A girolle has been on my want list since I first saw one in an excellent cheese shop in Santa Fe. The device is beautifully crafted of polished wood and gleaming stainless steel. The girolle was invented by Nicolas Croiviser in 1982 for one purpose: to shave a unique cheese into flower-shaped curls. The device is an extravagance but it is clearly a must-have for a kitchen gadgeteer who already has a croquembouche mold, a sausage stuffer, and a Swedish sardine grilling basket. Recently we visited a new cheese shop, The Cultured Slice, on Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. There was a good cheese selection, and the cheesemonger was very friendly and helpful. But what caught my eye was a brand new, shiny girolle. I yielded to temptation and bought it.
The next purchase, of course, was the cheese, tête de moine (monk’s head). Although they had one at Cultured Slice, I asked Sarah to order one from their cheese purveyor for our visit to the Bay Area. Expect to pay around $60 for a round cheese of about 2 pounds. That amount of cheese will likely serve at more than one gathering.
Last night was our big event. We planned to enjoy cheese curls before our dinner. First was the unveiling of the cheese. We admired the beautiful silvery foil wrapping and the seal on the top with an image of monks making cheese. The cheese itself was a perfect cylinder with a textured rust-colored rind. We cut off the top to reveal a smooth, sunshine-yellow paste that gave off an earthy fragrance that was much more subtle than I had come to expect from descriptions on the internet. Continue reading