Tag Archives: raw milk cheese

Holiday Cheeses and The House Mouse Festivus Cheese Book Giveaway

Thanksgiving Cheeseboard: Photo taken by The House Mouse

Thanksgiving Cheeseboard: Photo taken by The House Mouse

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

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NPR’s The Salt: A Look At Raw Milk Cheese & Their Microbial Festival Advantage

Montgomery's Cheddar - Photo courtesy of gardenista.com

Montgomery’s Cheddar – Photo courtesy of gardenista.com

If there is one thing I love almost as much as cheese, it’s NPR, especially their thought-provoking and innovative podcasts. I have only recently begun to listen to The Salt, self-described as “With a pinch of skepticism and a dash of fun, The Salt covers food news from the farm to the plate and beyond” which is right up my alley. The most recent episode has reporter Kerri Smith tagging along with microbiologist and cheesemaker Dennis D’Amico to Somerset, England to visit Jamie Montgomery; maker of Montgomery’s Farmhouse Cheddar. D’Amico and others are gathering to discuss the “microbial festival” that occurs in raw-milk cheese and it’s potential benefits to humans. Click the link below to read and listen to Smith’s story. Be sure to subscribe as well for more great stories from NPR’s The Salt.

The Ancient Art of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers – Link to The Salt on NPR

Thanks for the tip L! Stay Cheesy!

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No Rush Creek Reserve for 2014 due to FDA “cheesemaker beware” threat

Rush Creek Reserve and Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese

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

Andy Hatch with Pleasant Ridge Reserve

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Max McCalman explains why mysterious Blaui Geiss is worth the $78.00 price tag

Blaui Geiss from Artisanal Premium Cheese

As most cheese lovers know, fabulous fromage does not come cheap and with good reason. The care, effort and timing that go into a single wheel of cheese can make the difference between a splendid table cheese and a complete disaster. For the most part, the cost per pound of cheese reflects that quality and care, but sometimes a cheese is so pricey even the most enthusiastic turophile has to ask why. One such cheese is the rare Blaui Geiss ringing in at $78.00 per six-inch wheel. Continue reading

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Jasper Hill Farm introduces Harbison just in time for the Holidays!

Harbison cheese with hand forged spoon from Beekman 1802

Making friends with your local cheesemongers has many advantages – one of which is getting the heads-up whenever a new wheel rolls into the shop. Lucky for this Mouse, I have managed to become pretty buddy-buddy with the mongers at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Shawn and his crew are good for a call, and a few weeks ago, my phone range with exciting news of a new cheese from Jasper Hill Farm called Harbison. Knowing that anything from the folks at Jasper promises to be good eats, I headed over to Kerrytown to get a taste.

At first glance, I was a bit disappointed. It appeared to be just another spruce-bark-wrapped cheese similar to last year’s star fromage, which was also a spruce-bound cow’s milk creation called Rush Creek Reserve from Andy Hatch at the award-winning Upland Cheese Company. Could the Kehler brothers from Vermont really compete… or offer something different? The monger behind the counter told me to reserve my judgment until I tried it. Once again, my trust was not misplaced, as any initial disappointment vanished once I cracked open this earthy wheel of goodness.

Unlike the raw-milk wonder that is Rush Creek, Harbison is made with pasteurized cow milk, and the two-third of a pound wheel is aged a mere three to six weeks. Its intense aroma of wet leaves, fresh earth and mushrooms is a pleasant contrast to the sweet, beefy flavor with a hint of smoke. While spoonable, Harbison’s paste is a bit firmer than Rush Creek, yet it still has similar versatility, responding well to both table service and cooking (it’s a particularly rich and tasty treat when mixed in with boiled redskin potatoes).

Whether entertaining or just relaxing with the family, this is a great cheese to have on-hand this holiday season. I actually had both Harbison and Rush Creek on our board for Thanksgiving. They complemented one another quite well and we all gave thanks to the blessed cheesemongers in our lives.

For more on Harbison, check out the video below.

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Interview: Rush Creek Reserve cheesemaker Andy Hatch chats with The House Mouse

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

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Raw VS Pasteurized…the battle continues.

The battle between raw milk artisan cheesemakers, the FDA and the USDA has made headlines once again this week after possible contamination was suspected at two dairies, Missouri’s Morningland Dairy and Estrella Family Creamery of Montesano, Wash. Concern over the possible presence of Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria resulted in the recall of all cheeses produced with milk from these dairies.

Unfortunate incidents like this tend to fuel the debate between pasteurized and raw milk cheesemakers with both sides touting the benefits and pitfalls of the other. For those on the side of raw milk cheeses, the argument is taste and purity. For those on the side of pasteurization, quality control is key. Passion and condemnation runs high on both sides of the cheese wheel.

Check out WalletPop for the complete article.

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