Holiday Cheesy Gift Guide 2014 – Cheese Art by Mike Geno

Cheese Prints by Mike Geno: Photograph taken by The House Mouse

Cheese Prints by Mike Geno: Photograph taken by The House Mouse

With the holidays fast approaching, it may seem like a cheese plate, markers,  or set of knives would be the obvious choice for the turophile on your gift list. While these tokens are nice and can be thoughtful, they tend to get a bit overdone and can be a bit obvious.  Let’s face it – while these cheesy gifts are appreciated, more often than not, they end up being shoved into a drawer only to be brought out on special occasions… like next Christmas. How about giving a fromage find that will be front and center all year long… something like cheese art? Where does one find such a thing? Artist Mike Geno can help.

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Holiday Cheeses and The House Mouse Festivus Cheese Book Giveaway

Thanksgiving Cheeseboard: Photo taken by The House Mouse

Thanksgiving Cheeseboard: Photo taken by The House Mouse

When it comes to holiday meals, I try to be kind to those I love and spare them the potential of food poisoning by bringing the cheese. It is just safer that way and also, to be honest, gets a ton of compliments and I feel like a total rock star for the first few hours as we await the main dishes being created in the kitchen. Then my brother-in-law’s three kinds of turkey (including a confit), my sister-in-law’s magic brusselsprouts, and my other sister-in-law’s yearly creation of awesome knock our socks off and the cheese stands alone. This year, I wasn’t taking any chances and decided to bring in the big guns and show I could hang with the best of them in our family version of Kitchen Stadium. Let’s just say, Game, Set, Match.  Continue reading

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Mental Floss (with the help of Liz Thorpe) Answer Cheesy Question: Why Do They Dye Cheese Yellow

Every week, the guys and gals at Mental Floss select a question posted by viewers in the dubally do below the video (those are author John Green of MentalflossVlogBrothers words, not mine) and then create a video with the answer, posting it in one of their various Mental Floss subcategories. This past week on the Big Question, Craig Benzine, star of YouTube video series and blog WheezyWaiter answered BtotheRandon’s (online user name of Bridget Kline) question: Why is cheese dyed yellow?

According to cheese consultant, author of “The Cheese Chronicles”, and all-around cheese goddess, Liz Thorpe, it depends on where a person lives.”People’s preference for white versus yellow is mostly cultural. Wisconsin is yellow cheddar territory. Vermont is white cheddar.” Be sure to check out the video above for more about the history of cheese coloring. I know you are dying know the answers…cheesy pun. Couldn’t resist.

Like what you watched? Be sure to subscribe hit the subscribe button in the “dubally do below” the video

Stay Cheesy!

DFTBA

 

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Exclusive! Andy Hatch’s Upland’s Experiment Hits Zingerman’s Deli in Limited Quantities

Upland's Experiment

Upland’s Experiment photo by The House Mouse

Cheese lovers nationwide were devastated when cheesemaker Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese Company decided to stop making his famous Rush Creek Reserve indefinitely. The spruce-wrapped, raw-milk cheese was the nearest we Americans had to the coveted French-style Mont d’Or and the thought of not having it on our holiday cheese boards was heartbreaking. When asked if he had anything else new in his cheese caves to make up for this terrible loss, Hatch’s stock answer has always been that he is experimenting with something new. After two years, the experiment seems to have paid off, even if it is in limited time. Presented in extremely limited quantities: Upland’s Experiment. Continue reading

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Quick Bites: St Sauveur des Basques and a Scoop from Murray’s Cheese Caves

Agour St Sauveur des Basques

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

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NPR’s The Salt: A Look At Raw Milk Cheese & Their Microbial Festival Advantage

Montgomery's Cheddar - Photo courtesy of gardenista.com

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!

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Quick Bites: Green Dirt Farm’s Dirt Lover

Green Dirt Farm's Dirt Lover

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.

Stay Cheesy!

Dirt Lover was an American Cheese Society winner recognized for outstanding flavor in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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