Hooray for spring. Fresh green grass, fresh cheese and, best of all, fresh rosé. It’s not even April and here come the pink wines. Someone, take my wallet. The rosés I love, like Bodegas Muga, I stockpile and drink like water. I know I cook better with a glass of rosé, and my French improves, too. Tentez le coup. (Try it.) Put some pink wine in an ice bucket, slice a baguette and set out some olives. May I recommend a few cheeses with that?
Pair fresh, tart, rindless cheeses with rosé to match the wine’s acidity. Vermont Creamery Crottin, Tomales Farmstead's lemony Liwa or any local fresh chèvre, drizzled with olive oil and warmed in the oven, calls for rosé. Sheep’s milk season is underway, so look for the fluffy Pennyroyal Farms Laychee (a goat-sheep blend) and pure fresh sheep cheese like Garden Variety’s Sweet Alyssum (a rarity but San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery often has it).
Herb-inflected cheeses are another slam dunk with rosé. Five I love:
Andante Dairy Rondo (above): a cow-goat blend from California’s Sonoma County, sprinkled with herbs and pink peppercorns and lightly ripened.
Laura Chenel Cabecou: thin two-day-old goat disks packed in extra virgin olive oil, with rosemary, thyme and black peppercorns. Dense and creamy, with a lively tang and French-kitchen scent. Serve lightly warmed with a salad.
Cypress Grove Purple Haze: fresh California goat cheese with a dusting of lavender and fennel pollen. Warm it and spread it on chunks of country bread.
Saveurs du Maquis: creamy Corsican sheep’s milk cheese cloaked in rosemary, thyme and juniper berries that suggest the maquis, the island’s scrubby scented hillsides; Brin d’Amour is a relative.
Fleur Verte: Dried thyme, tarragon and crushed pink peppercorns coat the outside of this French goat cheese, shipped when less than a week old. At its freshest, it is moist, lemony and delightful. My local Whole Foods often has it.
Now, while the rosé selection is plentiful, bring home a half-dozen and find your soulmate. Last year I fell for the 2015 Bodegas Muga Rosado from Spain, a blend of 60 percent Garnacha, 30 percent Viura and 10 percent Tempranillo. Adult lemonade.
Raw-Milk Cheese Class: Last Call!
Join me on Monday evening, April 3, for a Raw-Milk Cheese Showcase and learn why so many cheesemakers remain devoted to raw milk. In this guided tasting, we’ll sample some of the stars of the raw-milk realm and discuss issues surrounding the use of unpasteurized milk.
Six seats left.