Sunday, June 13, 2010

Say Cheese!


Say Cheese!

By Charlotte Bessette
From Avery Aames' Cheese Shop Mystery series



What a lovely day to say hello. Providence, Ohio is beautiful at this time of year. The sun is shining. Birds are singing. The twins--my young nieces--are joining in the song. [They have the sweetest voices!]

Who am I? Some call me The Cheese Shop Lady. My friends call me Charlotte, named after my great-great-grandmother who, I'm told, was quite a feisty Frenchwoman and renowned for making great quiche.

Mmmmmmm! I wish you could smell what I'm smelling. This morning, using one of my namesake's recipes, I baked a quiche. The lingering aroma of cinnamon hangs in the air and is making my stomach work overtime.

Pardon me while I nibble a slice of Manchego. One slice of cheese mid-morning usually curbs my appetite until noon.

Yum. I adore Manchego. Pungent, flavorful, with a granular texture that truly pops on my tongue. Love it.

Where was I? Oh, yes, ready to tell you about my upcoming day. Fromagerie Bessette--or as the locals like to call it, The Cheese Shop--is bustling with activity. We're having a cheese tasting today. Many of the locals are joining in. A tour bus filled with folks from Cleveland has parked down the street. I can see them in their matching burgundy tee shirts, carrying their purchases from other shops in town, heading this way.

What are we serving for the tasting, you ask? For a party at home, I usually make a platter with six to eight different cheeses. A feast for the eyes, my grandfather says.

For today's tasting, I'll keep it simple and share three different kinds of cheeses. One cow's milk, one sheep's milk, and one goat's milk. Appenzeller cheese is the cow's milk. It's creamy with a nutty finish. The sheep's milk is a rosemary-crusted Mitica Romao. Delish! One of my all-time favorites. And Humboldt Fog goat's cheese. It's got a thin layer of ash in the middle and tastes uniquely tangy.

You probably think by now that I eat, breathe, and sleep cheese. I guess I do. But I also make time for friends and family and my sweet Ragdoll cat "Rags."

Oh, did I tell you? I get to star in an upcoming book. {Shhhh. Don't tell the author, but I'm very excited. It's coming out on July 6 and it's called The Long Quiche Goodbye.} I love to share stories about family, and our town is filled with colorful characters. As the weeks go by, maybe some of them will offer a tidbit about themselves, too.

In the meantime, enjoy the day and treat yourself to a bite of cheese.

~ Charlotte

P.S. If you're interested, click this link to see the author's site. I hear she's running a contest.

And if you have a moment, let me know what your favorite cheese is. I'm always on the lookout for new ones.

24 comments:

  1. It's a treat to get to meet you, Charlotte, and may I say, your cat is simply gorgeous! I'm really looking forward to your debut, and learning more about your shop, your cheese passion, and your town!

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  2. Hi Charlotte,

    Nice to meet you and I'm also excited to hear about you, your friends, your town and the adventures you're going to take us on.

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  3. Hi Charlotte,

    Can't wait to read all about your adventures.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  4. I WANT CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sparking my appetite this morning. Yum.

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  5. Charlotte,

    It's clear that you have superior taste and are a gastronomic adept. Perhaps you could come to my restaurant, The Boot Top Bistro, and together we'll have a wine and cheese event. One must get a vacation from the Ohio winter, after all.

    Your Friend and Confederate,

    Olivia Limoges

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  6. Oooh, Olivia, what a lovely idea! I would truly enjoy that. I'll bring my cousin Matthew, who's my business partner, with me. He used to be a sommelier and he has such a fabulous palate! Dru, Shel, Mason and Leann, so nice to meet all of you. Have a fabulous day. Say Cheese!
    ~Charlotte

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  7. Nice to meet you Charlotte. Here in Scumble River we don't get too much of that fancy gourmet stuff, although once in a while Simon tries to lure me back from Wally by bringing me tasty treats. I'll have to mention your shop to him. ;)
    Skye

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  8. We don't serve cheese with the beer at The Whole Nine Yards, but I've been known to put out a bowl of pretzels for the guys.

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  9. I'm mostly a cheddar girl, but I recently bought a wedge of "fancy" cheese: Sartori Bellavitano Gold. Three of us inhaled the half pound of cheese in about 20 minutes. So good! It had a nice crumble to it, but it was a bit softer than parmesan, with a similar bite ... though, again, a little milder. Yum!

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  10. Charlotte! A fellow fan of the dairy product ... so good to meet you!

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  11. I would love to hold a cheese and wine event at my bookstore, The Cookery. Phone me, I'm in the book. (Heck, I've written a cookbook!)

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  12. Hi Charlotte:
    I am so happy you have a rag doll cat - my neighbor has one too and he is absolutely adorable! I can't wait to know more about your wonderful store!

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  13. I like XXX-tra sharp cheddar cheese. But it's difficult to eat--not only because it's very brittle and falls apart when you cut it, but my cats love it, too. As soon as I cut a piece, usually at least one cat is on my lap trying to steal a piece before I can get it in my mouth. (I should just stand up when I eat it.)

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  14. Lorna, cats are sneaky creatures! Think about getting a ladder.

    Jeff, cheese and beer are good together. Try offering little cubes of cheese on toothpicks. Guys like those. Or better yet, offer a melted cheddar fondue for dipping those pretzels! You could even lace it with beer.

    So nice to meet all of you.
    ~Charlotte

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  15. Just found a new cheese -- Gran Pedrano -- that is my new favorite. It's like Parmesan, only you want to eat it in big chunks. Yumm. My standby is always goat cheese -- no cow's milk in it.
    I'm so excited about your book! Can't wait to read it and meet you, Charlotte.

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  16. Kate, according to Wikipedia, which we all know is 100% correct, all of the time, Grana Pedano is one of the first cheeses every made, created over a thousand years ago by monks near Naples, Italy.
    Enjoy. Sounds yummy.
    ~Charlotte

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  17. What a tasty series this is going to be! Can't wait to dig in. I'm a serious cheese lover and I always enjoy Avery's recipes over at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Great to meet you, Charlotte.

    MJ

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  18. Hi Charlotte! Great to meet you. My roommates have a little wine shop in town and I bet they would love to talk to you about adding cheese to their offerings. I just found this wonderful blog of characters and I'm looking forward to joining in to introduce myself one of these days. Can't wait to visit your shop when The Long Quiche Goodbye comes out!

    Grace

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  19. Gran Pedano -- that's it. I had to ask the chef for the name because it was so divine. Hey, if it was good enough for the monks of Naples, Italy, it's good enough for me - and Wiki. Thanks for the info. Nice to have a cheese whiz in the house. (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)

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  20. Charlotte - You, your shop, and your upcoming book are a delight.

    You asked about favorite cheeses. Like you, I have many favorites: dried ricotta, Pecorino, and Asiago -- all Italian, of course and even better with a glass of bubbly Prosecco. And I'm lifting a flute of *virtual* champagne to you on the launch of your new Cheese Shop series!

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  21. Hi Charlotte! It's wonderful to meet you! I absolutely *love* Ragdoll cats...we thought about getting one ourselves. And Manchego sounds delish! I'm not familiar with it.

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  22. Oh, I can't wait to visit Prvidence, OH. It looks just lovely and with some wine a cheese, a perfect retreat.

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  23. I'm so glad all of you have come to visit the site today. I was really nervous about meeting all of you. But I'm thrilled to find out some of your favorite cheeses, to hear that so many want to come to town to visit. The party's at my place. And we'll talk wine and catch up. Such fun.
    ~Charlotte.

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  24. My favorite is munster. Charlotte, it's too bad you're so far away. You'd probably like Le Grande Fromage, the little Tarzana bistro Molly Pink and her crochet friends frequent.

    Good luck on your debut!

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