Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
A cheese lover’s dinner that gives back!
Looking to come to a great dinner? Love to eat world-class cheese? Want to help raise money for an inspiring educational cause? This dinner will do all that, and more.
This marvelous meal is dedicated to great artisan cheese and the memory of my late friend Daphne Zepos. And, as per Daphne’s life-long commitment, it will include a wealth of learning about, as well as a tasting of, traditional cheese.
If you’re intrigued, we’d love to have you join us for an extra special (in person!) cheese-centric dinner at the Greyline, our downtown event space, on Tuesday, March 21. You and your fellow cheese enthusiasts will be treated to a full 3-course meal highlighting a special selection of cheeses from small artisan cheesemakers including Comté from the mountains of eastern France; Manchego 1605 from the high plains of central Spain; the aged-Gouda-style Pril and the Brabander long-aged-goat, both of which are selected and matured by the amazing artisan cheesemaker, L’Amuse, in Amsterdam. Ground Control Wines is curating wine pairings, one for each course, available as an optional add-on.
All the cheese featured in the evening’s dishes come to us courtesy of New York’s Essex St. Cheese, the exceptional importer of a very limited range of iconic European cheeses. While most importers work with hundreds of offerings, Essex concentrates its efforts on half a dozen! Aside from the good eating, the ticket includes a 20 percent off coupon so you can come by the Deli and shop for cheese (and other good food) to your heart’s content! There will also be cheese from Essex St. on hand at the event to buy to take home as well.
The event will help raise funds for the scholarship fund we created over a decade ago to honor the memory of my good friend Daphne Zepos. Daphne died early in July of 2012, and I still miss her badly all these years later. I shared a lot about my grief at her loss in the Epilogue for Part 3 (email me if you don’t have the book and would like to read it). The Daphne Zepos Teaching Endowment—for which this dinner event will raise funds—was part of the legacy she requested in the weeks before she died. She dictated a draft vision, and I sat by her bedside and typed it. What she asked for (thanks to the great work of Mo Frechette, one of our partners at Mail Order, and a host of other hard-working board members) has come to fruition and then some. Two annual scholarships are given to food industry professionals to travel and further their learning—and their ability to educate others—about cheese.
While Daphne loved lots of artisan cheeses, Comté, from the mountains of eastern France, was probably her favorite. It was also one of mine! Thanks to Daphne’s good work, we get Comté which has been matured, to our taste profile, by the incredible folks at the centuries-old maturing firm of Marcel Petite. (It dawned on me that a good maturer, like the men and women of Marcel Petite, do for cheese what Gerrie did for people; gently and quietly help them get to levels of greatness they weren’t quite able to imagine for themselves on their own.) Right now, as I write, we have a wonderful extra-aged Comté, that’s just over 32 months old, which means it was made up in the mountains (when the best Comté comes) in the summer of 2020! Super nutty, intense, meaty, creamy, with a wonderful long, complex buttery finish. It’s a cheese I could eat all day!
Daphne’s work to educate retailers, chefs, cheesemongers, and cheese makers has contributed enormously to a huge improvement in the quality of the cheese on counters and tables across the country. Her passion, the poetry of her cheese descriptions, her never-ending drive for better flavor, for dedication to teaching people what makes good cheese good, and for making already-good cheese even better was truly unrivaled. Come join us for the dinner and help make Daphne’s dreams come true.