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Rocking Out With Great Cheese at Rock Stars

Me and My Friend Piave at the 74th Street Cheese Counter

I don’t miss working in restaurants too much. I certainly don’t miss arriving home with achy feet at 3 AM. But I do miss the opportunity to get to be part of culinary revelation—“I do like goat cheese!”—or “this polenta changed my life.” I got to orchestrate little moments of happiness. This made me happy.

When you sell a bottle of kickass Tuscan EVOO that tastes like funky olive juice, the gratification is delayed. Perhaps the customer will come back and rave about the stuff, which they’re now using to anoint every single morsel that comes from their kitchen. Maybe not. But you don’t share that moment with them, that heady first bite where they throw their head back in gustatory glee.

Which is why our Rock Stars Saturdays are so fun for me. (Rock Star Saturdays are when we flood our stores with food experts and demos. Fairway becomes a tasting playground!) I get to go back to my roots, which is feeding people fabulous cheese. I joyfully scoop oozing Langres onto a slice of still-warm baguette from our bakery. I get to dollop Raspberry Onion Belgian Belberry Confit on top and give this rocking bite to a lucky customer.

It’s why I love this biz. I love feeding people wonderful stuff. I love introducing them to new cheeses that might become regulars in their fridges, at their fetes, on their dinner tables. I love talking cheese with serious cheese buffs and cheese counter newbies.

Look how happy I am with that Piave. Piave does that to me. It’s a totally friendly, approachable cheese. It’s named after the river Piave, which flows from Mount Peralba in Val Visdende in the northernmost part of Veneto, Italy. The cheese is big and bold of full of almost parmesan-y oomph. Piave is all about balanced sweetness, pineapply and toasted almond flavors.

With age, it becomes saltier and drier and even better for shaving over salads, pasta, gnocchi, or soup. It’s always a perfect snacking cheese. I love it with the Belberry Apricot and Cumin Delice, but it’s also a spot-on match with our French soft-fried figs and a glass of juicy, big red wine.

I’m already pumped for our next Rock Stars. I’ll be at our Upper East Side store on 86th Street store contentedly serving and talking cheese. And, you’ll get to taste our new line of fresh-baked cookies, fresh shrimp salad, an antipasti extravaganza, sweet melons, and a lot of other absurdly good stuff. Chime in if you have a good idea about what cheese I should sample on Saturday, and I hope to see you there.

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