We had a wonderful and simple meal last night: fresh grilled salmon and a baby spinach salad. The salad included walnuts, sliced pears from our garden (they have refrigerated nicely), sliced red onion, a raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and blue cheese.
However... the salad was no ordinary one for it had a blue cheese, that should you have an opportunity to taste... well, it might be difficult to have any other, for this one literally melts in your mouth.
Rogue River Blue from Rogue Creamery is handmade from raw Brown Swiss and Holstein cow's milk gathered only between autumnal equinox and the winter solstice and certified sustainable... the cows graze in 1650 foot elevation pastures along the Rogue river, where they eat a variety of grasses, wild herbs, and wild flowers supplemented with hay, alfalfa and grain grown on the ranch.
The five pound (2.2 kg) wheels are made by hand and aged in specially-constructed caves... The cheese ripens from naturally occurring molds found in the Rogue River valley and, therefore, reflects a deep connection to the land.
After maturation, we wrap the cheese in Syrah and Merlot grape leaves previously macerated in Clear Creek Pear Brandy and tie it together with raffia...
... In 2003 and 2004, the cheese received Gold Medals at the World Cheese Awards in London (to include the Best Blue Cheese in the World) and American Cheese Society competition...
And what is truly special? Our wonderful friends with whom we traveled to Alaska this summer and about which I wrote starting here, gave this to us as a Christmas gift? We are truly blessed.