From Top: Hopyard, Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar and Mountina

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).

2005 Madrone Mountain Mundo Novo

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.

A bit of trivia, the brandy snifter in the picture is from the movie, Titanic, and is a replica of the crystal used on the maiden (and as it turns out, last as well) voyage of the Titanic. The filmmaker wanted everything authentic in the movie, right down to the china, silver and crystal.Later the props were sold through the catalog of J. Peterman and The Lady bought two as an anniversary gift for The Man.

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.”

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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…
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At the 27th Annual American Cheese Society (ACS) Judging and Competition in Montreal, Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue was crowned Best in Show, beating out 1675 other entries. The ACS is the largest cheese competition in North America and often is referred to as the “Academy Awards of Cheese.”

This is the second time in three years that Rogue Creamery and its signature blue cheese, Rogue River Blue, have won this prestigious award. The creamery is owned by Cary Bryant and David Gremmels and in Central Point, Oregon.

“We are honored by this recognition of Rogue River Blue, an American blue that represents the flavors of our region,” says Co–owner and Cheesemaker Bryant. “We enter the ACS Competition and Judging annually for the score sheets. Both technical and aesthetic cheese judges from around the world take part in this competition and provide invaluable feedback on the cheeses they score. The Best of Show for us not only celebrates Rogue River Blue as the finest cheese in North America, but it showcases our teams’ dedication to quality from the dairy, to the make room, aging caves and packaging.”

Co-owner and Cheesemaker Gremmels adds, “It takes a lot of hard work, planning and passion to make Rogue River the most distinctive blue cheese in the world. The recognition from ACS affirms this effort put forth to achieve the distinguishing flavor character, texture and quality inherent in a raw milk cheese.”

Rogue River Blue is handmade using autumnal equinox milk from Brown Swiss and Holstein cows’ milk, certified sustainable by Food Alliance. The cows graze in 1,650-foot elevation pastures along the Rogue River and in 5,000-foot elevation pastures along the Klamath River, where they eat a variety of grasses, wild herbs, and wild flowers supplemented with grass hay, alfalfa and grain grown on the ranch. The 5-pound (2.2-kg) wheels are made by hand and aged in specially constructed caves. The cheese ripens from naturally occurring molds found in the Rogue River Valley and, therefore, reflects a deep connection to the land. After maturation, the cheese is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves from Carpenter Hill Vineyard, which have been macerated in Clear Creek Pear Brandy and tied to the wheel with raffia. The cheese is released annually starting in September.

This year the ship date is scheduled for on or about September 13th. It should be in your favorite specialty cheese shop by the end of the month.

Rogue River Blue was honored as World’s Best Blue at the 16th World Cheese Awards in London, beating out entries from all over the world. That was the first time that an American blue cheese has won the title. The creamery also made history in 2007 by becoming the first American exporter of raw milk cheese to the European Union; its cheese is carried in Whole Foods Market, Neal’s Yard Dairy, London and Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, Paris.

Rogue Creamery was founded in 1928. The Vella family from Sonoma, Calif., acquired it from a co-op in Southern Oregon in 1935. In the 1950s, it began making some of the country’s best blue cheese. In 2002, Ig Vella selected Cary Bryant and David Gremmels as the new owners, and it now produces a variety of award-winning cheeses. It offers the only vertically integrated third-party certified sustainable cheese in the U.S. Its local dairy, Rogue View, and creamery, Rogue Creamery, both are certified sustainable by Food Alliance and Steritech, and certified organic by Oregon Tilth.

In the Pacific Northwest, you can buy Rogue River Blue in late September at select Fred Meyer Stores. Year round, you can find other Award-Winning Rogue Creamery Cheeses at most Fred Meyer Stores. For a location near you, please click here.

Rogue River Blue will also be available at Murray’s Cheese in Manhattan and Murray’s Cheese Shops in select Kroger Stores nationwide. For a list of Murray’s Cheese Shops in Kroger Stores, please click here.

Source: Rogue Creamery

Full FTC Disclosure: The Lady has been invited to “make” (remember… this means hang around in the make room and do things that won’t ruin the cheese…) cheese at Rogue Creamery August 24-26… so… Rogue Creamery has a special place in her heart…
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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…

Looking Back…

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…

In 2010, the blog was named to two “Top Cheese Blogs” lists on the web; this week, the 160,000th visitor dropped by this blog and more than 18K have visited my recipe blog.

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.

Looking Forward…

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…

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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…

For a complete list of winners, please click here.

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:

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese’s Mascarpone (1st)

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery’s Mascarpone (3rd)

Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam (2nd)

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery’s Coupole (2nd)

Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog Grande (3rd)

Beecher’s Flagsheep (3rd)

Sartori’s Reserve BellaVitano Gold (3rd)

Tumalo Farm’s Rimrocker (2nd)

Sartori’s Limited Edition Pastorale Blend (3rd)

Beehive Cheese Company’s Barely Buzzed (1st)

Rogue Creamery’s Chocolate Stout Cheddar (3rd)

Beecher’s Marco Polo Reserve (1st)

Beecher’s Four Year Flagship (2nd)

Tillamook County Creamery Association’s Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar (3rd)

Beecher’s Flagship Reserve (3rd)

DCI Cheese Company’s Salemville Blue Cheese (2nd)

DCI Cheese Company’s Black River Gorgonzola (3rd)

Hook’s Cheese Company’s Little Boy Blue (1st)… Boy did The Lady and miss it on this one…

Emmi Roth USA’s Gran Queso (2nd)

BelGioioso’s Cheese’s Sharp Provolone Mandarino (3rd)

Sartori’s Sarvecchio Parmesan (1st)

BelGioioso’s Burrata (1st)

Sartori’s Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano (1st)

Beecher’s Smoked Flagship (3rd)

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese’s Petit Frere Reserve (3rd)

Tumalo Farms’ Classico (1st)

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery’s Crottin (3rd)

Sartori’s Reserve Merlot BellaVitano (3rd)

Vermont Butter and Cheese Company’s Crème Fraiche (1st)

Vermont Butter and Cheese Company’s Cultured Butter (3rd)

LaClare Farms Specialties’ Evalon (1st)

Uplands Cheese’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve (1st)

Consider Bardwell Farm’s Rupert (2nd)

Widmer’s Cheese Cellars’ Washed Rind Traditional Brick (3rd)

 

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…

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!!!

Fred Meyer’s Hawthorne Store at 39th and Hawthorne in SE Portland (the only Leed’s Certified Silver Grocery Store in Oregon) is promoting local cheeses and other local products at their Cheese Kiosk.

For the next few weeks you can sample up to 20 local cheeses and listen to local music as well. The kiosk has featured Pink Martini , Padam, Padam and 2011 Grammy Winner, Esperanza Spalding so far. Stop in for a taste and pick up their exclusive “Cheese Bytes” newsletter that features more information about the local cheeses they are selling:

The locavore movement gained momentum as more and more Americans became aware that eating “local” is both eco-conscious and healthy. Eat that which is grown in your neighborhood.  When you eat locally produced food, you ingest local minerals and vitamins that sustain your body and immune system while helping the environment by reducing the burden on the transportation grid.

The Fred Meyer Hawthorne Store’s cheese kiosk is offering several cheeses from local diaries and cheesemakers. Some are made using raw milk; many are vegetarian-suitable and use sustainable farming practices.

Featured Cheesemakers:

Oregon Cheeses:

The most recent additions to the cheese kiosk are from Tumalo Farms in Bend, Oregon. In March 2009, the U.S Cheese Championship Contest was stunned as a cheese maker “newbie” captured one of the most prestigious prizes in his profession with his “Classico”, a Gouda-Style Goat Cheese which finished second place in the “Hard Cheese” category. It was the first time an Oregon cheese had finished in the top three in the championship and one of the few times a goat milk cheese had finished that high in the competition. We are pleased to offer Classico and two other goat cheeses from Tumalo Farms: Fenacho, peppered with fenugreek seeds and Pondhopper, named after the local micro-brew that gives it an extra punch.

From Rogue Creamery, they offer five award-winning blues: Oregon Blue, Oregonzola, Smoky Blue, Crater Lake and a Fred Meyer exclusive crumble mixture of the four cheeses. In the fall we will also have the 2009 American Cheese Society Grand Prize Winner, Rogue River Blue. All Rogue Creamery cheeses are made with raw cow’s milk produced using sustainable farming methods and all are vegetarian-suitable.

Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s Brindisi is a Fontina-style cheese made using 100% organic jersey cow milk. The name of the cheese comes from the maiden name of the cheesemaker’s mother.

Washington Cheeses:

 Beecher’s at Pike Place Market began making its award-winning Flagship Cheddar in small batches behind glass for passersby to stop and watch the process.  They carry the original Flagship, naturally Smoked Flagship, Bandage-wrapped Flagship Reserve, No Woman (named after the Bob Marley tune and this Feline Foodie’s all-time favorite cheese) and Marco Polo. All of their cheeses are vegetarian-suitable. (A special Beecher’s Demo is scheduled for Saturday, May 28th – 11am to 3pm)

The cheese kiosk also has two farmstead goudas from Appel Farms located in Ferndale, Washington. Appel Farms practice sustainable agricultural methods and the entire family, parents and children alike, are involved in the farming and cheesemaking process.  Naturally Smoked Gouda and Jalapeno Gouda can be found on the cheese island, located next to the kiosk.

Many special events, including local wine and cheese pairing demos, are planned throughout this special event…

Get your locavore on at Fred Meyer’s Hawthorne Store!!!


Did you know that when you buy local each dollar you spend is used five more times to support the local economy?