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.

Cheeses Christ Superstar! 3 November,2005Stephanie Lucianovic

  • cucina testa rossa

    love the title! please save a wedge for me, i’ll be there in a month! or how about a swap for an epoisse from burgundy?

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    I will make that swap with you! And if not epoisses, how about an oozy vacherin?

  • ME

    Thanks for the great post about the Drake. We tried it for the first time recently and fell in love with it. My husband likes it even better than the Red Hawk!

  • Joanne

    We love SF Drake! It’s creamy and buttery and a crowd pleaser! There’s a rumor that there may be a another batch available before the holidays – I hope so!


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for,, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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