By this point in his career, Gordon Edgar, head cheese-buyer at Rainbow Grocery and author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, knows a good cheese when he sees one. "The most exciting thing I found this year," he says, "was Avalanche Cheese Company in Paonia, Colo., which I'd never heard of before 2011.
"They make goat cheeses exclusively," he continues, "and two of their cheeses are the best versions of those types of cheeses that I've tried. One is a traditional, bandaged-wrapped goat cheddar, which not many people have attempted to make. Their version has big flavor, sharp like you'd expect, then really grassy, earthy, and complex. On the other end of the spectrum is their Lamborn Bloomers, an Italian robiola-like cheese normally made with cow's milk. Avalanche's is incredibly oozy — especially for a goat cheese — and buttery."
"On the local front," Edgar says, "Franklin Peluso, a third-generation cheesemaker who makes teleme — for years, you couldn't go to a Bay Area Italian deli without finding teleme — is now making a washed-rind teleme that just came to the market this week. It's more like a taleggio. Whereas teleme is really mild and milky-sour, this washed-rind is stinky, intense, and rich and creamy."
Needless to say, all three cheeses can be found at Rainbow Grocery (1745 Folsom).