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…
September 1, 2011
The Lady and I have a new Cheesy Friend, Miranda, who is a Cheese Steward at a Baker’s in Omaha, Nebraska. She saw The Lady’s picture (hey, where’s the picture of The Cat????) and our mention in the new Fall Issue of Culture Magazine and dropped us a line via the Kroger pipeline.
Miranda hosts a monthly Cheese Club at her cheese shop in the Baker’s store and we will be posting information on those events so that all you Cheese Nerds in Omaha can attend and taste some great cheeses that are paired “purrfectly”…
Miranda, evidently a nicknamer by nature, has bestowed on moi a new moniker… from this day forward The Lady and The Man are hereby requested to refer to me only as… Sir Kitty Cheese Paws…
July 8, 2011
One of The Lady’s BCFFs sent her this video which she shared with moi. It’s got everything I like: a mouse and cheese… or should I say… cheese and a mouse. Upon doing my “due diligence”, I discovered this film was created and made by Filmmaker, John Nolan. You can visit his website by clicking here. Kudos to John and his talent!!
The Lady visited a newer, independent and family owned grocer in the Vancouver area, Chuck’s Produce and Street Market. It opened last fall but The Lady rarely heads that way when she runs errands or shops. In truth, The Lady hates shopping; a trait I understand is rare in humankinds of the female persuasion. But on this particular day, she had been training a new Cheesemonger at another store in her chain and Chuck’s was on her way home to the manse… one more cynical than I might call this “spying” on the competition…
First a bit about Chuck’s. This is a really cool store. Spacious with lots of open areas and easy access to the products it sells. Lots of organic and local produce at reasonable prices. The store is clean and there’s an old flatbed Ford, which is cool, sitting in the produce area merchandised with items sold in the store… I wonder if that flatbed Ford ever drove by my corner in Winslow, Arizona?
The store is closed on Saturdays for “Family Day” – what a cool thing to do… The store has an amazing meat and seafood counter but sell no pork products and no shellfish. The ono and tuna are sushi-grade quality; the ready-to-cook chicken dishes are mouth-wateringly beautiful: flattened chicken breast wrapped around asparagus with herbs and fat-free cream cheese – The Lady was glad she wasn’t hungry… a terrible time to food shop. The bakery and the deli offer freshly baked goodies and prepared dishes with competitive prices. Did I mention that this is one cool store??? They also have a huge bulk food area loaded with interesting natural and organic selections.
Of course, The Lady was there to see the cheese area. The store has a very respectable selection and she had a chance to chat with their cheese specialist, a friendly and helpful cheesemonger named Jodi. Jodi had just cracked a new wheel of Fontina Val d’Aosta and had The Lady sample it… rattus, one more time I was not in the right cheese place at the right cheese time… The Lady says that Chuck’s doesn’t allow pets… what’s up with that??? Another “feline restricted” establishment… but I digress…
Chuck’s also has a kitchen and classroom area where they offer free classes and events. This Tuesday, May 17th, Jodi will be conducting a class about lesser-known Italian cheeses from 530pm to 630pm. The Lady has it on our “cheese calendar” and plans to attend. The following Tuesday (May 23rd), Jodi will discuss “Bargain and Value Cheeses” from 530pm to 630pm. Again, you will most likely find The Lady there. That class sounds similar in concept to The Lady’s “Everyday Cheeses”. Other classes/events offered at the store include “Vegetarian Picnic Foods” (May 25th) and Healthy Snack Foods for Kids (May 31st – taught by Dr. Kate).
I give Chuck’s Produce and Street Market 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). If you live in Vancouver, Washington, you really should check out this store…
The first cheese we tasted today was Alpenhorn, a young hybrid cheese made by Unikaas, a respected Dutch Gouda cheese manufacturer. It is a marriage between a Dutch Gouda and a Swiss Emmenthal; younger and softer than the aged version of its “parents”. (BTW, Uniekaas also produces another cheese that we simply crave around the manse, the sublime Parrano.)
This cheese has a rich, deep yellow color (ingredients include annatto, a derivative of the achiote tree, used to produce a yellow to orange food coloring) with lots of well-formed baby eyes. It has a creamy texture and mild taste. While it works well on a cheese plate, I think it would do better paired with a nice juicy slice of Foster Farms’ Gallus gallus between two slabs of crusty bread and grilled to perfection with Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter…
I give Alpenhorn, the cheese and not the musical instrument, 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: As listed above, use it in a grilled cheese. The Lady also thought it would be a great choice for fondue because of both its mild flavor and creaminess. I suppose, but I always burn my paws when I join in the “fondue fun”.
Wine Suggestion: The Lady thinks this cheese would be well served by a glass of Tawny Post.
Beer Suggestion: Helles
Source: Pasteurized Cow’s Milk
Cahill’s Irish Cheddar with Whiskey
Vegetarian-Suitable (as are all Cahill Cheeses)
The second cheese The Lady snagged at Chuck’s made The Man seriously swoon… I mean seriously swoon… Cahill’s Cheddar with Whiskey. The Lady and I have previously reviewed another Cahill’s Farmhouse cheese: their Original Irish Porter Cheese (another swooner… if you get my drift…).
Marion Cahill and her family have been making their cheeses for three generations and even though known around the world, they still craft them in the same old-fashioned way: handmade in small batches with great attention to the process. They haven’t sacrificed tradition for commercial venture. Many of their cheeses have won awards including this one we are reviewing here.
This cheddar is laced with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and you can smell the whiskey when you slice this cheese. The taste is more subtle than the scent; but it’s there and brings an extra dimension to an already creamy, full-flavored mature cheddar. The nutty flavor of the cheese combines with the whiskey to deliver quite a tasty savory finish. Of the two, The Man liked this one better and it was mano-a-feline to get a fair share… The Man simply doesn’t understand the concept of sharing… sheesh…
We have always been fans of Mary Cahill and her cheeses and this just solidifies our love for her cheeses all the more.
Serving Suggestions: I think this cheese should be served “Naked” to do it justice. Just pop it on top of a 34° Natural Crispbread Cracker and you’re good to go.
Wine Suggestions: This time, you gotta go with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and forget the vino…
Beer Suggestions: Why not Guinness and call this an Irish Cheese Boilermaker???
Source: The Cows on the Cahill Farm in County Limerick, Ireland…
Which brings to mind…
There is an Irish lassie named Marion
Who makes wondrous cheese; all vegetarian.
Quality cheese that’s handmade; then skillfully purveyed.
To eat her cheese, I’d gladly give up fresh carrion…
(The Lady has since visited Chuck’s a second time and picked up a wedge of Fiscalini’s San Joaquin Gold, a cheese I had begged her to buy… a review will follow soon…)Follow @cheesemonger
Our favorite South Georgia Dairy, Sweet Grass Dairy, is celebrating all things Italian tomorrow and Saturday at their Thomasville Cheese Shop. Please stop in and visit… and be sure you tell them that “The Feline Foodie sent me!!”
What: A two-day Italian extravaganza
When: Fri. March 5 AND Sat. March 6
Time: 10am to 8pm
Where: The Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop
106 North Broad St. Thomasville, GA
Details: In conjunction with Thomsville’s monthly First Friday event, the Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop will present an “Italian Celebration.”
We’ll be highlighting many of the culinary delights from Italy in the cheese shop. There will be samples of Italian antipasti, cheeses, olive oils, wines, and charcuterie. The two-day event is free of charge and open to the public.
A few notable highlights for purchase include:
- 10-year old Balsamico Tradizionale Vinegar
- Gaeta and Castle Vetrano olives
- Italian Chestnut Honey
- Italian Forest Honey
- Bresaola Bernina Beef Top Round
For more information call at 229-228-6704.
February 10, 2011
Reviewing this English Cheddar got buried under a pile of other reviews… my apology to the folks who make this terrific cheese… cheese happens…
When The Lady began her second career as a cheesemonger, this cheese was part of the kiosk schematic… sadly over time, it went away…
It had nothing to do with sales of quality… perhaps the demand was too high for this farmhouse cheddar produced in the West Country at the foot of the Glastonbury Tor by the Green family. The Lady misses this cheese; her customers miss this cheese and as with most things of the greatest importance I, your Feline Foodie, miss this cheese…
According to John Green, he along with his two sons and one nephew are carrying on the tradition of his family that now spans eighty years of cheesemaking. On their 600-acre farm they have a herd of 750 cows and about 25% are raised organically. It is this milk that is used to make the mature cheddar. Fans of their cheese include members of the English Royal Family.
You can view the Green Family taking you through their cheesemaking process by clicking here. It is well-worth taking a few minutes to enjoy their story. They still wrap the cheese by hand, actually there is still a lot of hands-on production at the Green Farm.
The paste of this cheese is a pale buttercup and crumbly. It melts on the palate as the full-bodied flavors pop and explode in your mouth. It is buttery, slightly sweet and nutty with that pleasant earthiness that comes with English cheddars made in the traditional manner. Because the milk is heated to only 35-40° Celsius (95-105°) and not fully heated to a pasteurizing level, you can still taste the hints of the grass and other flora the cows eat.
Serving Suggestions: As you know that cheddars in general rate high around the manse because cheddars are beyond versatile when it comes to what you can do with cheddar… you can do almost anything with cheddar… The Lady presented it to The Man and me on a cheese plate with strawberry jam and water crackers… for us it was a complete meal… But cheddar is also perfect in mac n cheese either as the “Stand-Alone” cheese or as a blend. It makes a perfect grilled cheese.
Wine Pairing: The Lady chose a full-bodied red that stood up to this bold cheddar.
Beer Pairing: The Man chose Pilsner Urquell.
Source: Organic Thermalized Cow’s Milk
(Stay tuned… the next post will be our 500th post (includes pages also) on cheesemonger.wordpress… we promise it will be fun and informative…)
January 14, 2011
This past August (2010) The Lady, The Man and I took our well-documented road trip to Seattle for the 2010 American Cheese Society Conference held at the Downtown Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton.
While The Lady attended the festivities, The Man and I hung out at our Cheese Bunker located somewhere in the suburbs where pets were welcome. Unfortunately, we chose a motel in the same neighborhood where a dog show was also being staged. In addition to being banned from attending the ACS because of the Sheraton “No Pets” rule, your humble Feline Foodie was forced to endure the cacophony of hundreds of dogs who all had inflated egos… after all… they were “Show Dogs”… This may seem minor to humankinds, but dogs smell, well, like dogs and to the felines of the world, that smell signals trouble with a capital T which rhymes with C and stands for Canines…
My first clue that travail was afoot came when the room next to us became occupied…yep… with dogs… and I mean lots of dogs… I was napping when I heard a burst of activity next door. Then I heard sniffing at the communal door between the two rooms… at first I ignored the sniffing, but it became louder as more and more dogs joined the chorus… no doubt, they had caught my scent and were clearly curious. Finally I could stand it no longer and wandered over to the door and took a whiff myself… the scent almost knocked me over… there is nothing sadder than dogs who have been pampered with sprays and powders to make them smell like a bunch of doggie pussies…
To make matters worse, when I decided to lay up against the door, to annoy the yappers their scent took on fear as well as peaches and wet, doggie fur… sheesh… isn’t it a requirement that “show” dogs still have their balls??? As I would later discover there were eight of them next door and yet, they were afraid of one little feline lying by “their” door…
But I digress… seriously digress and I extend my most sincere apologies to the cheesemakers and the cheeses we are about to review…
On Friday of the conference, the Foods of Quebec sponsored the last luncheon. The 2011 ACS will be held in Montreal and it was a chance for the French Canadians to showcases the foods and cheeses of Quebec. As I was not able to attend, the following reviews are those of The Lady.
The luncheon began with Smoked Trout and Salmon Tartar with Dill Crème Fraiche. This was served with freshly baked artisan breads and Sweet Cream Butter. The entrée was seared Lake Brome Duck with apple/cranberry chutney. The duck was served with a mulled port wine reduction on couscous and mini market-fresh vegetables. The Lady said the duck was divine… had I been consulted by Chef Little, I would have suggested that the duck be part of a Quebec Mixed Grill to also include Coccothraustes vespertinus and Rangifer tarandus.
After the entrée, the Quebec Cheese plate was served, accompanied by Neige Apple Ice Wine, a dessert wine that The Lady loved. She will review it at a later date.
From Fromagerie Tournevant, the first cheese on the plate was Chevre Noir, award-winning goat cheddar that derives its name from the black wax that protects the starkly-white cheese. This sharp and slightly herbal cheese was a terrific start for the plate.
Next on the plate was a Sheeps’ Milk Blue Cheese from Fromagerie La Moutonniere located in Ste-Helene de Chester, Quebec. The rind is craggy and definitely rustic and the cheese inside is buttery and mellow. Not only a gorgeous cheese, but one that delights the palate. The cheese has an earthy pungency; the paste is slightly yellow and the veining is more green than blue. The flavor is big, bold but not sharp. It’s more complex than over-powering. Another terrific cheese from Quebec. This cheese took home a 1st Place in its Class at the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards.
The third cheese on the plate was a Swiss-style cheese, Frere Jacques from Abbaye St. Benoit du Lac. This cheese has large eyes, is a mature, hard cheese that is halfway between Jarlsberg and Emmenthaler in taste intensity. The Lady liked this cheese and called it “Kid-Friendly”. This cheese took home 2nd Place in Class at the 2010 American Cheese Awards.
The fourth cheese was Le Guillaume Tell, Brie from Fromagerie de Domaine Feodal. This cheese is washed with ice cider and tastes like cream and fermented apples. The aroma is a combination of mushrooms and apples. It melted on The Lady’s palate; she was in heaven. This cheese took home a 3rd Place Award in its Class at the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards.
The last cheese on the Quebec Cheese Plate was from Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser, Tomme du Haut Richelieu, a goats’ milk cheese that was created out of necessity. The cheesemaker had more goat milk than needed to make its Chevrochon and opted to make a longer-shelf life cheese. Tomme du Haut Richelieu has a thin washed-rind in shades of pale orange, covered with a thin white mould. The paste is beige at the rind and fades into a creamy white at the center. It smells like wet earth and grass after a spring rain. The rind has a mineral taste and the paste has a nice, tangy goat taste without that bucky-aftertaste that sometimes comes with aged goat cheese (such as that dreadful English hard goat cheddar that I soooo dislike…)
But that was not the end of the cheese course… in the center of the table was the 2009 Best Cheese in the World as declared at the 2009 World Cheese Awards: Le Cendrillon produced in Quebec by La Maison Alexis de Portneuf. This is a goats’ milk cheese covered in vegetable ash and surface-ripened with a slightly sour taste, again with just a nudge of goat tang. The cheese comes in a small log shape and the table shared this treasure.
The Lady gives the French-Canadian Cheese Plate 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got to share with her).
After the cheese plate, a pear and maple tart was served with Sortilege English Cream. You can never go wrong with pear and maple…
The Lady hopes to attend the 2011 American Cheese Society Conference so that she can taste and enjoy more Flavors of Quebec…