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.
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
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 Mentalfloss & VlogBrothers 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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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!