In my French family the highlight of every meal growing up was the cheese tray. Back then, finding French cheese, or any European cheese stateside, beyond Swiss and clammy, industrial Brie wasn’t easy. My parents and their fellow French expats, often drove miles on the promise of a gourmet shop with a stinky aged chevre clear across the county.
My parents would always serve the cheese on a round cheese platter with a collapsible brass handle in the center. The platter was adorned with a large “cheese map” of France. Every centimeter of the country was filled in with the name of a cheese specific to that region. I used to fantasize about taking that cheese tray instead of a guide book and noshing my way through France on foot.
In later years, when cheese was banned from my father’s diet, the cheese tray was retired and my mother hung it on the wall as a reminder of better times. Of course, my father made some exceptions. Long before I started running farmer’s markets, I took them to visit the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market one Sunday as we were tooling around the Hudson Valley.
Continue reading April 21, 2017