Sunday, February 15, 2015

Funky Cheese Madonna or How I Used a Candy Mould to Shape Cheese... Like a Boss

What the heck?

Many years ago when Eric and I went on our very first overnight trip together we spent three weeks traveling around the Czech Republic in a rented Skoda Fabia. (yup)

Neato thing: I never noticed the reflection of a human man walking hand-in-hand with a bear cub in Eric's sunglasses before this filter was applied.  Why the filter? Ask the self-proclaimed poopy face (right).  

Of course this economy model didn't have a way to plug an iPod into the stereo, so we listened to Czech radio stations and of course there were the occasional English-language pop songs played... over and over.  Like radio stations do with pop songs. There was one that really sounded like the chorus (and title) had to be "Funky Cheese Madonna."  We learned on one of our last days in country that it was actually something like "she thinks that she's Madonna" ("She's Madonna" by Robbie Williams).

Sooooooooo, I decided to try to make a Funky Cheese Madonna for Eric for Valentine's Day.  Now what?  Well, I found a Virgin Mary chocolate mould on Ebay (like ya' do) and ordered that up in, like, October or November.  What can I say, I'm a planner.  Or prefer to be, anyway.

Then I set about to find Eric's favorite cheese, Cambozola, in Missoula or the Bitterroot.  Not so easy. This is a cheese you can get at Fred Meyer in our old neighborhood in Portland, but Toto, we're not in Portland anymore.  So every different grocery or super market I was in I would stalk the cheese section to no avail. Then I remembered that there was a wine/cheese type shop in downtown Missoula that we'd been recommended for wine.  So I looked them up on the magical interwebz, found their website and emailed their "contact us" address asking if they carried it and if not, is it something I could order.  Well, lo and behold, they replied on a weekend night! And yes they had Cambazola!  WOO!  So I went the pre-Valentine's Day Monday morning after hand therapy and bought two wedges.

I packed them in a brown paper bag and hid them in the back of the "extra" fridge in the top shelf shadows.  Then on the pre-Valentine's Day Thursday, I brought them out in the morning to warm/soften.  After they were what I thought was soft enough, I got out the mold, washed & dried it, and set about packing that funky cheese into Madonna. As it were.

I was able to get both moulds filled with one wedge with just a little extra. For the most part I removed the rind, but there's a little in there for flavor and for lack of interest in fussing with it too-too much.

When they were filled, I double checked for voids on what would be the top surface, filled any I could, then wiped most of the smeared cheese off the non-Madonna part of the mould.  Then I covered that with parchment paper, put the whole thing in a freezer bag and hid it in the crisper in the "extra" fridge.

I let it chill for many hours... like 24-ish... then I was able to pop/coax them out onto a serving stand (a wooden sushi server in this case) and re-refrigerate them until gift giving time. I am sure just a few hours would have been enough, but that didn't work for my secretive schedule.

I am so pleased with how they turned out!  First, that they turned out at all and second that they look like slightly crumbly and mossy old marble.  I had to include a shot that better shows the relief, just because.

Speaking of planning, sometime in early 2014 I was shown this material and I knew I had to make Eric boxer shorts out of it for Valentine's Day.  And luckily, I had reorganized the office/studio in November so one of the moms could stay in there over Thanksgiving weekend. I found the material and remembered/realized why I had it.

  This was also a nice backup should the Funky Cheese Madonna fail.


  1. I love this story so much. That filtered photo of the two of you is amazing, as is Funky Madonna.

    Is't it funny how you mis-hear lyrics? When I lived in Rome, an Italian DJ played 'Love is a Rose,' by Linda Rondstat, but he called it 'Dov e la Strada,' (Where is the Road), because that's what it sounded like to him. Funny only to me, perhaps, but it always makes me smile when I hear that song.

  2. I love it, too, Peggy! For some reason he doesn't like the photo even after I did some cropping out of the offending features, but he could live with this filter.

    Misheard lyrics are one of lifes treasures and I love your story about "Where is the Road"!

  3. A very good story and cheese image.

  4. Great cheese story - it's so much fun when you can have inside jokes like that. Also, the boxer shorts are awesome. I'm gonna have to go looking for that fabric :)

    1. Thanks, Carmen! That fabric is wonderful and it's from - I think you can only order it from them online.


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