Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cheese, glorious cheese!

Who knew there was such a thing as too much cheese? This is a truth I came to understand this morning, thanks to the Colorado Cheese Fest. When Groupon (which, if you haven't joined yet, you really should. If you go from the link above, I think I get a million dollars. Which, obviously, I'd share with you) advertised a discount on admission, I knew it was the financial-gastronomic thing to do. I turned to the kids eating breakfast and said, "Hey guys, do you want to go to a cheese festival?" Donovan's eyes got huge and Ainsleigh's "Uh...YEAH" indicated that to consider otherwise would be a crime against our family. Joel had a similar reaction when I asked him. So I bought those tickets and eagerly awaited.

Hold on. I need to take a break. I think I'm sweating lactose.

Ok, my energy has returned. This morning was THE morning. And yet, my stomach was already feeling a bit unsettled. Let me back up: last night Joel took me out to dinner. No wait, let me back up more: Earlier in the week Joel received a lovely thank-you card and gift certificate from a client for a restaurant we've been wanting to try. Potager advertises itself as a truly organic restaurant, buying their ingredients from local farmers' markets. This means they are cooking things in season, and their menu changes every five weeks. Being the young go-getters we are, we decided to use that certificate, post haste! Potager looks rather nondescript from the outside, and minimalist on the inside, but the smells are amazing. The food was really outstanding. Knowing I was going on a run in the morning, and feeling uncharacteristically drawn to different ingredients, I had both the arugala salad with pears, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts and the halibut over some kind of beet puree, topped with a winter squash slaw of sorts. I then splurged and had a slice of pear pie topped with their homemade lemon ginger ice cream. Exquisite, all of it. Joel, knowing he's in week 2 of some fitness program called Insanity, ordered a bowl of garlic-and-butter-bathed mussels (ha! I typed muscles!) and then had the ribeye which was served over surprisingly delicious brussels sprouts. He opted for the buttermilk cake with end-of-season strawberries and some kind of balsamic caramel.

It was a delightful meal and I left feeling perfectly satiated except that I think it might have begun expanding in my stomach or something because by the time I got home, my stomach was having an emergency meeting with the number of new ingredients and was trying to figure out if they were friend or foe. Couple that with nightmares of my basement that I had spent the better part of the day cleaning, and it didn't make for peaceful slumber.

And then the smoke-laced air from some kind of fire made breathing this morning just a touch challenging. Never fear, on we run, because there's a CHEESE festival in town!

I think I might be crying cheese curds. (which, now that I mention them, are actually more tasty than their name would suggest)

The Cheese Festival. Oh, I forgot to mention that when I told the kids about it, Donovan's first uttered words were, "I'm going to win."'s not a competition, Donovan. Joel shook his head, "Of course it is. And I am going to win." I think that merely attending a cheese festival makes everyone a winner.

So there we were, in the atrium of the Embassy Suites, surveying the landscape. Twelve to fifteen vendors doesn't seem like too daunting a task, even when you consider that each table has three to eight cheeses. But I'm saying it right here and now: I did NOT win.

I need to go walk around.

I had every intention of taking notes or at least pictures of cheese, but like a 6 year old on Christmas morning I went tearing through that place like there was a cheese shortage. Donovan matched me toothpick for toothpick. He might have even lapped me. One of his first favorites was a medium-firm cheese with a layer of blue cheese IN it. Another favorite was a cheese from the table with some beautiful blue cheeses (one that was not very blue - a mild, even sweet cheese; one marked 'Reserve' that was very VERY blue - I think it earns the vowels swapped: bleu). By the time we hit a table with some remarkable goat cheeses, Donovan had a toothpick ready. The woman behind the table indicated which ones were "child-friendly" and Donovan stabbed something else. He chewed as she asked him if he liked cheese. He nodded, pointed his toothpick at the wheel, and nonchalantly said, "I'm a cheese man."

Words cannot describe how much I loved him for that delivery. She won him over and practically invited him to her farm. I could not have coached him better than that. Sometimes kids do stuff that irritate you (see: 7 seconds later, also filed under 'do not kick your sister'), but sometimes they do things that make your breath catch in your chest with pride. Some parents might focus on academic achievement, but I will take my artsy cheese-lovers any day.

Plus, someone thanked me for reproducing more gingers. Generally I'm adverse to that term, but it totally worked in this setting.

The bloat. The bloat is killing me softly.

I got to the point where I could literally (LITERALLY - I'm USING it here) not eat another cheese. Joel begged and begged me to try a fried cheese ("It doesn't melt! Just gets blackened! It's really good!") so I opted to sit down for a spell. That recharged Dono's batteries and off he scampered to wolf down more. I think my stomach used that time to mold all of the cheeses into one giant ball of doom because I just couldn't do it.

I came home and took a nap. And I still feel kind of awful. Satisfied, but awful. I'm kind of at a loss. Who knew there was such a thing as too much cheese? This has thrown my universe into disarray. Cheese-strewn cracker-cluttered disarray.


laura said...

Oh man, that sounds like a dream come true. I'm betting that even as awful as you feel, you regret nothing.

"I'm a cheese man" is my favorite thing ever.

wanda said...

Dono totally needs to go to France on his mission!

OneTiredEma said...

OMG! When is Flat Donovan coming to me? Seriously, I have the PERFECT place to take him.