Balzana Olive Oil

I wasn’t going to say anything about the 2005 batches of Balzana California Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more for me, you know) but some friends convinced me that I should be generous and share the news. So in very rare fashion, here goes a recommendation…

It’s an oil derived from several varieties of olives chosen by Mr. Edmunds himself with an unbelievably smooth and rich hint of pepper. The “extra virgin” means the olives are grown very near the place that the final oil is produced. Seriously good stuff.

The last thing I can remember from Santa Cruz that tasted this good was a 2000 Bonnie Doon Big House Red. Give ol’ Merritt a call and get some for yourself:

Merritt Edmunds, Balzana
2655 Warren St., Santa Cruz, CA, 95062
831.475.7873 or 800.815.9775
info@balzana.com

Actually, is it single barrel oil or small batch…? I’m going to have to buy a case of the stuff just to be sure I don’t run out.

It seems to go well with anything, but I’ve been tasting it with the Explorateur triple creme, a super buttery and almost grotesquely moldy cheese from Ile de France.

Sober Day, 2006

F-secure has an excellent write-up on their blog that details an impending Sober attack, scheduled for January 06, 2006:

Sober.Y was the biggest email outbreak of the year. It still is responsbile for around 40% of all the infections we see. This variant is programmed to activate on January 6th, 2006. After this date all the infected machines will regularily try to download and run a file from a website, forever. The virus even synchronizes the machines via atom clocks so the activation will not happen before January 6th, even if the clock of the computer is incorrect.

Scan early, scan often. But the more interesting part of their log entry is this:

The Sober virus author can precalculate the URLs. We wanted to be able to do the same thing. So we cracked the algorithm. This enabled us to calculate the download URLs for any future date. In fact, we did this already in May 2005, and we informed the local police in Germany as well as the affected ISPs. But we didn’t want to talk about it publically then – we didn’t want to fill in the virus writer on this. But he must know this by now.

And then they give examples of the URLs. Nice work.

Roaring Forties Australian Blue

The cheese of the day was the King Island Dairy Roaring Forties Blue. Another discovery at a local grocery store, the Blue had the appearance (and name) of a typical American blue cheese, but had far less bite and an awesomely smooth texture that is hard to find in domestic varities that tend to be dry and crumbly. After I polished off the last bit this evening I searched for the King Island website and found this helpful description:

A full flavoured blue with a sweet, slightly nutty character and good aftertaste. A rindless cheese matured in wax thus retaining its moisture and creating a smooth and creamy texture. A Roquefort style mould is used to create this unique and exciting cheese style.

Mmmm. A really great cheese. A bit of googling uncovered a recent newspaper review in the San Francisco Chronicle, which might be related somehow to the appearance of the cheese at a local grocery that boasts of a selection of over 3,000 wines:

My favorite among those I’ve tasted is the Roaring Forties Blue, a creamy, mild, blue-veined cheese from pasteurized cow’s milk. Local retailers tell me it is a customer favorite, too. […] Under the wax, you’ll find a moist, smooth and creamy blue with a mellow, almost sweet taste. It has neither the saltiness nor the pungency that characterizes many blues, which probably accounts for its popularity. Its lush, velvety texture calls for an equally luscious wine. Lustau’s Rare Cream Sherry, Solera Superior, accompanies it beautifully.

I couldn’t (and didn’t) say it any better myself, especially since I’ve never heard of those wines. I can just imagine that groceries in the future will have “hyper-linked” food. For example, when you pick up a cheese and put it in your cart, the cart’s interface will alert you to the appropriate selection of crackers and wine. Talk about a powerful and ubiquitous commerce model for information…

In the meantime, does anyone ever taste cheese with bourbon?