Cookery Maven Blog

Saturday Morning On The Square

When we were in Madison for Jack's orientation, we spent Saturday morning on the square at the Farmer's Market (the first one of 2013). It has been a tardy and cold spring everywhere, including Southern Wisconsin, and it was slim pickings at the market but it was cheese heaven at Fromigination. I realize I tend (heavily) towards hyperbole but I love, love, love cheese and Fromagination had a thoughtfully curated collection of cheeses that put a huge smile on my face.

I wonder who hauls the buckets of sap at the sugarbush— Dean or DeLuca?

To be honest, I wasn't terribly excited to visit the Capital building but figured it was our civic duty as parents to show the kids. I'm glad I went in, it's a spectacularly elegant building.

Liberty— the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. Words to live by.

The symmetrical design was absolutely beautiful.

The way home was clearly marked.

There was so much to photograph, including an action shot of Will.

A badger stands sentry over the Supreme Court— I wonder if he's related to Honey Badger?

The highlights of the Farmer's Market were: pickled things, 'frost-kissed' spinach, flowers, cheese and bread. I can't wait to visit in July when the stands will be bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables.

These cow cookies were seriously good.

The kids were wondering why a stuffed lioness was hanging out in a shop window in Wisconsin. I couldn't come with a plausible explanation so we decided to take a photo of her and move on.

Who doesn't like hot and steamy buns?

The Teddy Tantrum Zone and pasties. I'm not clear what the two have to do with each other but like the stuffed lioness, we chalked it up to Madison wackiness and went to lunch.

There were musicians on every street corner— cellos, guitars, banjos and accordions. After a morning in Madison, I know Jack is going to have the time of his life when he leaves in September. There are so many colors, textures and experiences waiting for him around the square, it's a vibrant place for a young man to start his next chapter.

Three Of My Favorite Food Groups

2010 Domaine du Grand Montmirail Gigondas Cuvée Vieilles Vignes

I think I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again— Gigondas (jhee gohn dahs) is one of my favorite wine words to say, second only to  Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (mon tae pul chee AH noh dah BRUTE so). Throw in a little Vielles Vignes and you might just feel un peu français, at the very least you'll be drinking a nice glass of wine. The Southern Rhone region is known for rich, warm and spicy blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre— it's my favorite region in France. According to the Rhone Report, the 2010 Montmirail Gigondas is 'loaded with classical aromas of wild herbs, pepper, spice, and leather, as well as copious amounts of licorice drenched bing cherry and blackberry styled fruits, this hits the palate with a full-bodied, decadent, and layered texture that coats the mouth. Despite all of the fruit, it has solid underlying structure and plenty of freshness. While no doubt superb now, it will be even better with a handful of years in the cellar, and shine for 10-12 years. 93 points'.

This 15-year-old cheddar was my first introduction to Fromagination in Madison. Bob and Kelly brought a hunk of this crystalline, smooth cheddar to Bayfield and I was hooked. I knew I had a seriously good reason to drive 6 hours south (Jack's going to school down there) but the idea of an entire store devoted to cheese sealed the deal. 15-year-old cheese and a 19-year-old freshman— I'm going to be spending some time in Madison.

I don't have much of sweet tooth, more of a cheese tooth, but these little chocolates gave that 15-year-old cheddar a serious run for its money. They are from a shop in Madison called Candinas (another reason to make the journey) and they were little nuggets of smooth, chocolatey goodness wrapped up in the most beautiful packaging I've seen.