The beguiling odor of smelly cheese will be filling the Manhattan air for one week (March 7 - March 14) as die-hard cheese fans once again descend upon New York to ‘reek’ havoc at the 2014 Winter Stinky Cheese Festival.
French restaurants such as Nice Matin, Marseille, Café D’Alsace, French Roast (Uptown & Downtown), Le Monde, L’Express, Maison, and Pigalle will be shining the spotlight on various funky-smelling cheese dishes as the centerpiece of its lunch and dinner menus. Odiferous offerings such as Limburger, Rocquefort, Raclette, Camembert and Epoisses (a cheese so pungent that it is officially banned from the French metro) to name but a few, will give the chefs an opportunity to highlight a culinary signature of regional France. The annual fixture, now in its seventh year, will also be serving specialty beer and wine pairings with each of the plates.
Executive chef Peter Hudson of French Roast Downtown says the festival is a huge success each year as “the concept is so unique and original and there really is no other equivalent,” he told us. Highlights on his menu this year include Grey Goose vodka martini with gorgonzola stuffed olives, Raclette and potato galette (pictured) with traditional pickles, and Fontina and spinach ravioli.
Even a hardcore chef such as Hudson says it can be a challenge to cook with the overpowering stench of some of the cheeses. “It’s literally like getting an intense punch in the face!,” he said. “You think to yourself that there’s no way that this is going to be edible, but often the stronger the cheese smells, the better it tastes.”
Other fromage-fragrant menu items not to be overlooked include Epoisses risotto with fresh herbs, peas and crunchy bacon and Limburger sliders with raw onion, mustard, and cornichons served on a pumpernickel roll at Nice Matin; sausage du jour with mashed potato, haricot verts and camembert sauce and blue cheese ice cream with poached pear bordelaise at L’Express; fettuccine Munster with oyster mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, spinach, shallots, garlic, and truffle butter and potato tart at Maison; and the epic-sounding tartine de fromage (sourdough topped with Epoisse, Raclette, Munster, Stilton cheese, caramelized onion, and potatoes) at Le Monde.
For complete menus and additional details on this funktastic cheesefest, check out the website.