Currently, my favorite food is actually a selection of cheeses that I was able to try at Rise No. 1 in Dallas, TX, but which quickly became a staple of my meals at home due to the pandemic. I remember thinking to myself when I first tried the cheese board (or chariot de fromages) at Rise many years ago, “How delicious could this possibly be?” Turns out, incredibly. I suddenly understood what people meant when they said they were “transported” by a food. It goes beyond sustenance. I highly recommend trying the cheeses I list below.
- Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto. This cheese is made from sheep’s milk and contains bits of truffle throughout. It is sweet and earthy, and the deliciousness of the cheese is magnified if you shave the cheese with a cheese curler. The cheese curler also makes it delicate and soft. I cannot emphasize enough just how delicious this cheese is. It is always the one I eat first when I create a cheese board or travel to Rise No. 1.
- Peppercorn wrapped Chevre. Though I have not been able to find the particular cheese on igourmet’s website, or anywhere else online, I’m aware that it exists because it is at Rise No.1 in Dallas. You can see it on the left side in the picture above. I suspect it is made by Montchevre, but I’m unsure. It is made from goat milk and is incredibly soft (you could dip a spoon in it, instead of using a knife) and can be crumbly. What I love about the peppercorn wrapped chevre is that it packs a punch. Not only is it soft and creamy, but the peppercorn makes it deliciously spicy.
- Purple Haze. Cypress Grove’s Purple Haze competes with the Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto for my favorite cheese of all time. It is truly addicting. Lavender buds are mixed with wild-harvested fennel pollen. What this means is that it tastes like lavender and fennel mixed; the flavors are not overpowering, but just enough to make you crave more. Like the chevre, it is made from goat milk, and it is soft enough to eat with a spoon, rather than a knife. It, too, can be crumbly.
- Perlagrigia with Truffles. This cheese I did not discover through Rise No. 1 in Dallas, but rather through igourmet online. (Because I enjoyed the Boschetto al Tartufo so much, I wanted to try several different truffle cheeses.) In contrast to the Boschetto, the Perlagrigia has a much milder flavor and reminds me of Christmas due to the cinnamon ash on its rind. I highly recommend it. It is made from cow’s milk and requires a knife to cut.
- Tintern. This is the only POW! cheese that I am listing here. Its flavor packs a punch, such that I don’t tend to eat a ton of it all at once and usually have enough left over through two cycles of buying cheeses. What I enjoy about it is that it has a ton of chives and shallots mixed throughout it, and it actually kind of almost tastes cheddary. It is made from cow’s milk. A little bit goes a long way.
- Saint Andre. It is a super soft, triple cream cheese made from cow’s milk. (Think something similar to brie, but without the nutty flavor.) It’s almost like eating butter or straight cream. It helps balance out cheeses like the Tintern above or the Boschetto. I highly recommend it as part of the chariot de fromages.
There are a few other cheeses that I would love to list, but I don’t remember their names, and Rise No. 1 has been off limits due to the pandemic. I likely won’t be visiting for a while; however, once I do find out what the cheeses are called, I will definitely edit my list above to add them.
I also want to say that on every cheese board, I make sure a good chunk of soft quince paste is present, as I tend to eat a little with almost every bite of cheese and crackers. I also put caramelized pecans on the side.
In terms of crackers I tend to either use water crackers by Carr’s at home. At Rise No. 1, they seem to use little crunchy and flavorless crostinis, which I actually prefer.
I hope I have inspired you to try some of the cheeses above!