Last Thursday, my husband and I decided to reclaim the whole day as ours. No work, no chores, no to-dos, just a day to be.
Mother Nature accommodated us brilliantly with a clear, sunny, 72 degree day. What a phenomenal backdrop for indulging a long, meandering walk on a nearly-empty Stinson Beach. After hours of dreamily wading in the waves, watching the pelicans gliding overhead and the seals playing in the harbor, we contemplated how to get home without breaking the spell in a phalanx of traffic. We opted to drive the coastline north and catch the sunset.
On a whim, we pulled into the Hog Island Oyster Farm. It was about 4:30 and the bartender let us know they were closing shortly but offered us drinks and let us know it was shuck-your-own-oysters Thursday. My husband gamely went off to get shucking equipment and pick a few shellfish from one of the watery outdoor vats. This was especially impressive since a) he’d never shucked an oyster and b) he didn’t even like to eat them, but did it for me. To compensate, I ordered some cheese and crackers from the rustic outdoor bar to provide him with something to eat until we found a restaurant somewhere else on the way home.
Little did I know that what would arrive in a basket at our weathered picnic table overlooking the Hog Island Oyster Farm, would rock my world. Our cheese and crackers were both from a local business in Pt.Reyes Station, just a few miles down the road. The sea salt crackers were crispy and quirky: long and thin, they looked like the cracker dough was cut with pinking shears. Delicious, but they didn’t appropriately prepare me for the white butcher paper-wrapped small wheel of heaven: Triple Creme cheese. I’d somehow lived all this time without ever having encountered a Triple Creme cheese. This healthy handful of white-rind wrapped lusciousness looks for a moment like a brie, but is in a class by itself. One cut, reveals an interior that looks like some dreamy marriage of frosting and cheese — in the best possible way. And the makers of this Mt. Tam Triple Creme, are seared in my mind and on my tastebuds forever: Cowgirl Creamery.
I fell in love with the Cowgirl on that picnic bench. Forever and ever.
If you’ve likewise lived under a rock, the great news is that Cowgirl Creamery distributes its phenomenal food nationwide. The Cowgirls that founded this artisinal organic cheese business an hour north of San Francisco have culinary pedigrees at world class Chez Panisse and Bette’s Oceanview Diner. Evidently, customers and investors alike were as entranced with their product as I was: in March, they were acquired by Swiss Dairy giant, Emmi. Please Emmi, don’t screw it up.
The Triple Creme was mind-blowing with oysters and dry Rose wine as the sun set on our blissed out day. And it was equally inviting on a slice of hot-from-the-oven banana bread this morning. And guess it also worked it’s magic right off the spreading knife all by it’s resplendant self. If that doesn’t work for you, here are some recipes from the cowgirls themselves>