San Francisco’s two-wheeled turophiles can combine both their passions into one day of riding around the city and tasting the best cheese that S.F. has to offer:
Sun., May. 26 | 10am-4:30pm | Meet at McLaren Lodge
Join JB Rumburg, Other Avenues’ Cheesemonger for the Tour du Fromage—a bicycle ride highlighting his favorite cheese stops in San Francisco. JB has been a worker-owner of Other Avenues Coop for 10 years, and will be sharing his cheese expertise and experiences by way of bicycle. The ride will take you to the far reaches of the fromage frontier—from Ocean Beach to North Beach. This ride promises to stretch your legs and taste buds!
Free for SF Bicycle Coalition members; $10 donation for non-members; rain cancels rides.
It’s that time of year again! Tickets are now on sale for the 4th Annual Cheesemonger Invitational. This is a can’t miss event, featuring competitive mongering, mountains of cheese (both literally and figuratively) a lavish food spread and reasonably priced drinks, all set in the Larkin Cold Storage facilities in Long Island City and MC’ed by the irrepressible Adam Moskowitz, for a party that usually goes late into the night and draws cheese professionals and turophiles alike into one space. I made it to the 2012 CMI, when Adam Smith from Cowgirl Creamery D.C. won (he’s now moved on to an affinage position at the Cellars at Jasper Hill), and 2011, when Steve Jones of Portland’s Cheese Bar took the title. Matt Rubiner of Rubiner’s Cheesemongers won the 1st ever CMI in 2010.
The mongers compete in 8 rounds, with the last 4 rounds for the 10 finalists only; the winner walks away with the crown for “Best Cheesemonger In America”, insane bragging rights and $1000 in cold hard cash.
This year also sees the introduction of the VIP class of ticket:
“f you are a true cheese lover, buy one of this year’s limited VIP tickets and get: one hour early entrance (5:30 PM) which means first crack at the yum yum, a gift bag you can take home stuffed with even more yum yum, AND THE BEST PART…
VIP participates in the perfect bite part of the competition. Fifty cheesemongers will create the perfect bite of cheese using two other food elements and as VIP you get to sample each and every one. VIP will be cheese nirvana.
Please know for every ticket sold, we will donate $5 to further cheesemonger education via the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award.”
So get your tickets now! This event definitely will sell out so don’t wait ‘til the last minute.
Colston Bassett, maker of one of the most highly regarded British blues, celebrates it’s 100th anniversary this week:
A Nottinghamshire village is celebrating 100 years since it began producing Stilton cheese. Stilton cheese can only be made in five dairies in the East Midlands. Colston Bassett has one of the five dairies, located in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, licensed to produce Blue Stilton.
The village is celebrating the anniversary with a series of events including a special church service. The Reverend Claire Le Marchcant-Connell, said the dairy started in 1913 to help troubled farmers.
Mrs Le Marchcant-Connell, who is also a farmer, said: “It gave an outlet for their milk and meant they could improve the value of the product. “Thank God that we’ve kept going and we’re still producing good cheese.”
Billy Kevan, dairy manager and chairman of the Stilton Cheese Makers Association, said: “Hygiene is completely different now than in 1913. “Farmers would have come in their muddy boots with a milk churn and poured it in the cheese vat, probably smoking a pipe with cow muck on their legs after milking the cows.”
Stilton cheese gained a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) from the EU in 1996.
The photo above comes from the Colston Bassett Stilton page on the Murray’s site, where they note that Colston Bassett’s version of Stilton is unique for using traditional calf rennet, unlike the other producers.
“Hello My Name Is”: Tasting Notes
Coach Farm has created a new, raw goat’s milk cheese, and now they have partnered with Culture Magazine to find a name for it! As part of the “Hello My Name Is” competition, they have sent a big box of samples of this new cheese to 6 cheese bloggers — including yours truly — to taste and review the new cheese, post photographs, and even feature a giveaway of Coach Farm goodies. See the previous post for the full details and a little bit about the history of Coach Farm! But now let’s get into the cheese:
Tasting: Raw Goat Cheese
The wheel is large, around 8 inches in diameter and 4 inches in height. The Rind is firm and thin, an even blanket of snowy white mold over a pinkish-brown underlayer. There is a thick ivory creamline just under the rind, the sign of proteolysis beginning to breakdown and liquify the paste, but oozing is minimal even as it warms, just a light bulging outwards and no liquid runniness, indicating a balanced aging. Beneath the creamline the paste is evenly developed, smooth, and crumbly with a beautiful fudgy texture, a little bit chalky.
The aroma of the cheese is bright, citric and milky, with a distinctly yogurt-y quality and hints of mushroom and mold. The flavor is well-balanced, excellent salt levels, tangy and creamy, with subtle mineral and floral notes, and a touch of gamey sharpness and bitterness at the creamline. This is a mild but complex cheese with a very clean finish; the best bite includes a bit of paste, creamline and rind.
I tried the cheese with a few pairings as well; the first was with Kimchi (hat tip to cheese master Tia Keenan for introducing me to the kimchi/goat cheese concept); the fiery bite of the kimchi was tempered by the cheese while also bringing out fruity and sweet notes in the cheese. The second was a pickled beet, which was also lovely, although it’s hard to go wrong with the beet and goat cheese combo, they just pair very naturally. The third was with honey from the Brooklyn Honey CSA; while the components of the pairing were delicious on their own, the cheese was a little lost under the assertive, complex sweetness of the honey.
I have to say, I’m quite curious about the culture blend and the aging protocol that’s being used with this cheese: being a raw milk cheese, they are required to age it for at least 60 days, which would normally be a long time for a cheese of this style. The development of the creamline, the moisture levels and the intensity level of the flavors are closer to what I would expect from a younger cheese of this style. There’s clearly been a lot of tweaking and finessing with the make and affinage, to create a wheel that can age for that long a period without over-ripening, either in the direction of being overripe, or hardness.
So now, it’s your turn! Do you have any ideas for a name for this cheese? Get over to the Hello My Name Is page on the Culture Magazine site, and submit your naming ideas! You can read my previous post to get a sense for the history of Coach Farm (or check out their site), perhaps that will inspire you as well.
Personally, I like the idea of a name that pays tribute to the terroir of their farm: perhaps Hudson River Goat, or Taghkanic Bloom. But that’s not for me to choose, get over to Hello My Name Is and submit your own ideas! And don’t forget to add a comment to this post describing your favorite goat cheese pairing, for a chance to win the Coach Farm goodie bag.
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!
Tickets for the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival — an annual celebration of Vermont’s cheese heritage — have just gone on sale! Get in there early as they tend to sell out fast.
Vermont is the premium artisanal cheese state with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita: over 40 of them! We invite you to experience our passion for making fine cheeses, taste local and fresh foods and wines, and meet the artisans who make them. Spend a high summer day along the shores of Lake Champlain at the historic Shelburne Farms Coach Barn sampling, buying, learning, and networking. Come and celebrate the season.
- Over 40 Cheesemakers
- 20 Wineries and Breweries
- 20 Artisan Food Producers
- 2 Tasting Seminars
- 1 Cooking Show
- 1 Cheesemaking Demo
- Over 200 cheeses to sample and purchase
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!
The Cheesemonger’s Invitational just announced on Twitter that two of the winners from their past events (see my posts from the 2012 Invitational here), Steve Jones of Portland’s Cheese Bar, and Matt Rubiner of Rubiner’s Cheesemongers in Great Barrington, MA, will be headed to France in June to compete in the “World Contest of the Best Cheesemonger 2013”. There’s always been something a little 80’s-movie about the Cheesemonger’s Invitational (in the best sense: when will we get a cheese version of Cocktail?), and somehow the fact that Matt and Steve are headed to Europe to represent the US just amplified that quality by a factor of, oh, one thousand. I’m assuming they’ll be played by Andrew McCarthy and John Cusack and much of the humor will center around hilarious cross-cultural misunderstandings:
The International Best Cheesemonger Contest, organised by Tours événements in collaboration with the Contest’s Organising Committee and the support of its partners, will be held on Sunday 2 June 2013.
Numerous applications have been registered,
10 candidates were selected:
- Fabien DEGOULET - France
- Pascal FAUVILLE - Belgium
- Antony FEMIA -Australia
- Steve JONES - USA
- Frédéric LEDOUX - France
- Miyuki MURASE - Japan
- Jean-Charles OUVRAT - France
- Andrea RIPAMONTI - Italy
- Matthew Jeremy RUBINER - USA
- Nathalie VANHAVER - Belgium
Trade-Show visitors will be able to attend all the “2013 International Best Cheesemonger Contest” tests.
In all seriousness, congratulations to Steve and Matt, this is a huge honor, and they’re sure to rep the US proud. Learn more and get tickets here.
Sadly, I missed last weekend’s Big Cheesy 2013 (see my post from last year’s event), but SeriousEats has a good slideshow of the competing grilled cheeses. Melt Shop was declared the big winner for the 2nd year in a row, but all the entries look pretty darn tasty to me:
This weekend, Openhouse brought back their grilled cheese cookoff, The Big Cheesy. There were some heavy-cheese-hitters lines up, namely (the returning champion of cheesiness) Melt Shop, Milk Truck, Lucy’s Whey, Murray’s Cheese Bar, Say Cheese, Sons of Essex, and ‘wichcraft.
We scoped out the event to bring you a blow-by-blow roundup of what NYC’s grilled cheese masters had to offer. Click through the slideshow to see!
UK readers, take note! This Monday, the London Gastronomy Seminars will feature what promises to be a fascinating talk on the moulds that bring the magic to your favorite foods. Speakers include two names familiar to regular readers, Rachel Dutton and Ben Wolfe:
Fermented frenzy: London Gastronomy Seminars talk mouldy cheese
Posted at 12:30 pm, March 22, 2013 in Food & Drink
Blue cheese! Beer! Sourdough! Miso! Is it fermentation that creates the flavours you really crave? Then here’s your chance to find our more about mould, fungi and the microbes that turn food funkier than James Brown taking it to the bridge.
The London Gastronomy Seminars have a two-hour talk on the subject this Monday, 25 March, from 6.30pm. This time it’s in the Beveridge Hall at Senate House, so there’s plenty of room; but the £15 tickets are selling fast, so you’d best book earlier rather than later. The speakers are, as ever, the leading academics in their field: Rachel Dutton, Benjamin Wolfe, and Dan Felder.
For more info, check out londongastronomyseminars.com/upcoming.