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.
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!
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.
The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
My parents were – and still are – voracious readers, and they encouraged my sister and I to do the same as much as possible. While my sister read on occasion, I would get lost in a bookstore for hours, curl up on the giant square pillows the local shop had strewn all over the children’s section and just sink into a pile of books. My mom volunteered at our school library sometimes and was always hip to the latest trend and bestselling authors, so she would offer suggestions all the time. My dad was not as in touch with the adolescent brain so he would pick titles that appealed to him or chose covers that looked cool and distinct. Continue reading
Congratulations to all the winners from this years’ American Cheese Society Conference. In case you missed it (like this mouse did…sadly) here is the list of winners:
BEST OF SHOW
Rogue Creamery, OR
Rogue River Blue
2nd PLACE (TIE)
Finica Food Specialties Limited, ON
(Mariposa Dairy, ON)
Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar
Carr Valley Cheese Co, Inc., WI
Cave Aged Marisa
Fromagerie Du Presbytère, QC
See the entire list after the jump. See you all next year in Raleigh, North Carolina!
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
What do Napoleon, Emperor Charlemagne, and Charles de Gaulle have in common? Besides being heavy-duty leaders in history, these guys loved their cheese. Wonder how Camembert got its name or the difference between blue cheese, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola? Dubby Bhagat of The Himalayan Times has put together a brief list of some famous cheeses and how they came into being.
For a more in-depth history, check out The Nibble’s article which breaks down cheese throughout history by time period. No surprise the Dark Ages were stagnate for cheese innovation.
Read full articles at Saying Cheese and The History of Cheese.
Photo source: Mentalfloss
Despite the recent articles touting greater weight loss from eating whole milk cheeses, indulging in favorites like Camembert (11.6 grams of fat per oz) or a schmeer of cream cheese on a bagel (10 grams of fat per oz) can potentially pack on the pounds. Take heart, fellow cheese lovers, for I have found a tasty cheese that contains…wait for it…ZERO grams of fat yet has full fat taste! Fromage blanc is a French-style cheese similar to creme fraiche or yogurt in texture with the tang of sour cream. While relatively common in France, it may be more difficult to obtain in the US. Check the local Whole Foods or gourmet market dairy sections. Be sure to buy it with the intent of immediate use as it does go bad rather quickly and at $4 for 8oz, it isn’t cheap. Continue reading
I was a pretty ticklish kid. So ticklish, my mother would just have to say “Tickle Tickle Tickle” in my general direction and I would be on the floor, rolling with laughter. To be honest, it was agony and I have since learned to turn off my tickle button. After tasting this rare treat, I may have to turn it back on!
Ticklemore cheese was originally made at Ticklemore Dairy by Robin Congdon, Ticklemore is now produced at Sharpham Creamery by Debbie Mumford (Debbie trained under Robin before taking over the cheesemaking). This unique cheese is made from vegetarian full-fat, pasteurised, goat’s milk and hand molded in small baskets and turned twice weekly during its three-month maturing phase. The rind retains the shape of the basket which has been described as having a UFO appearance. While cold, Ticklemore has a flaky, pillow-y texture that “tickles” the tongue with light aromatic flavors. As the cheese becomes room temperature, the airy bubbles and flaky texture become soft slightly runny. The Camembert flavors from the rind are more pronounced and assertive as well.
I am more partial to the taste at room temp yet I can see the appeal of the airy texture. The grapes balanced out the flavor even more.
Ticklemore is difficult to find and the price reflects its rare status. At $40.00 per lb. I don’t see purchasing large quantities anytime soon. It is a cheese I would recommend trying (in small amounts) at least once, if you can find it.
Growing up in Shaker Heights, the highlight of the week was my mother taking me to Cheese World at Van Aken. Upon opening the door, my nose was aroused by the aromas wafting of glorious artisan cheese being sampled and sliced behind the counter. This was my playground. My mother knew taking me here meant sacrificing a better part of her day, but she understood my love of cheese better than anyone so she indulged her little house mouse and let me go wild. The 70’s weren’t really known for cheese so my selections by today’s standards may seem rather pedestrian. Back then, Leerdammer, Camembert, Emmental, and Chevre were rather extravagant for anyone,especially a five year old. In a world of Ritz crackers I preferred stone ground wafers to accompany the various cheese spreads made on premises. My favorite was the sharp cheddar with horseradish followed by the red caviar and chevre. Continue reading