Sunday, May 30, 2010
Madame Fromage will be back to talk cheese smack on July 1.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Note: fresh horseradish is pretty strong -- it looses its sharpness the longer you keep it around, so taste it before you add boat-loads, eh?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Yesterday, she appeared in the flesh, Mary Poppins-style, with a little insulated suitcase containing...oh, about 10 local cheeses she'd picked up in Berks County near her home. This gouda, made from the raw milk of Ayrshire cows, came from a farm she passed on her way into the city, Wholesome Dairy Farms in Yellow House, Pa. (Doesn't that sound like a pretty place?) Amy Poppins saw the farm's roadside sign for "Raw Milk," and she descended upon its farm store to do a little sleuthing.
Dragon's Breath from Keswick Creamery, a brick of mild cheddar from Amish cheesemaker Benuel Stoltzfus, and an assortment of yogurt cheese and port-infused cheese from a farm in Winfield, Pa.
The gouda from Wholesome Farms intrigued me. It didn't have a label, and it looked rustic. We rummaged for knives and napkins, then dug in. Young gouda is mild, smooth-textured, and salty. This one had a firm, crumbly texture (like an aged Provolone) with a fresh milky taste that turned tangy and yogurty at the finish. A slice of apple gave it balance. With some dark bread and a nutty ale, this would make a fine table cheese.
Someday, I'd like to visit Wholesome Dairy, where farmer and veterinarian Mark Lopez practices some interesting sustainable techniques, including a methane-reducing dairy feeding strategy. Curious. If you don't have a Mary Poppins-esque colleague to brighten your desk with cheeses, you could always check out this video of Lopez demonstrating his milking technique on his very companionable cow, Princess.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Strathdon Blue is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from the tippy-top of Scotland, by the North Sea. It’s made by cheesemaker Ruaraidh (pronounced “Rory”) Stone in an old brewery, then aged by the brilliant affineurs at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. Wrapped in blue foil, Strathdon has a craggy look with furry blue pockets that suggest it will be a bitey beast, but no, it’s much milder than stilton and marvelously creamy with notes of seaweed and shell.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
For the summer season, Quince is offering take-out picnics -- reserve a vintage basket and blanket, then order a selection of sandwiches or tapas items that will be packed and ready for pick-up on your way to the park. Call for details: 215.232.3425
Picnic Cheese Tastings, Saturday, May 22, 4 & 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I wanted texture, too, because Cat and Ben live in an architectural-feat-in-progress, an old brewery that they have spent the last two years rehabbing into a music studio cum living space, and I'd heard this was a beautiful place -- full of gilded light, rusty curiosities, and cupola-views of the city.
Chevre and buckwheat honey. There was no other choice. What else says "rust and resurrection"? What other pairing could bring together light and dark, new drywall and exposed brick?
I love Shellbark Hollow's Sharp Chevre because it is a creamy goat cheese with depth, with feistiness. It tastes apple-clean and yet rich. Drizzle it with some toasty buckwheat honey, and this cheese gyrates.
Shellbark Hollow makes a variety of goat cheeses, including fresh chevre, crottin, marinated goat biscuits, and herbed chevre spreads. You can find their products at Headhouse Square Farmers' Market and the Piazza Market. I bought mine at the Fair Food Farm Stand, along with the honey from Two Gander Farm in Berks County.
I don't know of anyone besides Shellbark's Pete Demchur who makes Sharp Chevre. When I talked to him a few weeks ago, he said it was his specialty -- his personal fave. Donna, his wife, told me she loves to serve it with sliced Asian pears. It's a great choice for anyone who finds plain chevre a little too mellow. I think the Sharp would be great to cook with, especially as a topping for grilled meats, bitey salads made with watercress, and as an accompaniment to olives and fresh herbs.
All I know is, Shanta's friends liked it.