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Thursday, March 17, 2011

No. 43: Nicasio Valley Cheese Co.'s Square

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM

A wedge of Nicasio Valley's square. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • A wedge of Nicasio Valley's square.

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

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The Lafranchi family, immigrants from the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, settled in Nicasio more than 80 years ago, and have run a dairy farm on the same West Marin land for three generations. Last year, working with a Swiss cheese maker, they began producing organic farmstead cheeses in the style of their ancestors. The one that has earned the adulation of San Francisco cheese pros: the Nicasio Valley square.

The washed-rind cheese resembles a Taleggio in its shape, its reddish rind, and that ripe, rolling aroma. At the age most local stores sell the square, it appears creamy, springy, and speckled with tiny air bubbles. Eat a hunk straight off the knife, and you'll notice a subtle tang; smear it on a warm piece of toasted bread, and that yeasty, barnyard smell fills the nose. Yet it's a stinky cheese that won't overpower, and underneath the funk you can still taste the sweet cream it's made from.

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio, 662-6200. Cheeses are available at local cheese stores (Say Cheese, 24th Street Cheese Company, Cowgirl Creamery) and markets such as Rainbow

Dishes in our series so far:
92: Goat tacos from El Norteño
91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu
90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha
89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar
88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline
87: Outerlands' levain bread
86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt
85: Gyro King's spinach pie
84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi
83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu
82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tarts
81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée
80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle
79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña
78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe
77: Cheesecake from Zanze's
76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel
75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra
74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch
73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup
72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk
71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille
70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery
69: Plow's crispy potatoes
68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye
67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe
66: Nakaochi at Ippuku
65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer
64: Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek sauerkraut
63: Destination Baking Co.'s challah
62: Cotogna's roasted carrots
61: Hard Knox Cafe's chicken and waffles
60: The Rebel Within from Tell Tale Preserve Co.
59: The Slanted Door's Whiskey Cocktail
58: Carnitas burrito from Taqueria San Francisco
57: Sakura mochi from Benkyodo
56: Birria at Gallardos
55: BBQ pork skewers at Fil-Am Cuisine
54: JapaCurry's katsu curry
53: Vegan flan at Gracias Madre
52: Cinderella Bakery's pelmeni
51: Locavore's maple andouille sausage
50: Lumpia from Hapa SF
49: Moonlight Brewing's Reality Czeck
48: Filetti pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana
47: Pupusas revueltas at La Santaneca
46: Khoresht ghaymeh at Maykadeh
45: Los Muertos at Gitane
44: Sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions

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