft-told anecdotes about mozzarella abound. Some say mozzarella was first invented when cheese curds in a Neapolitan cheese factory accidentally dropped into a vat of hot water. Others yarn that in 41 B.C., Antony and Cleopatra spent a good part of their clandestine courtship feasting on the cheese as they floated in barges pulled by water buffalo.”

Whether you’re using the Library of Cheese to do research before going to the store, or you just want to browse through to learn about some of the world’s best cheeses, check out this wonderful resource!

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About the Author ()

"My passion for food began young." I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers. I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003. I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure. I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers' Market, which was released in February 2010. I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what's in season and chatting with farmers.
  • Sam

    Stephanie is far more elegant than I could ever be for example:

    “I am trying to find this local cheese, a little bit gruyerish, and it begins with an S”, I said to the girl helping me at Cowgirl Creamery. “You must mean Serena”, she replied correctly.

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    Aw, shucks, y’all are making me blush!

    Thanks for the ego boost, girls — it’s very welcome.