Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Beecher's Handmade Cheese, Seattle
Back at the beginning of my US trip which already seems like several months ago we spent a day in Seattle and, as you do, nosed around the Pike Place market. I can't say I liked it much - it's become too much of a tourist attraction rather than a place to buy great food but it does have a very clever cheese shop called Beecher's which has its own dairy thus underlining the company's boast that they sell 'handmade' cheese.
Their signature cheese Flagship is nothing to write home about to be honest. The standard version is like a rather dull medium-matured block cheddar but the way it's sold is nothing short of brilliant. The dairy runs down one side behind large plate glass windows (above) so you can see everything that's going on. (The cheese is sold from the other side and there's takeaway in the front including what they immodestly describe on the website as 'The World's Best Mac'n'Cheese'. You can even buy it frozen by overnight delivery if you live in the States.)
What I did like were the 'cheese curds', tubs of fresh cheese curds you can nibble as a snack - apparently known as 'squeaky cheese'. They suggest you can toss them with greens, combine them with pasta or use them as a pizza topping (some were flavoured with herbs and garlic and chipotle peppers). I also - unusually for me - liked their flavoured cheese which is called Marco Polo and contains peppercorns but found their 'Blank Slate' dessert cheese which is blended with honey a tad too sweet (I imagine I'd be in a minority there).
Also good were the packs of 'cheese papers' so that you can wrap your cheese back home like they do in the shop, books and other cheese paraphernalia. And their website's full of useful information about cheese styles, storing and serving cheese and what wine to pair with it.
They're apparently going to open a shop in New York next year. I'd love to see something similar in the UK.