St Sauveur des Basques
Every once in a while my cheesemonger at Plum Market in West Bloomfield, Michigan manages confound me with a mystery cheese that really blows my mind with fabulous flavor yet little information. Recently, she recommended a new little washed-rind square of sheeps milk called St Sauveur des Basques from Agour Fromages. I’m pretty good when it comes to finding information about cheese, but this one really had me stumped. All I could manage to learn on my own was from the Epicure Foods website;
“St Sauveur des Basques is a very unique soft ripened cheese made with sheep’s milk and packed in a very nice square wooden box. The St Sauveur cheese was the first cheese Agour produced in their new facility on the Iraty road to the mountains.”
This tiny bit of information and that the price point was a whopping $42.99 a square (my sample was considerably less at $12.99, yet is sadly out of stock) wasn’t enough to satisfy my curiosity. So I called up Murray’s Cheese in New York City and spoke with Affineur (Cave Master), Brian Ralph find out more about this funky French fromage. Continue reading
Montgomery’s Cheddar – Photo courtesy of gardenista.com
If there is one thing I love almost as much as cheese, it’s NPR, especially their thought-provoking and innovative podcasts. I have only recently begun to listen to The Salt, self-described as “With a pinch of skepticism and a dash of fun, The Salt covers food news from the farm to the plate and beyond” which is right up my alley. The most recent episode has reporter Kerri Smith tagging along with microbiologist and cheesemaker Dennis D’Amico to Somerset, England to visit Jamie Montgomery; maker of Montgomery’s Farmhouse Cheddar. D’Amico and others are gathering to discuss the “microbial festival” that occurs in raw-milk cheese and it’s potential benefits to humans. Click the link below to read and listen to Smith’s story. Be sure to subscribe as well for more great stories from NPR’s The Salt.
The Ancient Art of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers - Link to The Salt on NPR
Thanks for the tip L! Stay Cheesy!
Green Dirt Farm’s Dirt Lover
For those who are on the fence about sheep’s milk cheeses, Dirt Lover from Green Dirt Farm is the fromage to try. Made in the classic French farmstead style of cheeses similar to Valencay and Selles-sur-Cher, Dirt Lover has an edible bloomy rind and vegetable ash coating which is visible once the first cut has been made. The black ash boldly stands out against the creamy, ivory paste near the rind then gradually becomes more dense, pale, and crumbly toward the center of the small wheel.
The slightly stiff rind has an earthy, almost mushroom-like flavor followed by the smooth, creamy paste which hits the taste buds with nutty, buttery, lemony tones, then finally ending in salty-sweet crumbles. Each layer is so distinct, yet they work perfectly together. There is a lot happening in this little cheese, yet not so much that it is overpowering or overly intense.
Pairing suggestions range from a glass of Chardonnay or any dry to medium dry white wine to a good fruity craft beer. Salty prosciutto, seasonal berries and some crusty bread and the party is ready to begin. Dirt Lover can be purchased directly from Green Dirt Farm’s website or specialty cheese shops.
Be sure to check out Green Dirt Farm’s website to learn all about Sarah Hoffman and Jacqueline Smith’s Weston Missouri Animal Welfare Approved farm. These ladies are pretty awesome and prove that happy animals produce tasty products.
Dirt Lover was an American Cheese Society winner recognized for outstanding flavor in 2013
When I found out I would be taking my first trip to Paris, I was excited and a bit nervous. Sure, there would be all the amazing cheese, bread, pastries, and chocolates to try, but Paris is big. REALLY big. For someone with crowd issues (which I have) this can be a terrifying experience. I talked with a few of my francophile friends and they assured me that, unlike New York or Chicago where the streets are jam-packed with people all the time, Paris feels busy, but not suffocating. This was a good thing since I enjoy exploring new places. Once I settled into my hotel, I set off with my list of fromageries from cheese connoisseur Susan Sturman, Rick Steve’s Paris 2014 guidebook & Streetwise Paris map in hand, and immediately got lost. Seriously. This was actually a good thing since my getting lost lead me to my first fromagerie, Cheese.
Beekman 1802 Ghoast Cheese & Maker
The Beekman’s have a Halloween treat for us all, appropriately named Ghoast. Starting out with raw goats milk collected directly from the Beekman farm’s own goats, the small ghostly white wheels are then aged for ninety days. During this aging process, the raw-milk wheels begin to develop the greyish-blue cape of a rind around the pale interior. The final result is a semi-firm cheese with distinct spicy, nutty, and grassy tones that are well balanced and very approachable, despite the scary name. The outer rind can be removed for those who have aversions to eating rinds, however I would encourage those who devour this devilishly delectable fromage to leave it on. The extra pepper and tang in the rind is just too tasty to miss. Continue reading
Disney’s Pixar Ratatouille
That’s right! The House Mouse is heading to Paris to taste the delectable fromage of France (and see the sights, of course.) I’ve packed my copy of “The Whole Fromage” by Kathe Lison and my list of suggested cheese shops, courtesy of Susan Sturman, Director Anglophone Programs for Academie Opus Caseus (the cheese industry’s unique hands-on center for professional development), I almost feel ready to go.
Charles de Gaulle is famously rumored to have said “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”, yet according to The Cheese Times, there are upwards of 629 different cheese types in France. There is no way this little mouse will be able to nibble through even a fraction of those fromages in just a few days. While I love a good Banon, Brie and Camembert, I think it would be wise to seek out the cheeses which are unavailable to us Americans; especially some raw milk selections.
Stay tuned for photos from Paris and feel free to send along any suggestions of French cheese for The Mouse to seek out!
Au Revoir for now and Restez au Fromage!
The House Mouse Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway
Hanging out at Whole Foods is always fun, but this past Tuesday night at the Ann Arbor-Cranbrook location was extra fun thanks to cheesemonger Carrie and her mad grilled cheese skills.
Cheesemonger Carrie Whole Foods-Ann Arbor-Cranbrook
On the grilled cheese menu were three tasty options:
Le Gruyère Reserve from Emmi Roth – a nutty, spicy cheese which melts great and is commonly used in fondue. This was grilled in a mini raclette and paired with sweet, tart Bartlett pears.
Halloumi from Cyprus from G. & I. Keses – a combination of goat and sheep’s milk that takes the shape of the baskets in which it is made, this intense cheese actually does not melt at all! The salty cheese retains it’s shape and has a squeaky texture, but served with a drizzle of honey and it really pleased even the most discerning palate.
Berliner Der Käse from Emmi Roth – a Whole Foods exclusive with a creamy texture and nutty taste grilled up nicely onto some baguettes.
Carrie and happy customers
Carrie and the cheese were both big crowd-pleasers. So do you have a favorite fall cheese for grilling? We wanna know about it and it could get you a $50 Whole Foods Gift Card!
Post a comment with your favorite Fall Cheese (Heck, you could even post a picture if you’d like!) by September 30th. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on October 6th. Thanks to Whole Foods in Ann Arbor for having me, Carrie putting up with me all evening, and good luck everyone!