There are a lot of qualifiers attributed to birthdays. Birthday cake. Birthday beats. Birthday sex. No one (that I know, anyway) talks about birthday cheese, but by now it should come as no surprise that it is indeed one of highest importance on this, the day of my birth. (Picture this said like an Italian gangster.)
For my birthday this year (May long weekend, if you’re wondering ;)), my boyfriend took me to the new Ripley’s Aquarium downtown, which I’d been dying to go to, as an admirer of everything under the sea. We had made plans to go for a schmancy dinner after, but had to choose a new place after we realized the restaurant was not easily-accessible by public transit. Alas, another day.
I was in the mood for seafood (ironically), but really, my only request was a cheese plate. I know some people would here insist that that was their version of “birthday cake,” because they’re more into savoury and cheese and blah blah blah. Not I. I was planning to have a fancy dessert anyway, I just wanted to have my damn cheese plate and eat it, too, because it was a special occasion and I am a cheese brat.
We ended up going to Marben, a place I’d been to before and one of my favourite restaurants in the city. I had smoked scallop risotto and an Aviation cocktail I promptly fell in love with. But let’s get to the crowning glory: The cheese plate.
First, let me address the elephant in the room. Clearly, there is something literally wrong with this picture. I tried to take a panorama and failed, miserably. I don’t know how. But I kept it because you can still see the cheese well enough and the longer I lingered over angles and composition, the longer it took for the cheese to get in my mouth.
There are three cheeses here and one of them remains a little foggy. One of the yellow wedges is Applewood Smoked Cheddar, the one on the left, I think. The middle bloomy rind is a soft version (which I didn’t even know they made) of Blue Haze, and was a delectable surprise, though I prefer the semi-soft one. The other one I remember being more tangy, though that could be wishful thinking if it was bland. I’m about 75 per cent sure it was Manchego-esque. (So-so odds, I know.)
The accoutrements were fantastic, too. The bluish-black jam was made from a berry I had never heard of and have since not remembered, but it tasted a bit like a sour blueberry. Then we had some roasted red peppers and honeyed walnuts. Oh, and toasty bread, of course. Yum.
All in all, though the names are hazy, the memories are not. Thanks for the treats and renewed hunger from writing this, Marben.