It's okay -- I'm not spilling the beans by describing Fellow Traveler's and my planned Valentine's Day dinner -- a wine-and-cheese party for two featuring a top-drawer northern Michigan Riesling and an inexpensive but allegedly decent sherry, a meandering cheese trip around Europe and assorted fruit, crackers and nuts to go with. Ah....foodie love.
But we shouldn't be the only ones to enjoy the pleasures of good cheese. And we have some good ones right here in Michigan -- even though, sadly, it is incredibly hard for Michiganians to find and purchase our own artisanal cheeses. (As in many other aspects of life here, we just can't seem to get our act together to promote ourselves as a state worth working in, visiting or even buying food from.)
Here are two cheeses I really love, that I hope to one day include in some sort of "made in Michigan" feast, that you may want to consider purchasing by mail order if you too are a foodie:
I was introduced to Boon cheese when I lived in that area many years ago. As you can see, Boon cheese has a story -- one of those true stories, part of which may actually have happened. In any case, the Boon Store is a tiny little party store pretty much in the middle of nowhere; the cheese is cut by hand, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with butcher string, just like in the old days. The extra sharp cheese is sooooo rich and sooooo good that you can really only enjoy it in tasty little increments.
Blackstar Farms is a winery/creamery/bed-and-breakfast up in the Leelanau Peninsula. The owners, trained in the Old Country, make a really wonderful raclette cheese that I had the pleasure of tasting a couple of years ago during a solo adventure trip to that part of the state.
I hope I've inspired you to put together your own cheese tasting, for friends or just for a special someone, and to explore your own region's small-batch cheeses. Smile and say...