It must have been a Passover miracle that, although we were Jewish, the Easter Bunny still left us baskets on the end of our beds every Easter Sunday. Not the dime-store, cheap-o ones with the gigantic plastic-tasting jelly beans, sparse sassafras looking all lame in the bottom just barely covering the one or two chocolate eggs, and generic Barbie either. These were giant, showcase baskets with Peeps of every color spilling over the side, diorama sugar eggs that were set aside and never really eaten, and caramel covered chocolate eggs, the pre-Cadbury Creme Egg that oozed caramel when I bit into them. And a REAL Easter Barbie in the middle. I was lucky. I was spoiled. I miss getting those goodies. Tim Gaddis, my pal and also Cheese House Manager of Many Fold Farm, played Peter Cottontail this year and sent a holiday sheep tote of goodies, including a wheel of Garrett’s Ferry and a pyramid of Condor’s Ruin. There was even a #travelingsheepshirt from the first lot made, which may be even than a Barbie!
Tag Archives: Murray’s Cheese
Perail hails from the Aveyron region of France, where Roquefort is produced in a region that has a long history of sheep herding. There are many theories of how Perail came to be in existence. Stories range from the bloomy brie-like sheep’s milk wheels being created during low milk production, to shepherds holding back small amounts of milk from the larger Roqufort producers and creating the small pure sheep milk cheese in their homes for their families and neighbors. Whatever the stories and history may be, we are fortunate to have this tasty treat available to snack on now.
Perail is a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese with a thin, bloomy rind and soft, pale paste. When young, the interior is more firm and mild in flavor and the grassy notes are very apparent. Allow it to get a bit more ripe, which is what I did, and the rind collapses a bit, the “sheepy” barnyard flavors intensify, and the grassy, buttery, and sweet flavors come alive. Pair Perail with a light white or sparkling bubbly wine or perhaps a crisp hard cider.
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!
With Christmas fast approaching and Chanukah coming to a close it’s time to get serious about those gift-giving decisions. Fortunately, our friendly cheesemakers, cheese shops, and cheese websites can help play Chanukah Charlie and Santa by offering up some awesome swanky baskets, boxes and Cheese-Of-The-Month-Clubs to ship out to our loved ones. The Artisanal Premium Cheese Club is always a great way to go, but there are many more to chose from as well. Check out some of the fabulous fromage gifts below , but don’t delay today is the last day for shipping for a Cheesy Christmas delivery! Continue reading
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 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
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
This has probably been the hardest post I have ever written since I began writing The House Mouse back in 2009. All the starts and stops, the interruptions and scrapped drafts, the frustrations and not knowing what to say have nearly driven me mad. I mean, I started this post back in May! I finally decided to just stop dancing around and come clean about why I’ve been so silent. This is really hard to say…
I, The House Mouse, am having a hard time eating cheese. Just writing the words makes me so sad and sick to my stomach both literally and figuratively! I have rebelled against my body for so long and it finally caught up with me in pretty dramatic form. Continue reading
Is there any better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with two of the best flavors on earth? Cheese and chocolate sounds like the ideal taste of love for any fromagophile, so The Mouse decided give it a go and to shoot for the cheese cupid. Murray’s Cheese collaborated with Mast Brothers chocolates and Champlain Valley Triple Cream to create Love at Mast (top center). Was this a match made in heaven? Well….
As a major dark chocolate and Champlain Valley Triple Cream fan, The Mouse was really excited to get this cheesy love fest of goodness. The slight bitterness of the sea salt chocolate combined with the sweet cream of the cheese seemed like it would be a match made in dairy heaven. Unfortunately, the flavor left me somewhat underwhelmed. The sweetness of the cheese just completely overpowered the salty chocolate and the texture, while soft, lacked the usual lushness found in a triple cream. I will confess that The Mouse is a purist when it comes to cheese so I would still encourage those who are curious to give it a try.
Happy National Cheese Lovers Day! Last year, The Mouse was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was a holiday just for fromagephiles to pay homage to the blessed curd. A full twenty-four hours to bask in the glow of some Basque or any cheese of choice. So, what’s a cheese lover to do when upon opening the refrigerator door on National Cheese Lovers Day and finds that the cheese safe is bare? Fear not, for The Mouse has a brief list of shops to help restock for the celebration. Continue reading