By Mary Ellen Psaltis
I am heading to Copenhagen, Denmark to eat cheese. Yes, there will also be museums and sightseeing, but one of my favorite parts of European travel is the breakfast spread. Slices of lacey cheese from delicate beige to buttery yellow set out with loaves of whole grain breads await me. These are not my typical breakfasts; and I enjoy every crumb.
You won’t find the screaming orange cheeses that we see here. That’s because Europeans don’t dye the cheese. The breed of cow and the diet thereof will determine the color of the cheese. It is no surprise that cows don’t produce orange cheese. We might take a few lessons from the cheese makers across the pond.
As a matter of fact, Anita and Peter DeBoer have done just that. With their Dutch connections and an authentic recipe from Holland, the DeBoers use the milk from their sixty-five Holsteins and Jerseys and make handcrafted Gouda cheese. The dairy where the cows are milked twice daily is in Rochester and the Creamery is in Tenino.
Their son Tjeerd DeBoer is also part of the working team.
The small family dairy farm is an asset to the culinary life of Thurston County. Their cheeses are free of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) and antibiotics and are aged 60 days or longer. These happy cows are grazing nearly year round in the pasture. There is Gouda, pure and simple, but also others flavored with garlic, parsley, nettle, cumin, cloves and red pepper jalapeno. Varieties will vary.
Where can you find Frisia Diary cheese other than at the farm, itself?
700 Capitol Way N. in Downtown Olympia
Olympia Food Co-Op West
921 Rogers St. NW in Olympia
Olympia Food Co-Op East
3111 Pacific Ave. SE in Olympia
669 Lincoln Ave. in Tenino
Yelm Food Co-Op
404 First St. Se in Yelm
Pike Place Market in Seattle
I know most of us are familiar with a food product in the shape of a brick that comes in a bright yellow box with red letters (starts with a “V.”) You might have experienced it oozing over tortilla chips. A version also comes in thin orange slices wrapped in a sheet of cellophane. I will generously call this a cheese-like substance. I don’t want to insult any cheese, but there is no comparison to these products and handcrafted, local cheese. Do yourself a favor and buy a piece of real cheese. Stop by Frisia Dairy and meet Anita. Have a little chat – have a little cheese. All delightful. And if I discover a new cheese on my trip, I will be sure to let you know about it.
Eat Well – Be Well.
Allow the cheese to reach room temperature before eating. When it is cold, it is hard to discover the taste. At room temperature it gives a full mouth feel because you get to experience the dreamy fat.
Simple, fast breakfast. A bagel or slice of grainy wheat with a piece of local cheese is an European style breakfast.
Add small pieces to sautéed vegetables. As your vegetables are done cooking, sprinkle small squares or bits to the mix, stir and cover for a few moments. The heat will begin to melt the cheese.
Toast a piece of bread. Then add a piece of cheese and re-toast (or lightly broil.) Top with tomato or avocado slices and mustard for a summer delight.
Use cheese as a dessert. Americans tend to have a serious sweet tooth. Ending a meal with a little cheese, apple slices, and grapes is elegant and satisfying. If you still have the dessert desire, add a few pieces of dark chocolate.