This 4th of July I visited a local-farmer’s market in a Chicago suburb. I bought Michigan blueberries (those farmer’s must have gotten up WAY early to make it to the market by 7:00). And I sampled, but didn’t buy, the 2009, world championship winning Gruyere cheese from Switzerland. I stopped at the stand because I recognized the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s logo prominently displayed next to the variety of cheeses for sale. I thought it odd to see the Milk Marketing Board’s logo in IL so I enquired about it. The farmer (?) was very proud to say that the cheeses he was selling, except for the Gruyere, had been made in Wisconsin. Furthermore, the milk used in the cheese had come from Illinois cows! Yes, Illinois cows produced milk worthy of consideration by a Wisconsin cheese-maker. To the farmer (?) this was a key selling point. I asked which dairy the cheese had come from, but the farmer (?) couldn’t say right off. After some reflection he said Foremost, which makes sense because Foremost is a such a large dairy-product company that there are not enough cows in Wisconsin to satisfy its production needs. I asked if the farmer’s (?) own cows had contributed, but my question puzzled him, and we moved on.

Little did I know that I would meet his imported, championship Gruyere cheese that night in my dad’s back yard. At the market we had run into Dad’s neighbors who invited us to their house for dinner. We accepted the invitation but insisted on bringing the trout we had bought to grill. All was arranged, then rearranged later when the party moved to our house after their other invited guests canceled and the ‘charm’ of Tao enticed them to our patio. They entered the yard bearing excellent wine and championship cheeses. Note to self from tongue: stay on good terms with these neighbors. Click on “Continue reading…” to learn what other tapas our gourmet neighbors shared and for an easy recipe for stuffed grilled trout.

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