Raw Milk Cheese

Vegetarian-Suitable Cheese

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.

The Too-Friendly Goat

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

Please “Like” Rogue Creamery on Facebook and “Follow” them on Twitter.

Stay Tuned: All weekend, The Lady and I will be reporting on her trip to Rogue Creamery… she asked me to send out a huge thank you to everyone at the creamery for an unforgettable cheese memory…
Member, Association of Food Bloggers

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!!!

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…

Update February 3, 2011: Curtis, the Costco buyer of their specialty cheese and The Lady chatted this morning and while he wouldn’t confirm who made this fine cheese, he did let The Lady know (and she asked me to pass this along), this cheese is a LIMITED EDITION that was added for Holiday 2010. That means what is in the stores now, is all there is and WHEN IT’S GONE, IT’S GONE… but Curtis assured The Lady it will return in the fall of 2011. Out thanks to Curtis for returning The Lady’s call.

Despite best efforts by your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be moi) I was unable to suss out which of the Vermont cheesemakers produce this superb cheddar for Costco’s private brand, Kirkland Signature. A phone call to Costco’s corporate office (complete with detailed message) went unreturned… shame on Costco employees for not returning calls to customers… especially to customers who will be writing a review of their product… you don’t need to be a brain surgeon… well, what do I know??? Perhaps you do need to be a brain surgeon to return phone calls… but I digress.

In our never-ending quest to taste every cheese in the world, The Lady picked up a wedge of Kirkland Signature “Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar” at our local Costco and brought it home for The Man and moi to taste.

A little Costco/Kirkland Signature history/information first. The Lady and The Man have been members of Costco (and the previous Price Club) since the early 80s. They are devoted members and believe that Costco only sells top-of-the-line product in pretty much every product they carry. They have never been disappointed with anything that comes from Costco and the price points are amazing.

Kirkland Signature products must be as good or better than the national brand providing the product to Costco and must offer a substantial savings to the customer. In 2010 the percentage of Kirkland Signature product was about 10% of the entire inventory and the percentage will continue to grow. Costco chooses the products and then lets the members decide if the product stays or goes according to sales.

Now for the Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar:

The rind indicates this is a clothbound cheddar made in the traditional English manner and only a small handful of Vermont cheesemakers produce a cheddar of this superb quality: Grafton, Jasper Hills, Cabot…

This just in… From a “secret source” we just learned that this cheese is from Cabot Creamery and is a younger version of their own clothbound cheddar.

The aroma is earthy, which is how clothbound cheddar should smell. The paste is an ivory cream color and the texture is crumbly. The taste is sweet and nutty… everything you look for in a cheddar of this quality. The lingering aftertaste is nice and mellow. The cheese is robust without overpowering the palate.

The Lady served it with Dare Cabaret Crackers and Pinot Colada Jam from Oregon’s Vintner’s Kitchen. (The Lady previously paired this jam with The Isle of Man Cheddar back in October, 2010 – Pinot Colada is a great pairing for mature cheddars…) As you might expect, the flavor burst between the cheese and the jam made The Man swoon. More people need to pair cheese and jams: the savory and the sweet combination is hard to beat.

I give Kirkland Signature Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar 3 Paws out of 4 Paws but I must give the pairing of this cheddar with the jam 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). (I won’t rate the “call-Return” service from Costco… you be the judge…)

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate with jams, salamis and even mustards would create an immediate hit. This cheese would also be great in a mixed-cheese mac n cheese recipe. I suspect it will end up in such a recipe as the wedge weighed north of a pound… that’s another Costco trait – no small wedges…

Wine Pairing: Bota Box Merlot. The Man was stunned when The Lady brought home wine in a box; but her Wine Merchant friend, Mark from Southern-Odom, sells it and The Lady bought it based on his recommendation. Now Bota Box seems to appear more and more around the manse…

Beer Pairing: Following her trip to The Tualatin “No Pets” Country Club for the cheese tasting with our friend, Waldemar Albrecht, The Lady has developed a taste for Rogue Chocolate Stout and decided this cheddar would pair well with it… she was correct…

Source: Cow’s Milk

Stay Tuned: we are only 8 posts and pages away from our 500th post here (doesn’t include our sister recipe blog, cheesemonger recipes). We have big plans for 500!!

Photo Courtesy Naomi Fujinaka

Thursday was National Cheese Lovers’ Day and The Lady Left Me at Home to Attend a Cheese Tasting with Waldemar Albrecht…Sheesh…

A belated Happy National Cheese Lovers’ Day to my fellow cheese lovers… aka… turophiles…

Let me ask you, my loyal readers, Is there any feline or humankind (for that matter) who loves cheese more than moi? Rhetorical, of course…

And yet, here I sat, Thursday, doing all the heavy lifting while The Lady was out, once again, rubbing elbows with a bunch of Cheese Swells… it’s just wrong…

The Lady claims that The Tualatin Country Club is another one of those “Restricted” places that allows no pets… what’s up with that… almost every manse in America is home to a pet, usually of the feline and/or inferior canine persuasion, but most public places where humankinds hang, won’t let a pet even peek through the door much less enter and mingle… it’s time for my fellow felines and canines to drop our differences; rise up; unite and protest this rampant discrimination…

But I digress… The Lady and her cheese friend, Cheryl, carpooled to enjoy cheese tastings with renowned Cheesemonger, Waldemar Albrecht, at the gentile Tualatin “No Pets” Country Club.  Waldemar recently served several years as Head Fromager (Cheesemonger Extraordinaire) at Artisanal Bistro. Today he puts together cheese and wine adventures all over the world and shares his knowledge and passion for cheese, wine and beer with other enthusiasts and professionals.

As for the tasting The Lady attended… I am soooo jealous…

In addition to several of The Lady’s fellow Cheesemongers, my friend, Naomi from Lactalis was there and sporting new, sassy glasses. The Lady met Sharee, also from Lactalis and they chatted about cheese, France and blogging. I trust (yea, right) The Lady explained to Sharee that I, your humble Feline Foodie, am the power behind the cheese throne and that The Lady is strictly a figurehead and spell checker…

David, Marcia and Kym from Willis Marketing helped put the event together with Lactalis and the folks at DPI…yep, the same DPI that banned my blog … Russ, Anna, Sarah, Debbie and Doug were all there as well… it was a gathering of the best of the Portland Cheese Swells… and I was left at home… again… but I’m not bitter.

The reason all these Cheese Swells gathered was to meet Waldemar and enjoy a journey through a tasting of the Mercedes Benz of Lactalis French Cheeses.

Waldemar began by sharing his knowledge of the basics of cheese: history and origin of cheese; types of milk used to make cheese; the basic styles of cheese and a few personal anecdotes. Then he took the group through a tasting of the cheeses and paired them with three wines and one beer.

The first cheese on the plate was St. Maure, s soft-ripening goat cheese log that ripens from the outside inward creating a creamy rim surrounding a lovely paste. The goat tang is there without over-powering and has none of that bucky aftertaste that The Lady and I too often find in goat cheese, such as the dreadful hard goat cheddar that is definitely banned around the manse.  The St. Maure paired well with the Hess Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Following the goat cheese, Waldemar introduced the group to Le Chatelain Camembert, another winner from the Lactalis family. This cheese is made in Normandy where Marie Harel first created camembert in the late 18th Century. This cheese is aromatic, which might scare the novice, but don’t let that stop you, this cheese is rich and creamy. Because it is “gently” pasteurized, it retains most of the authentic flavors you find in the raw-milk version you can only buy in France. This cheese paired well with the Adelsheim Pinot Noir.

Next on the plate was the “Sister” of the Camembert: Le Chatelain Brie. This cheese is a notch up from the Brie that most Americans know; it has a kick like the Camembert just sampled by the Swells. As they tasted this wonderful, stronger Brie, Waldemar explained that there is little difference between brie and camembert. The basic difference is size: Camembert comes in the 250 ml. size (approximately 8 ounces in the US) and Brie is produced in the 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and 3 kilogram (6.6 pounds) sizes. The Le Chatelain Brie had aftertastes of broccoli and cauliflower… and The Lady loved it. It’s Brie… what’s not to love. It paired well with the Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon.

The next cheese was a favorite around the manse, P’tit Basque from the Pyrenees region of France. This half kilogram barrel which is wrapped in wax is a creamy semi-soft sheeps’ milk cheese that is made by Istara. The Lady felt it went best with the Rogue Chocolate Stout. This cheese is creamy, melts on the palate and leaves you begging for more.

Following the P’tit Basque, a French Cheddar – Cantalet – was tasted… I know, the French claim they don’t make Cheddars but this cheese is actually the grand-daddy of cheddars and was made in France before the cheesemakers landed in England. This cheese is made using the cheddaring process and that pretty much makes it a cheddar. The Lady and I love this cheese and it’s a very popular cheese at The Kiosk as well. The creamy, yellow paste of this cheese is a beauty and it’s mild and a great “kid-Friendly” cheese as well. The Lady thought this cheese paired well with the Adelsheim Pinot Noir.

After the Cantalet, another favorite at the manse, Comte, was tasted. This is probably the most favorite of all the alpine-style cheeses and The Man and I are always grateful when The Lady brings a wedge home for us to taste and enjoy. The Lady also likes to cook with this cheese. Comte is a washed rind; pressed cheese that universally pleases cheese lovers. Creamy, mild with just a bit of an after bite, Comte should be one of those cheeses you always have available in your cheese drawer.

The last cheese was also the first French cheese to obtain the coveted French PDO protection: Roquefort, the King of blue cheeses. Made with sheeps’ milk and moldy rye bread, Roquefort is aged in limestone caves and follows the strictest of rules throughout production. The version tasted was the Abbaye Roquefort, the Societe version sold to the US market. This cheese is medium in intensity and appeals to most cheese lovers in here. There is a milder version sold in France and there is also the Fleurine Roquefort, a super-strong version, sold almost exclusively in the region where Roquefort is made.  The Roquefort was an ideal match with the Chocolate Stout.

The Lady gives the Lactalis French Cheese Plate 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

She asked me to thank the Swells from Lactalis, Willis Marketing and DPI for putting this fabulous evening together. She also was thrilled to meet and chat with Waldemar and thanks him for taking time from his busy schedule to spend time with the group.

 

Raw Milk Cheese

Vegetarian-Suitable Cheese

The Lady brought home another winner from Cary Bryant and David Gremmels and all the great folks who make Rogue Creamery cheeses.

Caveman Blue is a result of painstaking cheesemaking by David and Cary that began in 2002 soon after buying the creamery from the cheesemaker legend, Ig Vella. The guys wanted to distinguish themselves and Caveman was to be the cheese to represent the “new generation” at Rogue. However, they had some problems with consistency and while they labored to perfect this cheese, they became famous with other winners such as Rogue River Blue and Echo Mountain Blue. They also expanded their line to include non-blue cheese favorites as well such as Tou Velle and Lavender Cheddar.

All of the blues at Rogue Creamery use different strains of Penicillium roqueforti for bluing and the cheesemakers realized that the strain Caveman used needed its own temperature and humidity in order to develop the natural rind wanted. This rind also sets Caveman apart from the other Rogue Creamery blues. They built a separate facility for aging Caveman and success soon followed.

Caveman has the density of fudge and butter with crystals. It has fruity overtones and I got a whiff of bacon. This cheese is moderate in blue boldness and only slightly salty. There is a nuttiness that is quite pleasant and satisfying with a bit of vanilla at the end.

We enjoyed this cheese after dinner as dessert with slices of Bartlett pear. It was the perfect ending to the meal.

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

Serving Suggestion: This cheese should be savored and that’s just how The Lady served it – as dessert.

Wine Pairing: The Lady chose Sineann’s Old Vine Zinfandel from Yamhill County, Oregon. The Lady prefers to pair her cheeses with local wines whenever possible.

Beer Pairing: The Man chose Oregon Trail Brewery’s Bourbon Barrel Porter. He felt its vanilla notes went well with Caveman.

Bit of trivia: Since 1971, an imposing statue of a caveman has guarded the entrance to Grant’s Pass in Southern Oregon. He was erected by the city’s Caveman Club and stands 17 feet tall. The purpose was to promote the nearby caverns at Cave Junction. On July 4, 2004, the fiberglass statue was ignited and heavily damaged. Teens were the suspected vandals. By July 2005, the statue had been repaired and returned to its pedestal where he still stands proudly today.

La Mariposa’s Chubut

November 5, 2010

Not all cheesemakers are created equal… according to The Lady, Mariano Battro, the Oregon cheesemaker (an Argentine who met his wife while she was an exchange student in South America) is a “real hunk”… The Man just rolled his eyes and wished The Lady “good luck”… These two are starting to sound like an old-married couple… oh that’s right… they are an old-married couple…

Back in the 1800’s some Welsh immigrants headed across the Atlantic and settled into the Patagonia Province of Chubut and began making cheese which they named after their new home. Fast forward in time and Mariano’s father became a cheesemaker in the same area and his son, who followed his love to her home of Oregon, continues that tradition. According to Mariano, the art of making Chubut has died away leaving only his father and himself making this cheese.

For The Lady and your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me) having Chubut made in the near neighborhood is a good thing… Mariano began making cheese at Fraga Farms before obtaining his own license.

Chubut is a mild and buttery cheese with a tart aftertaste. This is what the Lady likes to call a “Kid-Friendly” cheese; a nice artisan cheese that introduces kids to the finer side of cheese. It has a lovely mellow yellow paste and a softer but firm texture.

I give Chubut 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). The Lady gives Mariano a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10… but I digress on her behalf…

Serving Suggestions: This would be a plus for any cheese plate and shows off the best of Oregon.

Wine Pairing: Oregon’s Adelsheim 2007 Chardonnay – not too oaky.

Beer Pairing: Oregon’s Fire Mountain Brew House Pale Ale

Awards: No doubt, coming soon…

Kurtwood Farms’ Dinah

October 3, 2010

One of the seminars The Lady attended at the 2010 ACS Cheese-a-topia featured cheeses from the Pacific Northwest and cheesemakers and cheese hounds who specialize in the same. Tami Parr, of the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project and author of Artisan Cheeses of the Pacific Northwest, served as moderator. Four cheeses were tasted: WSU’s Cougar Gold, Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s Boerenkaas, Sally Jackson’s Raw Sheep Milk (all of which I have reviewed in the past) and Kurtwood Farms’ Dinah. Notes on the entire seminar will be uploaded here in the next few weeks.

Kurt Timmermeister, the owner of Kurtwood Farms and the cheesemaker who created Dinah spoke on the panel and told us how he came to be a cheesemaker and dairy farmer. He studied in Paris, looking forward to a life in Foreign Service; but Paris brought out his love of food and restaurants. When he graduated, he returned to Seattle and began a career in food service. A series of jobs in kitchens and dining room led to him opening his own café at the age of twenty-four. For the next two decades he opened a series of even larger cafes while exploring small-scale farming.

In 1991 he bought four acres on Vashon Island; land that became Kurtwood Farms. He cleaned the land off and planted fruit and nut trees. Over time, Kurt bought more land and built a pasture and added sheep, pigs and cows. By 2003, he left the restaurant business and Kurtwood Farms became his full-time job.

He built a professional kitchen to process the food grown on the farm to prepare dinners of greater quality for friends to gather. After acquiring a Grade A Dairy license, Kurt began to milk his small Jersey herd. That led to building an underground cheese cave and began producing Dinah, a fresh, bloomy rind farmstead cheese.

He makes 300 8 ounce rounds of Dinah a week and after thirty days of aging, he delivers the cheese himself, in his pick-up to a select number of restaurants and cheese shops in the Seattle area. His two dogs ride along with Kurt to keep him company.

Kurt is also making a second cheese, Francesca, which is an eight pound round of aged Grana Padano-style hard cheese which he hopes to have on the market by the fall of 2011.

One obstacle he encountered was finding equipment to fit his “smaller” operation. No company in the US made a vat in the forty-gallon size and he ended up buying equipment from Slovenia and Netherlands.

Dinah was his first Jersey cow, who has since passed, and today his herd consists of eleven and he milks three or four regularly.

Dinah, the Camembert-style cheese is made using slow-pasteurized milk, in hopes of keeping the milk’s character and fatty tones. It is hand ladled into molds and after thirty days is “ready for its close-ups” in Seattle.

For someone who professes to not really know what he is doing, Kurt delivers a superior cheese that captured the heart of The Lady. She said you can taste the Jersey but not the barn. It oozes and literally melts in your mouth. It is buttery and splendidly delicious. Sometimes the bloomy rind can be a bit on the mushroomy side; not this one; it’s more like eating a cloud.

The Lady gives Dinah 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got to lend her). She gives Kurt only the best; she greatly admires those who fly by the seat of their pants and aren’t afraid to try something new…

Serving Suggestions: Schmear a wedge of this on a warm baguette and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: Using the theory of pairing wine and cheese from the same region, The Lady suggest Vashon Winery’s Semillon.

Beer Pairing: Iron Horse Brewery’s Malt Bomb Brown Ale

Source: Slow-Pasteurized Jersey Cow Milk

Flagship Goes Raw

October 2, 2010

Made with Raw Milk

Vegetarian-Suitable

Last month when The Lady was at Beecher’s Handmade Cheeses assisting (think: doing stuff that can’t mess up the cheese) in making a batch of Flagship, she was also busy tasting some of their cheeses she had never enjoyed previously. The Flagsheep and Four-Year Flagship she brought home and shared with her favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me). However, there were two she didn’t bring home and although I love her dearly, I’d like to remind The Lady that I hold a grudge and I hold it for a long time… you have been advised…

The two she didn’t bring home were both made using raw milk: Flagship and Flagship Reserve, as you know, the pasteurized versions of these two excellent cheddars are favorites around the manse and often used in our favorite mac n cheese.

The Raw Milk Flagship has all of the characteristics of the pasteurized version: nutty, sweet and full-flavored; with the added earthiness that you get when using raw milk. I imagine this one changes with the season as the cows’ diet changes. For raw milk enthusiasts, you really own it to yourself to buy a triangle wedge and sit back and enjoy. For those who prefer the consistency that comes with pasteurized milk, you’ll still love this cheese… hello… it’s Beecher’s… it can’t be bad… that isn’t going to happen… just saying…

Because I didn’t have the honor of tasting this cheese, under protest, I loan my Paws to The Lady who…gives Raw Flagship 3 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got to loan, under protest).

Serving Suggestions: On a platter with pears, apples, nuts and jams; a perfect cheese for grilled sandwiches and as the primary cheese in the World’s Best Mac n Cheese.

Wine Pairing: 2007 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon

Beer Pairing: Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing Company’s American Pale Ale

Source: Raw Cow Milk

Raw Milk Flagship Reserve

The Lady actually enjoyed tasting this cheese twice the week of the 2010 ACS Conference; the first time was at Beecher’s at Pike Place and the last day of the conference she attended a seminar that explored the complexities of clothbound cheddars. One of the nine cheeses they tasted and discussed was the Raw Milk version of Flagship Reserve.

Once again, as I didn’t personally taste this cheese I can only tell you once more how wonderful the pasteurized version is. We actually had it earlier this week on a cheese plate with bell peppers and Vintner’s Kitchen Strawberry and Pinot Noir Jam. (What The Lady doesn’t know that I know is there is a small cube of this cheese in the fridge that she brought home for The Man to try when she re-creates the Clothbound Cheddar Seminar… The Man has promised to share… that’s why he’s The Man…) Clothbound Cheddars already have an earthy taste and according to The Lady, she picked the raw milk version of Flagship Reserve when tasted beside the pasteurized version – the differences were subtle but they were there: a little earthier; a little more complex; a little more depth.

The Lady loves this cheese and… sheesh… again she borrows my paws to give the Raw Milk Flagship Reserve 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got to share with her…)

Serving Suggestion: A cheese this special should be served in simple ways; it needs no extra fanfare; it brings its own band… on a platter with fruits, nuts and jams… how can you go wrong?

Wine Pairing: The Lady thought a change of pace would be Covey Run Dry Riesling; the honey and peach of the wine would complement the butter and nutty flavors of the cheese.

Beer Pairing: Seattle’s Red Hook’s Big Ballard Imperial IPA

Source: Raw Cow Milk

Rogue Blue Crumbles

September 16, 2010

I freely admit that I digress more than I should… at least that’s what The Lady tells me… a lot… but it’s my blog and I ascribe to the theory that digression adds spice… even though for me cheese is the most fascinating of foods and ranks right up there with napping and chasing other feline interlopers off the property.

My favorite days around the manse are when The Lady is home from the cheese mines. The sweet, smoky smell of New Mexico Hatch Chile Peppers fills the air this morning as The Lady roasts them over the gas flames of the stove. I suspect a mac n cheese with a couple of the peppers is on the menu today and you can bet she has other meals planned that will cause The Man to swoon… he does that a lot… and me to love her all the more.

The only downside to these days is that I have to share her with The Man. Despite my best efforts, The Lady refuses to discuss any possibility that she and I could go it on our own. After thirty years with The Man, he is solidly entrenched and to quote The Lady, “Young man, you were late to the party; The Man has seniority. Get over it.” Sheesh… humankinds and their loyalty to each other…

Her days off always include a new cheese from a cheese mine somewhere in the world… and this is where my digression ends…

David Gremmels and Cary Bryant, the Cheese Swells who run Oregon’s Award-Winning Rogue Creamery, have teamed with Fred Meyer to create a blue cheese crumble blend exclusive to the Fred Meyer  Specialty Cheese Kiosks ( there are 27 Fred Meyer Specialty Cheese Kiosks in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho*).

The Lady likes to shop at the Fred Meyer at 39th and Hawthorne in southeast Portland, Oregon. The store has one of the specialty cheese kiosks and The Lady often finds cheeses there that she brings home for your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me) to taste and review.

Last night she arrived with a container of this new, Fred Meyer exclusive blue cheese blend and treated The Man and me to a freshly baked whole grain baguette schmeared with it. After The Man stopped swooning, he declared it, “One of the best blue cheeses I have ever tasted.” (In the spirit of full disclosure note that there is not one blue cheese The Man has tasted that he didn’t like and usually when The Man and blue cheese interact, there is some swooning involved…)

However, that doesn’t mean he was not speaking the truth…

This unique blend is a combination of Oregon Blue, Oregonzola and Crater Lake Blue; all award-winning cheeses from Rogue Creamery located in Central Point, Oregon in the beautiful Rogue River Valley. This blend is made from organic raw cow’s milk, certified by Food Alliance, and handmade using sustainable practices.

And it’s tasty. It has a nice robust flavor without being overpowering. It is silky on the palate and looks gorgeous sitting atop the baguette.

The Lady, being the wise woman that she is, divided the container and only allowed The Man and me to enjoy half of it with the bread as an appetizer. No doubt it would have disappeared quickly otherwise.

After our cheese plate, she delighted us with a lettuce wedge topped with The Man’s homegrown tomatoes, Hempler ‘s Peppered Bacon crumbles (bought at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer meat counter which The Lady also frequents and I have reviewed here) with a dressing made using the other half of The Rogue Blue Crumbles. Knowing me well, The Lady made my “salad” simply with bacon crumbles and the dressing.

Had I been consulted I would have named this My Rogue Blue Cheese Heaven Crumbles… but what do I know? I’m just a cat with a somewhat sophisticated palate…

I give The Rogue Blue Crumbles 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Well, how about serving it with a baguette or use it on that special salad. You could really kick the heck out of everyday mac n cheese with this blue blend.

Wine Pairing: A nice Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley is the perfect pairing for this cheese. The Lady chose a bottle from Newburg, Oregon’s Award-Winning Adelsheim Vineyards.

Beer Pairing: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, a Barleywine style ale.

Source: Raw Cow’s Milk

And remember, you can only buy this is 27 places and they are all in the Pacific Northwest…

  • The 27 Fred Meyer Specialty Cheese Kiosks are located at select Fred Meyer stores in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area; Bend, Oregon; Vancouver, Washington; Seattle and Tacoma Washington metropolitan area; Anchorage and Wasilla Alaska; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Meridian, Idaho. For a store in your area, comment below and we’ll post the Fred Meyer Specialty Cheese Kiosk nearest you.