Grand Central Market located in DTLA, just a stones throw from my office offers all my passions in one place. Food, wine and shopping. What more could I ask for on a Friday night?
We were prepping for our picnic the following day at Malibu Wines and we needed to stock up on cheese. We hit the market at 5pm and headed straight for the cheese counter, we were actually able to try all the cheeses before we purchased any which was a real treat and allowed us to venture away from our usual picks. Here are our selections:
Comte – a semi-hard cow’s cheese from France, easily recognized by the line of ash through the middle of the cheese. It has a mild nutty, earthy flavor and is slightly creamy especially when left out in the sun.
Chiriboga Blue – usually I would go for an English Stilton but my husband prefers the milder flavor of a creamy Gorgonzola dolce so we decided to go German and try the Chiriboga Blue. It’s rich but soft blue cheese flavor combined with a slight sweetness and creamy soft texture made it a perfect compromise and a new taste for us both. This may be one of my new favorites.
Leonora – When I think of Spanish cheese, I think Manchego but the cheese-monger talked us into trying a Spanish goats cheese and I am glad she did. In fact I usually don’t like goats cheese and we tried this at the end of our tasting when we thought we had bought enough but I couldn’t forget the amazing flavor while we were enjoying a glass of wine and I had to go back and buy more. Leonora is rich and creamy and goes great with some natural honey and dried figs.
Abbaye de Bel’Loc – a French cheese made from sheep’s milk. When I read the flavors of burnt caramel and toasted nuts I knew I had to have it. The slightly harder texture made it stand out from our other selections and it proved to be a favorite at our picnic table.
We also went for a herb cheese I had not tried before but I cannot for the life of me remember the name and coincidentally it was my least favorite. My friend also brought along some Manchego and two other of her favorite cheeses so between four of us we had a selection of eight cheeses from around the world.
We picked up some Marcona almonds and some dried figs to accompany our cheese and stopped by the butchers stall for some pigs head terrine, we were in the mood for trying new things and it was fantastic!
All the cheese naturally had us longing for a glass of wine so we stopped by one of my favorite spots The Oyster Gourmet to enjoy a glass of Sancerre and some oysters before heading to the supermarket to pick up the rest of our picnic supplies.
At Ralphs we finished off our picnic with the following, organic garlic hummus, I was feeling too lazy to make my own at this point. Spicy sweet potato bean dip which was phenomenal with the plantain chips. Olives, of course. A selection of nuts, you can never have too many, raw honey for the cheese, three different salads from the deli counter, some smoked salmon, some rare roast beef for sandwiches and a chocolate cake to celebrate my friend’s birthday. I sent John out in the morning to a French bakery on Melrose Avenue to pick up some freshly baked baguettes.