At Anaviv we instinctively understand that at the center of celebrating life is food. We are committed to facilitating your celebration’s with the best possible food, and service. One of our signature offerings are mouthwatering cheese boards. A glorious cheese board brings joy to every guest. At Anaviv cheese is serious business, and it starts with sourcing our cheeses from the best possible cheese makers in Northern California. Our very own Director of Operations, Dee Wagner is a serious cheese aficionado and is responsible for building close relationships with our preferred purveyors of organic cheese. One of our closest relationships is with the award-winning Cow Girl Creamery in Northern California.
Cow Girl Creamery
About an hour north of San Francisco in the picturesque city of Point Reyes, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in 1997 launched Cowgirl Creamery. Their goal was to make handcrafted, fresh, cheeses – such as forage blanc and creme fraiche with organic cow’s milk sourced from Marin and Sonoma counties. Since then that small dairy business has grown into a nationwide artisan cheese powerhouse; and the main supplier of cheeses for Anaviv.
Cow Girl’s Creamery commitment to quality and craftsmanship has won them over 70 plus awards for their cheeses. As Smith says “Our products reflect the bounty of Marin County, and support the viability of local agriculture.”
Their most well known cheeses are the infamous Mt Tam (named after Mt. Tamalpais – an elegant triple cream) and Red Hawk (made using native and wild bacteria to West Marin).
Under the direction of Head Cheesemaker, Maureen Cunnie – Cow Girl Creamery now offers 4 seasonal kinds of cheese: Devils Gulch in winter, St Pat in spring, Pierce Pt in summer, and Chimney Rock in fall. All the cheeses are made with milk from John Taverna’s Jersey Dairy. As Conley puts it “We’re simply trying to make delicious cheeses that reflect the unique quality of the milk that we use.”
Curating a Cheese Board
Curating a cheese board for all of Anvil’s events is the purview of Dee Wagner, and we asked her to demystify the science and art of putting together a sublime cheese offering. Dee starts by opening a conversation with a client and discussing any existing preferences for different variety of cheeses. Dee agrees with the recommendation of the American Cheese Society to typically offer 4 to 5 kinds of cheese, as too many can overwhelm the palate.
When choosing cheeses Dee recommends incorporating different types of milk (sheep, cow, goat – and blends), and textural variety (soft, semi-hard, hard, and aged). One important consideration is to serve cheese at room temperature for optimum flavor. In addition, Dee recommends cutting cheese in advance of serving, not too thinly, and to be cautious against letting cheese dry out. Soft crumbly cheeses benefit from being cut with a wire, and all others with a sharp knife to maintain the initial integrity and shape of the cheese. When arranging the cheese on the board space the cheese evenly, consider scale, rhythm, and the focal feature of each cheese.
The pairing of other foods with cheese should focus on being visually enticing, we eat with our eyes after all; and focused on complimenting the flavor of the cheese. Dee suggests serving before-dinner cheese accompanied by savory olives, nuts, and chutneys. Alternatively, if the cheese is being served as a dessert or an after-dinner amuse bouche, then consider dried fruits, grapes, apples, pear, strawberries, blackberries, figs, honey, and jams. Always be mindful of the cheese’s texture when paired with various accompaniments, and the choice of crusty bread or crackers. At your next event don’t forget to add a cheese offering, it is sure to delight the taste buds of every guest, and at Anaviv we can facilitate the sourcing of the best cheese in Northern California.
If you’d like to try the Cow Girl Creamery cheeses they are located at Pt Reyes Shop & Creamery, Tomales Bay Foods: 80 Fourth Street, Point Reyes Station, Ca 94956, Tel: (415) 663-9335