In North Hampton, there is a great cheese store by the name of C'est Cheese. Nancy Briggs, proprietor, is crazy in that good way. I like to arrive in time for an afternoon snack, because I know by the time she's done with me, I'll be satiated. She'll offer everyone who comes by taste after taste after taste, seemingly in an effort just to share her joy over the goodness of cheese. Somehow we are all infected, and end up with many little bundles not only of cheese, but of little beautiful brined peppers, a bit of Greek honey, and maybe some mousse paté.
I went in looking for a very creamy blue for a recipe I'd been dreaming up. Besides the beautiful blue, I ended up with a goat Gouda, which I've had before and which is heavenly. A fairly hard cheese, the slices of which are luscious with a little bit of honey drizzled on them. It has a much milder goat-y taste than fresh goat's cheese, and is somehow creamy and a bit dry. In a word, wonderful.
I also came out with a slice of Fleur Vert, a fresh goat cheese covered in herbs and pink peppercorns. The stark white of the cheese, with its cheesecake like texture, and the green of the herbs and the whole pink peppercorns make a beautiful picture. The cheese is mild, the herbs are not overpowering but add to the whole, and the pink peppercorns are surprisingly delightful. I had expected them to either be too pungent or too hard, but they are soft and only a bit crunchy. There is a certain sweetness to the cheese which I'm not accustomed to in fresh goat cheese, which makes the whole charmingly unique.
So dinner was thrown together in a few minutes from store-bought things: a few slices of baguette, a slice of paté, a large slice of Fleur Vert, some grainy mustard, and some little pickled things like cornichons and a couple French olives. Simple, sustaining, and a total indulgence to the palate.