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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Rogue Creamery

(By clicking on the above picture, you will be able to view a slideshow of the entire trip.)

The Lady was invited to join six winning Fred Meyer Cheesemongers and two fine Ladies from DPI to make cheese at Rogue Creamery.

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…

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About Oregon Cheese Guild

August 17, 2011

This video was produced by Christine Hyatt, Current President of the American Cheese Society. You can visit her website by clicking here.

Thanks Christine for sharing this with us. 

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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?

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

Whole Foods’ Cheese Plate

February 17, 2011

The Lady and The Man stopped in the local Whole Foods to buy some White Truffle Oil and while there, The Lady couldn’t resist checking out the cheese counter. Whole Foods carries many cheeses that The Lady doesn’t carry at her kiosk. She went through the small morsel basket and came up with six small pieces she used to make up a Valentine’s Day Cheese Plate:

Before I begin, let me express a bit of disappointment that two of the pieces had mold under the label side although the dates were well in the distance. We all realize this can happen, but when cheeses are in the $10-$40 a pound range, you’d prefer to know they are freshly wrapped. Also, a couple of the pieces were on the dry side which also indicated more age than the label dates indicated… The Lady simply trimmed the mold away; but had these been larger sizes, she would have returned them. Do NOT hesitate to return cheese to your cheesemonger when you feel its quality is lacking in any manner…

Now for the cheeses we sampled:

Boschetto al Tartufo Il Forteto Coop: this semi-soft cheese from Italy is a mixed-milk cheese using cow and sheep milk and added to it are black truffles. The cheese is both sweet and savory with just a touch of salt. The truffles add a pleasant earthy and garlicky flavor. Neither the cheese nor the truffles over-powered the other and actually were complimentary. The Man was quite taken with this cheese, although he didn’t swoon… ($38.99 a pound)

Next on the plate was Cypress Grove’s Lambchopper: A sheep’s milk Gouda made in Europe exclusively for Mary Keehn’s Cypress Grove. In keeping with Mary’s sense of humor, her website states that this cheese is “Born to be mild”. This was the favorite of the three of us, particularly The Man who actually did swoon while eating this sample. The Lady had to go through the “Sharing is a Virtue” drill… This cheese was sweet and tangy and although mild, the sweetness lingers. This is a cheese that The Lady calls “Kid-friendly”. And it is Vegetarian suitable. ($27.99 a pound)

Tumalo Farm’s Rimrocker: Named after the rocky cliffs that surround Tumalo Farms, this semi-hard cheese is a mixture of organic cow’s milk from a neighboring farm and Tumalo’s own farmstead goats’ milk. As it ages, the flavor becomes more full-bodied. The piece we sampled was a little drier than we felt it should be and The Lady plans to buy another piece at another WF and taste it again before making a final decision on that issue. The flavor was mild with just the right touch of goat tang. ($21.99 a pound)

Leyden with Cumin from Best Uniekaas: Leyden in a Dutch Gouda seasoned with cumin and caraway seeds. In Holland it is called “komijnekaas” which means cumin cheese but due to its popularity in the region around Leiden, it is exported as Leyden. This was our least favorite; none of us cared for the cumin flavor in the cheese even though we love cumin in Mexican dishes… ($12.99 a pound)

Cordobes Mitica: A Merino Sheep milk cheese imported exclusively from Spain for Whole Foods by Mitica. This cheese is similar in taste and texture to Manchego which is a favorite around the manse. Again, this piece was a little drier than we like but the flavor wasn’t diminished by the dryness and with Vintner’s Kitchen’s Port Cherry Marmalade, the taste sensations were delightful. One thought about the Port Cherry Marmalade; a little less liquid would be better. The taste, however, was perfect; just tart enough and just sweet enough. ($16.99 a pound)

Reggianito Argentina from Provvista: The last sample was Parmesan from Argentina. Reggianito, which means “small Reggiano”, is a hard cheese similar to Parmigiano Reggiano and was first made in this South American country by the Italian immigrants who missed the parms of their homeland. This cheese is produced in smaller wheels rather than the huge wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is aged 5-6 months and generally used in cooking or grated on pasta dishes. However, serving it at room temperature and as the last cheese of the plate was a perfect end to our cheese plate. The Man topped this cheese with a little dollop of Vintner’s Kitchen’s Raspberry Mimosa Gelee and then he swooned… ($9.99 a pound)

It’s actually hard to rate this cheese plate when the quality (due to post-cheesemaker care) of a couple of the cheeses is in question… but I’ll go with 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). However, I have to give the Cypress Grove Lambchopper 4 Paws out of 4 Paws…