Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cheese of the Week: Fen

I didn't forget about the cheese of the week. Really--I didn't. While things have been busy, it doesn't excuse me from leaving you readers (all three of you :) ) in suspense for weeks, wondering what cheese could possibly come next (and wondering what the name of our last cheese was--that mystery has been solved. It was called Pincion). Part of the reason, though, is that WE haven't really found any cheeses that we liked enough to blog about. A few weeks ago we tried a really sharp pecorino that was extremely hard to cut into, and the most memorable cheese (which I WILL blog about in one of these cheese-of-the-week posts) was a delectable mozzarella di bufala from nearby Mogliano in Le Marche (a rarity, since most all mozzarella di bufala come from the Campania region of Italy, where Naples is) that I discovered at a wonderful little fruit and veggie market near my husband's work.

Fen cheese, from Piedmonte

So, as one cheese discovery begets another, it was just a few days after that delicious mozzarella di bufala that I came across Fen in that favourite cheese shop of mine. It was actually pure luck that Fen and I found each other, because the lady who took my order ended up showing her lack of cheese knowledge by pronouncing Gouda Gow-da (I know, it's an honest mistake). Also, "luck" was aided by my asking to try a sample of the cheese (a little sliver), and my being pleased with the results.

I think you'll be pleased with Fen as well--it's a great cheese to eat by itself (in fact, I've been busily snacking away on it all evening). We even had to buy another hunk of it since we ate the entire first hunk before I even had a chance to snap a photo. Fen has its roots in Piedmonte, and it's kind of unique because it is wrapped in hay (in Italian fieno, hence Fen) and aged that way. The cheese is a perfect blend of nutty and sharp, and the best time to try it is at room temperature, letting it sweat a little. It's also not that hard of a cheese, making it easy to slice and eat. Fen is a really likeable cheese, and I think it's a great find. It's one of my favorite new discoveries.

On to look for another cheese to talk about next week. In the meantime, check out my brother's newest American cheese of the week, Mobay.

- Jackie

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Macerata Monday: Windows Again

It's Tuesday, but it's pretty early...doesn't that count as being Monday?

I know I post way too many windows on this blog, but I love taking photos of windows. This window here happens to be one of my favourites in Macerata. I know the structure of the actual window is simple, but when it's decorated by all of those plants, it's a pleasant thing to pass by. The window is located in my old neighborhood in the city centre (I've lived in too many apartments in Macerata to count, but this one was a little cave of a place that you might remember reading about right underneath the Duomo), and I used to walk by it on my way to the piazza. Nearby it is another window chock full of plants, and looking at them together, it seems like they might be competing for the status of "how many plants can I hold?"

Things here are finally starting to settle down a bit--this week is like a gulp of fresh air after three weeks of intensive English, and I'm trying to get back on track with some things: while I've still managed to run during the past three weeks, I need to build up my miles still to prepare for the big race in Torino (I'm halfway there milewise, but the race just keeps getting closer and closer). Plus, blogging has taken a backseat (have you noticed?), and I need to get working on that. There are other things too--more mundane stuff (cleaning the house), plus larger goals that were written on my list of new year's resolutions back in January and then only glanced over since then. It's verging on June already--it's time to get started!

Have a wonderful week, and I'll try to be less of a stranger to my blog.