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

Raw Jersey Cow Milk

Vegetarian-Suitable Cheeses

As mentioned in the earlier post (Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme), The Lady volunteered at the ACS 2010 Festival of Cheese, cutting and displaying the cheeses submitted for competition. Two more cheeses she was lucky enough to sample were two raw Jersey milk cheeses from Vermont’s Consider Bardwell Farm: Pawlet and Rupert.

The Lady and I first learned about Consider Bardwell Farm while watching Martha Stewart’s Cheese Show in November 2009. Former Literary Agent, Angela Miller and her husband, Russell Glover, moved to Vermont and bought the historic Consider Stebbins Bardwell Farm. Located in the Champlain Valley, this farm founded in 1864 by Consider Bardwell was the home of the first cheesemaking co-op in Vermont.

With Master Cheesemaker, Peter Dixon, Angela, Russell and Chris Gray have revitalized the tradition with goat milk from their herd of 100 Oberhaslis goats and Jersey cow milk from the herd of Lisa Kaimen. Like Sweet grass Dairy, Consider Bardwell uses rotational grazing on pesticide and fertilizer-free pastures, which produces sweet milk and tastier cheese. They hand make their cheeses in small batches and use microbial rennet making their cheeses vegetarian-suitable. They age all the cheeses at the farm as well, giving them the ability to control quality all the way through the process.

Pawlet was the first Consider Bardwell that The Lady tasted that day. Made with raw Jersey Cow milk, this Italian-style toma is aged up to six months. It has a natural rind with an ivory paste. It’s creamy and buttery with a bit of a tangy bite and a nice sweet note.

Rupert is also made from raw Jersey cow milk. It is an Alpine-style cheese in the tradition of Gruyere and Comte. It has the same buttery texture of Pawlet but the taste is sharp and more complex. It is aged at least six months and the flavors deepen over time.

The Lady gives both of these chesses 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got to lend her…).

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese board, Pawlet will shine and appeal even to children, whose palates are more sensitive. Rupert, also works well as a choice for your favorite cheese plate; but this cheese is also excellent for cooking, especially in au gratins. With fruits such as grapes and pears, both cheeses pair well.

Wine Pairing: For Pawlet, the Lady suggests Sauvignon Blanc and for Rupert, she suggests Sangiovese.

Beer Pairing: A Bock or Dunkle is a good choice for either of these fine cheeses.

Source: Both are made from raw Jersey cow milk.

Beecher’s Smoked Flagship

September 23, 2010

The Lady brought home another Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and with The Man, the three of us sat on the deck, enjoyed the evening and snacked on tasty pieces of Smoked Flagship. This week the cheese kiosk at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer has a $3 off coupon for the three Flagship cheeses they sell: Original Flagship, Flagship Reserve and Smoked Flagship. She served it with 34° Sesame Crackers and bell peppers she picked from The Man’s garden. I opted to go with the naked cheese while The Man chose the crackers and peppers with his cheese.

Smoked Flagship is the one year aged Flagship that is cold-smoked over apple and cherry wood. The result is a robust, nutty cheese with smokey taste from the hardwoods. This cheese was winner at the 2010 American Cheese Society Competition which The Lady and I attended last month… well The Lady attended and I reported from the Cheese Bunker located somewhere in the suburbs of Seattle because the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton denied me entrance… sheesh… but I digress.

Like The Man and his Blue Cheese Jones, I have never met a Beecher’s Handmade Cheese that I didn’t like and my Beecher’s cheese streak remains intact with Smoked Flagship. This is one delicious cheese and I hope one that will become a regular in the cheese drawer.

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

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese platter with a few nuts and a little apple butter and you’ve got a terrific pairings. With a little schmear of mus musculus tartare, you’d have a perfect feline dinner. With a dry jack, you could make a smokey fondue.

Wine Pairing: The Lady served this with a California Merlot and the two flavors were well suited… at least that’s what The Lady claimed. I don’t drink wine so I can’t swear it’s a great pairing.

Beer Pairing: Broken Halo IPA from Widmer Brothers

Source: Cow Milk

Awards: You Betcha, as Sarah Palin likes to say

Campo de Montalban

February 26, 2010

Before I review this Spanish mixed-milk cheese, I have to step out and make a few comments about The Lady… now I don’t mean to be rude (OK, maybe just a tad rude)…but after living with me for five human years (about 35 in feline years) you’d think she’d realize that when I want something… mainly food… I’m not going to give up until she does what I want. Felines are far more patient and persistent than the humankinds we own and if we had that opposable thumb thing going for us, we would indeed rule the entire world.

For the past five years, I regularly wake up at 2am and realize I need a snack. At first I work gently at trying to wake The Lady… nudging her eye with my wet, cold nose; sitting on her head; gently applying my paw to her cheek without claws extended… and then with claws extended. You’d think after five years, anyone, including The Lady, would be clever enough to get up, attend to my needs… or whims… and return to her slumber. We’re going to get there eventually, why not just cut to the chase?

 Last night, this Kabuki Dance went on for thirty-five minutes before The Lady finally climbed out of bed, using a few choice words, and fed me… sheesh, if she had gotten up immediately when I stuck my nose in her eye, she would have been back to sleep in under five minutes.

I sent a message to The Brain and he replied by casting aspersions on my training techniques…

Now for Campo de Montalban

This Spanish cheese is a combination of cow, sheep and goat milk and until 1985 was known as Manchego. At that time, the Spanish government changed the laws governing cheese and decreed that certain cheeses from the La Mancha region could only be called Manchego if made from sheep milk. I have written about these government designations to control quality in an earlier blog posting.

This cheese looks like Manchego as the molds used for pressing the curd have the same basket weave pattern as Manchego. The rind has an olive green hue whereas Manchego is brown. The texture of the paste is slightly dry with the individual curds still visible like Manchego; but the taste is quite different.

The blend of the three milks is quite pleasant on the palate with a goaty finish. It is slightly salty, nutty and a bit sweet. Manchego was purported to be a favorite of Don Quiote and because he was around before 1985, perhaps this was the Manchego he preferred. The Man really flipped over this cheese; The Lady…not so much… you know The Lady and goat milk cheese (except Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon, in particular).

And to add it this cheese’s allure: it’s about 30% cheaper than Manchego.

Despite The Lady not being as impressed, I give Campo de Montalban 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: The Man put a little dollop of Dalmatian Fig Spread on his and pronounced (he likes to do that… a lot) it a perfect pairing. And here’s a surprise… most everything you do with Manchego, you can do with Campo de Montalban. The Lady paired this cheese with the new 34° Lemon Zest Crispbread Cracker and said the combo worked quite well. She also paired it with Quince Paste and munched on a few Marcona Almonds… I spread a little Friskies Mariners Catch on mine…divine…

Wine Pairings: Tempranillo or Rioja

Beer Pairing: A Pale Ale would pair well with this cheese.

Source: Cow, Goat and Sheep milks – something for everyone…

The Lady found this Zabar’s (one of The Lady’s favorite NYC delis) video online that includes Campo de Montalban and thought you might enjoy it:

The Lady has discovered that Customers are often reluctant to ask in-depth questions about cheese and instead either ask her to recommend a cheese she (or I) like or they’ll just pick a cheese that sounds or looks “familiar”.

Your favorite Feline Foodie and Tillamook Cheese Fan of the Month for November (that would be me) thought it might be a good time to start short tutorials about the basics of cheese.

First up: the eight basic styles of cheese – all cheeses fall into one of the following categories and understanding what each style is can help make your next cheese-buying trip anxiety-free and more enjoyable.

Fresh Cheese:  Any cheese that does not undergo any ripening period is a fresh cheese. These cheeses have high moisture content; are mild in taste and have a creamy texture. Fresh cheeses include cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta. While mostly bland, they improve, taste-wise, when mixed with other flavors such as herbs, fruit and sweeteners. These cheeses often have acidic or citrus taste and also the taste of fresh milk. Most of these cheeses should be eaten within a few days to a couple weeks of when the package is opened. These cheeses have a short “Use-by” date.

Other fresh cheeses include Cotija, some Mozzarellas, Queso Fresco, Mascarpone, Feta, Vermont Butter and Cheese Company Fromage Blanc, Fresh Goat Cheese aka Chevre, Bel Gioioso Burrata, Crave Brothers Mascarpone, Vermont Butter and Cheese Company Crottin, Valencay, Cabecous Feuilles, Bel Gioioso Crescenza-Stracchino and BelGioioso Tiramisu Mascarpone.

Soft-Ripened Cheese: These are cheeses that ripen from the outside in and are soft even when chilled and can be runny when out at room temperature. The outside rind is often a white, bloomy rind that has been sprayed with a mold, usually penicillium candidum, before a short aging period. The most common cheeses in this category are Brie, Camembert and Triple Creams. In the United States most of these cheeses are made from pasteurized milk; whereas in Europe many of these cheeses are still made from raw milk. Because of the FDA Regulation requiring that raw milk cheeses be aged at least sixty days, most European Cheesemakers make both raw milk and pasteurized versions of their cheeses that fall into this category. I have addressed this issue in a separate posting that you might like to read.

Included in this category are Brie de Nangis, Humboldt Fog, St. Andre, Delice de Bourgogne, St. Albray, Champignon, Cambozola, Pierre Robert, Formager d’Affinois, Crave Brothers Les Freres, Florette, Explorateur, St. Maure, Le Chatelain, Soignon Chevrion Buche, Fourgerus.

Semi-Soft Cheese:  Cheeses in this category have a smooth and mostly creamy interior with little or no rind. Like fresh cheeses, semi-soft cheeses usually have high moisture content and often are very pungent; but can also be quite mild. Raw milk and pasteurized milk are both used in this category. Blues and washed-rind category cheeses can also be in this category.

Semi-soft cheeses include Chaumes, Bel Gioioso Fontina, Havarti, Tillamook Monterey Jack, Bleu D’Auvergne, St. Agur, Bellwether Farms’ Carmody, Roth Kase Petit Swiss, Jarlsberg, Roth Kase ButterKase and young Goudas.

 Washed-Rind Cheese: These cheeses are surface-ripened by washing the cheeses with brine, wine, brandy, beer or other ingredients throughout the aging process. The washing encourages the growth of bacteria and promotes pungent, sometimes very pungent, aromas and are therefore sometimes known as “stinky cheese”. While at Roth-Kase last spring, one of the duties The Lady completed in her Cheesemaking Class was to wash the ripening Gruyere. Also in my review of Taleggio, I state that it is also known as “My Father’s Smelly Feet”. In contrast to their smelly rinds, many of these cheeses are quite mellow and mild in taste such as Epoisses and Taleggio. Both taste absolutely nothing like the way they smell…and that’s a good thing…who would eat cheese that tasted like smelly feet???

Washed-Rind Cheeses include Raclette, Morbier, Epoisses, Taleggio, Pont l’Eveque, Livarot, Le Timanoix, Abondance, Bel Gioioso Italico, Winey Goat and Roth Kase Raclette.

Blue Cheeses: These cheeses have distinctive blue or green veining which is created by injecting penicillium roqueforti mold. This mold adds an easily recognized flavor that ranges from mild to bold and pungent. In Italy these cheeses are called “Gorgonzola”, in France “Bleu” or Roquefort – a protected name and style and in Britain and the US “Blue”.

In this category are Rogue River Blue, Bleu D’Auvergne, Forme d’Ambert, Maytag and Black River Gorgonzola.

Hard/Firm Cheeses: This is a broad category that covers cheeses that may be elastic at room temperature or are hard enough to grate like a Parmesan. Most of the Beemster Premium Goudas fall into this category as do most Cheddars, Swiss-style and Gruyere-style cheeses.

Specific cheeses in the hard category include Beecher’s Flagship Reserve, Comte, Rembrandt Gouda, Parrano, Piave, Grana PadanoParmigiano-Reggiano, Manchego, Idiazabal, Roth Kase Grand Kru, Emmenthal, Tillamook 2-Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar,  Beemster XO and Beemster Vlaskaas.

Natural Rind Cheeses: These are cheeses that develop a natural rind during the aging process without the addition of molds and without washing of the rind. Because they age over several weeks, many of these cheeses are made using raw milk. Many “Tomme” style cheese including Tomme de Savoie are in this category. The rind is usually edible but not necessarily tasty and is often gritty – try a nibble before going full steam ahead with the rind.

Other cheeses in this category include Mimolette, Cantalet, Brillat Savarin, Garroxta, English Stilton (also a blue), Shropshire Blue (another blue), Testun and St. Nectaire.

Spun Cheeses: Often called “Pasta Filata”; these cheeses are usually Italian in origin. As the name says, they are cooked and then kneaded (spun). They can be fresh or very hard grating cheeses depending on the producer. The cooking occurs when the curd is exposed to warm water which in turn makes the curd silky and elastic. The softer cheeses are then brined and the harder cheeses are air-dried.

This category includes BelGioioso Burrata, Mozzarella and Scamorza which all have a high moisture content and BelGioiosos Provolone and Caciocovallo with lower moisture content.

(There is a ninth category sometimes included in a list of cheeses but since your humble feline foodie does not consider it cheese, I refuse to really include it here: processed cheese such as Velveeta, “American Cheese” and other cheeses that can withstand a nuclear war…)

Up Next: Cheese 101: What is a Cheesemonger and other Cheese Vocations

T Minus Three Days and Counting…You can Still Vote by clicking here…please send this feline foodie to Wisconsin…yes, I still live with what The Lady likes to call my “misguided perception” that the manse is run like a democracy…hope springs eternal…

Flagship Reserve Display in the Kiosk

Flagship Reserve Display in the Kiosk

A day The Lady had been awaiting finally arrived on Thursday when The Beecher’s Flagship Reserve truckles were delivered to the Kiosk. She has been begging for this cheese for months. What her kiosk lacked was a great American Cheddar, with all due respect to the regular Beecher’s Flagship, which The Lady and The Man love, as well.

The wait is over; another goal has been achieved and clicked off her “To accomplish” list…

In 2007, The American Cheese Society named Beecher’s Flagship Reserve “America’s Best Cheddar” and they sure got that right.

Flagship Reserve is a bandaged cheddar, wrapped in cloth and open-air aged for at least one year. This cheese made only on days when the milk composition is just right (think Terroir). The curds on these days allow for a lower moisture and higher salt content but keep the creamy finish that Kurt Dammeier (whose middle name is Beecher) demands of this fine cheese. By air-aging this cheddar there is a 14-16% moisture loss during the aging and that concentrates the rich flavor and produces a finish that stays on the palate longer.

Beecher trivia: Kurt learned to make cheese at Washington State University, where the agriculture department produces Cougar Gold cheddar. While working at the kiosk in Vancouver, The Lady discovered that fans of Cougar Gold could be easily converted to devotees of Beecher’s Flagship. There were enough similarities between the two cheeses, to satisfy those WSU folks who previously thought that Cougar Gold was “the cat’s meow”…what’s up with that phrase…

Another bit of trivia: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is located in Pike’s Place in Seattle, right next door to the original Starbucks location…how’s that for a great culinary destination???

Yesterday, the Lady cracked the first truckle (derived from the Latin word “trochlea”…I knew that three years of Latin at WHS when observing in the Jefferson County Quandrant would finally pay off) of Flagship Reserve and began sampling and selling it. The response was universal, “Wow, this is great cheese!!” The sales were brisk and this morning The Lady will be cracking the second truckle, cutting and wrapping this superb cheddar from Seattle’s own Beecher’s Handmade Cheese…God bless America (for Nate’s dad) and Kurt Dammeier…

This feline foodie gives Kurt and his Flagship reserve 4 Paws out of 4 Paws…it may be all I’ve got; but how in the world could I give this cheddar anything less…after all, he also gave the world of cheese No Woman, which you may recall is this feline foodie’s favorite cheese of all time…at least for now…the world of cheese is so big and my journey has just begun.

Serving Suggestions: The Lady let this cheese sit out for about an hour and then she served it with everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink…grapes, the green, seedless kind… pears, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, 34° Sesame Crispbread, Grand Central Bakery Olive Ciabatta, Ficoco Spread, Boar’s Head Salami. Everything worked, it was a cornucopia of delish foods…The Lady and Flagship reserve were hits with this feline foodie and The Man.

Wine Pairings: A California Cabernet or Hogue Cellar’s Syrah

Beer Pairings: Seattle’s Red Hook

Source: The Crème de la Crème of Cows’ Milk

 

Up next: I will conclude my series of reviews of the BelGioioso Family of Cheeses and cross my Paws that you, my devoted fans, will do the right thing and send this feline foodie to Wisconsin…

Ilchester's Applewood

Ilchester's Applewood

Vegetarian- Suitable Cheese

According to The Lady, you can smell the smoke when you cut into a wheel of this cheddar.

The Lady says this English cheddar from Ilchester Cheese in Somerset, England is worth its cost. Most of the English Cheddars she sells in the kiosk are not worth their cost per pound and she cannot justify purchasing them over a good aged Vermont or Tillamook cheddar. For her “everyday” cheddar The Lady buys the Vintage (aged over 2 years) White Tillamook cheddar (about $7.00 a pound). She likes it; The Man likes it and this Feline Foodie also likes it…but I digress…

Even though you can smell the smoke, this cheese is no longer actually smoked; it is flavored to re-create the smoky flavor from back in the day. It is a creamy cheddar and does not crumble like its sharper cousins. The outside is rubbed with paprika to give it a rich earthy clay look.

The Man especially likes this cheese and wishes The Lady would bring it home more often. So does this Feline Foodie.

It is vegetarian friendly as Ilchester uses vegetable rennet to start the cheese-making process.

Let this cheese stand at room temperature for at least a half hour to fully enjoy its flavor.

This Feline Foodie gives Applewood 4 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving suggestions: Best as a table cheese on a cheeseboard with other fine cheeses. It melts well and can be used in sauces and goes well in a risotto dish. Goes nicely with sliced apples…imagine that…

Wine Pairings: Applewood goes well with merlot and shiraz grape wines. These will bring out the mature flavor of the cheese.

Beer Pairings: Hard Cider.

Awards: Yes, according to the Ilchester website but no mention as to what awards have been won.

Source: Cow’s Milk.

Abondance

February 10, 2009

Copyright Abondance.com 2009

Copyright Abondance.com 2009

The Lady’s good friend, Amy aka The Queen of Cheese, gave her a hefty wedge of Abondance to bring home and have me sample. Let me start by saying that after The Lady and The Man, I love Amy, The Queen of Cheese, the best. I weep at the kindness The Queen has shown.

This feline foodie has discovered another wonderful cheese.

Abondance is a raw-milk cheese made in the Haute-Savoie region of France. It is aged ninety days, which makes it eligible for import. The name comes from the breed of cows that produce the milk for this AOC cheese.

It is fragrant with a nutty aroma. Its texture is smooth and velvety and the taste is subtle and mild with a lingering aftertaste. It has an ivory pate with a smooth, amber rind. The rind is similar to that of Morbier. The concave side is a hold over from times when the Monks of l’Abbaye de Saint d’Abondance would tie the wheels to donkeys for transport. The rope fit nicely into the inward curve of the wheel. Clever…

The Man, along with this feline foodie, is quite taken with this cheese and agrees with me that The Lady will have to cheat on her kiosk and buy this cheese for us from the competition (her Kiosk doesn’t carry this cheese…rats).

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

Serving Suggestions: Grapes and nuts would go nicely with this cheese when served as a table cheese. I suspect it would make for one hell of a grilled cheese as well. I would suggest to serve Abondance with  Anguilla bengalensis bengalensis tartare.

Wine Pairings: Goes well with a dry white wine such as Rousette de Savoie or a light red such as Gamay Beaujolais.

Source: Raw Milk from the Abondance Cow.

The Lady and one of her customers were chatting about mac n cheese recipes. He wanted to graduate from Colby-Jack (sold in the deli section of her store) into a more gourmet recipe. The Lady encouraged him to use 1/3 Beecher’s Flagship (which, according to Martha Stewart, makes the best mac n cheese in the world – better than what she got in the pokey, for sure) 1/3 Gruyere and 1/3 Colby Jack (because he had a two pound brick and didn’t want to “waste” it (like cheese ever goes to waste in most cheese hound homes…).

 

That discussion had positive consequences for The Man and The Cat (meaning me, of course). The Lady came home and decided to make mac n cheese for us using cheeses in the fridge. It was yummy; very creamy and very cheesy.

 

Here’s what she did.

 

She prepared the pasta, whole wheat, in a combination of chicken broth, water and salt. Then she poured it into a rectangular glass dish (after draining it – she did NOT rinse it).

 

She made a béchamel sauce using butter, whole wheat flour and no fat half n half. Into the béchamel sauce she added equal parts of cubed Gruyere – to be reviewed by me soon –  (from the Cheese Kiosk), Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar (from the regular cheese section of the store) and Singleton’s Mild White Cheddar (from the deli cheese kiosk). She added garlic, onions, nutmeg and black pepper.

 

When the cheese was melted and the sauce was creamy, she poured it over the pasta and mixed it all together. On top she added some whole wheat cracker crumbs and placed the dish under the broiler just until the bread crumbs turned dark brown. She then turned the broiler off and left the mac n cheese in the oven for 5 minutes to make sure it was warmed and bubbly.

 

Then she served The Man and The Cat.

 

Wow, the only thing better would have been to serve it with a rare fillet of Geomyidae.

 

I give The Lady’s mac n cheese 4 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

 

She served a Merlot with this dish.

 

Please note, The Lady rarely measures anything; she just wings it and hopes for the best. This time it worked; sometimes it doesn’t…

Cablanca Goat Gouda

December 6, 2008

Wheel of Cablanca Goat Gouda

Wheel of Cablanca Goat Gouda

Vegetarian – Suitable

As I have mentioned before, The Lady doesn’t much care for goat cheese. She says it is “too goaty”…hmm, imagine that.

But she brought one home that she likes and ta da…so do I. It is Cablanca Goat Gouda from Holland.

It is a chalky white (think houses along the Mediterranean Sea white), creamy and mild in taste. As goat cheese goes, it’s not “too goaty”. In fact to introduce yourself to goat cheese, this would be a great “entry level” cheese to get your feet wet before moving on to something like Quick’s Hard Goat Cheese.

It has a sweet and almost butterscotch flavor; something it shares with other aged goudas, which rank among the favorites of The Lady and The Man. Holland may not be the cheese capital of the world (France and Italy are duking it out for that title) but those Dutch sure know how to deliver a great Gouda.

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

Serving Suggestions: Serve it with fruit, on salads, with crusty bread. Would it be weird to pair Goat Gouda with a pate of Capra aegagrus hircus? I guess if you’re a goat it would be a form of cannibalism.

The Lady sampled it with Greek Green Halkidiki Olives from the olive bar in the kiosk and said the customers went nuts buying both the cheese and the olives.

Wine Pairings: It pairs well with a light Cote-du-Rhone.

Source: 100% Pasteurized Goat’s Milk