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…
This week marks my three year anniversary as your sometimes humble… and sometimes… not so humble cheese correspondent. In that time, I have written 532 posts reviewing more than 750 cheeses (and I have 100+ reviews waiting in the wings…) and 31 pages providing other information about all things cheese. The Lady likes to grab the glory but we all know who’s the brain behind this blog… not to be confused with The Brain…
The first cheese I reviewed was from my friends in Seattle: Beecher’s No Woman. I love this cheese. When The Lady brings this cheese home… which is never often enough… I claw my way up her leg to get at those tasty and spicy morsels. Three years later and hundreds of cheese tasted and reviewed, No Woman remains my personal favorite. The Lady is nothing short of fickled on this front; her “favorite” cheese is usually the last one she tasted… how capricious… sheesh… humankinds… pick a favorite and stick with it…
The Lady began her cheese career as a part-time Cheese Steward for Fred Meyer (yep, that’s The Lady in that picture) in July 2008; in January 2009, she became a Cheese Lead for Fred Meyer’s Flagship store in Portland and in June 2011, she became the Murray’s Cheese Specialist for Kroger and Fred Meyer.
DPI blocked its employees’ access to my blog; then later, due to public outcry, retracted its sad and uninformed decision.
The Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn decided to get snarky and called me zoomorphically delusional… like they’d even know a zoomorphically delusional feline… should one walk through their door.
During these blogging years, while I worked my paws to the bones, The Lady visited cheesemakers in Wisconsin twice and “made” cheese at Roth Kase and Beecher’s Cheese. Please note, that in both instances, when it says “made cheese; it means the real cheesemakers let The Lady do stuff that would mess up the cheese… She received a Certificate in Cheese 101 from Roth Kase and attended two Cheese 101 Classes led by Liz Thorpe of Murray’s Cheese. She scored perfectly following two days of training and became a “Red Jacket-Certified” Murray’s Cheesemonger. In June, she attended Murray’s Boot Camp; she attended training classes in Dallas and this week returned from Denver where she assisted in her first training class of the new Murray’s cheesemongers at King Soopers… all the while leaving The Man and moi at home to fend for ourselves… wrangling The Man is a full-time job, let me tell you… God Bless The Lady, she’s been doing it for 31 years… and loving it, I might add… but I’m not bitter…
The Webmaster of the Estate of Spalding Gray, John Boland, suggested I change my name and not trade on the success of the great actor whose name The Lady chose for moi out of admiration and no other reason… except I have gray hair. If we want to get picky, then perhaps John Boland should change his name and not trade on the success of the Athlete, John Boland, who won gold medals at the Games of the 1 Olympiad in Athens in 1896… just saying…
The Lady, The Man and I hit the road to Seattle to attend the American Cheese Society Conference in 2010; although I only got as close as a Bunker somewhere in the burbs of Seattle due to the restrictive attitudes of the Seattle “No Pets Allowed” Sheraton… shame on you… while The Lady rubbed elbows with all the Cheese Swells of North America… it’s just wrong the way humankinds treat the superiorly intelligent beings known to them as felines… but I digress.
A world of cheeses to taste and review… while The Lady continues her gallivanting ways around the cheese world… next up… cheesemaking (see note above…) at Rogue Creamery and then on September 14th, she heads to the Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy… sheesh…
July 26, 2011
The Dutch Cheesemaker, Wyngaard Kaas naturally ripens its cheese in an old warehouse located on the Old Rhine River in Woerden, Netherlands. The one hundred-year old warehouse contains shutters which open and close to adjust and control the micro-climate inside the building. In the winter, additional heating is added. By using natural methods to age their cheeses, Wyngaard Kaas allows the cheese to age at its own pace and the cheesemakers sell their cheese when it’s ready. “Factory” (think “industrial”) cheese, on the other hand, is aged in warehouses where the temperature is kept artificially low and the humidity artificially high aging the cheese more quickly with little loss of weight. By aging naturally, Reypenear cheeses lose as much as 25% of their weight during the process; but the end product is superior and the cheesemakers are willing to sacrifice money for quality.
These cheeses are made only during the months when the cows are free to eat grass in the pastures of The Netherlands. Even though the milk is pasteurized you can still taste the grass and flora nuances that make these cheeses taste even better. The producer buys the milk from a co-operative and pays a premium for the milk in order to guarantee the farmers will continue to allow the cows to graze outdoors.
The Lady and I recently tasted both the one-year Reypenear Gouda and the two-year Reypenear VSOP. And, in case you were wondering, our love for aged gouda continues here at the manse. The Lady’s “first love” in specialty cheeses was Rembrandt and many aged goudas later, that love continues to blossom and bloom. It’s pretty clear; we have never met an aged gouda we didn’t like…
The first we tasted is the Reypenear One Year gouda. This cheese is creamy and soft with a nice lingering, buttery taste. This Award-Winning cheese is at home on a cheese board and is delightful when added to your favorite grilled cheese. And, here’s a surprise, The Lady would gladly add this to one of the many mac n cheese dishes she loves to create and serve to The Happily-Swooning Man…
I give the one year Reypenear 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Wine Pairing: A lighter Pinot Noir would be a nice pairing
Beer pairing: How about a Brown Ale
Source: Pasteurized Milk from Pasture-fed Cows
The older sister of the One-Year Reypenear is the Two-Year VSOP Gouda. This gouda intensifies with its age; the caramel, the butterscotch and the fruity flavors all merge here to bring complexity to a cheese that melts on your palate. Filled with those luscious protein crystals that explode with even more flavor, it just doesn’t get any better than VSOP from Raypenear.
I give Repenear VSOP 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got… and I might add, it’s all I need…)
Serving Suggestions: Please your guests with a cheese platter with this cheese and grapes, apricot preserves and 34° Natural Crackers. They will love you and be impressed at how cool you are… You can also add this to your favorite pasta dish or mac n cheese.
Wine Pairing: A full-bodied Cabernet would pair quite nicely.
Beer Pairing: Belgian Ale
Spirit Pairing: Scotch or Bourbon
Source: Pasteurized Milk from Pasture-fed Cows
Awards: 2007 – Nantwich Cheese Show: Gold for Best Gouda
July 24, 2011
Vegetarian-Suitable – Made using a microbial rennet
In Wales, the coal miners were called “Colliers”; a sturdy group of men who worked the mines in semi-darkness and hard conditions. Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar is named after these brave men who daily risked their lives and considered cheese a staple of their diet; particularly their midday meal which was eaten inside the mines.
The Lady and I are big fans of cheddar; you might say we have never met a cheddar we didn’t like. In fact, many of them we fall in love with and take them home to meet The Man.
One of those cheddars is Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar… some might think that a cheesemaker has big cojones to put “powerful” on the package… but when you can back it up with the goods, then I say, “If you got it; it’s time to flaunt it”.
This is one of those great, sharp cheddars; so “powerful” it’ll “take the back of your head off”, to quote, Gavin, a poker buddy of The Lady and a life-long friend of The Man. Gavin only used this term to describe food he loved and the stronger and bolder the cheese, the more he loved it.
Collier’s is made with pasteurized cow milk from local farms; using the same recipe and aged in Denbighshire for up to sixteen months. This cheese is crumbly, nutty, slightly sweet and toasty. It melts in your mouth and lingers for a long, satisfying finish. It’s robust enough to get you through a long shift in the coal mines… or the cheese mines…
You’re gonna love this cheese…
Serving Suggestions: A cheese board is a perfect place to showcase this cheese. With salami and crackers, you’ve got a meal that satisfies even the most discriminating cheese nerd.
Wine Pairing: You need a powerful cabernet to stand-up to this powerful cheese.
Beer Pairing: IPA
Source: Pasteurized Cow Milk
Do You Want To:
Work in the world’s best cheese shop?
Join the cheese revolution?
Become an expert cheesemonger?
Are You Ready to:
Work hard and learn something new?
Sample cheese from around the world?
Talk to customers, make them laugh and sell lots of cheese?
If you answered “Yes!!” to these questions;
You can work with Murray’s at Kroger.
We are looking for Murray’s Cheese Associates for Boulder, Colorado:
Cheese Master – Deadline to apply is August 19
Cheese Stewards – Deadline to apply is October 8
In Boulder, Murray’s Cheese Shops will open
in the following King Soopers/City Markets:
3600 Table Mesa Dr. Boulder, CO 80303
Bob DiCroce or Deborah Unger
1650 30th St. Boulder, CO 80301
Bill Light or Sharon Cade
995 S. Hover Street Longmont, CO 80501
Dave Gabbert or Rhonda Lamach
We would love to see you in a Murray’s Cheese Shop…
July 17, 2011
Vegetarian-Suitable – Made Using Microbial Rennet
Naturally Lowfat Cheese
There’s a Humankind Adage that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”… The Lady is a testament that the adage is NOT always true. When she and I began this cheese journey, one of our earliest tastes of goat cheese was a hard goat cheddar that no doubt was the result of the billy goat getting more than a tad too close to the milking parlor. That cheese was vile and you can review my less than flattering review by clicking here.
We were convinced that no goat cheese would ever receive a 4 Paws review. Little-by-little, we found goat cheese adoration in Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon and true goat cheese love came our way when we met Rhonda Gothberg and the Gothberg Farms Chevre and Goat Goudas.
While in New York last week, The Lady ate a Murray’s Cheese Vegetable Sandwich that included Fresh Goat Chevre from Westfield Farm. The Westfield Capri is made every Monday and arrives at Murray’s early on Tuesday. The Capri sells out before the week is over and customers must wait until the following Tuesday for the next delivery.
Located in Central Massachusetts, Westfield has been making award-winning farmstead cheese since 1971. In 1996, their Capri Bluebonnet won Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition. Westfield sells most of their cheeses to finer restaurants and specialty cheese shops like Murray’s; however if you aren’t in Greenwich Village you can order from their website to satisfy your Westfield Jones…
The Westfield Farm Capri is made from pasteurized goat milk and was less than a week old when The Lady ate it on her veggie sammy. It’s pure white with a soft, creamy texture. It has a rich, tangy, citrus taste that lingers and satisfies.
Serving Suggestions: This is a cheese you can use as a substitute for cream cheese and because of its naturally lower fat content (compared to sheep and cow milk cheeses) you can generously spread it, guilt-free, on a baguette and enjoy a feast with a bowl of berries.
Wine Pairing: Sancerre or a light white
Beer Pairing: Lambic
Source: Pasteurized Goat Milk
July 16, 2011
Made Using Raw Milk
All right, I admit that the first review I wrote of a Caerphilly was less than flattering and quite a few of you, my loyal readers, took the time to let me know what an ignorant jackass I was… in my defense, what The Lady and I tasted was a slimy, cryovaced, rindless, white cheese that tasted like grade school paste.
This week The Lady returned from New York and she brought home a wedge of Todd Trethowan’s Gorwydd Caerphilly… holy smokes… this Caerphilly is nothing like what we tasted back in the day…
Originally, Caerphilly was made back in the 18th Century as a way to use leftover milk. In the 1830’s it became a viable source of income for English Dairy Farmers and somewhere along the way, the Caerphilly train fell off the tracks and became what I tasted and hated.
Caerphilly, with its thick, natural rind was a favorite of Welsh coal miners because it could be eaten with dirty hands. Not only did it make a nutritious lunch in the mines, but the miners believed that the cheese absorbed some of the toxic fumes that often were present in the tunnels. This belief was so widely assumed, that the cheese became an export to other coal mining areas of England.
In 1996, Todd Trethowan returned Caerphilly cheesemaking to the way it is supposed to be… Now Maugan and Kim Trethowan carry on his tradition.
This raw cow milk cheese with its natural velvety rind resembles in no way the cheese I hated… under the natural rind, is a breakdown layer that is creamy and mushroomy. This creamy layer surrounds a crumbly paste that is tart with a pronounced lemon tang. The rind is earthy, chewy and edible; don’t throw it away.
We love this cheese; this cheese is one that I hope The Lady will bring home often and in large wedges. I could die happily with Caerphilly grasped in my paws…
Serving Suggestion: This cheese deserves an honored place on your cheese plate. Serve it with a few grapes and a little rustic bread and you have a delightful meal.
Wine Pairing: A fruity red is an excellent choice.
Beer Pairing: Try a golden wheat beer; it’ll make the lemon really zing…
Source: Raw Cow Milk
Awards: This cheese has won at least one award every year since Todd began making this cheese.