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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Artisan Cheese Ball: Now at Rainbow Grocery

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 1:30 PM

This cheese ball comes with multiple cheeses, sour cream, and chives. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • This cheese ball comes with multiple cheeses, sour cream, and chives.

Every fall, SFoodie's mother used to stock up on pecan-and-parsley-covered cheese balls from a local fundraising drive, which would then emerge from the freezer to appear at card parties and Easter buffets over the course of the year. SFoodie loved them.

When we were speaking to Gordon Edgar, Rainbow Grocery's head cheese buyer, about his favorite new cheeses, he made an offhanded crack about the cheeseballs his counter had introduced last week. The staff have begun mixing cream cheese, herbs, and a few of the cheeses that he'd ordered a little too eagerly -- "They're good cheeses," he insisted, "but they're not selling as quickly we thought." The first batch had already sold out, and he was scoping out the shelves of his coolers to see what else to throw in. A sweep through the bulk bins suddenly seemed like pressing business.

Edgar says his staff changes the recipe each time, and so the current balls, which cost $6.99, use a blend of sheep and cow's

milk cheeses -- they're not saying which ones -- coated either in veggie bacon bits or chives.

In order to keep the costs at $7, the staff are selling balls the size of tangerines rather than the pomelos of our youth -- they'd serve a New Year's Eve party for 4 or 5 guests, not a cramped-hallway, two-keg blowout. The flavor is more potent than the

cheese balls of our youth, though nowhere near pungent; we'd warrant the sheep's milk cheese is more of a mild, buttery Basque style cheese than an aged pecorino. And despite the fact they're made with artisanal cheese, you don't need to break out the $6 Panzanella crackers to spread them onto. Saltines will do. Which is how it should be.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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