I know it's been some time ... my life as an IT program manager has kept me super busy, and the holidays took me by storm.  Which really is an interesting statement, in itself, even for me to comprehend, considering that I did not DO anything for Christmas this year.  No real planning, and didn't take the effort to decorate the house or anything "Christmas-y" like that.  And, yes, it is kinda sad because I love to decorate for Christmas - the whole house ... Greenery in every room ... and we have a pretty nice shin-dig of a cocktail party.  Then I bake cookies and treats for friends, and all that sort of stuff, but this year, I just wasn't feeling it.

Do not fear - I have been collecting lots of recipes and pictures of those recipes in the making to share, I just need to take the time to put it all together - so it WILL be coming to you.  I promise.  Thanks for keeping up with me.

One thing I set out to do with this blog was not just to provide recipes and pictures, but also to be a little informative on some of my favorite topics like wine and cheese.  This past weekend, my best friend from Atlanta came for a visit and she stopped in to see my friend, Tim Gaddis at Star Provisions to pick up a package before she left the Big City.  It's habit now, for me to stop in on my way home from Atlanta to bring special cheeses that we can't get here (no, not even at the Whole Foods) to share with friends in Birmingham.  But it's a REAL treat when I can call Tim and say, "hey - 2 of us tonight - Elle's picking it up on her way over.  Pick out something fabulous for us girls!".  Never fails - The package is spot on every single time.   I feel like a princess that I can call in an order like that 150 miles away!

Granted, Tim knows what I like.  He always shares something regional, if not Georgian, with me, and always pairs the picks with a nice chutney or jam from Star Provisions.  Last weekend was no exception - I even got a hearty bread to go with it all (and the leftovers made some really fabulous toast Sunday morning!)

This is what was on my cheese plate this weekend:

Farm:  Shepherd's Way
Location: Nerstrand, MN
Milk:  Sheep
I LOVE blue cheese.  And this one was awesome.  It's a creamy and sharp (it's a semi-firm), kinda tangy, and clean.  Made from vegetarian rennet and aged for 3-4 months.  .

Farm: Sequatchie Cove Farm
Location: Sequatchie, TN
Milk:  Cow
This family's cheeses are made from their very own raised herd of French dairy cows, Montbeliard and Tarentaise, and Jersey cows.  This one is an Alpine-style cheese named for a Swiss colony that was established in TN in the 1800s.

Farm: Looking Glass Creamery
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Milk: Goat
Creamy, aged - The rind is ashed - that sort gives it a taste of truffles.  I let it sit for about an hour ... and it started oozing ... creamy oozing goat cheese.  TASTY!  It's almost a little sweet.  This one is pretty to look at - it's a pyramid of goat cheese ... Cut it open and let it warm just a little bit -It's like art on your cheese plate!

Farm: Pt Reyes Farmstead
Location: Pt Reyes, CA
Milk: Cow
All of their cows are organic grass-fed, so their cheeses tend to have a "grassy" taste, which can be tangy. This one is a semi-hard cheese, but buttery to taste.  While I could have eaten the whole thing alone, I have kept some of it because texture of this cheese lets me believe that it would be good melted on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Give Tim a call - he can put a plate just like this together for you.  And if you're not close to Atlanta, get on his list for the Cheese Club.

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