Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cheese wisdom from Orrman's Cheese Shop

For my column this week, I spent time with Rachel Klebaur of Orrman's Cheese Shop in the 7th Street Public Market uptown. (Remember, you can get free parking at 7th Street Station if you take in your parking ticket and get it validated before you leave.)

But those of us who love cheese can never get enough. So here are a few more nuggets from Klebaur:

The dumbest questions people ask about cheese: "I hate to say this, but, 'who makes better milk -- males or females?' And I've had questions wondering if there's dairy in the cheese."

Her favorite part about working with cheese: "Opening cheese -- the fresh wheels. Checking it out and noticing the variations from wheel to wheel and season to season."

Her current favorite cheese: Prairie Breeze cheddar from southeast Iowa. "It's so sweet and tangy -- I haven't met one person who doesn't love it."

Mistakes she'd stamp out if she could: "Better storage -- not wrapping it in plastic. And not buying too much."

Wrap your cheese in cheese paper, the kind with the slick coating on both sides, or wrap it in wax paper and plastic. The wax paper lets it breath and the plastic keeps it from absorbing flavors. "Don't suffocate your cheese -- it will taste dead."

And how much is the right amount to buy? "What you plan to eat that evening and a few bites more. You always want a little cheese on hand, to melt into things."

Klebaur loves meeting cheesemakers and going to the farm where the cheese is made. So she was excited to tell me about a new Western N.C. Cheese Trail, just getting started in the area toward Asheville. Cheese road trip! Get details on that, including a map, at http://wnccheesetrail.vpweb.com/

Orrman's is in the 7th Street Public Market, 224 E. 7th St., 980-226-3025, open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays. You can also follow her on Twitter, @orrmanscheese, and find her on Facebook, under orrmanscheese.