Monday, May 2, 2011

Stolen Recipe; Easy Cheese Dressed in Black Tie...

I love eating, I love cooking, and I love discovering new 'outfits' for my favorite ingredients...

As my grandmother once watched me eat a salad in a shopping mall in southern Florida, she commented, "I've never seen anyone actually ENJOY their food as much as you do," good thing it was only a 'mall' salad, and she has never seen me 'go to town,' so to speak, here in Italy, on carne cruda, or oven roasted cinghiale!

While all of us 'gourmands' seem to find time to enjoy eating our food... we may not be able to find as much time to 'make' it.

Having my own company, running an agriturismo (aka Bed & Breakfast, and yes, yours truly prepares the breakfast), and daily life here 'on the farm/winery' with a constant stream of visitors and guests does NOT leave a lot of time for me to experiment with recipes, and study cookbooks.  So when I find something new, that is wonderful and easy - I am all about it.

We recently had dinner at Fabrizio's partners house, Umberta & Gad Lerner, and Umberta served an herbed fresh cheese that blew me away.  It was so simple, yet aesthetically beautiful, seasonal, and so delicious it was massacred in no time, with no traces left ... we soaked up the left over oil and herbs with bread.

It's this easy:

1. Fresh Herbs; Rosemary, Chives, Thyme (I used lemon thyme as well), Oregano, San Pietro (which is indigenous to this region of Piedmont), Mint (I used a few different types), Sage, and anything else you have or find in your garden or market...

2. Rough chop the herbs, drizzle a fair amount of a GOOD quality olive oil over a fresh cheese.  I used a fresh goat Robiola, which by definition; an Italian soft-ripened cheese made with varying proportions of cow's, goat's and sheep's milk.  Then sprinkle the herbs.

3. And serve with toast points...Voila!


So for those of you with little time, a love of food and 'impressive' looking appetizers that you can whip up in less than 10 minutes, here you go - steal away ...

I recommend from the Indie Wine list these pairings;

- 2008 La Colombera Timorasso Derthona: Sharp acidity to cut the fat in the cheese, herbal minerality to pair with the fresh herbs, and a structure to stand up to the complexity of the fresh herb mixture

- 2010 Arndorfer Vorgeshmack: Herbal wine for an herbal dish... the acidity and freshness of the 2010 Gruner is a perfect match for the fresh Robiola.

- 2009 San Lorenzo Verdicchio 'Vigna del Gino': The natural creaminess of Verdicchio is a perfect pairing to the cheese, and the salinity of the variety is also perfect to compliment the herbs and olive oil.




  1. The herb garden on the terrace looks fantastic!

  2. Why thank you Peter... we have worked hard this spring on our backyard garden, mulch and all - it's quasi a legit garden!