September 3, 2011
(By clicking on the above picture, you will be able to view a slideshow of the entire trip.)
The winners were chosen based on their sales of Rogue Blue Cheeses at their kiosks and their merchandising abilities.
The trip began with a five-course dinner with Rogue Creamery Owners, David Gremmels and Cary Bryant, who graciously welcomed the group to their hillside home. Each course featured a different Rogue Cheese with Cary preparing several of the dishes including a wonderful, savory creme brulee that started the meal. The cheese course included the latest Rogue creation, Flora Nelle, a marvelous blue named after Cary and David’s Grandmothers. (The Lady brought home a wedge and we will be reviewing it soon…)
After an overnight stay at the Wine Country Inn in Jacksonville, Oregon, the Fred Meyer mongers traveled to Central Point and the cheesemaking facility of Award-Winning Rogue cheeses, including the 2011 Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition, Rogue River Blue. There, Cary, David and head cheesemakers, Craig and Jason, worked with the winners to make two vats of cheese: Tou Velle and Oregon Blue. After aging, these cheeses will be sold exclusively at Fred Meyer Cheese Kiosks in early 2012. The Fred Meyer group learned they were the first group invited to make cheese at the Creamery – what an honor!!!
Shawn, a member of the Rogue family, led the group trough a Rogue Cheese Plate, a sack lunch was enjoyed and then the group headed out to tour the two sustainable dairy farms that provide the milk to Rogue Creamery.
Rogue Creamery is a leader in sustainable farming and cheesemaking, having been certified by Food Alliance, Oregon’s Tilth and Steritech. The guys shared with The Lady their choice of “sustainable” over “organic” (although they do make a couple of organic cheeses). Simply put, sustainable farming treats animals more humane than organic. With organic dairy farming, if an animal becomes sick, it is destroyed. Sustainable dairy farming allows treatment of the animal, pulling it from production until all antibiotics are out of the milk. As Cary said, “When I get sick, I take medicine; the doctor doesn’t put me down.” As an animal of the feline persuasion, all I can say is, “Whee… thank goodness for sustainability around the manse.”
They encourage recycling and energy conservation both at the Creamery and home. The Creamery is powered 100% in the summer by solar panels (which also provide about 30% during the winter); they recycle everything that can be recycled. If an employee rides a bike to work 45 times in a year, Rogue gives them a top-of-the-line bike. They pay bonuses for carpooling, biking and using public transportation. It’s amazing and it’s beyond admirable…
After touring the dairies, it was time to play and the group headed to Grants’ Pass and a four-hour dinner tour up the Rogue River on Hellgate Excursions‘ jet boats. Eighteen miles up the river, they stopped for a BBQ dinner at the OK Corral. Both up and down the river, the boat pilots treated the group to maneuvers that resulted in lots of wet clothes and gleeful screaming. They saw many osprey and two eagles on the adventure.
The next morning The Ladies stopped at the Rogue Gift Shop and loaded up on cheese, wines and cheese pairings and headed back to reality…
The Lady asked that I make sure everyone at Rogue Creamery understands how special this opportunity was… so here’s a shout out to: David, cary, Sonja, Mimi, Chelsea, Meredith, Craig, Francis, Jason, Tom, Sue, Lacey, Shawn, Delmer, Holly, Huck, Andy, Gabe and Marcela, Brandon, MacKenzie and baby Mason… and the cheesemakers whose names she failed to get… it is a time that will not be forgotten…
Now for a final note… I’d like to bring it to each of my faithful reader’s attention that one more time, The Lady was hanging out with The Cheese Swells and I was left back at the manse with The Man… I have got to have a long conversation with The Brain about the balance of power around here… I’m in charge… although with The Lady off galavanting you’d never know it… and the biggest galavant to date is just 10 days away… The Lady leaves on the 13th to attend the Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy and work as a monger at the American Cheese Booth with Cheese Swells from Rogue Creamery, Cow Girl Creamery, Vermont Butter Creamery, Jasper Hills Farm, Uplands Cheese Company, Cypress Grove, Kroger, Murray’s Cheese and AFI… there just is no justice…
August 26, 2011
I’m sitting in my small, cramped home bunker working my paws off… and attempting to wrangle The Man… while The Lady is off cavorting this week with the Cheese Swells at Rogue Creamery. As I have said before… and often… there is something seriously wrong with the division of labor around here… but I digress.
First and foremost, The Lady will be sharing her Rogue adventure when she returns. She was invited by DPI to join a group of Fred Meyer cheesemongers who won a trip to make cheese at Rogue Creamery. The six winners were chosen based on increased sales of Rogue cheeses at their respective kiosks or based on their skillful merchandising of the Creamery’s cheeses.
Here’s a shout out to the winners: Mary, Shannon, Amber, Karen, Erin (whom, according to The Lady, drives like a maniac) and Terri. Congratulations on your success!!!
After making cheese yesterday the group was treated to a Rogue Cheese Plate that included two cheeses we have previously reviewed: Oregon Blue and Tou Velle. Also on the plate were two cheeses, we have not reviewed. One is Echo Mountain. The other will be reviewed in the next couple of days once I have The Lady back in the manse… where she will pay… heavily… for leaving me home… again…
Echo Mountain is a blended milk cheese made from goat and cow milk from two Sustainable Dairies that The Lady visited while at Rogue… do the indignities never end… here I sit reporting… but I’m not bitter… who am I kidding, of course I’m bitter…
The Lady met the goats who contribute the milk for Echo Mountain and evidently one of them got a bit friendly… and then she met the cows that contribute the milk for this cheese.
There will be more on the Sustainable Farming programs that the dairy farmers and Rogue Creamery practice but for now all I’m saying is… Wow!!! Are you going to be impressed…
As time goes by and more cheeses are tasted, The Lady and I become bigger fans of goat milk cheeses and we’ve found another winner.
Echo Mountain is creamy and rich with beautiful blue veining throughout the paste. The blending of cow and goat brings a little earthiness and a goat tang. At the same time it’s subtle and complex. It melts on the palate and leaves a unique, lingering finish.
The Lady, through the power of telepathy, has asked me to give Echo Mountain 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). Let me add, she sure as heck had better bring a wedge of this cheese home to moi, your not-so-humble, feline foodie.
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate, this cheese is a great way to finish. Thanks to Burgerville, we learned here in the Pacific Northwest, that this cheese is perfect on a burger. In chatting with David Gremmels, The Lady learned that Burgerville contributed a portion of the profits from the sales of the Echo Mountain Burgers to the American Cheese Society Educational Fund – thank you Burgerville!!! Read the Burgerville Press Release by clicking here.
Wine Pairing: 2005 Madrone Mountain Mundo Novo Dessert Wine. She had this divine Port-style wine while her group enjoyed dinner at the home of David and Cary, the owners of Rogue Creamery… yep, you know what I’m thinking…
Beer Pairing: Rogue Ale’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
Source: Sustainable Cow and Goat Milks
August 19, 2011
The American Cheese Society has named October “American Cheese Month” – all American cheeses… not that rubbery stuff… The Lady is attending a meeting next Monday afternoon at the Denver Headquarters of the American Cheese Society to help kick off this first ever American Cheese Month… stay tuned… we will post events as they unfold and are scheduled… woohoo!!!
August 17, 2011
August 13, 2011
At the 27th Annual American Cheese Society (ACS) Judging and Competition in Montreal, Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue was crowned Best in Show, beating out 1675 other entries. The ACS is the largest cheese competition in North America and often is referred to as the “Academy Awards of Cheese.”
This is the second time in three years that Rogue Creamery and its signature blue cheese, Rogue River Blue, have won this prestigious award. The creamery is owned by Cary Bryant and David Gremmels and in Central Point, Oregon.
“We are honored by this recognition of Rogue River Blue, an American blue that represents the flavors of our region,” says Co–owner and Cheesemaker Bryant. “We enter the ACS Competition and Judging annually for the score sheets. Both technical and aesthetic cheese judges from around the world take part in this competition and provide invaluable feedback on the cheeses they score. The Best of Show for us not only celebrates Rogue River Blue as the finest cheese in North America, but it showcases our teams’ dedication to quality from the dairy, to the make room, aging caves and packaging.”
Co-owner and Cheesemaker Gremmels adds, “It takes a lot of hard work, planning and passion to make Rogue River the most distinctive blue cheese in the world. The recognition from ACS affirms this effort put forth to achieve the distinguishing flavor character, texture and quality inherent in a raw milk cheese.”
Rogue River Blue is handmade using autumnal equinox milk from Brown Swiss and Holstein cows’ milk, certified sustainable by Food Alliance. The cows graze in 1,650-foot elevation pastures along the Rogue River and in 5,000-foot elevation pastures along the Klamath River, where they eat a variety of grasses, wild herbs, and wild flowers supplemented with grass hay, alfalfa and grain grown on the ranch. The 5-pound (2.2-kg) wheels are made by hand and aged in specially constructed caves. The cheese ripens from naturally occurring molds found in the Rogue River Valley and, therefore, reflects a deep connection to the land. After maturation, the cheese is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves from Carpenter Hill Vineyard, which have been macerated in Clear Creek Pear Brandy and tied to the wheel with raffia. The cheese is released annually starting in September.
This year the ship date is scheduled for on or about September 13th. It should be in your favorite specialty cheese shop by the end of the month.
Rogue River Blue was honored as World’s Best Blue at the 16th World Cheese Awards in London, beating out entries from all over the world. That was the first time that an American blue cheese has won the title. The creamery also made history in 2007 by becoming the first American exporter of raw milk cheese to the European Union; its cheese is carried in Whole Foods Market, Neal’s Yard Dairy, London and Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, Paris.
Rogue Creamery was founded in 1928. The Vella family from Sonoma, Calif., acquired it from a co-op in Southern Oregon in 1935. In the 1950s, it began making some of the country’s best blue cheese. In 2002, Ig Vella selected Cary Bryant and David Gremmels as the new owners, and it now produces a variety of award-winning cheeses. It offers the only vertically integrated third-party certified sustainable cheese in the U.S. Its local dairy, Rogue View, and creamery, Rogue Creamery, both are certified sustainable by Food Alliance and Steritech, and certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
In the Pacific Northwest, you can buy Rogue River Blue in late September at select Fred Meyer Stores. Year round, you can find other Award-Winning Rogue Creamery Cheeses at most Fred Meyer Stores. For a location near you, please click here.
Rogue River Blue will also be available at Murray’s Cheese in Manhattan and Murray’s Cheese Shops in select Kroger Stores nationwide. For a list of Murray’s Cheese Shops in Kroger Stores, please click here.
Source: Rogue Creamery
Full FTC Disclosure: The Lady has been invited to “make” (remember… this means hang around in the make room and do things that won’t ruin the cheese…) cheese at Rogue Creamery August 24-26… so… Rogue Creamery has a special place in her heart…
August 7, 2011
One of our favorite cheese memories was hanging with the Cheese Swells last year in Seattle for the 2010 ACS Conference. Fortunately or unfortunately (looking at it from both sides), The Lady spent this year’s ACS Conference time in Denver opening a new Murray’s Cheese at the Glendale King Soopers.
On Friday, the ACS announced its 2011 cheese competition winners and the Pacific Northwest brought home the Best of Show for the second time in the past three years with Rogue River Blue. It was a bittersweet win for David Gremmels and Cary Bryant of Central Point, Oregon’s Rogue Creamery. The American Artisan Cheese World lost its Godfather, Ig Vella, this year and in the early 2000’s Ig sold Rogue Creamery to David and Cary… but only after teaching them to make cheese… Ig was a very wise man in so many ways but to require the men to learn the art was one of his wisest demands…
The list below is of partial winners; all of which The Lady and I have reviewed:
Best of Show: Rogue River Blue
2nd Place (Tie): Carr Valley’s Cave Aged Marisa
Winners in their respective categories:
Beecher’s Flagsheep (3rd)
Tumalo Farm’s Rimrocker (2nd)
Hook’s Cheese Company’s Little Boy Blue (1st)… Boy did The Lady and miss it on this one…
BelGioioso’s Burrata (1st)
Tumalo Farms’ Classico (1st)
The Lady and I have at least 100 more cheeses to review and many of them won awards at this year’s ACS Competition including the following winners:
Tillamook County Creamery’s Monterey Jack; Tillamook County Creamery’s Colby; Carr Valley’s Cocoa Cardona; Carr Valley’s Cave Aged Mellage; Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery’s Cremont (including an ice cream using Cremont); Carr Valley’s Caso Bolo Mellage;Carr Valley’s Billy Blue; Rogue Creamery’s Echo Mountain; Cello Riserva Copper Kettle Parmesan; Sartori’s Reserve Espresso BellaVitano; Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy’s Green Chile Jack; Emmi Roth’s Rofumo; Spring Brook’s Tarentaise; Cypress Grove’s Purple Haze… stay tuned…
Up next on the blog (later today): Looking Back… Looking Forward: Cheesemonger’s Weblog Celebrates it’s Third Year Anniversary This Week… that’s a lot of blogging…
July 10, 2011
Vegetarian-Suitable – Made using Microbial Rennet
A washed rind, sheep milk cheese made in the USA? Made in Missouri; the heart of Cow-land… how did this happen??? Luckily for all of us cheese nerds, a group of women own and operate a farm in the Missouri River Valley northwest of Kansas City… like I said… Cow-land…The sheep they raise are pasture-fed using strict rotation pasture feeding first developed in New Zealand. The Ladies of Green Dirt Farm, Sarah and Jacqueline, also believe in humane treatment of the animals they raise, allowing them plenty of room to roam and play with their friends and eating foods that are right for their bodies. The farm has received the “Animal Welfare Approved” Seal.
Now for the Bossa… a nova cheese for moi… This sheep milk cheese is washed as it ages giving it that distinctive funky, meaty aroma that The Man adores… The orange rind is edible, as are most washed rind cheeses, and inside is a mushroomy, nutty somewhat firm paste that melts in the mouth. With age it becomes softer and maybe a little gooey. It peaks in the 60-80 day range, so know your supplier.
When your guests start swooning, you can blame it on the bossa…
I give Green Dirt Bossa 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate, it satisfies that “Something Stinky” position. Serve it with a warm baguette and a dab of apricot preserves. You can add it to a grilled cheese and you’ve got yourself a winner with a couple slices of prosciutto.
Wine Pairing: A sweet, dry wine.
Beer Pairing: ESB
Awards: 2009 American Cheese Society Winner
Source: Pasteurized Sheep Milk