San Andreas

Made with Raw Sheep Milk & Vegetarian Suitable Cheese

Fellow cheese lovers, The Lady’s new cheese gig is just about the best thing that ever happened to this Feline Foodie. Second only to the day The Brain deployed me to Burbank to assume the command recently vacated when the Mighty Mike Tyson was called home to the Mothership. My cheese fridge runneth over. The Lady told me there were thousands of cheeses made around the world and every time she goes away… she returns with gifts… cheese, of course. I pray The Brain allows me time enough to taste every cheese known to man including Yak Milk cheese… The Man and I are lonely when she travels but upon her return we are blessed… it doesn’t get any better than this…

Hidden in her luggage, along with the Bayley Hazen Blue, was a wedge from the California farm where our good friend Lenny works: Bellwether Farms. They make Carmody, another perennial favorite around the manse. You can read my review here.

This time she brought home San Andreas, made using raw sheep milk. This farmstead cheese is as smooth as Frank Sinatra’s croon and as full-bodied as Marilyn Monroe… my small homage to the time when singers were singers and women still had curves… but I digress…

With each sheep milk cheese we taste, The Lady and I become more enamored and San Andreas doesn’t disappoint. It’s creamy and mild with just a hint of sour on the finish. It might be likened to a pecorino from the Tuscany region of Italy.

The Lady served this with Divina Halkidiki Olives sprinkled with Sicilian herbs and to know one’s surprise… The Man swooned…

I give Bellwether Farms San Andreas 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got.)

Serving Suggestions: As part of a cheese plate, all you need to add are a few olives and rustic bread.

Wine Pairing: I would suggest a new blended red.

Beer Pairing: A blonde ale might make an interesting pairing.

Awards: 2007 ACS – Second in Class

Editorial Note: You can expect more 4 Paw ratings that I normally award. The Lady’s new job is exposing her to the crème de la crème of cheese… stay tuned… it’ll only get better…

Bayley Hazen Blue

July 3, 2011

Made Using Raw Milk

Let’s face it; the good folks of Vermont, for the most part, travel to the beat of a different drum. Despite their unbridled sense of independence, Vermont citizens also possess a great responsibility to each other and the land they call “The Kingdom of Vermont”. .. This attitude has also spilled over to my fellow observers who watch over that Quadrant in the NE United States and SE Canada. The Brain constantly finds himself spending precious time whipping those pesky, independently-thinking felines into line… not unlike herding cats… but I digress…

In the mid-1990s, Andy and Mateo Kehler, just out of college, headed to Vermont, land of many pleasant summer childhood memories spent at their grandparents’ home, with just one dream… to grow hops and make beer. What newly-graduated college guys don’t dream of making beer? In my younger days, I dreamt of my own endless fields of catnip, organically grown using sustainable farming practices… ah the good ole days…

The Brothers Kehler bought two hundred acres of farmland near Greensboro, Vermont and began studying the practicality of making beer. It just wasn’t there. Then came tofu; again it was a no go. They looked around and bam!! The light went on; they were in the middle of Dairyland. So… what do you do in the middle of Dairyland? You buy cows and become dairy farmers. Luckily for cheese lovers everywhere, that’s just what they did.

In 1998, Jasper Hills Farm was born and the brothers began to educate themselves on sustainable farming. Mateo, who had a degree in economic development, spent three years working with farmstead cheesemakers in the U.S., England, France and Spain. One of those years was spent working at Neal’s Yard Dairy in England. He also began to develop recipes for making cheeses appropriate for their dairy in the Northeast corner of the Kingdom of Vermont.

Andy has a degree in poli sci and philosophy… philosophy, now I finally know how you use a degree in philosophy… you make cheese… did I say that out loud??? (Andy, no disrespect… please forgive my free association… J) In 1993, Andy worked on a sustainable agriculture project in Chile, which included dairy operations. He is a building inspector and contractor which provided him with the knowledge and skills to design and build a state of the art dairy facility. And that’s exactly what he has done.

In 2002, the brothers bought a herd of 15 Ayrshire heifers and began their adventure making some great cheeses. And then another dream became reality… The Cellars at Jasper Hills… state of the art aging caves where the brothers take the young cheeses of their fellow cheesemakers, age them and prepare them for the consumer.

The Lady and I greatly admire the accomplishments of these two brothers who truly care for the land, the animals and also for other dairy farmers.

The brothers make two cheeses and one is Bayley Hazen Blue. This natural rind blue cheese, made from whole raw Ayrshire milk, primarily uses morning milk with less fat.

The Lady, The Man and I love this cheese. Because it is made with raw milk, the tastes of grass and hints of nuts are stronger than the blue mold making a well-balanced cheese. You get the best of both worlds; raw milk delight and kick from the blue. This cheese is a little drier than many blues and crumbles well. Your next cheese plate should finish with Bayley Hazen Blue.

I give Bayley Hazen Blue 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). 

Serving Suggestions: Even though it crumbles well, I would be reluctant to “waste” this wonderful cheese on a salad… of course, that being said, you’d be talking a superior salad. The Lady served it naked with a warm baguette. The Man swooned and while he was swooning I pawed off an extra serving for myself. The Lady noticed the paw marks but thankfully she was still feeling guilt at leaving me home while she was gallivanting in New York… so she merely smiled… You might drizzle a little honey on this cheese and serve with hazelnuts.

Wine Pairing: Tawny Port or a sweet, chilled dessert wine.

Beer Pairing: A chocolate stout would pair well with Bayley Hazen Blue.

Awards: 2007 ACS 2nd Place in the Open Farmstead Category.

Trivia: Bayley Hazen is an old military road that traverses Northern Vermont. Our first U.S. President, still a General, commissioned the road to carry troops to fight the British on the Canadian front, should one open up. No battle ever took place, but the road carried the first settlers into the Greensboro, Vermont area. The road is still used today.

Made from Raw Milk

The Lady loves Chuck’s Produce in Vancouver and their friendly cheesemonger, Jodi. She stops in occasionally to buy cheeses that her kiosk doesn’t carry. Jodi told The Lady to expect a new wheel of Fiscalini Gold to arrive and ta da… I did and The Lady brought home a wedge for me to taste and review.

I previously reviewed Fiscalini’s Premium Aged Cheddar, which received my 4 Paws approval; therefore, I felt San Joaquin Gold would be another winner here at the manse. And I wasn’t disappointed.

To re-cap, from my previous posting:

“Modesto, California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, is the home of Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese Company which has been making cheese since 1914 in the tradition of their Swiss ancestors who were cheesemakers in Switzerland for more than 300 years. Fiscalini has won many awards not only for their cheeses but also for their humane treatment of the cows that provide the milk for their cheeses. Their herd consists of 1400 Holstein and as with all Farmstead cheese; the cows live where the cheese is made.”

Along with their Cloth-Bandaged Cheddar, San Joaquin Gold is considered their premiere signature cheese. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and for me it is a cross between cheddar and parmesan. This makes it quite versatile, usage-wise. Taste-wise, it’s a wowza…

Nutty, salty, sweet and buttery; all at the same time, this cheese melts on the palate and leaves a lingering satisfaction. Ever so slightly dry, not in a bad way; the flavor is complex and mellow without any sharpness.

For Fiscalini’s San Joaquin Gold I give it 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). Fiscalini Farmstead Cheeses are batting a thousand here at the manse…

Serving Suggestions: This cheese would be at home grated on a Caesar Salad (rather than using Parm), in a mac n cheese get ready to swoon ala The Man’s way, you would raise the level of your grilled cheese to gourmet status with this cheese

Wine Pairing: Bodan Roan Cabernet 2008 from the San Joaquin Valley. An amazing Bargain Wine at about $14.00 a bottle. We couldn’t locate a website, but this fine wine is easily available at your local wine shop or online.

Beer Pairing: An IPA should pair well with this cheese.

Source: Raw Cow’s Milk

Awards: Too many to list here!!!

Upadam

Padam, Padam

Songs of passion. . .French cabaret music, klezmer, tangos, Latin and original music.

Updated June 12, 2011

Padam, Padam at the Cheese Kiosk

The Lady was there; I wish I had been there… it was a perfect day at the cheese kiosk. The Lady thanks Padam, Padam for performing and making a special day even more special!!!

How cool!! Portland’s own musical group, Padam, Padam, will perform a mini-concert from 2pm-3pm tomorrow, June 11th at Fred Meyer’s Hawthorne Store, the only Leed’s Certified Silver Grocery Store in Oregon. It’s all part of the specialty cheese kiosk’s “Locavore/Local” theme as the cheesemongers salute more than two dozen cheeses from local cheesemakers in Oregon and Washington State. They also are featuring other local fare that pairs well with the local cheeses, including Beer, Wine, Tea, Jams and Mustards.

There will be cheese samples as well… stop in and hear some great music and take home some local cheese.

Local cheesemakers include: Tillamook, Willamette Valley Cheese Company, Tumalo Farms, Appel Farms, Rogue Creamery and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.

The Lady will be there and if I can sneak in (another “No Pets Allowed” food joint… what’s up with that???), so will I, your not-so-humble Feline Foodie!!!

We love this cheese around the manse and reviewed it recently. You’ll love it, too. And finally it’s available in the U.S. Please contact Grand Prix Trading for more information. We also saw a blurb about this 2010 “Best New Cheese” while reading Culture Magazine yesterday.

The lady’s kiosk now carries three of the award-winning farmstead cheeses from Tumalo Farms. One, Classico, we have reviewed in the past. The other two were new to us and have happily joined the group of goat cheeses that The Lady, The Man and I like.

To re-cap the rise to cheese fame, Tumalo Farms Owner and Cheesemaker, Flavio DeCastilhos, left the Silicon Valley fast lane and moved his family to Bend, Oregon where he and his wife built a state-of-the-art cheese making facility and began making goat gouda-style cheeses and winning awards within the first three years.

In 2009, Tumalo Farms Classico finished second in its class at the U.S. Cheese Championship Contest, stunning many in the cheese world… I could comment here… but let me just say to those stunned… get over it… this man makes cheese that deserves to win awards.

In addition to Classico, The Lady’s kiosk now carries Tumalo Farms Pondhopper and Fenacho Goat Goudas.

Fenacho has a pale yellow paste peppered with exotic fenugreek seeds which give this cheese a nutty, sweet flavor with a butterscotch finish. While some might consider this a dessert cheese, your not-so-humble Feline Foodie (that would be moi) thinks it might all be gone if you lag behind thinking you should wait for dessert.

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

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate, you’ll have the crowd begging for more. As a dessert cheese, you’ll be lucky to have any left by the time the entrée plates are removed…

Wine Pairing: 2008 Reserve “La Creole” Eola Hills Pinot Noir

Beer Pairing: Deschutes Brewery’s Inversion IPA

Awards: 1st Place – American Cheese Society – 2007; 2nd Place – American Cheese Society – 2009; 2nd Place – US Championship – 2007

Source: Pasteurized Tumalo Farms Farmstead Goat Milk

The third cheese on the plate was Tumalo Farms Pondhopper. This semi-hard cheese was the sharpest and most goat-like of the three. It is spiced with a local beer and while I can’t swear as to which one, my money is on the beer pairing below… We found the tang of both the goat and the beer to blend well and you can bet this cheese will appear at the manse again… to The Lady, that’s a hint…

I give Tumalo Farms’ Pondhopper 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Pairing this cheese with cured meats is a slam dunk. The Lady brought home some of the Italian meats from Boar’s Head and even I swooned… normally leaving that task to The Man…

Wine Pairing: Pinot Gris

Beer Pairing: Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Awards: 1st  Place – American Cheese Society – 2006; 2nd Place – American Cheese Society – 2009; 3rd Place – American Cheese Society – 2008

Source: 100% Pasteurized Farmstead Goat Milk

The Lady, The Man and I enjoyed these three cheeses on a cheese plate with a couple of jams and while The Man was busy swooning, I was busy snagging an extra portion, thanks to The Lady… gotta love her…

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and their line of pure, all-natural products will soon be available for consumers coast to coast – literally!

Kurt Dammeier and his staff are on the last stretch to open their new Beecher’s Handmade Cheese store in the Flatiron District of New York City on the corner of East 20th Street and Broadway, June 26th!  (Not too far from Eataly.)

When visiting Beecher’s in New York, guests can grab a sandwich in the cafe and watch the cheesemakers at work or wander downstairs into their casual small-plate restaurant, The Cellar. There, they can enjoy a glass of wine in the glow of our cheese cave where row upon row of Beecher’s Flatiron cheese – available only in New York – ripens to perfection. The Cellar menu features embellished “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese, roasted veggies, braised meats, soups, artisan cheeses and charcuterie.

The Lady and I have been fans of Beecher’s and are thrilled that the East Coast Squadrons of fellow felines and humankinds will now be able to enjoy the entire line of Beecher’s Handmade Cheeses, including my personal all-time favorite cheese, No Woman.