My Very Local Breakfast with Rouge et Noir Breakfast Cheese

I had a splendid breakfast this morning made even more enjoyable by the fact that, with the exception of the tea, everything came from near-by farms and businesses. It was a simple meal: just some olive bread toast with cheese, a handful of cherries and a cup of tea.

The cheese, Rouge et Noir’s Breakfast Cheese, is made at Marin French Cheese, the oldest cheese manufacturer in the USA. They’ve been making Breakfast Cheese since 1865 when it's purported to have been served, along with a pint of beer, as part of the local dockworker’s breakfast.

I was tempted this morning, in the name of research and locavorism, to crack open a fresh Anchor Steam, but I have my limits. Rouge et Noir’s Breakfast Cheese is not really just for breakfast--it's size and packaging make it a handy picnic or lunch box addition as well. What’s most important is that this mild, buttery, brie-like cheese is delicious when spread on a toasted slice of olive bread.

But not just any olive bread--this was Phoenix Pastificio, a unique and somewhat difficult to procure loaf that is the perfect combination of crisp crust, chewy middle and lots of thick briny black olives. The only place I’ve seen it is at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market where I usually buy two loaves and freeze one so I don’t have to go too long without. Apparently, you can also have a bit of an adventure and buy it directly from their kitchen at 1250 Addison St in Berkeley.

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Add a few fresh cherries from Van Dyke Ranch in Gilroy and a nice mug of strong black tea with Strauss Family Cremery milk and Bob's your uncle.

(Image: Marin French Cheese); Van Dyke Ranch)

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.

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