Named after the tick-tocking device used by musicians to keep tempo while practicing, Metronome is a gorgeous pyramid of precocious mixed-milk personality.
The cheese's designer, Soyoung Scanlan of Petaluma's Andante Dairy, hand-crafts Metronome in a shape traditionally reserved only for goat cheese, giving it an air of mystery for anyone schooled in the art of traditional French cheese. Set all preconceived notions aside, though; before your first bite you may expect the capricious tang of goat's milk, but a quick sweep of Metronome's rich paste across your palate yields a different experience altogether.
An enticing blend of cow and goat's milk, Metronome's firm texture yields near the edges for a rich, buttery creamline—but what makes this cheese truly special is its paste. This cheese loves to float across your tongue like a sonata, smooth in its velvety personality but with enough clay-like texture to hold your attention.
Both grassy and tart, the tang of goat milk picks its way through the fatty notes of a chorus provided by Northern California Jersey cows, making Metronome a cheese that goes just as well alongside slow-roasted tomatoes as it does the standard cheese plate offerings of dried fruit and Marcona almonds.
While Metronome—and, in fact, most of Andante's cheeses—can be difficult to find, if you see the pyramidal monolith, grab as much as you can carry.
About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.