The Following cheeses and other items reviewed on the blog, all received 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got…)

34° Cracked Pepper Crispbread Crackers

34° Lemon Zest Crispbread Crackers

*34° Natural Crispbread Crackers

*34° Rosemary Crispbread Crackers

*34° Sesame Crispbread Crackers

*34° Whole Grain Crispbread Crackers

Abondance

*Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

*Asiago

*Beecher’s Flagship Crackers

*Beecher’s Hazelnut Crackers

Beecher’s Extra-Aged Flagship

Beecher’s Flagsheep

Beecher’s Raw Flagship

*Beecher’s Flagship Reserve

*Beecher’s No Woman

Beemster Graskaas

*Beemster Mustard

*Beemster Vlaskaas

Beemster Wasabi

*Beemster XO

*BelGioioso American Grana

BelGioioso Burrata

BelGioioso Italico

*BelGioioso Parmesan

BelGioioso Provolone

BelGioioso Tiramisu Mascarpone

*Bellwether Farms’ Carmody

*Black River Gorgonzola

Cahill’s Original Porter Cheese

*Cambozola Black Label

Campo de Montalban

*Cantalet

Carr Valley Cows’ Milk Cheese Plate

Carr Valley Jenny Eye Reserve

Carr Valley Ten-Year Cheddar

*Comte

Consider Bardwell Farm’s Pawlet

Consider Bardwell Farm’s Rupert

*Cotswold Pub Cheese

Cougar Gold (WSU)

Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam

Crave Brothers Fresh Mozzarella

Crave Brothers Mascarpone

Cypress Grove’s Lambchopper

Cypress Grove Midnight Moon

*Denhay Farmstead Cheddar

Epoisses

Fair Oaks Farm Aged Gouda

Fair Oaks Farm Emmenthaler

Fair Oaks Farm Royal Blue

*Ficoco Fig Spread

Fiscalini Farmstead Premium Aged Cheddar

Ford Farm Rugged Mature Cheddar

*Fromager d’Affinois

Fromager d’Affinois with Garlic and Herbs

Golden Age Cheese Super Sharp Cheddar

Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter

Gothberg Farms’ Chevre

Gothberg Farms’ Aged Gouda

Gothberg Farms’ Raw Milk Gouda

Gothberg Farms’ The Woman of LaMancha

Gothberg Farms’ Young Gouda

*Grana Padano

Greens of Glastonbury Organic Mature Cheddar

*Hawthorne Fred Meyer Meat Counter Has Got It Going On

Ilbesa’s Aged Sheep’s Milk Cheese

Ilbesa’s Mature Sheep’s Milk Cheese

*Ilchester Beer Cheese

*Ilchester Smoked Applewood

Istara Chistou

Istara P’tit Pyrenees

*Istara Ossau Iraty

*Kaltbach Le Gruyere

Kerrygold Aged Cheddar

*Kerrygold Butters

*Kerrygold Dubliner

Kerrygold Ivernia

Kerrygold Red Leicester

Kurtwood Farms’ Dinah

Laack’s Eight Year Extra Sharp Cheddar

Lapellah Restaurant

Le Timanoix

*Long Clawson Dairy Lemon Zest Stilton

Mauri Gorgonzola Piccante D.O.C.

Neal’s Yard Stichelton

*Old Amsterdam

Om Nom Nom Food Cart

*Parmigiano-Reggiano

*Parrano

Parrano Robusto

Pasture Pride Guusto

Pasture Pride Juusto

Piave

Portland’s Cheese Bar

President’s Comte

*Rembrandt

*Ricotta Salata

Robiola Three Latte

*Rogue Creamery Blue Crumbles

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue

*Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue

*Rogue Creamery Oregonzola

*Rogue Creamery Rogue River Blue

Roth-Kase Bleu Affinee

Roth-Kase BrauKase

Roth-Kase ButterKase

*Roth-Kase GrandCru Gruyere

*Roth-Kase GranQueso

Roth-Kase Natural Smoked Gouda

*Roth-Kase Petite Swiss

*Saint Agur

*Saint Andre

*Salemville SmokeHaus Blue Cheese

Sally Jackson Raw Sheep Milk Cheese

Sartori Bellavitano Gold

Sartori Bellavitano Gold with Pepper

Sartori Foods’ Cheese Plate

Sartori Foods’ SarVecchio

Saxon Homestead Saxony

Sesmark Original Sesame Thins

Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme

Tillamook 100th Anniversary Three-Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

Tillamook Cheese Plate

Tillamook Cheese Curds

Tillamook Habanero

Tillamook Horseradish

Tillamook Ice Creams

Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

*Tsunami Sushi at Hawthorne’s Fred Meyer

Upland’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Vella Dry Jack

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery Bijou

*Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery Crème Fraiche

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery Cultured Butter

*Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery Mascarpone

Villajos Artisan Manchego

Widmer Cellars Aged Brick

Willapa Farms Two-Faced Blue

*Indicates Cheese is carried on The Lady’s kiosk or Cheese Island

Whole Foods’ Cheese Plate

February 17, 2011

The Lady and The Man stopped in the local Whole Foods to buy some White Truffle Oil and while there, The Lady couldn’t resist checking out the cheese counter. Whole Foods carries many cheeses that The Lady doesn’t carry at her kiosk. She went through the small morsel basket and came up with six small pieces she used to make up a Valentine’s Day Cheese Plate:

Before I begin, let me express a bit of disappointment that two of the pieces had mold under the label side although the dates were well in the distance. We all realize this can happen, but when cheeses are in the $10-$40 a pound range, you’d prefer to know they are freshly wrapped. Also, a couple of the pieces were on the dry side which also indicated more age than the label dates indicated… The Lady simply trimmed the mold away; but had these been larger sizes, she would have returned them. Do NOT hesitate to return cheese to your cheesemonger when you feel its quality is lacking in any manner…

Now for the cheeses we sampled:

Boschetto al Tartufo Il Forteto Coop: this semi-soft cheese from Italy is a mixed-milk cheese using cow and sheep milk and added to it are black truffles. The cheese is both sweet and savory with just a touch of salt. The truffles add a pleasant earthy and garlicky flavor. Neither the cheese nor the truffles over-powered the other and actually were complimentary. The Man was quite taken with this cheese, although he didn’t swoon… ($38.99 a pound)

Next on the plate was Cypress Grove’s Lambchopper: A sheep’s milk Gouda made in Europe exclusively for Mary Keehn’s Cypress Grove. In keeping with Mary’s sense of humor, her website states that this cheese is “Born to be mild”. This was the favorite of the three of us, particularly The Man who actually did swoon while eating this sample. The Lady had to go through the “Sharing is a Virtue” drill… This cheese was sweet and tangy and although mild, the sweetness lingers. This is a cheese that The Lady calls “Kid-friendly”. And it is Vegetarian suitable. ($27.99 a pound)

Tumalo Farm’s Rimrocker: Named after the rocky cliffs that surround Tumalo Farms, this semi-hard cheese is a mixture of organic cow’s milk from a neighboring farm and Tumalo’s own farmstead goats’ milk. As it ages, the flavor becomes more full-bodied. The piece we sampled was a little drier than we felt it should be and The Lady plans to buy another piece at another WF and taste it again before making a final decision on that issue. The flavor was mild with just the right touch of goat tang. ($21.99 a pound)

Leyden with Cumin from Best Uniekaas: Leyden in a Dutch Gouda seasoned with cumin and caraway seeds. In Holland it is called “komijnekaas” which means cumin cheese but due to its popularity in the region around Leiden, it is exported as Leyden. This was our least favorite; none of us cared for the cumin flavor in the cheese even though we love cumin in Mexican dishes… ($12.99 a pound)

Cordobes Mitica: A Merino Sheep milk cheese imported exclusively from Spain for Whole Foods by Mitica. This cheese is similar in taste and texture to Manchego which is a favorite around the manse. Again, this piece was a little drier than we like but the flavor wasn’t diminished by the dryness and with Vintner’s Kitchen’s Port Cherry Marmalade, the taste sensations were delightful. One thought about the Port Cherry Marmalade; a little less liquid would be better. The taste, however, was perfect; just tart enough and just sweet enough. ($16.99 a pound)

Reggianito Argentina from Provvista: The last sample was Parmesan from Argentina. Reggianito, which means “small Reggiano”, is a hard cheese similar to Parmigiano Reggiano and was first made in this South American country by the Italian immigrants who missed the parms of their homeland. This cheese is produced in smaller wheels rather than the huge wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is aged 5-6 months and generally used in cooking or grated on pasta dishes. However, serving it at room temperature and as the last cheese of the plate was a perfect end to our cheese plate. The Man topped this cheese with a little dollop of Vintner’s Kitchen’s Raspberry Mimosa Gelee and then he swooned… ($9.99 a pound)

It’s actually hard to rate this cheese plate when the quality (due to post-cheesemaker care) of a couple of the cheeses is in question… but I’ll go with 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). However, I have to give the Cypress Grove Lambchopper 4 Paws out of 4 Paws…

Very interesting article about how the EU is protecting the quality of certain specialty foods – bravo!!

From euroalert.net

published on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 under Agriculture & Fisheries

On 15 February 1000th quality food products are registered by the European Commission. The latest one has been an Italian sheep’s cheese. On the other hand, Spain has 146 products in this record. In addition, the Commission considers these schemes essential for fast start-up of ‘Quality Package 2010’, by introducing several regulations that are bringing the production to the quality criteria demanded by consumers.

The European Commission has registered on February 15, the one thousandth quality food name. The ‘Piacentinu Ennes’, an Italian sheep’s cheese, held in the Sicilian province of Enna and whose ingredients are raw sheep’s milk and saffron crocus, pepper and salt. Since their creation in 1992, the EU schemes have registered quality agricultural products and foodstuffs throughout the EU and third countries in order to prevent fraud or imitations. In recent years, there has been an increase of applications due to the EU successive enlargements and a greater interest in countries such as India, China and Thailand among others.

To read the entire article, please click here.

 

The Lady found this great blog article on uses for Parmesan Rinds. Most cheese shops and kiosks sell the rinds, aka “Bones”, at a reduced price. The Lady sells them for a fraction of the cost of the various cheeses that they cover.

You can check out the uses for rinds, by clicking here.

AG Andrew Cuomo won’t weigh in on great lasagna

debate between mom Matilda, girlfriend Sandra Lee

By Kenneth Lovett
Daily News Albany Bureau Chief

Wednesday, June 16th 2010, 12:48 PM

ALBANY – Mama Mia!

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has promised to take on the special interests if elected governor, but there’s one fight he won’t get involved with: The food fight between his mom and girlfriend over the best way to make lasagna.

“On this issue I’m going to be very, very careful,” Cuomo told Albany’s Talk 1300-AM Wednesday morning. “Since the campaign started for me…this is the toughest issue I’ve had to deal with.”

Cuomo’s mother, the state’s former First Lady Matilda Cuomo, made headlines when she dismissed the lasagna recipe of her son’s girlfriend, TV chef Sandra Lee. She uses cottage cheese and tomato soup.

Mama Cuomo insists lasagna must have fresh ricotta cheese and red sauce.

The AG refused take a side in the food fight.

Read more by clicking here.

From the Lombardy region, Gorgonzola is one of Italy’s oldest cheeses. It is named after the village that was once a resting place for cattle returning from their summer grazing in the Alpine pastures.

David, one of The Lady’s favorite cheese friends, gave her a sample piece to bring home for his favorite feline foodie (that would be me) to review for you, my loyal readership. Thanks, by the way, we are approaching 60K hits in less than 22 months of writing about my favorite food (that would be cheese). When the day comes and I am about to return to the Mothership and The Brain, unlike those aliens in Men in Black, I’ll be stuffing my bags with every imaginable cheese that humankind has to offer. And if there is extra room, I’ll also include some Golden Glen Creamery’s Farmstead Butter… but I digress… according to The Lady I do that a lot…

This particular offering of Gorgonzola was produced by the Mauri Company and I have to tell you I was, constantly throughout the cheese plate dinner, fighting The Man to get my fair share of this Gorgonzola. Someone really needs to explain the humankind concept of “sharing” to him. You’d think David sent this sample home to The Man…hello… he sent it home to the Feline Foodie and let me say it one more time…that would be me!!

The blue veining in this gorgonzola is almost a navy hue making for a beautiful cheese on the cheese plate The Lady had prepared. I’ll be reviewing all four cheeses today and although this was the last we tasted, I decided to throw cheese caution to the wind and review it first… I hope I’m not breaking some cheese plate etiquette and if I am… well… who gives a Rattus norvegicus’ patooty? Actually, that sounds better the way The Lady says it when she’s not talking like a lady… Oops… that digression thing again…

We had fresh, warm French baguette with the cheese plate and this Gorgonzola was perfect on the bread: rich, creamy and just spicy enough without over-powering the palate. As mentioned above, The Man would have eaten it all if I hadn’t put my paw down…

The Lady doesn’t carry this cheese at her cheese kiosk and this is a loss for her customers… my guess is that David has plans to change this and The Lady and I are both hoping he is successful.

I give the Mauri Gorgonzola 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got… unless there’s something in the local water that might change that at a later date… just saying…)

Serving Suggestions: Cheese Plate; with grapes, pears and most any other fruit; it would also make a killer salad dressing… I also came across this Gorgonzola Cream Sauce (for filet mignon) at foodchannel.com and since The Lady has a ribeye (which was dry-aged for 28 days) on the menu for this evening… you do the math…

Wine Pairings: Dessert wines are the best with Gorgonzola of this quality: a Port or a Muscat.

Beer Pairing: Robust, yeasty Trappist-style ale would be a perfect pairing to stand-up to this cheese.

Source: Pasteurized Cow’s Milk

Trivia: The mold in blue cheeses starts out green and oxidation is what turns it blue… and as it ages it turns darker.

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

The Death of Velveeta

April 21, 2010

(The Lady originally wrote this for the American Cheese Society Blog. You can read other ACS Member blog postings at: http://americancheesesociety.blogspot.com/ )

I work as a Cheese Steward and one of the best parts of the job is working with customers; especially the youngs ones who are our next generation of “foodies”. I have met several who have left fond memories behind for me.

Mason and his parents were regulars in the first cheese kiosk where I worked and Mason was the cheese hound in the family. His parents let him sample and make the cheese choices every week. It was quite interesting to watch his reactions to the various cheeses he sampled. This kid had fearless tastebuds. One of his favorites was Rembrandt Aged Gouda and he proudly told me that he had asked Santa for a light saber and a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano. On another occasion, his mom stopped by to buy Pecorino Romano becasue it was featured in a recipe on the Food Channel and Mason decided that was what he wanted for dinner. But my favorite memory of Mason happened when he decided he wanted to check out the Bries. We started with Fromager d’Affinois, then moved on the Brie de Nangis. Next we tried St. Albray and ended with Le Chatelaine. After a thoughtful moment, Mason chose the St. Albray. As he sat in the child seat of the food basket, I decided to ask the burning question, “Mason, how old are you?” He proudly replied, “Two and a half.” I looked at his father who shregged and said, “He also likes caviar.” Definitely a budding foodie.

Another young patron is Chadd, whose favorite cheeses are the blues; the stronger, the better. When he stops at the kiosk, I always ask him to try a new cheese and give me his opinions. For a sixteen year old, his palate is quite sophisticated. He knows what he likes and why; but he can also articulate quite well why he doesn’t like a certain cheese. A recent email from him inquired if I knew where he might buy fresh goat milk. He had decided to make his own fresh chevre.

Last week I was assisting a mother in putting together a cheese platter for her twelve year old’s slumber party. The daughter had requested cheese for snacking rather than junk food… my kind of kid. We began with Fromager d’Affinois, added Smoked Applewood Cheddar and a wedge of Beemster Vlaskaas. For the blue, we went with Oregonzola. As we were wrapping up our transaction, the mother stopped, looked at me sternly and said, “By the way, I don’t like you.” I was stunned… I thought things were going so well… then she laughed and added, “A few weeks back, you gave my daughter a sample of Humboldt Fog and ever since, it’s been ‘No more Velveeta in this house, Mom'”. We added a wedge of Humboldt to the selections.

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.

Asiago Fresco Mitica

January 28, 2010

The third cheese on the Whole Foods cheese plate The lady prepared for The Man and me was Asiago Fresco Mitica.

Quite frankly, I expected more from this cheese. It is a DOP protected cheese from Italy, made in the traditions of the Italian cheesemakers.

It is a young Asiago and semi-firm; unlike the Asiago d’Allevo which is aged, aromatic and quite wonderful. The Lady sells the aged version and offers it grated as well as wedged.

Perhaps it was just this cut of cheese but it was bland, rubbery and had no aroma and almost no taste.

It was just a piece of nothing cheese.

I give this particular Whole Foods wedge of Asiago Fresco no Paws as it deserves none.

Serving Suggestions: I’ll reserve suggestions until The Lady finds another outlet so I can compare wedges and then make my pronouncements…

By ANN WISE
ROME, Jan. 20, 2010

“Scandaloso!” Italians were upset to discover that their favorite mozzarella cheeseMozzarella di Bufala, made from buffalo’s milk — was being watered down with cow’s milk.

Widely recognized as the best, buffalo mozzarella is made only in central Italy, in the area between Naples and Rome, and only using the rich milk of the Asian water buffalo. A government sampling of cheeses across Italy revealed, however, that 25 percent of the cheeses tested also included milk from dairy cows — less expensive, but also less rich.

On Tuesday, the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Luca Zaia, suspended the president of the consortium of buffalo mozzarella producers and replaced him temporarily with a commission to guarantee the quality of the cheese. Even he had watered down his cheese.

“I placed the consortium under the appointed administration after inspections found that even the consortium’s president was watering down his buffalo milk with cow’s milk,” Zaia said.

“In November, controls made in leading supermarkets found that 25 percent of the cheese sold as buffalo mozzarella was fake because it contained 30 percent cow milk.”

Zaia said the cheese is perfectly safe and good to eat, but it does not live up to the rigid standards for the product.

The head of the consortium, Luigi Chianese, vigorously denied diluting his buffalo milk, and said that the results of the tests had to be confirmed. He said it was “inconceivable” that 25 percent of buffalo mozzarella was found to contain cow’s milk.

“What consumers are putting on their tables is real buffalo mozzarella,” Chianese told the ANSA news agency. “This is just an administrative matter that has no repercussions for people’s health.”

But Zaia said that he wanted “to apply zero tolerance for those who are fraudulent in commerce, or who, in any case, deceive consumers.”

“Over the past two years my zero tolerance policy has led to the discovery of many causes of food fraud,” he said.

“The news of the discovery of buffalo mozzarella watered down with cow’s milk is “gravissima” – very serious, “because it concerns a traditional product of our country,” Silvia Basotto, the head of nutrition safety for a citizens’ rights group told ANSA. “It is inadmissible.”

Cherished by cheese connoisseurs, the Mozzarella di Bufala, like many other traditional Italian products, is protected with a special Protected Designation of Origin label, which is meant to guarantee its quality. Buffalo milk is much richer than the milk of dairy cows, and the mozzarella made from it is distinctly different from cow’s milk mozzarella. The typical big ball of buffalo mozzarella has a thin rind and a delicate, slightly sour taste, and produces a milky liquid when cut.

The richness of buffalo milk makes it particularly suitable for making cheese, and farmers have been using it in central Italy since the 12th century.

How the Asian water buffalo came to Italy is still a matter of debate, but the most credible theory is that they were introduced to the area around the year 1000 by Norman kings who brought them from Sicily. They may have been introduced there by Arab traders.

The sight of these black-horned buffalo in the lowlands of central Italy often surprises modern visitors, who associate them with India or Thailand. But in the 12th century, the Italian coastal plains were swamplands, perfect for raising buffalo. They were used to pull plows through the waterlogged soil before they were used for their milk.

Zaia’s move to protect the Mozzarella di Bufala is just the latest blow to this traditional cheese, which is also a prime ingredient in Neapolitan pizza (also protected – with a Guaranteed Traditional Specialty label.

In 2008, tests at hundreds of mozzarella plants showed that the cheese was being produced with milk that contained dangerous levels of dioxin, and mozzarella sales plunged. Last year, police found that some farmers in the area had given the buffalo a human growth hormone, somatropine, which is legal in the U.S. but not in Europe.

Authorities continue to keep a close eye on the Mozzarella di Bufala — which is why Italy is going through the latest culinary scandal.