Why do I always find out it’s National Something Month right at the last minute? It’s American Cheese Month right now. I could have been grilling cheeses. I mean I’ve still been grilling cheeses, but without nearly as much purpose as I would have had I known it was American Cheese Month. As much as I love American cheese — yes, the yellow slices, I really do and always have — I do have one favorite American cheese. It’s from Vermont, it’s not cheddar and I’m definitely not the only one who loves it.
If you haven’t tried Cypress Grove Chevre’s Purple Haze and have any love for goat cheese whatsoever, you’re in for a serious treat. It was the California State Cheese Champion in 2009, the same year it won first place at the World Cheese Awards (up from #3 the year before) and first place at the World Championship Cheese Contest 2010. But that’s just its sexy resumé.
The astringent, floral lavender and sweet, spicy, very slightly anise-y fennel pollen amplifies every molecule of tangy, goaty flavor — you’ve never tried anything like it, and you have to see what it does to bacon. It’s like a designer drug for bacon. Here’s how to lose your virginity, aided by Purple Haze. Shouldn’t everyone be so fortunate?
- Over spaghetti with a hit of butter and heavy cream and something that goes with fennel, like bacon and orange zest.
- In a grilled cheese with Macintosh apples, which happen to be in season, and bacon.
- With any cheese-loving fruit, ever. Bacon on the side.
- Rolled into balls and fried for this salad, which has a fennel-pecan vinaigrette and bacon if you choose to add it.
So happy American Cheese Month! In my moment of patriotism, I say to hell with Europe. We took Italian fennel pollen and French lavender and used it to coat happy American goat cheese. In my head right now I have an eagle on one fist and a bouquet of bacon tied with a bacon ribbon in the other.
More cheese for lunch on Food Republic: