Late Winter Salads and European Summer Cheeses

Classic Blue Log with Roasted Rhubarb, Rosemary Walnuts, and Rotini on

– Classic Blue with Roasted Rhubarb, Rosemary Walnuts, and Rotini –

So much has been going on since Melt was released. We’ve received accolades on many wonderful food websites and newspapers, such as Epicurious,  The Wall Street Journal, and Readers Digest. I was on Fox News talking about the Velveeta shortage, while Garrett was on NPR discussing the finer points of specialty cheese.

The book has gotten a lot of press, and for that we’re very grateful. As we cruise into the spring season, salads are about to come a reality again. Produce is beginning to pop up in our California farmers markets, and for those of you in the Polar Vortex states, you’re just a couple short months away from budding greenery. For those of you who have the book, please take a look at the salads in chapter 2! Here are some of our favorite winter and early spring recipes:

  • Drunken Goat with Edamame, Fennel, Mint, and Lemon, page 32
  • Yogurt Chicken Salad with French Cheese, page 46
  • Asparagus Salad with Ricotta Salata, Fava Beans, Mint, and Farfalle, page 43
  • Goat’s Milk Gouda with Golden Beets, page 40
  • Classic Blue Cheese with Roasted Rhubarb, Rosemary Walnuts, and Rotini, page 49

Also, keep in mind cheese is a seasonal food! Now is the time to head to your local cheese shop and ask for the last leg of European summer cheeses from 2013. The animals that fed on summer grasses were milked from June to August; the cheesemakers took a little time to create the cheese; then it was aged for a few months (duration depends on the specific cheese in question), and then it was shipper here to us in the United States. The whole process takes a few months, which means the best time to enjoy these cheeses here in the states is December to February. So head down to your favorite cheese shop and ask for the following varieties:

  • Tomme de Manigodine – A French cheese produced only for distribution in the United States, Manigodine is made from raw cow’s milk and aged by affineur Jean-François Paccard. Here you’ll find a rich cheese, unctuous and full bodied, with lovely nutty notes.
  • Formai de Mut dell’Alta Valle Brembana – The milk used to make this Italian cheese comes from cows that graze the mountain regions of Lombardia. It is rich, grassy, and robust, a fabulous addition to your cheese plate.
  • Gotthelf – An Emmentaler Alpine-style cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk from farms within a 10 km radius of the cheese factory. Grassy and nutty, this cheese is satisfying without being overly rich.

Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese Cover on

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Comments from other ninjas:

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Hi Dahn, I agree – at first it is weird to think of cheese as seasonal. :) But when I considered all the different factors that go into cheese, right down to the plants the animals graze on and when that’s in season, it’s like a lightbulb went off for me.

      And yes, you can buy Melt at any bookstore. I know for a fact that Amazon and Barnes and Noble carry it, and so does Powell’s if you’re looking to buy from an indie bookseller. Here are the links:



  1. […] Many people are intimidated by fine artisan cheeses. I see them all the time, standing at their local cheese counters, looking woeful as they poke at wedge after wedge, unsure which to pick. But never fear, my friends! Here are three varieties that will create a nicely balanced plate of Valentine’s Day cheeses. They’re perfect before or after dinner — or might I suggest a couchside picnic in front of the fireplace? You could even make a nice, late-winter salad. […]