Cheese!Of!The!Day!: Torta di Noci (Not a real cheese)
Libby and Aimee and I stopped in the Alpine Hut of Cheese for what will probably be the final time. Angela and Teresa and I posed for photos. Angela showed me a plastic sleeve in which they were keeping color proofs of my blog entries. Teresa asked whether we had any gourmet cheese shows in Washington. I said no. They gave me a package that blog reader Piero had mailed to me from Rome, in care of the Alpine Hut of Cheese, containing two Turin guidebooks. Grazie, Piero.
I had another list of cheese suggestions from Steven Jenkins, the Official Guest Cheese Commentator of these games, but the Hut didn't have much on the list, and we were making small talk the whole time, anyhow, rather than talking about cheese. A customer named Cristina told us her favorite offering was the Torta di Noci, a homemade mixture of Gorgonzola Dolce and Mascarpone with an internal layer of walnuts. Angela agreed. "Buono," she said. "Very, very buono." Cristina also raved about Castelmagno, as have several other folks I've met. I really do need to give it another try. The shop's owner tried to comp all of our cheeses for us, but we insisted that was impossible. Graft, and all. When we left, we all kissed, in the Italian style. My heart was heavy. Wheyed down.
"Those women are wonderful," Libby said. "I want to live here."
"I love it," Aimee said of the Olympics' Official Cheese Shoppe. "Quaint, beautiful, really nice people."
"It's wonderful," Libby said.
We tasted the Torta di Noci tonight. The Official Penultimate Cheese Tasting of these games. Gorgonzola is made in both Lombardy and Piedmont, and is obviously easy to find in the States. There are all sorts of similar Torti (?) made with Mascarpone that are available in U.S. gourmet food shops. They're used mostly as dessert-type cheeses, and I'm guessing real cheese lovers might turn up their noses at the stuff. But we needed a change of pace.
Mike Wise retched his portion out into a garbage can.
Mike Wise: "Dude! [While guzzling water.] That is not cheese. I'm sorry. It looks like Tiramisu, but it tastes like the grossest thing I've ever had in my life. It makes Roquefort look manageable. I would eat two pounds of blue cheese before I'd eat one more little gram of that. Roberto Donna doesn't use this. That's what Roberto Donna gives his cats. It's the essence of Python urine."
Style writer Libby Copeland: "This is amazing. Oh my God, it's totally unbelievable. Gorgonzola and Mascarpone, it's so clever for them to put the two together. It's really, really good."
Nationals beat writer Barry Svrluga: "It doesn't have as much bite as I thought. As a dessert, it makes a pretty good cheese."
Brilliant writer and budding cheese expert Sally Jenkins: "Very curious. The Mascarpone softens the Gorgonzola. It's satiny. Almost tastes like liquor. The Gorgonzola has a slightly boozy taste. And then the Mascarpone takes all the toughness out of it, makes it dainty. It should be served on a doily."
Me: "[Out of cheese words temporarily.]"
Did anyone go to the curling open house in Laurel today? Any reports?
I also have a excess of Olympic pins, which I hate (both the excess and the pins). Today I'm trying to ditch a Denver Post pin, a Visa pin and an Italy ski boot pin. The first three people to e-mail me the correct answer will have their fill.
Sweden, which I hereby predict will lose Sunday's men's hockey final, is fourth on the list of Olympic men's hockey silver medals. What are the top three nations in Olympic men's hockey silver medals? Put hockey or something like that in the subject line.
By Dan Steinberg |
February 25, 2006; 4:45 PM ET
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