Monday, July 2, 2012

Cheese Monday: Andante "Trio"

Trio Cheese

Shock seized my chicken-fried soul, when I realized I've never done a post about my love affair with Andante Dairy!1  Saturday Ferry Building Farmers Market,  I scurried over to their lil' cheese stand and tried to decide on an extra delicious cheese to review.  Usually,  I avoid their big cuts of Triple Cream Cheeses,  since I can only eat so much Triple Cream in a day and they spoil fast.2    But I made an exception since I wanted to do this post, and a picnic was planned for the following day where I could share.  As I oogled the cheeses one more time, I chose a young piece of "Trio" and scurried back to my car a la this dude at 01:45

Trio Cheese

"Trio" is a glorious triple creamy combination of goat's and cow's milk with crème fraîche.   I've said it before, and I'll continue to exclaim it, that I'm always a sucker for fresh cheese in the center of a gooey  shell.  The richness of cow cheese with the slight tartness of goat cheese makes for a dreamy spread on a good crust of bread.  I found it especially delicious paired with some of my homemade pear & fig jam4 or a nice summer salad.  

I first became enamored with Andante cheeses, when I saw their delicate  Figaro.  A young cow and goat milk cheese wrapped in a fig leaf. 5   We loved it, and became even more excited when we found out the cheese maker was an Asian lady by the name of Soyoung Scanlan.  My dear Mr.Phi always felt like the only Asian around that liked cheese, and felt elated to find a leading Asian cheese maker existed!  Later, I found out the cheeses were served at the holy grail of The French Laundry, so my joke has always been eating their cheese is akin to eating at the French Laundry, minus the other 14 courses.   So I said that if I ever go to French Laundry2, I would skip the cheese course.  BUT, then I paused at this impossible statement leaking from my mouth and immediately said "oooh noooo, I would NOT skip it."  Once again my stomach took control of the situation and set the world right.  

My main go-to Andante cheese is their "Tomme Dolce," an aged goat cheese rubbed with June Taylor’s plum conserve and brandy.  Really?! Does life get much better than that description.  Always a picnic "must-have" for  trips to Napa or Sonoma.   And if you arrive to the Andante booth early, sometimes you can get a small piece of their famously rare butter.  Usually, The French Laundry buys it all up, but every great once in a while, it will be available only at the Saturday Ferry Farmers Market.  An unbelievable yellow color, exceptionally creamy taste, and highly sought after for memorable Sunday brunches.  Make sure to arrive before 9am if you're hoping to get some!  The below event happened to me one of the few times I've seen it... 

So if you happen to be in San Francisco, definitely visit the Saturday Ferry Building Farmers Market, because that is where you'll get to see the biggest selection of Andante cheeses(And if lucky, BUTTER.)  Otherwise, you can find a select few of their cheeses at upscale restaurants or specialty stores.   Good Luck and welcome to Andante Addiction!

1  Love affair would be incorrect, because many are in love with Andante.  I would say it's more likely some kind of dairy orgy I'm part of, but orgies never bring up romantic imagery.  So I'll stick with love affair for now...
2  Feels a bit sacrilegious to say I have a limit on Triple Creams...
3  Mr.Phi and I always say we'll go eat there for our last meal living in California.  We have plans to vacate one day.
4  Would anything taste bad with homemade pear & fig jam? just saying....  
5  Read about how Andante wraps the cheese in Fig Leaves here.  Amazing!