Today I found myself toddler-free for almost five hours. It was…heavenly. It was just one of those days where I needed a (big) break and my husband (who knows the cues by now) sent our little one off to Grandma’s for the afternoon. It turns out I’m just as good at procrastinating during a pandemic as I was in pre-Covid days, so I didn’t get much done. But a little tidying up and a long shower might as well be a Caribbean vacation these days so I’ll take it. I ended the day with a glass of wine while sitting down with my husband to make a few final decisions on upcoming house projects (productive!).
As many of you are, we are LONG overdue for a date night and although outdoor dining is open, we remain cautious and are still spending a lot of time at home. To help change things up, we’ve been having picnics in our backyard or even somewhere close and easy (Ashbridge Park is always a favorite).
With a toddler underfoot, I’m not able to be as creative as I’d like to be with our menus but I’ve been trying to draw inspiration from Philadelphia-based chefs and foodies. I recently came across Tenaya Darlington also known as Madame Fromage. Her Instagram and blog are full of all things (in her words) a “curd nerd” will love. I personally devoured (pun intended) her post on Cheese Board Basics and decided to find some local cheeses for our next picnic. As a recent transplant to Pennsylvania, I had no idea how many amazing cheesemakers we have in our own backyard! Thanks to recommendations from Tenaya and Cornerstone Artisanal Market in Wayne, my family and I sampled the Mercer Road from Merion Park Cheese (Cheesemaker and owner, Emiliano Tatar, hand-makes small batches of cave-aged cheeses in his Merion Station home!) and the Hummingbird, an “OMG this is so good” creamy soft cheese from Chester-County based The Farm At Doe Run. Beyond how delicious our picnic turned out, it was so fun to discover new favorites from our own “neighbors”.
So, although we’re still missing our date nights of months past – a little cheese, a little wine and a little live music made for the perfect night out (at home).
P.S. Madame Fromage was kind enough to also recommend following the PA Cheese Guild: cheesemakers celebrating the diversity of the cheese community in Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Region. Many offer delivery, no-contact farm stands and overnight shipping.