The Hubby has been fortunate in his travels, both domestic and international, to discover and sample delectable cheeses. On occasion, he has been able to bring these newfound cheesy treasures back home to me. As those who have travelled with cheese know, this can come at great odoriferous expense to one’s fellow passengers. Such was the case after The Hubby’s first visit to Blackberry Farms in the heart of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains a few years back. He surprised me with a wheel of Trefoil; a pasteurized sheep milk cheese with a funky, hand washed rind. Failing to mention he would be traveling by air, he packed his suitcase with the loosely wrapped, stinky cheese. His fellow travelers were not feeling so thanking him for the lovely gift even though I did. Remembering his malodorous experience from the past, The Hubby requested everything be wrapped up extra tight for the trip home this time. His luggage and I appreciated his gifts all the more for it.
Tag Archives: American Cheese Society
Alright, so maybe not so much a professional, but I’ll take what I can get.
Marcella Wright and I started writing about cheese about a year before I did, in 2008 and once we discovered each other (thanks to the wonders of the internet) we became instant fromage friends. Having so much in common; our mutual love of all things cheese, we were and still are completely mad about our cats, we dig classic cars (I’m more into vintage, she likes the muscle), and we absolutely adore our hubbys. With all this in common along with all the travel we each have done, its crazy that we still have never actually met face to face. What is also crazy, while my humble House Mouse blog continues to attempt to find its footing, Marcella’s has not only grown, she’s turned it into a full-fledged website and become a staple in the cheese society, both figuratively and literally. Marcella is a long-standing member of the American Cheese Society and, as of 2013, a Certified Cheese Professional having passed the three-hour, 150-question exam that tests cheese knowledge in many areas from ingredients to cheesemaking to importing/exporting, maintaining quality, food safety, selling and serving cheese. Just a consumer and enthusiast like me when she started out, Marcella went on to work as a cheesemonger, trainer, and supervisor for Murray’s Cheese and opened over 50 of their Kroger locations around the country. I have learned so much over the years from Marcella through her writing and through email and social media conversations, which is why I am honored and humbled to be on her Cheese Professionals of 2015 list. Check out the post below and make sure to sign up to be notified about other posts highlighting some pretty spectacular (and probably more deserving) Cheese Peeps!
Here’s a picture of The Lady and The Late Spaulding Grey. Her inspiration for her former blog. We all miss this furry guy’s wit and wonderful palate. Stay Cheesy!
Over the past five years, I have written about cheese from the point of view of a cheese lover and enthusiast, wanting to spread the love of cheese far and wide. My story, while quirky isn’t new; child grows up loving cheese, only eats cheese, discovers there is more to food than cheese, still decides to write about mostly cheese. I have met some incredible folks over the years who I consider rock stars of the cheese world. People like Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s Deli and one of the most motivating speakers I have ever heard. Maitre Fromager and author Max McCalman; his books are my fromage bibles. James Beard Award-winning author Laura Werlin who sat next to me in a restaurant in North Carolina and it was awesome and I totally embarrassed myself by telling her so. Co-founder of Culture Magazine, Kate Arding, who recently opened her own shop called Talbot & Arding in Hudson, New York. Kate may be one of the most influential people I have ever met and she probably doesn’t even know it. Early on, when I began writing The House Mouse, Kate actually read my blog, commented from time to time and encouraged me to keep writing, even when I doubted myself and wanted to quit. There are so many others I have met, fellow bloggers, cheesemakers, etc. and after all this time, I realize something…I feel like I still don’t know much more than when I started about cheese. I mean, I know some basics, but after five years I feel I should at least have made my first batch of ricotta or be able to explain animal and vegetable rennet better. Nope. My fermentation education when it comes to cheese gets a C plus at best. So, The House Mouse New Years Resolution…a cheesy education. At least a better, more structured one. Now all I need is to know where to start. This is my question to my cheese peeps out there. I would love some guidance, suggestions, anything as to where I might begin. I have some books (see above) and I am already an American Cheese Society member, but there are no monger jobs in the area (a common suggestion) so any other suggestions would be great.
I’m looking forward to an enlightening new year full of fabulous fromage and fun factoids. Feel free to comment anytime and remember to Stay Cheesy!
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.
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 rumors are true. Start looking for alternatives for the holiday cheeseboard this year since Uplands Cheese will no longer be producing wheels of fromage favorite, Rush Creek Reserve. Cheesemaker Andy Hatch confirmed today that, due to the FDA’s recent regulations regarding wood-board storage and threat of unknown future interference with raw-milk cheese production, it was too high a risk to produce the wonderful wheels only to chance them being pulled from the market. Hatch, as most in the cheese world knows, is a perfectionist at his craft, and to dedicate so much care, attention, and love to a product only to have it go to waste was not an option, so the decision was made to not even begin the process. Uplands Cheese will still have Pleasant Ridge Reserve available for us turophiles to enjoy and Hatch is working on a new cheese, yet it is still in the creative stages. Let’s all hope, pray, keep our fingers crossed, maybe even make a wish to the cheese gods/goddesses that this FDA crisis will pass and we will all be able to enjoy the beefy, buttery, heaven of Rush Creek Reserve for the 2015 season. Until then, let’s support Uplands Cheese and have a wedge of Pleasant Ridge on our boards this holiday. I know I will.
Stay cheesy everyone.
When I met Barrie Lynn, the Cheese Impresario, back in 2012 and she suggested we do a cheese and sake pairing, to be honest, I thought she was joking. See, at the time of our discussion, we were sitting at a cheese and beer pairing and had been, well, I had been, consuming quite a bit of REALLY spectacular fermentation of both the cheese and alcoholic nature. Adding to my gentle buzz was the awe of being at my first American Cheese Society Conference, and now someone I admired wanted to do some sort of story with me! After assuring me she was serious, Barrie Lynn said she’d call me and arrange the whole thing. Well, not only did I receive a call, I received two bottles of sake, cheese, and instructional emails to do the tasting over the phone, which was both awesome and terrifying, as I had never even tried sake before, let alone heard of pairing it with cheese. What had I gotten myself into? Continue reading
It’s December 15th, which means ten days until Christmas (it also means Psych: the Musical is on tonight at 9pm on the USA Network, but that’s a whole different kind of cheese and I digress) so shopping for that cheese lover just kicked in to overdrive. Have no fear, because The House Mouse is here with Cheesy Gift Guide #3 which has some pretty cool gadgets. As most readers know, I prefer to shop local, keeping dollars within the community, however time is of the essence so I will be including prices and links here to sites that have expedited shipping, although I make no promises for holiday miracles. Should timing become an issue, I suggest a House Mouse tradition of placing a picture of the gift inside a box and then putting that box inside another box and so on and so on and so on. Include a note letting the recipient know their gift is en route to their home, which may be appreciated even more if the gadget is particularly large or heavy. And away we go!
Looking for an all-around accessible treat for your cheese board? Green Hill from Sweet Grass Dairy should be right in your wheelhouse. Cheesemakers Al and Desiree Wehner of Thomasville, Georgia use a New Zealand-style Intense Rotational Grazing method with their cows (the process of moving cows from pasture to pasture over a 24-hour time period), which ensures fresh green grass and happier cows. The resulting 2007 American Cheese Society winner offers a rich, earthy, grassy, buttery flavor and a soft, silky texture. A white, bloomy rind surrounds a bright yellow center caused by the high butterfat, also a result of their grazing practices.
Green Hill is a young cheese, pasteurized and aged about three to six weeks – it has the look of a Brie or Camembert, but that’s where the similarity ends. The mild yet complex taste of this cheese is a complete crowd pleaser. Even those who say they aren’t fans of Brie and Camembert will be pleasantly surprised when they fall in love with Green Hill. Pair it with some apricot compote for a sweet-tart tasty treat and a bright Chardonnay to cut through the richness.
Available year round at most better cheese shops.