It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the apples are tasting crisp, tart, and Sierra-beautiful, the wine should be mulling, and SF Drake is in the hizzouse! God, I do love this cheese. In fact, I love this cheese so much I shouldn’t even be writing about it because those limited-time-only rounds are mine. ALL MINE!
I have a particular soft, squishy, smelly spot for this cheese, because when I first started cheesemongering over a year ago, one of my initial jobs was to offer up tastes of the cheese to the passing public and give a little spiel: “This is Cowgirl Creamery’s new cheese. It’s a triple-cream, cow’s milk cheese that has been washed in a sweet Provençal wine called Baume de Venise and aged with currants on top. Yes, it’s made with organic milk and you should let it come to room temperature for at least an hour to appreciate the full-flavoredness of it.” I don’t even know if “flavoredness” is even a word and I suspect it isn’t but I was a youngish cheesemonger at the time and eager and hyper and newly discovering the black beauties of Blue Bottle Coffee, so you’ll have to just go with it.
Anyway, SF Drake is back. Urban legend has it that the creation of this buttery cheese was a happy accident. Much as Red Hawk was a happy accident of Mt. Tams getting wet and being saved by a saltwater brine, supposedly SF Drake was born out of Red Hawks getting even wetter and being saved by getting drunk. As many of us are.
This cheese is seductive and tangy and every time I open my fridge, I get a major whiff of stank. But in a good way. It spikes your tongue with intense flavor yet has a subtle underlying sweetness. I specifically broke out this cheese tonight because I wanted to see if it could stand up to Bonny Doon’s Old Telegram 2003. Oh, it could. It could and it did. Old Telegram (I’m convinced that, in true Bonny Doon fashion, they are having their little fun with the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Télégraphe) is a gorgeous, earthy mourvèdre that is rife with deep, dark red fruit and even manages to ebb out the slightest hint of lavender. I’m buying a case of that little beauty. To go with my multiple cases of SF Drake.
You can find SF Drake in some grocery stores, but you’ll probably get the best price at Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building. Ask for me and I’ll hook you up.
If I haven’t already eaten all of them.