Ever have an entire cheese plate to yourself?

Goat, buffalo, sheep, cow, cow, cow. Paired with rosé, rosé, rosé. Yes, Pretty Pink rode again, but the reason for the evening was the cheese.

The cheese! Six kinds, three ages. Soft, newborn, runny under a rind. A middle road with snap and flavor. A funkier, full-grown set, one salty, one blue. Fromager Carolyn Stromberg got into cheese at Palena, got serious with it at Cowgirl Creamery, fed the city’s restaurant market at Cheesetique, took over a cheese cave (I imagine it’s like the Bat Cave) at National Harbor, and then went into business for herself — teaching cheese — with The Cheese Course, which is how she fed us Monday.

Every once in a while, Stromberg does classes at Seasonal Pantry, the amazing handmade-food shop and supper-club spot in NPR’s hood. (I ate one of my favorite meals of 2011 there.) Lori snagged tickets to a class, and we went after work. I could’ve eaten the cheeses all night. The pairings were spot on, too. Beyond the wines, it was cool to hear the craft explained in depth, to hear the complexities of beasts, food, science, market, and work, and to taste how well they came together.

If you get a chance to go to a Cheese Course, especially at Seasonal Pantry, go. There is cheese, and there is cheese. Going italic with my food is still a strange adventure for me. See any number of posts in this blog. But the italics turn out to be flavor: crisp, real and exciting.

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