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.”

Member, Association of Food Bloggers

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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…

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 bought a couple wedges of Parrano recently and has been using this “hybrid” cheese more and more. I use the term “hybrid” because Parrano is an aged Gouda from Holland that thinks it is Parmesan.

The Lady and I had forgotten how great this cheese is and even though we have tasted this cheese and used it off and on during the past few years… it’s like discovering a new cheese… we love this cheese.

We originally reviewed this cheese in September 2008 and you can read that review by clicking here. We also reviewed the older Parrano Robusto in January 2010. If you read those reviews, you will see Parrano has been a favorite around the manse for several years.

But somewhere along the road of “So Many Cheeses…” we ignored Parrano… but it’s back in the cheese drawer and we plan to keep this cheese around the manse for lots of uses. In the last couple of weeks, The Lady has used this cheese in a grilled cheese with prosciutto and tomato … a hit… in a bacon and Parrano omelet… a hit… with Dare Cabaret Crackers and Strawberry Preserves… a hit… but last night she hit the Parrano Grand Slam when she used Parrano to make an Alfredo Sauce that she poured over Farfalla pasta, fresh mushrooms, fresh zucchini, fresh asparagus and sautéed boneless/skinless chicken thighs. The recipe is posted on our recipe blog. This was, by far, the best Alfredo Sauce… ever… seriously… the best ever!!

If you haven’t added Parrano to your “everyday cheese” drawer… well… now is the time!!

Parrano rules!!

I give Parrano 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got) and elevate it to my “Everyday Aged Gouda”.

Wine Pairing: 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon

Beer Pairing: Rich Brown Ale

Please note: Fred Meyer, where The Lady bought our Parrano, is currently offering a nifty cheese grater with a piece of Parrano as a combination item. You only pay for the cheese; the grater is a gift from Parrano. The grater captures and holds the shredded cheese- about one cup – inside a plastic cup.

JUST IN: OPRAH NAMES BEECHER’S MAC AND CHEESE ONE OF HER ULTIMATE FAVORITE THINGS FOR 2010!! CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE AT BEECHERS…

Rolling out the début of the Hawthorne Fred Meyer’s “The Chef and The Cheesemonger” Series® will be Beecher’s Handmade Cheese’s “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese sampling on Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 1pm to 5pm.

Currently, Hawthorne is the only store in the Fred Meyer chain with its own Chef, who is teaming with the Cheese Steward Lead to create samplings using recipes that incorporate specialty cheeses and other specialty products available at their store. The Chef will use (or create) recipes which will also be sampled. The main ingredients will be available for purchase along with a free copy of each recipe to make it easy to re-create at home.

First in the series, The Chef and The Cheesemonger are thrilled to announce that Kurt Beecher Dammeier of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese located at Pike’s Market in Seattle, has graciously provided use of his recipe, “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese, which has been featured on Martha Stewart’s television series. You can view the video of Kurt and Martha by clicking here.

The recipe, just in time for Thanksgiving, will make four servings featuring Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, the primary cheese needed to make this to-die-for Mac and Cheese. (Flagship and the other cheeses used in the recipe will all be grated and available for purchase). The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate any Thanksgiving gathering.

AND as an added bonus, Kurt is also providing signed copies of his 2007 Cookbook, Pure Flavor, which includes the “World’s Best” Mac n Cheese recipe and more than 100 other recipes that feature the unique bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Customers can enter a free drawing to win one of the cookbooks.

Future samplings are planned for 2011 and will be announced both here and on the Fred Meyer Facebook page.

Rolling out the début of the Hawthorne Fred Meyer’s “The Chef and The Cheesemonger” Series® will be Beecher’s Handmade Cheese’s “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese sampling on Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 1pm to 5pm.

Currently, Hawthorne is the only store in the Fred Meyer chain with its own Chef, who is teaming with the Cheese Steward Lead to create samplings using recipes that incorporate specialty cheeses and other specialty products available at their store. The Chef will use (or create) recipes which will also be sampled. The main ingredients will be available for purchase along with a free copy of each recipe to make it easy to re-create at home.

First in the series, The Chef and The Cheesemonger are thrilled to announce that Kurt Beecher Dammeier of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese located at Pike’s Market in Seattle, has graciously provided use of his recipe, “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese, which has been featured on Martha Stewart’s television series. You can view the video of Kurt and Martha by clicking here.

The recipe, just in time for Thanksgiving, will make four servings featuring Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, the primary cheese needed to make this to-die-for Mac and Cheese. (Flagship and the other cheeses used in the recipe will all be grated and available for purchase). The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate any Thanksgiving gathering.

AND as an added bonus, Kurt is also providing signed copies of his 2007 Cookbook, Pure Flavor, which includes the “World’s Best” Mac n Cheese recipe and more than 100 other recipes that feature the unique bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Customers can enter a free drawing to win one of the cookbooks.

Future samplings are planned for 2011 and will be announced both here and on the Fred Meyer Facebook page.

       

Last night, The Lady attended the first “pre-event” of the 2010 ACS Conference. Gordon Edgar read two passages from his book, “Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge” at Sheri  Levigne’s  Artisan Cheese Shop, Calf & Kid, at the Melrose Place Market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood next to downtown Seattle. A few dozen serious cheese nurds were on hand to meet Gordon and greet each other. Sheana Davis provided the cheeses for the crowd and everyone was chatting about…cheese…

The Lady met several of our Facebook cheese friends: in addition to finally meeting Gordon, Sheri and Sheana in the flesh (as opposed to the virtual internet flesh) she met Jeanne Carpenter of Wisconsin Originals, Juliana Uruburu of the East Bay area The Pasta Shop and Emiliano Lee who writes the nahmo blog. Allison Hooper, past ACS President and Owner of Vermont Butter and Cheese and The Lady were able to catch up and chat about VBCC’s new Double Cream Cremont.

The Lady was “honored” to be among many of the cheese world “swells” and is looking forward to a terrific week of cheese and all things cheese… but let’s discuss me… after all, as far as I’m concerned, it is all about me…

I’m here in my own ACS 2010 “Cheese Bunker” in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland because the Seattle Sheraton has some ridiculous rule of “No Pets”… as I have pointed out before, I bathe myself several times a day and humankinds for the most part, only bathe once in any twenty-four hour period… you do the math…

The Lady found a little motel across Lake Washington that is “Pet Friendly” and not too far away from downtown. Even better, for The Lady, it is only three minutes away from a Fred Meyer… for some reason Fred Meyer has a special place in The Lady’s cheese heart (and my tummy). We’ve been in town less than twelve hours and The Lady has already made two “pit stops” at the FM across the freeway from the “Cheese Bunker” – so named because this is the spot where I will be blogging and reporting for the next five days… because the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton has not evolved enough to recognize the importance of this Feline Foodie or any of my fellow feline and canine travelers… but I seriously digress… according to The Lady, I do that a lot…

My moles within the ACS have already begun reporting in on the five phone and high-speed internet lines installed for me after we checked in… this motel understood the honor of having The Feline Foodie as a guest… their gain is the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton’s loss… but I’m not bitter about the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton denying me admittance… nope… not bitter…

Without divulging any secrets I have been told that 30 Cheese Judges arrived at the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton to judge 1462 American cheeses and each judge was treated to 65 delicious morsels of “Cheese, Glorious Cheese”. They will do the same again today.

The Lady and The Man will spend today together until The Lady picks up her Conference credentials this afternoon at the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton and attends the “First-Time Attendees” meet-and-greet tonight. Tomorrow she begins her journey through the 2010 ACS Cheese-a-Topia… until then, I remain your humble Feline Foodie reporting from the “Cheese Bunker” hidden somewhere in the suburbs of Seattle…