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Props to Say Cheese -- Crozier

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On a drive through Napa a few months ago, I stopped at Dean & Deluca and tasted what is now my favorite bleu cheese -- Crozier, imported from Ireland (made by the same company that makes Cashell). Calls to every cheese shop listed in the SF yellow pages were fruitless (cheeseless?). However, the guy at Say Cheese said he would research it for me. A few days later, he called to say he had procured one wheel of it. I bought a pound yesterday, and there were about two pounds of it left. Not cheap at $22/lb, but less than the $28/lb D&D charged. If you like high saltiness and smoothy creaminess in your bleu cheese, go get some. Say Cheese is at Cole & Carl in Cole Valley. 415-665-5020.

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  1. andrew,

    as i sit here i have some of this lovely, sharp, creamy crozier on finn crisps from say cheese sliding down my happy gullet. as a devot cheeseatarian i say to you Many Thanks for the tip!

    we live right around the corner from say cheese and i must admit i had to go on a not so much cheese diet about a year after moving here. i was living on cheese and bread with or without wine or beer and the results in the mirror were not making me so very happy. (altho the rest of me was in heaven...)

    ah! i just reached for my last cracker and red leichester, the other (fluffy) cheeseatarian in the house has already gotten to it, dastardly four footed creature to be so brave.

    again, my happiest thanks for sharing.

    rochelle

    9 Replies
    1. re: Rochelle

      Say Cheese also has a pretty decent but small wine selection. Since I don't know much about wines, I went with their recommendations and got a bottle of the '97 St. Francis Reserve Merlot. It was an excellent wine, soft and gentle, with a dill flavored aroma (Yes - dill - my friends at the table laughed at me when I said "Dill!" after the first whiff, but they later agreed when they got a glass) and touches of caramel, faint speck of pepper and a more subtle layer of fruit (berries of some sort?).

      1. re: Limster

        say cheese is really a great little place. besides cheese and wine they make good sandwiches and have every little thing your heart could desire for a picnic, from dry sausages to the most delicious of nuts. (I always get my wanuts there) they also carry dried fruit, pates, olives, cornichons, fresh pasta, mini jars of stonewall kitchen jams and preserves.....truly a sinful place to live so close to.

        1. re: Limster

          say cheese is really a great little place. besides cheese and wine they make good sandwiches and have every little thing your heart could desire for a picnic, from dry sausages to the most delicious of nuts. (I always get my wanuts there) they also carry dried fruit, pates, olives, cornichons, fresh pasta, mini jars of stonewall kitchen jams and preserves.....truly a sinful place to live so close to.

          i forgot to mention earlier when i went in to pick up my piece of crozier the kid behind the counter said, yea, this is a great cheese. can you believe we ordered it for one guy?!

          1. re: Rochelle
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            Andrew Raskin

            I am honored to be the one guy.

          2. re: Limster

            If you're interested in the why and where of the dill flavor and aroma, you detected one of the nuances of new American oak barrels. St. Francis winery has never met a new American oak barrel it didn't love, especially the high toast variety for their reserve wines. The caramel and spiciness from charred American oak is part of the signature on their wines. I usually pick up some toasted coconut too. The Brits refer to the dill aroma/flavor as pickling spice.

            The 97 SF Reserve Merlot should be just hitting its prime. The fruit character of the Merlot grape is usually described as black cherry and chocolate. The structure of Merlot, as you mention, is soft and gentle even when relatively young.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Melanie, thanks for chiming in - I'm still an amateur at wine, and only in the last year or two have I been able to dissect out flavors and aromas, so it good to be able to pick up things here.

              Not having had much fruit (berries, cherries and many stone fruit) from the more temperate regions when I was growing up makes for a big gap in my taste memory. I still have a hard time identifying the fruits in reds, but whites with tropical fruit flavors are a lot easier, thanks to the stuff that I got to eat in Singapore.

              BTW, I finished the remainder of that '97 SF Reserve Merlot with the salmon and asparagus with black bean sauce lunch special from Nanking Road Bistro. It was a fortunate match, and somehow the black bean sauce and the salmon while being complementary in sweetness, manage to rev up the fruit in the wine.

              1. re: Limster

                Limster, we're all still learning about wine. If you're game, I'm happy to dig deeper. Whatever the level of interest supports. The type of American oak that seems to have the most dill character is from Kentucky. Barrels made from Missouri wood also have a lot of dill.

                I can relate to your comment about tropical fruit flavors. Some Americans understand what lychees is (principal fruit in Gewurztraminer), but I usually get blank stares when I start talking about pomelo or jackfruit!

                Salmon, asparagus and black bean sauce --- wow, that's a sommelier's wine matching nightmare. Good with Merlot, who woulda thought...

                Pls. tell us more about Nanking Road Bistro.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  "Pls. tell us more about Nanking Road Bistro"

                  It's a Californian-Chinese place in the vein of Eliza's on 9th between Judah and Irving. Quite decent food, with fresh crisp ingredients and a slightly higher price tag than most neighborhood Chinese places (but also better decor). Not bad for the kind of food it serves, but definitely not the "authentic" sort of place for Chinese food; I certainly do not hold that against this place - it does what it aims to do pretty well. Nothing ultra-special, but not a bad option for Californian Chinese.

                  Actually it was quite simple minded of me, but I thought that the dill and caramel in the wine would complement the salmon and the black bean sauce respectively. What I found instead was that the initially more forward flavors in the wine became slightly muted and the spice and fruit moved to the driver's seat; it was this layer of flavor that ended up complementing the salmon and sauce. I was lucky that the sweetness levels of both the wine and the sauce were just about the same, and the wine had enough complexity to stand up to the dish.

                  I drank a '97 Ravenswood Zin (a Sonoma bottle if I remember correctly) with the same dish a year or two ago, and it did pretty well too (in retrospect, I think it was again mainly due to the fruit and spice).

          3. re: Rochelle
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            Andrew Raskin

            I'm so glad you were able to get some and that you enjoyed it. I'm also glad I don't live within walking distance of that place...