Mouse worker with prototype cheese
Having long desired to create the perfect cheese, yet frustrated with the constant varying opinions of human artisanal cheese makers, The House Mouse looked to the next obvious experts for guidance. My own kind.
It is a known fact that mice are cheese conneseurs, so why not hire the best of the best to create America’s next artisanal cheese? The team is already hard at work discussing rennet, bacterium, milk choice, and aging process and while there have been a few minor nipping episodes, I do feel the process has gone rather well. Paws crossed for our first batch to be ready for tasting in 3-6 months…barring over sampling or rat infestation.
Happy Cheesy April Fools Day!
The House Mouse
Marcella Wright: The Cheese Lady’ Calls The House Mouse a Cheese Professional so it Must Be True…
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!
Marcella the Cheesemonger
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!
The Lady and Spaulding: photo courtesy of Marcella, the Cheesemonger
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
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
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
Beekman 1802 Ghoast Cheese & Maker
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
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!
Cheese Nights: Grilled Cheese [Whole Foods]
There’s no better comfort food on a cold Fall day than a toasty, tasty, gooey grilled cheese sandwich paired with a mug of hot apple cider. Whole Foods Market agrees and this Tuesday, September 16th for their quarterly Cheese Nights event, their knowledgeable cheesemongers will be passing their skills along for creating the perfect grilled cheese on a cold Autumn night. Continue reading
Rush Creek Reserve and Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands 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.
Andy Hatch with Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Ever wonder how cheese came to be cheese? A happy accident of science (plus an extended camel trek), of course!
Seven Styles of Cheese from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Joe Hanson, host of the PBS Digital Studio web series and popular blog “It’s Okay to be Smart”, wanted to learn more about the Cheesy Science of fromage so he stopped by for a visit at Antonelli’s Cheese in Austin, TX. Cheesemonger, Kara Chadbourne was a good sport to put up with the cheese puns as she schooled Hanson on the chemistry of enzymes and molds which help turn milk into cheese. Check out the video above and to learn more fun science facts, be sure to subscribe to “It’s Okay to be Smart” on YouTube and Hanson’s blog here.