NYT: A Cheese Shop in a Slim Crown Heights Space
The new cheese shop in Crown Heights may be called Wedge, but Sliver would be more like it. The owners of the narrow but well-equipped storefront, Kate Blumm and Michael de Zayas, have done their homework. And with the expertise of Lilith Spencer, who had been at Bklyn Larder, the cheese and provisions shop, they are stocking their bright little place with some real finds. Among them are a goat’s milk ricotta from Edgwick Farm in Cornwall, N.Y.; a couple of tommes from the Kokoborrego Cheese Company in Mount Gilead, Ohio; and an organic Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy. They also carry pistachios and almonds from Sicily, a mead vinegar from Italy, breads from Bien Cuit in Brooklyn, and a sweet white miso made in Conway, Mass. Charcuterie is sliced on what Ms. Spencer says is the Rolls-Royce of slicing machines;
728 Franklin Avenue (Sterling Place),
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
(Photo ©2013 New York Times)
Today was National Grilled Cheese Day, and it also saw the grand opening of Brooklyn’s newest cheese-related shop: The Brooklyn Slate storefront, at 305 Van Brunt St in Red Hook! Founders Kristy Hadeka (whose family slate quarry provides the raw materials for the boards) and Sean Tice were on hand to greet visitors, and there was a station outside serving grilled cheese sandwiches.
Crafters of the best slate cheese boards out there, and the company largely responsible for making this stone a now-ubiquitous option for cheese presentation (not to mention providing the backdrop for many of the photos on this site), the store features lots of slate, of course, in many shapes, sizes and colors. In addition, there will also be cheese knives, domes and assorted gear, goods from Formaticum, housewares, linens, books and magazines, and much more. If you needed an excuse to head out to Red Hook, here’s yet another one.
In a reminder of how much Red Hook has gone through post-Sandy, the store has a water-line painted on the brick wall, indicating where the water reached to during the flood (you can see it in the second-to-last photo). Thankfully the store had not yet been built out when the storm hit, but there was still considerable work and repairs necessary to get back on track and ready for the opening.
So head on over and get yourself some slate!
Brooklyn Slate, makers of the best slate cheese boards out there (and the company largely responsible for making slate a now-ubiquitous option for cheese presentation), is opening a store in Red Hook! And there will be cheese at the opening, of the grilled variety:
It’s no coincidence that the grand opening of our brick and mortar shop falls on the same weekend as National Grilled Cheese Day. Join us on Saturday, April 13 at our new store in Red Hook, Brooklyn from noon to four o’clock, when we’ll be serving up one of our favorite comfort foods on the house! While not required, we strongly encourage you to RSVP on Facebook. 305 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn NY.⋅
Regular readers of this blog will know I use Brooklyn Slate as a frequent background for my cheese photography, so I’m looking forward to checking out their first physical space, which will include a variety of other cheese- and food-friendly products. It’s also nice to see it opening in Red Hook and thus contributing to the slow but steady recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
RSVP on their Facebook event page!
Easter Brunch: a delicate blue cheese foam over beef cheek hash and eggs, courtesy of The Pines, one of Gowanus’ newest restaurants. Aaron Lefkove and Andy Curtin, the team behind Littleneck, opened The Pines a couple doors down; the chef is Angelo Romano, formerly of Roberta’s and Masten Lake. Highly recommended, as both the food and the service were excellent.
Returning to NYC this March: The Big Cheesy! Some of NYC’s finest cheese slingers go head to head in a grilled cheese grill-off, and you get to taste and vote on the entries, enjoy some Sixpoint brews and meet the city’s finest cheesemongers and grilled cheese chefs:
The 3rd annual Big Cheesy grilled cheese competition returns to Openhouse Mulberry Saturday March 23-March 24. Featuring the city’s best sandwich makers, including the champions from Big Cheesy 2011 (Milk Truck) and Big Cheesy 2012 (Melt Shop), you taste all seven but only get to pick one as your favorite! Big Cheesy is the People’s Champs Award for grilled cheese sandwiches in NYC, and this year our lineup is absolutely delicious.
Featuring: Keith Klein’s Milk Truck, Lucy’s Whey, Melt Shop, Murray’s Cheese Bar, Say Cheese UWS, Sons of Essex and ‘wichcraft. And, Brooklyn’s own Sixpoint Brewery.
The Big Cheesy is March 23 + 24 from noon to seven pm. Tickets are $25, same as last year (no inflation, and these aren’t gas prices!), and you’ll get one hour to taste, sample, discuss, marinate on all the creative recipes and celebrate the classic American sandwich. Sixpoint is coming through with Sweet Action, Bengali Tiger, Crisp and Righteous Ale. A beautiful afternoon for all!
Get your tickets now, last year tickets went fast for prime time slots, and I’m guessing this year will be busier still.
Urban Cheesemaking: Two from Yoav Perry
Tasted at a recent cheesemakers meetup in Brooklyn: two cheeses from Yoav Perry, NYC “urban cheesemaker”. on the left is his Vacherin-style cheese, or as he describes it, an experimental cross between multiple styles including influences from Vacherin, Reblochon, Chevrotin and Robiola.
Yoav notes: “I was going after harvesting what’s available in our surrounding NY nature to create a winter cheese with a Vacherin-like texture and some woodsiness, but it was not a classic Vacherin formula.” In pursuit of that local terroir, Yoav harvested straps, or “sangles” from walnut trees in the forests of upstate NY and used those as his bark wrappings (traditionally, Vacherin uses spruce; he also is working with those, using sangles imported from Europe, in some of his other cheeses. The second photo, posted by Yoav on Twitter, is of one of his new Vacherin-style, spruce-wrapped creations).
This wheel was made with a mix of goat and cow’s milk. The walnut provides a striking black band around the outside, with the top and bottom rinds brown and gold and textured with a mix of natural molds and yeasts. The ivory-colored, lightly eyed paste on this wheel had not yet reached the fully scoopable consistency of a vacherin, but it was still quite soft, oozing and bulging out from the rind as it warmed. The texture was silky and melting in the mouth, and the flavor was milky, woodsy and a bit nutty, with smokey, tannic and vanilla notes. Tasting a cheese like this, it’s hard to believe it came out of an urban “cave”, located in a Manhattan apartment!
On the right is his “NY Bagel” (that’s just a tongue-in-cheek working title for now), a cow’s milk, pressed tomme made in a ring, or “couronne” mold, similar (in style, if not format) to a Corsican style tomme (hard and rough exterior, made in baskets). The ring shape, while visually appealing, is not merely a gimmick; the aging of the wheel tends to be faster and produces a slice with an even ripening towards the center. In a sense it ripens similar to how a “log” of cheese would ripen — albeit one that has been turned in on itself like Ouroboros. The rind is a pale amber and gray, rough-textured and rippled. The paste, pale yellow, is firm and dense, on the milder side, with a sweet, nutty, salty flavor, tangy buttermilk notes and a hint of gameyness.
Unfortunately, you can’t get Yoav’s cheeses at your local cheese counter (yet, but that’s likely to change in the future), but in addition to being a cheesemaker, Yoav also runs a cheesemaker supply company — Artisan Geek — providing everything you might need to get started on your own wheels, whether it be cultures, molds, papers, equipment, etc. A new website for the company is currently in the works, but if you’re interested, hit him up on Twitter, @YoavPerry. Yoav really knows his cultures and if you let him know what you’re going for he can make recommendations as to what you might want to try.
Brooklyn has a new cheese and foods shop, in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of South Brooklyn (via the New York Times):
Reinvention With the Family Name
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
Unlike many of the 30-somethings in the food business in Brooklyn, Louis Coluccio Jr. did not change careers and take up pickling or baking. His grandfather Domenico Coluccio started an Italian food importing and distribution business, D. Coluccio & Sons, in Bensonhurst some 50 years ago. Last year, Louis (shown above), 30, and his wife, Alison, saw a storefront in Bay Ridge that had been a butcher and decided to open a shop there. “There’s a tradition of family owned and operated places, stores, restaurants in this neighborhood,” he said. “If anything, the Italian identity is getting stronger.”
The new store, with counter seating for eight, sells groceries, baked goods, produce, cheeses and cured meats. Mr. Coluccio said he seeks Brooklyn suppliers, like Salvatore BKLYN ricotta, Bien Cuit breads, Brooklyn Cured sausages and Steve’s Authentic Key lime pies, and will sell fresh pizza dough from DiFara in Midwood. In a couple of weeks, the kitchen will start cranking out prepared foods like porchetta and Sicilian bucatini pie.
A. L. Coluccio, 8613 Third Avenue (86th Street), Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, (718) 836-3200.
Starting 11/04; Operation - Help Us Help Them
In Partnership with: SOUTH BROOKLYN UNITES
Brooklyn has been truly devastated by hurricane Sandy, you have all witnessed what pictures can’t really capture. All of us know someone who has been profoundly affected either professionally or personally, and it hurts to watch those we love suffer. Now is the time for action!
NEXT WEEK- Smith & Vine, Stinky Bklyn and The JakeWalk will donate 10% of our TOTAL SALES!
Our aim is to first assist the many small businesses affected who are forced to shut their doors for the next 2-8 weeks. Lets help them get back up and running as quickly as we can!
Every time you shop at Smith & Vine, Stinky Bklyn and the JakeWalk this week, DONATIONS WILL BE MADE! Know that some of the proceeds will hopefully put some of our friends back on their feet again.
Learn more on the Stinky site.
Made In Brooklyn: The beautiful cheeses of Jos Vulto, urban cheesemaker extraordinaire (plus a wedge of Beecher’s Best In Show winner Flagsheep on the right, courtesy of Elena Santogade aka @WannabeMonger). These pictures were taken at a recent urban cheesemaker meetup in Brooklyn.
Actually, Jos is a soon-to-be former urban cheesemaker (but still living in Brooklyn), as he has built a small creamery and aging facility upstate in Walton, NY, and will be officially selling under the “Vulto Creamery” name within the next year. However, many of the cheeses seen here were aged in Brooklyn, in a converted cellar space of his former metalworking shop in Williamsburg — his “cave” of many years — or beneath his house in Crown Heights, and the results are impressive. Suffice it to say, if you saw these wheels in the case of your local cheesemongers, you’d never guess at their urban provenance. These cheeses look — and taste — like they emerged from an old stone aging room in Switzerland or Vermont.
The cheese on the far left in the first picture is his washed rind, raw cow’s milk tomme Ouelout, the recipe for which is included in Gianaclis Caldwell’s new book Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking (recently mentioned on this blog many times). Also included in the book is a profile of Jos, detailing his journey from Holland to New York and from metalworker and artist to urban cheesemaker.
Jos has his own blog as well, where you can follow his adventures in cheesemaking and his quest to build the creamery in Walton, including, in his latest post, photographs of his first “legal” make!
Via PLANT Design Studio in Brooklyn, the adorable “100% Grade A Cheese Board” with swiss cheese styling:
This lovely slice of Swiss is made of a unique composite of acrylic resin and powdered bauxite, a mineral similar to marble. This gives it some of the same qualities a marble cheese board would have—if you chill it in the fridge ahead of time, it will keep your cheeses fresh and cool on the table for longer than a wooden board. And one hole goes all the way through, for easy hanging.
The board is entirely non-porous, so it won’t harbor bacteria or odors, and it doesn’t require any special cleaning or maintenance techniques. Just wash it with hot soapy water or put it in the dishwasher, and it’ll be safe and ready for use.
The surface has just enough give that it won’t harm a fine knife blade, and any knife scratches can easily be removed with a good rub using a nylon scrubby sponge. For a totally new surface, simply sand the board lightly with some fine sandpaper.
The boards are made by a small, local CNC milling workshop in Brooklyn.
Purchase it on the PLANT site.