Sunday, November 9, 2008

What's good in California now!

Pierino has been praising California cheeses and olive oils for years. Right now is a good time to seek these products out. New olive oils and seasonal cheeses are just coming on the market. However for some you may have to go to the source.

Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes makes wonderful camembert and epoisses with seasonal versions as well. Their bestsellers are the Mt. Tam and the Red Hawk. In Pierino's opinion the Red Hawk (an epoisses style) is their best. Their seasonal cheeses include Pt. Pierce with an herbed rind and St. Pat with nettles on the rind. All are delicious. Everytime I bring one to a dinner everyone raves about it. Cowgirl Creamery has an outlet in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, but I've been able to find them at Whole Foods. And you can order online directly from the Cowgirls.

Another new favorite is Pozo Tomme from Riconada, a sheep ranch in Santa Margarita. Very limited production. Look for it at Di Raimondo in Paso Robles or contact Riconada directly. They are wonderful people.

Olive oil. In Pierino's opinion these can at least be the equal of imported European oils. Olive growers have been bringing in tree stock from Italy which has thrived on the Central Coast and in the Napa area. Now most of the small production oils are a blend.

Pierino's favorites include Pasolivo from Paso Robles, Vineyard Canyon also from Paso, Balzana from Santa Ynez, McEvoy from Napa.

Pasolivo tends to be consistant from year to year. They've introduced two infused oils; lemon and tangerine. See the picture above. You can buy Pasolivo from Zingerman's but not their infused oils.
Vineyard Canyon, also from Paso, is wildly inconstant and very small production. They only do a couple of styles which unfortunately they keep tweaking. At their best, when you first taste them you will feel the burn! However some years they smooth them out, apparently to appease the wimps among us. But I always look forward to their new oils.
BTW Paso has an Olive Festival in August---when the temperature is maybe 105 degrees F. But it's more fun than the midstate fair.

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