Social Media Group, Know Your Cheese, interviewed The Lady. You can check out the interview and join this group of cheese hounds by ckicking on the link below:

http://www.knowyourcheese.info/profiles/blogs/member-of-the-week-meet

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The Lady and I are hooked on the videos that Leah and Zabars are producing to educate cheese hounds about various cheeses. In this “Time for a Snack” video, Leah introduces us to the following cheeses: Chaumes, a soft, washed-rind French cheese that is mild and creamy (The Lady sells this one at her kiosk); Pata de Cabra, which literally means “Leg of the Goat” and is a firm Spanish cheese that Leah says it is not too “goaty”; Black Mountain, an English cheddar with onion and chives added which makes this a perfect cheese for grilled sandwiches and Vasterbotten, a slightly sharp and nutty Swedish cheese that tastes like buttered cornbread. Enjoy!!

The next Zabar’s video we will post is 4 French cheeses that go perfectly with champagne and other sparkling wines.

At the same Seminar I mentioned in the reviews of the Rogue Creamery non-blues, The Lady met a most charming Frenchman, Lionel Giraud, who at the time was a sales rep for the French Cheese Company, FROMI. He has since left that company and has disappeared off The Lady’s cheese radar. She asked that I send a shout-out to him: : “Lio, if you read this, please send The Lady an email and let her know where you are and what you’re doing. Amy misses you as well.”

Lionel presented three wonderful cheeses as he waxed poetic about Terroir and how it contributes to the finished quality of cheese.

(Feline Foodie note: as these are The Lady’s notes from the seminar, there will be no Paw ratings. Had she brought these fine cheeses home, I would add my own thoughts…  The Lady can be quite selfish at times; when it comes to cheese… you’d think she was the brains behind this operation. Suffice it to say, she will pay for this slighting… but I digress…)

The first cheese he presented was Langres AOP (1991), a brilliant orange, washed-rind cheese that resembles brain membrane, in the most positive manner, of course.  The Lady found the aroma to be pungent, a common quality with most washed-rind cheeses; the texture creamy and the taste mild and a bit sour with a nice, extending finish. The Lady was quick to point out that it was not as pungent as my own personal French favorite, Epoisses, but found similarities between these two cheeses, which are both from the Champagne region of France. This cheese comes in a cylindrical shape and weighs about 8 ounces. It is usually aged about 5 weeks and the optimum time to enjoy this cheese is between May and August although it remains quite good through December. The version imported is made with pasteurized milk while the French are able to enjoy this cheese in a raw milk version.

Serving Suggestions: Spread on a French Baguette.

Wine Pairing: It’s from the Champagne region; go with the bubbly.

On Lio’s tasting plate, the second cheese was a pure sheep’s milk double cream from the Burgundy region, Brebirousse d’Argental. This cheese has a white bloomy rind with red edging. As it ripens, the perimeter sinks ever-so-slightly.  The Lady tasted meadow and maybe hay but was pleased that it lacked the sometimes lanolin-taste of sheep cheese; something she refers to as “sheepy”.  The texture was creamy and almost like rich, thick velvet.  The Lady thought this cheese had some similarities to Taleggio in both appearance and texture; but not as stinky and made from a different milk (Taleggio is made from cow’s milk.).

Serving Suggestions: The Lady mentioned that she could see serving this cheese with melon and prosciutto or ripened, juicy pears.

Wine Pairing: Staying with the terroir theme, The Lady recommends a White Burgundy.

The third cheese presented was Affine au Chablis, a Chablis-washed rind cheese also from the Burgundy region of France. The Lady also compared this cheese to Epoisses although she did say that the Chablis wash made it sweeter and not as pungent. The rind is somewhere between yellow and orange and again begins to resemble a brain as it matures. At full maturation, you might need a spoon to eat this cheese which softens with time but remains creamy and its Chablis taste becomes more pronounced. It is sold in a little wooden box, like Epoisses, and weighs about 7 ounces. It is a bit less expensive than Epoisses, although it certainly is not an everyday cheese, wallet-wise.

Serving Suggestion: Don’t mess with this cheese; just spread it on a Baguette and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: How about Chablis?

Not long after The Lady became a Cheese Steward she attended a DPI seminar that included cheese tastings with several cheesemakers and cheese experts. I wrote about this in a post that discussed the importance of terroir.

One of the speakers was David Gremmels, President of the American Cheese Society and one of the owners of the Rogue Creamery located in Central Point, Oregon. The Lady was struck by his level of passion regarding cheese, in general, and especially the cheeses he makes. He treated the group to three cheeses that were not blues, the cheeses most associated with the Rogue Creamery.

After much haranguing from her favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me), The Lady brought wedges of those three cheeses home for moi to sample and review.

The first I sampled is a recent addition to the long list of wonderful cheeses that Rouge Creamery makes: Tou Velle. Tou Velle is a sharp cheddar made from raw cow’s milk and is sweet, nutty and creamy. It melts on the tongue and would be delightful when added to your favorite mac n cheese recipe.

A bit of trivia: this cheese is named after Tou Velle State Park in Southwest Oregon; not too far from the Rogue Creamery.

Second on this Rogue Creamery Cheese Plate was Lavender Cheddar. I was surprised lavender could successfully be added to cheddar; but Rogue Creamery has done it. In fact, this combination is so good, it won a 3rd Place Award in 2009 from the American Cheese Society.

The lavender flavor is subtle and the cheese is very creamy. The Lady and The Man ate it atop a Beecher’s Hazelnut Cracker and pronounced the pairing a good choice.

Last, and certainly not to be considered less than the other two was the Chocolate Stout Cheddar, which combines three winners: cheese, chocolate and beer!! How can you go wrong??? Well, you can’t with this cheese. It’s hoppy, yeasty, creamy and chocolatey… woohoo!!

Three great cheeses from David and the gang at Rogue Creamery. The Lady wishes she sold these at the kiosk, but alas, she doesn’t and has to sneak into the competition to buy them for her favorite Feline Foodie.

I give these three non-bluesy cheeses from Rogue Creamery 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: The three of these on a cheese plate are a definite winner. You could make it better by adding Oregon Blue to the plate.

Edelweiss Bavarian Blue

March 28, 2010

The Lady had this cheese in the kiosk for a short time and it sold well. However, DPI was disappointed in its quality and pulled it. The problem stemmed from a rapid color change. When cut it had a beautiful ivory white paste with the blue splotching (as opposed to veining) but the white quickly turned to a pale brown which Debbie from DPI thought was unacceptable. It didn’t affect the taste; but it just wasn’t very pretty. If the problem was resolved, The Lady was never advised and this cheese is no longer in her order guide. According to her, that’s a shame as many customers fell in love with this cheese that might have given Cambozola Blue a run for its money. The Lady also told me that The Pink Barron actually cried when Debbie took this cheese away… those of you who know The Pink Barron know this to be true… those of you who don’t will learn in due time who this person of mystery is…

This German Brie with blue added is only available as an export. The citizens of Germany cannot buy this cheese. Now this Feline Foodie finds that to be strange. If it’s good enough for Americans, isn’t it good enough for their own folks? (The Lady and The Man back in the early 90s took a cruise, a terrible, terrible Carnival Cruise from hell, according to The Lady and The Man, to the Bahamas and learned that the citizens of The Bahamas are not allowed to gamble at the casinos – only the tourists. Which begs the question, why? Are the casinos cheating the tourists or is the government protecting their fine citizens from the dangers of gambling…). But I digress.

This cheese is closer to Castello Blue than to Cambozola in terms of creaminess and taste. This feline foodie found it to be quite yummy and am sad that The Lady will not be bringing more of it home in the near future. This cheese is soft-ripened Brie with a rind similar to Fromager d’Affinois and has high butterfat content because the cheesemakers add extra cream. It is very spreadable and The Lady and I enjoyed our wedge with freshly baked French Baguette and Dalmatian Fig Spread. It was a delightful afternoon spent at the manse.

I give Edelweiss Bavarian Blue 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: With fruit and spread on warm bread, this cheese is a delight. It would also make an interesting addition to a mac n cheese or potatoes au gratin. And personally, this Feline Foodie thinks it would be divine spread over a slab of Pandion haliaetus. While watching the Bayhill Invitation Golf Tournament yesterday, The Lady and I were delighted to watch a Pandion haliaetus (that lives near Arnold Palmer’s manse), hover over one of the lakes, swoop in and fly away with lunch.

Wine Pairing: A delightful Tawny Port would be a perfect pairing with this cheese.

Beer Pairing: Your favorite IPA would compliment this cheese.

Source: Pasteurized Cow’s Milk

Leah, Cheesemonger Extraordinary at Zabar’s New York, presents 4 Italian Pecorinos that are less known in this video: Pecorino Crotonese, a nutty, sweet pecorino that pairs well with olives; Toscano Stagionato, an aged pecorino from Tuscany and a table cheese favorite; Foglie di Noce, which is wrapped in ash and walnut leaves with an earthy complexion that is best served after sitting out for a couple of hours and Cacio di Bosco al Tarfuto, a pecorino with truffles added that works well as a table cheese and also as a flavor enhancer for dishes such as risotto:

Hats off to the good folks at Zabars and a special thanks for taking the time to educate us on many of your wonderful offerings at one of The Lady’s favorite food stops on the Upper West Side.

Hotcha Shrimp Salsa

March 26, 2010

The Lady felt this soon-to-be released salsa from Kelly and Hotcha Salsa deserved its own review…and because The Lady was selfish and wouldn’t share with her favorite Feline Foodie, I’m not able to add my thoughts other than this: I caught a glimpse of this salsa and there were so many shrimps in each bite, I drooled…

The Man is allergic to shrimp (which makes him very sad) and that meant that only The Lady, The Chef and The Infamous Pink Barron (I’m still not ready to tell…) were the ones to sample and therefore, express their opinions regarding this salsa from Hotcha.

First thought, this is more of a Mexican-style Shrimp Cocktail. In the six-ounce container there were no less than 14 large shrimp; not those popcorn thingies, we’re talking shrimps.

The Lady, The Chef and especially The Pink Barron LOVED this latest creation from Hotcha. Everyone agreed, this is a meal in and of itself.

There was just enough heat to make it interesting but not too much for the average spicy food lover. The blend of chucky tomato, onion, garlic and herbs and spices was beyond perfect: this is a shrimp dish made in heaven.

I suspect that The Lady would eat this for dinner every night of the week if given the chance, which would really bum The Man and cause this Feline Foodie to consider some drastic measure to make The Lady share.

Once this salsa hits the market, Kelly and her crew at Hotcha will have to work overtime to fill the orders that fly through the door. The Gulf of Mexico fishermen will be adding shrimp boats to their fleets; the San Joaquin Valley farmers will be working day and night; the garlic farmers of Gilroy will be adding planters and pickers; I could go on and on, but you get my drift…

Hotchas Shrimp Salsa is the best; hands down…

Our other reviews of the line of Hotcha Salsas can be read by clicking here.

FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.