Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sottocenere



This past Saturday I took an hour long subway ride out to see an exhibit on the history of fashion in London.  Since it covered quite a wide range of history to present day, I found it really interesting.  The exhibition's message was that fashion (whether you choose to accept it or not) is a a reflection of ourselves and our culture.  While I was still wearing my wool sweater ( not my favorite fashion statement these days) there was no rain, and even just a few random rays of sun that would peak through the clouds every so often, giving us just a little reminder that it does still exist, somewhere. 
On the way back into the city center, I choose to take the bus.  I grabbed a spot on the second deck and looked out the window at the little areas of the city that I had only sped by underground, on the subway. Since the bus does take quite a bit longer than the subway, I was in need of some refuelling by the time I was nearing my stop. As we rounded the bend in South Kensington I hopped off and went in La Cave A Fromage, 


which is a great local cheese shop with cheeses from all over Europe.  You can have your own wine and cheese tasting in the shop or just buy whatever you like for take away.  I decided on just a quick snack of my favorite taralli, (Tuscan crackers with olive oil and fennel seeds)


and a Sottocenere (Under the ash) Al Tartufo.  This is a white semi-soft cow's milk cheese that is aged in an ash rind as both a preservation method, and as a way to impart subtle flavors into the cheese.  The ash is mixed with a variety of warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and then left to rest, preserving the cheese until it is eaten.  When you slice through the rind, bits of the spices ever so subtly leave their essence.  This use of ash as a cheese rind is a tradition in the Venetian region of Italy, which is where this cheese is made.


So after a £8 snack of a hunk of cheese, and a few handfuls of some deliciously salty taralli, I was off to a pub in Chelsea, to watch the Chelsea Football final... luckily Chelsea won... and only one man in our overly crowded (and getting quite stuffy I must admit) pub ripped off his shirt. All the other (fully grown) men just yelled and screamed at the top of their lungs, tossed some of their Guinness on themselves and their neighbor, and hugged and kissed and continued on...


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