Tag Archives: cheesemonger

Whole Foods Parmigiano Reggiano cracking recap

On February 27th, Whole Foods stores world-wide attempted to break the Parmigiano Reggiano wheel cracking record set back in 2008. Did they do it? To be honest, I’m not sure yet. What I am sure of is this event was a major hit with staff and customers alike at the University Heights, Ohio location. One of the coolest things about cheese is that it unites all aspects of food as shown by the many tasting stations set up throughout the store. From wine and beer to dessert, this cheese let its versatility shine. Continue reading

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Wheel-crackin’ and cheese snackin’ at Whole Foods

It will be a crack for the record books this Saturday, February 27th,  at Whole Foods throughout the country. At 3:00pm Eastern Standard Time, over 300 cheesemongers will simultaneously crack into 85lbs wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano in an attempt to break their 2008 Guinness world record.  Spectators will be treated with cheese samples, cooking demonstrations, wine pairing suggestions, and even some wine tasting (where allowed). Continue reading

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Yeeehaaw!!! Cowgirl Creamery ropes me in.

I finally got the chance to taste Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk and it was well worth the wait.  To be fair, I had been offered chances on numerous occasions but hesitated because the web was saturated with high praise and I figured one more review would be one too many. After tasting the washed-rind triple-cream round of goodness, its clear that no amount of praise is enough for this flavor-bomb of fromage. Continue reading

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Bring in ‘da funk! Funky cheese tasting episode #1

Not all stinky cheeses are created equal. Some are overtly funky from smell to taste. Others smell intense yet have a delicious mild flavor. Hard and crumbly or soft and runny, I love them all. That being said, not all fumigating fromages are created equal. Here is the first of what I hope to be many compare and contrast tastings.

On the platter are two intense cheeses sure to please even the most timid taster. The first is a Swiss cheese called Chue Fladae (translates to “cow patty). Raw cow’s milk and a thick pastry-like washed rind, the aroma can be off-putting at the very least and just unbearable as it gets to room temperature. Continue reading

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Cheese and Cupcakes? Sounds like heaven to me!

One of the few regrets I have about my boyfriend moving from Ann Arbor to Corktown is how far a drive it is to my favorite cheese resource, Morgan and York on Packard.  What was once a ten minute jaunt down the road is now a forty-five minute schelp traversing multiple highways and byways. Totally worth the drive for the amazing cheese selection and over-the-top service, I now have even more reason to jump in my car and make the trek.

Morgan and York is getting a sweet new neighbor. Cake Nouveau, the Food Network Challenge winning cupcake shop needed larger diggs and are setting up shop next door. Owner Courtney Clark currently runs her shop in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor yet the small shop on North Fourth just cannot keep up with the demand due to the close quarters. While many see the move to the Packard location as a step in the wrong direction, I am looking forward to being able to find parking that doesn’t cost five bucks and browsing the delectable confections without feeling claustrophobic. No word yet on when the cupcake queen will be taking up residence, but construction is well under way.

You can read more about this new dynamic duo at Ann Arbor.com.

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Cheesy ebay contest…What the heck did I buy?

Ebay can be fun and exciting as long as the wallet doesn’t get too strained. While searching for cheesy items (and I don’t mean kitchy) I happened on hundreds of listings for cool stuff.  I love antiques and if they have to do with cheese, well, I’m all in.  Above is a photo of my first fromage find and it wasn’t too expensive. In fact, the shipping cost more than the item! So, here I am with this rockin’ cool wooden Kraft cheese box only to be stymied by my trusty Google and Bing in finding any information regarding how it was used or even when.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you all to help fill in the blanks. If anyone out there knows anything about this item send an email to thehousemouse1@gmail.com and the best (and most accurate) answer wins the box and a tip of the hat here on The House Mouse! Good Luck!

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Loud praise for Saint Felicien

Someday I hope to eat my way through all the delicious and diverse cheeses of France. Preferably I will do this in France, but for now I must settle for my local cheesemongers to guide me.  I am lucky to have several experienced mongers and the ones at Morgan and York in Ann Arbor, Michigan are some of the best.

On my most recent visit I had a chance to sample Saint Felicien, a soft subtle cheese from the Rhône-Alpes region (also known as caille-doux) and was pleasantly surprised.

Presented in a stone crock with a pale yellow rind, Saint Felicien hides a nutty, pillowy, slightly pungent flavor that is not normally found in a raw cow’s milk cheese.  Best served with berries and sweet nuts. Avoid citrus and sour fruits (I made the mistake of tasting with Granny Smith apples. Trust me, just say no!)

I have heard this cheese is similar to  Saint Marcellin however I have yet to taste it and cannot say for sure.  It is on the French cheese tour so I am sure I will get to it soon. In the meantime, I have a little crock of goodness to satisfy me…for about five more minutes when it will be all gone! Bon Appetit!

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Mild and wild selections at Zingerman’s Roadhouse

One of my favorite places to eat in Ann Arbor is Zingerman’s Roadhouse on Jackson Avenue. Part of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, the Roadhouse cooks up amazing down-home goodness and even encourages customers to “try it before you buy it” by offering samples of menu items. Co-owners Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw bring in the highest quality of ingredients from around the country and the food is all the better for it.

Terry is my favorite waiter at Zingerman’s.  His love of cheese rivals mine and he always has the perfect suggestions. Looking for some lighter selections than I am use to (as you may have guessed, I love the pungent, stinky stuff) I wanted to see how the mild side tasted. Terry’s first recommendation was Creamery Great Lakes Cheshire. This is the only American-made Cheshire to date and like its UK brother, this cheese has a hard crumbly texture that becomes smooth on the tongue with a subtle, grassy flavor.  A bit of an acidic bite (most likely from the animal rennet) but by no means unpleasant.  Next came a Quebec Chevre Noir (center) and is the only Canadian cheese Zingerman’s sells.  This award-winning cheese has a  firm, dense and flaky in texture yet melts in your mouth with a nutty, herb-like essence.  Finally, a 3-year-old Asiago (top right) was a surprise. Usually aged for a year, I expected this Asiago to be sharp and intense.  Surprisingly, I found it to be smooth, sweet, and even on the palate.

All three cheeses were wonderful, but if I had to pick a favorite I would say it was the chevre. Next time you find yourself in Ann Arbor, check out Zingerman’s Roadhouse and ask for Terry. Tell him Robin sent you!

The grapes pictured are oven roasted with a balsamic vinegar toss. Amazing and easy to make. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, toss grapes lightly in balsamic vinegar, roast for 10 minutes and enjoy. These sweet and savory treats pair with both intense and mild cheeses.

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All’s well with Berkswell

I’m a particular fan of cheese produced by Neal’s Yard Dairy.  From the intense Stinking Bishop to the tongue grabbing sharpness of  Lincolnshire Poacher this dairy does it all with amazing taste texture.  Not surprising that I became an instant fan of Berkswell.

Named for the village of Berkswell in the West Midlands, this earthy cheese is the epitome of rustic country living.  Made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk with either a vegetable or animal rennet, the cheese is hand molded and then aged for up to two years.  Flavor and texture can vary depending on the rennet.  The vegetable rennet has a hard texture with a smooth fruity taste while the animal rennet is milder with a savory palate and harder texture.

More of an after dinner cheese, Berskwell pairs nicely with an aged scotch or whiskey.  For wine lovers, a dry red would be nice.

Neal’s Yard Dairy work with seventy or so cheesemakers throughout England and Ireland, giving for one of the most diverse and exciting cheese collections I have yet to find.  Head out to your local cheesemonger or Whole Foods and get to tasting all this dairy has to offer.


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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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