One of our hero cheeses. Piedmont made by Virgnia's Everona Dairy, a richly flavored sheep's milk (almost like a Manchego) cheese served with rosemary marcona almond pralines and dried figs.
Bresaola (Italian air dried beef) anchored the raclette table where we scraped the melted cheese off the wheel and served it up on steamed potatoes.
We paired this raw cow's milk Tomme De Crayeuse aged French cheese with a homemade dark kumquat lime marmalade. The cheese alone is creamy and earthy with a buttery mouth feel. With the marmalade topping the already intense flavor just explodes in your mouth. It was my favorite combination of the party.
Ringed by thinly sliced lightly fennel flavored salami is Quadrello di Bufala, a Taleggio style cheese made with buffalo milk. Pickled carrot sticks and zucchini slices are waiting behind.Delicious peppered cheddar from Beecher's Handmade Cheese of Seattle shared a platter with homemade pistachio chicken liver pate. Beecher's makes their cheese behind a glass wall at the Pikes Place Market. You can watch this delicious bandage wrapped cheddar pressed and formed while eating their self proclaimed world famous mac and cheese.
Cheese with a view.
Our secret cheese find. Two wheels of aged raw sheep's milk pecorino aged in a ceramic cask with fresh olive branches. The unusual cheese was slightly dry and almost chalky but with a full grassy flavor and mild herb scent.
Cheese table 2.
A close up from our ham table. This is the cheese James thinks might just be the best in the world, Coach Farm Triple Cream. It's the only triple cream goat's milk cheese I have ever seen and it's creamy and mild and delicious. We served it with homemade blood orange marmalade for a touch of sweetness.
That's our yearly Jamon Serrano (basically Spanish prosciutto -- a favorite at every Tapas bar) waiting to be sliced. This table also featured a creamy salt cod purée (Thanks Martha) and roasted tomatoes.
I went a little mad on desserts (this wasn't the only table) I think there were 15 in all.
James loved these sour cherry and pear tartlettes.Turkish coffee pots de creme were a big hit with the adults and I loved serving them in the delicate demitasse cups. They combined bold espresso with a dash of fragrant cardamom.
Strawberry mini cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.
The Meyer lemon (from our tree) sablés were one of our five kinds of cookies. The others were chocolate black pepper, Earl Grey shortbreads, cornmeal lemon thyme and rosemary pine nut cookies.
Lavender mini cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting.
Milk chocolate pots de creme in tiny shot glasses, sitting on the buffet next to Lillet flavored marshmallows.
After all this, the star of the show really are James' grilled oysters with flavored butters. He works all afternoon popping shells and spooning in dollops of Meyer lemon herb, bacon blue cheese, or fennel chili butter. There is always a crowd at the grill -- and not even a picture to show for it. . . Maybe next year.