Day in the Work Life: The big cheese

Adrian Murcia poses with the cheese board he's prepared for the evening. "Of all the diners at Chanterelle," he says, "I would say a quarter to half get the cheese. But I think that number is going up. The American dining public is getting more demanding and more knowledgeable, and you have to be on point."

Adrian's cheese recommendations:

INEXPENSIVE:
Cave Aged Gruyere -- around $11/lb

Adrian says: "The quintessential mountain cheese. Ranks consistently well against other alpine cheeses twice the price. A lovely expression of high-elevation pasturage: herbaceous, caramelly, with hints of toasted hazelnuts."

MODERATE:
Cobb Hill Ascutney Mountain Cheese -- around $16/lb

Adrian says: "A gruyere-style cheese made at a cooperative in Central Vermont.
It's every bit as elegant and buttery as a Beaufort, but with an almost candied, American exuberance. The quality of this cheese has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years."

EXPENSIVE:
Abbaye de Citeaux -- around $24/lb

Adrian says: "The mildest of the so-called Holy Trinity of Burgundian washed-rind, raw cow's milk cheeses (The other two are Epoisses and L'Ami de
Chambertin). Made at the monastery where the Cistercian order was founded. It's buttery and vegetal and compulsively edible."

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