If often distracted with thoughts of an aged sheep’s milk cheese drizzled with chestnut honey, pairing that triple-crème in the fridge with a Blanc de Blancs, or the liveliness of the Texas queso blanco you stuffed with sage into butternut squash last week, then we have the club for you.
Kirstin Jackson, cheese and wine educator, and author of the book and blog “It’s Not You, It’s Brie,” and Scardello Cheese are joining forces to create a monthly cheese club that promises to nurture your inner cheese child (or that of your favorite cheese geek).
Every month, Kirstin will pick three of her favorite artisan cheeses from around the world and a condiment or side that highlights one of the selections, and write about them and their pairing preferences in the lively style found in her book and writings for LA Times and NPR. Scardello will lovingly package the selections and descriptions, and ship them from their home in Dallas to yours. After the club is shipped, members will receive an email from Kirstin divulging more information about the cheeses, their makers, photographs, and an original recipe for one of the cheeses the club. This club could be the most delicious thing you’ve found greeting you once a month on your front porch… ever.
Through teaming up with Scardello, who has a reputation for shipping artisan cheese in prime condition, Kirstin’s happy to have the opportunity to introduce enthusiasts to the favorite cheeses she’s found through her mongering, writings, and traveling. Welcome notes are sent to all members telling them when to except their first club, and as a way to say thank you for signing up for twelve-month memberships, Kirstin will send members a complimentary signed copy of her book.
The “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Single Share” club is priced at $46, plus packaging and shipping, and includes around a pound of cheese and a condiment.
The “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Share the Love” club is priced at $66, plus packaging and shipping. It includes around a pound and a half of cheese, and two portions of the side or condiment. This shared club is intended to offset the price of shipping to two separate parties who live in close proximity, or infuse a cheese lover’s life with a half pound more cheese for nearly the same price to ship one. It will be shipped in one package and can be wrapped for one or two parties.
• Includes: Three stylistically different and delicious individually wrapped artisan cheeses and a tasting portion of a condiment or side such as Georgia peach preserves, or cornmeal and anise crackers to pair with the cheeses. One of the club cheeses will be ripe and ready as soft heirloom tomatoes in late July, and the other two will hold happy in your fridge for a couple weeks.
• Packed with the club: Kirstin’s lively and unique descriptions detailing the cheeses, what to pair them with or how to treat them in the kitchen. Sent in an email once shipped: more information and photographs highlighting one or two of the cheeses and its maker, and a simple recipe for one of the cheeses.
• Excepting Texas and Oklahoma clubs, that are shipped via ________, clubs are shipped with Fedex 2-day on the second Tuesday every month. Club members are automatically charged for the club before shipment and sent an email with tracking information notifying them when their club has left Scardello. Members are encouraged to return the packaging with the return-shipping label included in with shipments for use in the next club to reduce packaging costs. Dallas residents have the option of picking up their clubs at Scardello.
• Members can sign up to receive clubs every month, or every other month. There is a three-month club minimum, and a shipping estimator can be found here.
Disclosure: The cheese will be sourced and packed with the utmost care and experience that Scardello has acquired during their successful ___ years of operation and will arrive on your doorstep in optimal condition. Scardello does not accept responsibility for the condition of the cheese if not put the refrigerator on the day of arrival.
Brazos Valley Cheese “Eden,” Brazos Valley, Texas
Maybe it’s because they remind me of the lembas bread the hobbits wrapped in shire leaves to bring on their trip to Modor, but I’m a sucker for leaf-wrapped cheeses. Especially the gooey ones. This one from Brazos is a deliciously soft, sexy, cow’s milk number cut with a line of vegetable ash running through the center. Its curds are hand-ladled, and though still a younger style of cheese, the grape leaf-encased interior only gets richer and softer with age. Beautiful and swoon-worthy. I like it with a sparkling Prosecco or Chenin Blanc.
Casa Madaio “Barilotto,” Campania, Italy
Mystifyingly creamy yet dry and crumbly at the same, Barilotto is made by re-cooking the whey that remains after cheese curds coagulate. Which means it is a ricotta (”re-cooked”). In this case, it’s also a ricotta salata (a lightly, salted, aged ricotta), made from buffalo milk. And it is pretty much the perfect summer cheese. Though good at room temperature over crostini and drizzled with olive oil, pepper, or honey, where it really shines is when paired to all the gorgeous summer produce. In panzenella and watermelon salad, caprese, over grilled peaches- slip this into any dish you would have used mozzarella, chevre, or feta. Delicious with the Friends in Cheese salted watermelon jelly included in your club.
Heublumen, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Ever since the Swiss government stopped discouraging their cheesemakers to make anything but their traditional top-sellers, their artisan cheesemakers have gone into overdrive. Especially in the Alps, they’ve been crafting some of the most interesting cheese around on land that looks like it’s only reason to exist is making either skiers or cows happy. Heublumen is a fine example. Made in large wheels, then patted down with local hays and grasses, it’s a cheeses that tastes of sweet cream, mushrooms, and coffee. Maybe next time, Gruyere.