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…
This week marks my three year anniversary as your sometimes humble… and sometimes… not so humble cheese correspondent. In that time, I have written 532 posts reviewing more than 750 cheeses (and I have 100+ reviews waiting in the wings…) and 31 pages providing other information about all things cheese. The Lady likes to grab the glory but we all know who’s the brain behind this blog… not to be confused with The Brain…
The first cheese I reviewed was from my friends in Seattle: Beecher’s No Woman. I love this cheese. When The Lady brings this cheese home… which is never often enough… I claw my way up her leg to get at those tasty and spicy morsels. Three years later and hundreds of cheese tasted and reviewed, No Woman remains my personal favorite. The Lady is nothing short of fickled on this front; her “favorite” cheese is usually the last one she tasted… how capricious… sheesh… humankinds… pick a favorite and stick with it…
The Lady began her cheese career as a part-time Cheese Steward for Fred Meyer (yep, that’s The Lady in that picture) in July 2008; in January 2009, she became a Cheese Lead for Fred Meyer’s Flagship store in Portland and in June 2011, she became the Murray’s Cheese Specialist for Kroger and Fred Meyer.
DPI blocked its employees’ access to my blog; then later, due to public outcry, retracted its sad and uninformed decision.
The Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn decided to get snarky and called me zoomorphically delusional… like they’d even know a zoomorphically delusional feline… should one walk through their door.
During these blogging years, while I worked my paws to the bones, The Lady visited cheesemakers in Wisconsin twice and “made” cheese at Roth Kase and Beecher’s Cheese. Please note, that in both instances, when it says “made cheese; it means the real cheesemakers let The Lady do stuff that would mess up the cheese… She received a Certificate in Cheese 101 from Roth Kase and attended two Cheese 101 Classes led by Liz Thorpe of Murray’s Cheese. She scored perfectly following two days of training and became a “Red Jacket-Certified” Murray’s Cheesemonger. In June, she attended Murray’s Boot Camp; she attended training classes in Dallas and this week returned from Denver where she assisted in her first training class of the new Murray’s cheesemongers at King Soopers… all the while leaving The Man and moi at home to fend for ourselves… wrangling The Man is a full-time job, let me tell you… God Bless The Lady, she’s been doing it for 31 years… and loving it, I might add… but I’m not bitter…
The Webmaster of the Estate of Spalding Gray, John Boland, suggested I change my name and not trade on the success of the great actor whose name The Lady chose for moi out of admiration and no other reason… except I have gray hair. If we want to get picky, then perhaps John Boland should change his name and not trade on the success of the Athlete, John Boland, who won gold medals at the Games of the 1 Olympiad in Athens in 1896… just saying…
The Lady, The Man and I hit the road to Seattle to attend the American Cheese Society Conference in 2010; although I only got as close as a Bunker somewhere in the burbs of Seattle due to the restrictive attitudes of the Seattle “No Pets Allowed” Sheraton… shame on you… while The Lady rubbed elbows with all the Cheese Swells of North America… it’s just wrong the way humankinds treat the superiorly intelligent beings known to them as felines… but I digress.
A world of cheeses to taste and review… while The Lady continues her gallivanting ways around the cheese world… next up… cheesemaking (see note above…) at Rogue Creamery and then on September 14th, she heads to the Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy… sheesh…
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:
Do You Want To:
Work in the world’s best cheese shop?
Join the cheese revolution?
Become an expert cheesemonger?
Are You Ready to:
Work hard and learn something new?
Sample cheese from around the world?
Talk to customers, make them laugh and sell lots of cheese?
If you answered “Yes!!” to these questions;
You can work with Murray’s at Kroger.
We are looking for Murray’s Cheese Associates for Boulder, Colorado:
Cheese Master – Deadline to apply is August 19
Cheese Stewards – Deadline to apply is October 8
In Boulder, Murray’s Cheese Shops will open
in the following King Soopers/City Markets:
3600 Table Mesa Dr. Boulder, CO 80303
Bob DiCroce or Deborah Unger
1650 30th St. Boulder, CO 80301
Bill Light or Sharon Cade
995 S. Hover Street Longmont, CO 80501
Dave Gabbert or Rhonda Lamach
We would love to see you in a Murray’s Cheese Shop…
July 17, 2011
Vegetarian-Suitable – Made Using Microbial Rennet
Naturally Lowfat Cheese
There’s a Humankind Adage that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”… The Lady is a testament that the adage is NOT always true. When she and I began this cheese journey, one of our earliest tastes of goat cheese was a hard goat cheddar that no doubt was the result of the billy goat getting more than a tad too close to the milking parlor. That cheese was vile and you can review my less than flattering review by clicking here.
We were convinced that no goat cheese would ever receive a 4 Paws review. Little-by-little, we found goat cheese adoration in Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon and true goat cheese love came our way when we met Rhonda Gothberg and the Gothberg Farms Chevre and Goat Goudas.
While in New York last week, The Lady ate a Murray’s Cheese Vegetable Sandwich that included Fresh Goat Chevre from Westfield Farm. The Westfield Capri is made every Monday and arrives at Murray’s early on Tuesday. The Capri sells out before the week is over and customers must wait until the following Tuesday for the next delivery.
Located in Central Massachusetts, Westfield has been making award-winning farmstead cheese since 1971. In 1996, their Capri Bluebonnet won Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition. Westfield sells most of their cheeses to finer restaurants and specialty cheese shops like Murray’s; however if you aren’t in Greenwich Village you can order from their website to satisfy your Westfield Jones…
The Westfield Farm Capri is made from pasteurized goat milk and was less than a week old when The Lady ate it on her veggie sammy. It’s pure white with a soft, creamy texture. It has a rich, tangy, citrus taste that lingers and satisfies.
Serving Suggestions: This is a cheese you can use as a substitute for cream cheese and because of its naturally lower fat content (compared to sheep and cow milk cheeses) you can generously spread it, guilt-free, on a baguette and enjoy a feast with a bowl of berries.
Wine Pairing: Sancerre or a light white
Beer Pairing: Lambic
Source: Pasteurized Goat Milk
July 2, 2011
The Lady has been back from her trip to New York and Murray’s Cheese Boot Camp for a few days and has been especially attentive; she knows I am annoyed; I know she knows I am annoyed… which I, of course, use to my advantage.
The Lady explained that Murray’s is yet another one of those “No Pets Allowed” places…” we gotta keep those pesky dogs and cats away from where we sell and serve food”… I am more than willing to put my personal cleaning habits up against any humankind, any day of the week. Unlike many, maybe even most, humankinds, this Feline Foodie is fastidious when it comes to cleanliness… in my not-so-humble opinion, there are far more humankinds who shouldn’t be allowed inside food establishments than cats… as for dogs, there are so many other reasons to ban them… but I will save that argument for another day.
Since The Lady started her new cheese adventure, she has been traveling a lot and always comes home smelling of cheeses… lots of cheeses… ones of which I can only dream. At least while she’s away, I have The Man”Servant” at my beck and call. He is one easy dude to get to do most everything I wish… but I digress.
The Lady returned with wonderful tales of the cheeses in the cases at Murray’s and the cheeses she tasted during boot camp; a total of seventy-five plus many wines and several beers… as mentioned (numerous times), she gets the glory; while I do the heavy-lifting…
She took a photo of the cheese plate that followed the tour of Murray’s Cheese Caves… be still my heart… caves filled with cheese…
Affinage is the specialized art of aging cheese. The affineur finds the best sources for cheese and then nurtures them to their optimum ripeness for the best flavor of the cheese. This includes brushing, washing, bathing and turning to promote everything good in the cheese and keep the bad “stuff” out.
Brian, Murray’s resident affineur, led the class on a tour of the caves which Conde Nast Traveler named one of the 50 Coolest Places to be in the world. After the tour, he served a cheese plate that reflected the many talents involved in being a successful affineur.
The plate started with two wedges of Haystack Peak, a soft-ripened cheese produced by Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy in Colorado. (A detailed review will be posted soon.) The first wedge of this cheese was new and the second was aged about two weeks. While both were delicious, the aging made a good cheese only better.
Next on the plate were two wedges of Petite Frères, from one of our favorites, Wisconsin’s Crave Brothers. The first wedge was “as produced” by the Brothers, a wonderful small wheel of a fruity, earthy washed rind semi-soft cow milk cheese. The second wedge had been washed by Brian in a local brewery ale. Brian was experimenting with a new wash and the improvement to the cheese was amazing.
St. Nectaire, a French cheese from the Auvergne region of Central France was the next cheese up on the plate. This is an AOC –protected cheese. This is a washed-rind Tomme-style cheese that is shipped at the age of two weeks to the affineur for another six weeks of aging before the dense paste reaches perfection and is ready for the consumer. We will be reviewing this cheese in the next few days.
Up next were two versions of Cabot Creamery’s Aged Cheddar. The first was a creamy wedge of their cheddar that is shipped in cryovac to grocery stores national-wide. A very respectable wedge of cheese; one that appeared at the Burbank manse more than once. This is what The Lady and I like to call “an everyday cheese” – one that is respectable in its taste profile and inexpensive enough to have available for everyday use.
The second version from Cabot was their Clothbound Cheddar which is aged by the Cellars at Jasper Hills in Vermont. With absolutely no disrespect to cryovac cheddars, once you’ve had a clothbound cheddar, you’ll never go back.
Following the cheddars was a wedge of Black River Blue; an award-winning blue cheese from Wisconsin. A milder blue that is slightly softer than butter and easily spreadable on a baguette for “everyday” enjoyment. Black River Gorgonzola is one of the “everyday” cheeses you can find around the manse.
The final cheese on the plate was Bayley Hazen Blue from the Kehler Brothers of Jasper Hills Farm in the northeast kingdom of Vermont. This is a cheese I have been dying to taste and thankfully, The Lady shipped a wedge home in her luggage for The Man and moi to taste and enjoy. A review of this cheese will follow this Cheese Plate posting… but let’s just say, I’ll be using all my paws…
The Lady thanks Brian for leading the boot camp on a tour of the caves and if you would like to tour the caves, Murray’s Cheese offers tours of the cave along with many other great, cheesy classes at its Greenwich Village location. Check out their array of classes here.
June 25, 2011
Follow @cheesemonger Here I sit in the Pacific Northwest doing the heavy lifting while The Lady sits in Manhattan at Murray’s Cheese Boot Camp tasting 75 cheeses in 3 days; rubbing elbows with the cheese swells and my favorite cheesemakers in the world open their doors in the Flatiron District of New York… there is no cheese god…
Beecher’s opened yesterday in Manhattan and The Lady saw the lines as she rode by in a cab on her way to an intensive 3-day Boot Camp at Murray’s Cheese in the west Village…
There had better be cheese in that suitcase tomorrow night… just saying…