Tag Archives: cows milk

Coffee and Cheese: Turning Fantasy into Reality Part 1-Barely Buzzed

Barely Buzzed photo courtesy of Beehive Cheese Co

Barely Buzzed photo courtesy of Beehive Cheese Co

My parents were big java drinkers and getting freshly ground coffee in the 70’s in our neighborhood meant going to Cheese World. The combined smell when we walked in the door of the ground beans and the sweet cheese always tantalized my taste buds. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to put the flavors together and see if my fantasy was as good as reality. It seems I was not alone in this fantasy world since not one, but TWO cheese makers created a coffee and cheese combination. So, who are these dream cheese-weavers and how do they stack up to the cozy fantasy? Part 1-Barely Buzzed! Continue reading

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Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day with a New Cheese from Beekman 1802. Introducing Mubock

Beekman 1802 Mubock Cheese

Beekman 1802 Mubock Cheese

As most House Mouse readers know, I am an avid follower of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, especially their cheese, Beekman 1802 Blaak. I read their blog, cheered their victory on The Amazing Race, and secretly hope to get an invitation to Josh and Brent’s upcoming wedding (hint, hint). So imagine my shock when I discovered only this month that they had created another cheese, Mubock, back in September! How could I have missed it? I must have been in a cheese coma or something. Fortunately, I was able to secure one of the last half-pound squares of Mubock before the Mercantile ran out. Well, that, along with a wheel of Blaak, a box of Salty Goat Fudge Cookies and a jar of Autumn Harvest Honey. Go big or go home!

So, why call it Mubock? According to Beekman 1802, the name is a play on the half cow milk (mu) and half goat milk (bock) combination used to make the cheese. Bock could also refer to the dark, strong lager, Three Philosophers beer from Ommegang Brewery that is brushed at the end of the aging process.

While all that is interesting, I really wanted to get to the tasting, so after allowing the Mubock to get to room temperature, I sliced some off and went in for the sniff test. My nose instantly picked up on the hops from the beer, as well as a sweet, salty aroma. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but the nose of a cheese can often be so different from its actual flavor, so I wasn’t too concerned. There was also some confusion over its appearance. Described as a cheddar-style cheese, Mubock really more resembles a baby swiss. Even the texture had a spongy, springy swiss-cheese feel. Finally, I tasted it and it was… interesting. Very intense, with a pretty pronounced beer flavor. Did I like it? To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I thought maybe I was missing something, so I reached out to Dr. Brent Ridge, one half of the Beekman Boys, to see if I could get some guidance:

THM: When we spoke a coupe of years ago, you were pretty adamant about not creating another cheese. What changed your mind?
BR: We still are primarily focused on Blaak. We just thought it would be a fun experience to come up with one different cheese idea each year for a Limited Edition. It keeps us learning.

THM: How big was this batch, and will we be seeing Mubock next season at the Mercantile and online?
BR: This year, we produced about 1800 pounds of Mubock.  Unfortunately, we have sold out. As we intend all of our limited editions, we are going to retire them after each year, so we don’t plan to make this again.

THM: The hoppy flavor is pretty prominent in Mubock. How did you decide on Three Philosophers Beer?
BR: We chose 3 Phils because it is one of our favorite brews from Ommegang.

THM: The flavor is very bold and intense. What pairings do you suggest?

BR: Mubock was aged for eight months, which creates a very bold, sharp cheese.  Goat milk especially gets sharp very quickly.  The texture is slightly chewy/rubbery – kind of like a swiss cheese.  We actually recommend Mubock as a melting cheese.  It’s amazing on grilled cheese sandwiches, in omelets and in soups (we have a great soup recipe with it on the website).

A melting cheese… of course! Immediately after hearing Brent’s response, I grabbed a baguette, some aged balsamic, a bit of prosciutto and toasted it up. What a difference some heat makes. The intense flavor from the Mubock simmers down a bit, yet the hoppy taste still has some punch. It melded perfectly with the saltiness of the cured meat, while the aged balsamic’s sweet/tart component just balanced the whole bite out. My boyfriend actually preferred it without the prosciutto, which was pretty tasty as well.

I have just enough Mubock left to try out the soup recipe, although my little creation has become my favorite after-work snack, so it may not last. While it is sad that Mubock will not be making a second appearance, Blaak may still be available on the Beekman website. Even better, head to Sharon Springs and pick some up direct from the Mercantile.

Stay Cheesy and Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day!

Update: Blaak is out for the season, but will be returning, hopefully in July. Be sure to get on the wait list to get a wheel. The cookies and honey are still available so be sure to check those out.

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Just a little cow fun to start off a cheesy weekend!

 

 

Thanks for the heads up, Linda!

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Pushing the Bliss: Aged Constant Bliss

Constant Bliss by Jasper Hill Farm aged one month in cheese safe

As a cheesemonger-in-training, I typically follow the rules when handling my cheese selections. Fresh fromages like chevres should be served sooner rather than later, age gouda can be stored up to a few months with proper care and temperature control, etc. There are reasons for these rules, including preserving integrity of the taste and complexity of the rind or control of the acidity, and I respect them. However, there comes a time when I throw caution to the wind to see just how far I can take a cheese, how long I can let it mature before it goes past its prime. Such is the case with my recent purchase of Jasper Hill’s Constant Bliss.

For those not in the know, Constant Bliss was the first cheese produced at Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, VT. This complex fromage is made from pasteurized, uncooled evening milk of the farm’s Ayrshire cows and aged a mere 60 days.  Most recognize Constant Bliss by its bloomy white rind which hides a creamy underlayer of fatty paste, followed by a more substantial and pillowy center. In its early stage, each layer has a distinct flavor, the delicate rind is earthy without being too assertive, followed by the thin layer of sweet cream, ending in a lemony center. By aging my wheel for a month in my cheese safe, not only did the flavors intensify, but the actual structure of the cheese took on a whole new life. A fantastically mouth-watering life. Continue reading

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Formal cheese service at L’Albatros starts the New Year right

Formal Cheese Service at L'Albatros Brassierie and Bar

Nothing says “Happy New Year” to a true turophile like a plethora of cheese. Thanks to Brandon Chrostowski, fromager and General Manager at L’Albatros Brasserie and Bar here in Cleveland, Ohio, The Mouse started this year off with a major “Hello 2011!”. Fifteen luxurious cheeses ready for the tasting was almost too beautiful to believe, yet there they were in all it’s creamy, milky glory. Continue reading

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Interview: Rush Creek Reserve cheesemaker Andy Hatch chats with The House Mouse

Half eaten Rush Creek Reserve in front of a full wheel of Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Taken at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI.

It’s a busy night per usual at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI and I am having my first taste of the highly sought after Rush Creek Reserve, the new soft rind cheese from the makers of the award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Carlos, the cheese monger, has a wheel hidden behind the counter and hands me a tiny plastic spoonful of the pale yellow paste. Soft and creamy with a tiny hint of mushroom, bold and beefy yet still delicate on the tongue, this bloomy raw-milk cheese seems to have it all. So why is this gooey goodness being hidden behind the counter? Demand for this cheese has been so high that Zingerman’s only has this one sample and the wheel I am taking home on hand. They are expecting delivery of a few more wheels next weekend, but how many is unknown.

I am not only here for the cheese, but to meet the innovative cheese maker who created it: Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese Company of Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Andy is a quiet, unassuming guy with a friendly smile and looks more like college student than a master cheese maker. We sit down at an outside table to talk about his latest cheese creation. Continue reading

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Quick Taste: Wildspitz Bio

Whenever I visit Morgan and York specialty food and wine shop in Ann Arbor, I always ask “What’s new?” and am rarely disappointed. This recent trip was no exception.

Wildspitz Bio is a funky blend of cow and goat milk with an intense nutty taste.  Subtle at first, the flavor builds toward the back of the tongue and continues to become more assertive with each bite.

As with most semi-strong cheeses, I would recommend staying clear of any citrus or highly acidic fruits when eating this fun-sounding cheese. Pair with just about any red wine or dark beer and perhaps some salty almonds or cashews.

Wildspitz Bio is an elusive cheese, so be sure to grab it when found as it is a  wonderful substitute for the standard Swiss selection on any cheese plate.

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Review: Get Fuzzy With Twig Farm Fuzzy Wheel

Occasionally I’ll buy a certain kind of cheese just because it has a fun name. Such is the case for Twig Farm’s Fuzzy Wheel. I purposely did no research and asked no questions when I sent my order for this fun sounding fuzz from Formaggio Kitchen.  I wanted to be totally surprised…and I was.

Twig Farm is a small goat farm in West Cornwall, Vermont and has been in operation since 2005. Owners Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman use traditional equipment and techniques to make their varieties of farmstead cheeses, forming them by hand and aging in their cheese cellar.  Continue reading

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Review: Beemster Farms’ Graskaas breaks out ahead of Spring

Spring is bustin’ out all over and the barn doors of  Beemster Farms are opening to the lush untouched spring pastures for the first time after the cold and windy winter.  The grasses of the Beemster Polder, situated 20 feet below sea level, have grown long and thick over the cold months and are now ideal for grazing. The cows eagerly gobble up this sweet new grass and produce milk that is  is the most coveted of the year. The lush young grasses give their milk a special creamy flavor and texture and is used to produce the limited edition Beemster Graskaas.

Beemster is an artisan Dutch cheese, a North Holland Dutch Gouda that is crafted exclusively in the Beemster Polder (a polder is a low tract of land enclosed by embankments with no connection to outside water sources). The cows graze only on pesticide-free pastures that contain rare blue sea clay. This clay contains minerals that give the milk a sweeter and softer milkfat, giving Beemster cheeses a softer and creamier texture than other Dutch cheeses. The name is trademarked: Beemster can only be made in the Beemster Polder. The farm is a co-op which was set up so that the farmers’ wives would no longer have to make the cheese on their individual farms. Over the years, this small co-op stood by its original recipe, fine tuning where improvements could be made. Continue reading

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One woman’s fromage finds for 2009

As a self-proclaimed trivia geek, lists are like candy to me.  Top Ten’s, Best Of’s, and Most Interesting Finds can keep me transfixed to the internet for hours.  Seems only natural that I would seek out lists which consisted of cheese!

Janet Fletcher, author of  “Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying” and “The Cheese Course”  as well as contributor to The San Francisco Chronicle, has issued her list of diverse and intriguing cheese tastings of 2009.  I can hardly wait to head out to my local cheesemonger and sample some of her suggestions!  Out of the many cheeses named, I am surprised to have only sampled two.  The first,  Beecher’s Flagship Reserve (shown above) from Seattle,  was this year’s winner of the American Cheese Society’s Mature Cheddars, 25 – 48 months. The second,   L’Amuse Gouda from Holland, is a nutty, salty, caramel-y creation which matures in mild temperatures (unlike most Gouda which matures in cool environments).  Both were wonderful in their own right although I want to take a second taste before passing further judgment.

Check out Ms. Fletcher’s article at the link below and feel free to send any other cheesy list suggestions my way at thehousemouse1@gmail.com!

Image: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

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