After our entrée last night The Lady served a Cheese Plate for dessert with fresh Peach Salsa that she made using veggies from The Garden of The Man. The Salsa recipe is posted over on our recipe blog and you can check it out by clicking here. The bounty from The Garden of The Man has been wonderful the last few weeks after a cold spring and cool summer.
The Lady served three cheeses that she bought in the Rogue Creamery Gift Shop last week with the fresh peach salsa. Perhaps it was a strange pairing, but with fresh fruit and veggies, one can never really go wrong.
The first cheese on the plate was Mountina, a mountain-style cheese from the “Alpine-ish” Mountains of Montana. Dwayne and Darryl of the Vintage Cheese Company decided to make an American Artisan cheese fashioned after the great Swiss cheeses like Le Gruyere and Emmenthal. Well, they succeeded. I found this cheese to be nutty and sweet in the center and a little richer as you approach the washed-rind that was also coated in a thin, breathable wax. Of the three, this was the perfect cheese to start our cheese plate adventure. Perhaps a bit milder than its inspiration but with a little more age, I suspect it will become heartier.
I give the Mountina 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: In addition to snacking, this would also make an excellent melting cheese for cooking.
Libation pairings will appear at the end of this review.
The second cheese was a Rogue Creamery creation in collaboration with Rogue Ales: Hopyard, a Rogue Creamery cheese mixed with Freedom Hops from the Chatoe Rogue Micro Hopyard in Oregon’s Wigrich Appellation (now that’s quite a mouthful, even for the Feline Foodie). The whole hops are de-stemmed by hand, steeped in hot water and mixed with the curds and then pressed into blocks. The result is a tasty cheese that even a non-beer drinker finds delightful. I suspect that if you love beer, then you will really take to this cheese.
I give Hopyard 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: Again, on a cheese plate you’ll be happy as a clam… or a cat… as the case may be…
The third cheese on the plate was the one that made The Man swoon and delighted The Lady and moi, as well: Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar. This cheese is crumbly with a distinct bite and a lingering bitterness that is the perfect finish for a sharp cheddar. We enjoyed all three but this cheese was our favorite. You can always count on cheddar being a hit around the manse.
I give the Rogue Creamery Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: This is definitely both a snacking and cooking cheese. The Lady plans to use the rest of it with a larger wedge of Rouge Creamery Tou Velleto make a mac n cheese (the recipe will appear on our sister blog… stay tuned).
Now for the libation pairings: The Man suggests the 75th Anniversary Rogue Ale made by Rogue Ales to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Rogue Creamery.
The Lady served the 2005 Mondo Novo from Madrone Mountain, a port-style dessert wine made especially to be enjoyed with Rogue cheeses… and it was.
And yet one more bit of trivia: Did you know that the Rogue Creamery Gift Shop in Central Point, Oregon has been named a Top Tourist destination in Oregon? The Lady said the morning her group was there, a steady stream of visitors were buying cheeses and wines. One group of four (two couples) from Northern California told The Lady they travel four and a half hours several times a year to visit the creamery and Fred Meyer. She added, “There’s nothing like Fred Meyer in California and that’s a shame.”
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 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 19, 2011
The Lady brought home a wedge of this delightful gorgonzola and The Man and I have enjoyed it three times this week. The first tasting was on warm French bread fresh from the oven and then The Lady used it to make a salad dressing which is featured on our recipe blog. She used the last to make a pasta and chicken dish that had The Man swooning for hours… it was almost embarrassing… but since it was The Man… not really much of a surprise. (Links to the recipes are below.)
Sartori Cheese in Wisconsin makes cheese that is always a hit around the manse. In addition to the Dolcino, they make the most-decorated Parmesan made in America, SarVecchio and one of my favorites, Bellavitano Gold. When The Lady was cooking last night, I caught a glimpse of a few other Sartori cheeses in the fridge… stay tuned… more reviews to come…
This is one creamy cheese; the cheesemaker adds extra cream and carefully ages this gorgonzola to perfection. On the blue scale, this is on the mild side but distinctive enough to satisfy even the most discerning turophiles. It’s smooth and silky; spreads easily on the warm bread. You will never regret adding this gorgonzola to your cheese board.
Serving Suggestions: The possibilities are endless. In three short days, The Lady served this cheese in three ways and each was a hit. The Salad Dressing she made was divine; but the chicken pasta dish she made was truly to die for… seriously… You can also pair this cheese with pairs and red grapes. The Lady served Dolcino on a cheese plate last year and you can read my thoughts by clicking here.
Wine Pairing: The Lady always likes a sweeter wine with her blues like a Port; but with the pasta dish, she chose her new favorite wine, Pinot Noir.
Beer Pairing: How about a Stout?
Source: Pasteurized Cow Milk
FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.
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…
August 7, 2011
The Lady brought home lots of re-pack labels from Denver and made collages to hang in both our home office and her work office… this is what cheese nerds do in their spare time… cheese, glorious cheese:
July 26, 2011
The Dutch Cheesemaker, Wyngaard Kaas naturally ripens its cheese in an old warehouse located on the Old Rhine River in Woerden, Netherlands. The one hundred-year old warehouse contains shutters which open and close to adjust and control the micro-climate inside the building. In the winter, additional heating is added. By using natural methods to age their cheeses, Wyngaard Kaas allows the cheese to age at its own pace and the cheesemakers sell their cheese when it’s ready. “Factory” (think “industrial”) cheese, on the other hand, is aged in warehouses where the temperature is kept artificially low and the humidity artificially high aging the cheese more quickly with little loss of weight. By aging naturally, Reypenear cheeses lose as much as 25% of their weight during the process; but the end product is superior and the cheesemakers are willing to sacrifice money for quality.
These cheeses are made only during the months when the cows are free to eat grass in the pastures of The Netherlands. Even though the milk is pasteurized you can still taste the grass and flora nuances that make these cheeses taste even better. The producer buys the milk from a co-operative and pays a premium for the milk in order to guarantee the farmers will continue to allow the cows to graze outdoors.
The Lady and I recently tasted both the one-year Reypenear Gouda and the two-year Reypenear VSOP. And, in case you were wondering, our love for aged gouda continues here at the manse. The Lady’s “first love” in specialty cheeses was Rembrandt and many aged goudas later, that love continues to blossom and bloom. It’s pretty clear; we have never met an aged gouda we didn’t like…
The first we tasted is the Reypenear One Year gouda. This cheese is creamy and soft with a nice lingering, buttery taste. This Award-Winning cheese is at home on a cheese board and is delightful when added to your favorite grilled cheese. And, here’s a surprise, The Lady would gladly add this to one of the many mac n cheese dishes she loves to create and serve to The Happily-Swooning Man…
I give the one year Reypenear 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Wine Pairing: A lighter Pinot Noir would be a nice pairing
Beer pairing: How about a Brown Ale
Source: Pasteurized Milk from Pasture-fed Cows
The older sister of the One-Year Reypenear is the Two-Year VSOP Gouda. This gouda intensifies with its age; the caramel, the butterscotch and the fruity flavors all merge here to bring complexity to a cheese that melts on your palate. Filled with those luscious protein crystals that explode with even more flavor, it just doesn’t get any better than VSOP from Raypenear.
I give Repenear VSOP 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got… and I might add, it’s all I need…)
Serving Suggestions: Please your guests with a cheese platter with this cheese and grapes, apricot preserves and 34° Natural Crackers. They will love you and be impressed at how cool you are… You can also add this to your favorite pasta dish or mac n cheese.
Wine Pairing: A full-bodied Cabernet would pair quite nicely.
Beer Pairing: Belgian Ale
Spirit Pairing: Scotch or Bourbon
Source: Pasteurized Milk from Pasture-fed Cows
Awards: 2007 – Nantwich Cheese Show: Gold for Best Gouda