About a 45-minute drive west of Philadelphia or a little more than two hours from New York’s Penn Station by Amtrak, the hamlet of Downingtown, PA, along with nearby villages, is a gemlike enclave in western Chester County. Seemingly worlds away from the hustle of metropolitan life, the rolling hills traced by winding roads are shared with Amish buggies. No one seems hurried.
Everywhere there is milk, there is cheese. The alchemy of an excellent cheese is well known: the skill of the cheesemaker, the species and diet of the milk source, even goût de terroir. Cheese tasting gives the traveler not only the experience of world flavors, but also of culture and place.
Doug Smith, co-owner and operations manager of Vancouver Island’s Natural Pastures Cheese Co., shares the perfect anecdote to illustrate the growth of Victoria, British Columbia’s cheese culture. “When we started at our local farmers market, we presented a Brie to people they had never really tried it before,” he says. “They would ask things like, ‘Can I eat the mold?’ Now 15 years later, I’ll ask little kids what they want to try, and they’ll say Brie because they love the taste. That’s a very short time period where people didn’t even know what this cheese was and now their children love Brie.”
If you don’t already have plans for July 2 through July 24 this year, I have a suggestion. The Tour de France — the greatest bicycle race in the world and the third-most popular sporting event, drawing close to 4 million TV viewers worldwide — takes place during those three weeks. Even if you can’t be among the thousands of spectators cheering the competitors on along the 2,200-mile route, you can still join in the excitement of the race. Continue reading →
Tuscany, known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is a land of cultural traditions, stunning landscapes, museums and all things artistic. About 9,000 square miles with a population of 3.9 million, the capital is the romantic, charming city of Florence. With seven World Heritage Sites and a simple yet pure cuisine, Tuscany is beautiful, charming and quite tasty. Continue reading →
Everybody knows that New York City is the great melting pot. When it comes to looking for cheese, the whole world is, quite literally, a subway ride away. Manhattan’s cheese sellers have some of the most diverse and delicious selections of famous fromage from all over the world.