Here I sit in the Pacific Northwest doing the heavy lifting while The Lady sits in Manhattan at Murray’s Cheese Boot Camp tasting 75 cheeses in 3 days; rubbing elbows with the cheese swells and my favorite cheesemakers in the world open their doors in the Flatiron District of New York… there is no cheese god…

Beecher’s opened yesterday in Manhattan and The Lady saw the lines as she rode by in a cab on her way to an intensive 3-day Boot Camp at Murray’s Cheese in the west Village…

There had better be cheese in that suitcase tomorrow night… just saying…

The FDA (according to The Lady, “the rat ass bastards” – her words, certainly not those of the Feline Foodie) has seized the cheese and effectively shutdown the Estrella Family Creamery here in Washington State. The Family is fighting but they need our support; both morally and financially.

A webiste has been set up to blog the progress and you can follow it by clicking here.

Also, you can join their Facebook Page to show your support. Save The Estrella Family Creamery.

You can pledge money to help with their legal fees by clicking here.

Also, our good friend, Tami Parr, of Pacific Northwest Cheese Project has been following this closely (she’s an attorney, in addition to being a cheese person extraordinaire) and her blog has lots of legal info regarding this case and other similar cases. Please visit her blog by clicking here.

Boxing Cheddar From Australia

November 28, 2010

As most of you already know, The Lady and I have never met a cheddar we didn’t like and in most cases, didn’t love… Boxing Cheddar from Australia is no exception to the “love” column. And at $7.99 a pound, retail, it’s also a great bargain for the cheddar lovers of the Pacific Northwest. (The Lady saw it last year at Costco for about half that price… she should have bought it… shoulda, coulda, woulda… or as our friend Nancy, married to The Man’s BFF, Gary, likes to say… “it’s a sorry if…” you’ll be sorry if you don’t buy it when you see it at Costco…)

Anyway, forgive the digression there…

Boxing Cheddar, complete with a Kangaroo on the packaging, is imported by DPI, the same folks who ban access to this very blog. I have been unable to discover who produces this “tasty” cheddar and if any of my loyal readers have a clue, please share…

Boxing Cheddar is aged three years and is nutty and tangy with a nice bite that lingers after the cheese is gone. We had it on a cheese plate with other cheeses The Lady procured while out spying on the competition. I love that The Lady has no qualms about buying new cheeses from her competitors… but only cheeses she doesn’t carry in her own cheesemines…

I give Boxing Cheddar 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got…).

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate for snacking and in cooking, especially au gratins and the ever ubiquitous mac n cheese.

Wine Pairing: 14 Hands has a new red sold retail, Hot to Trot, and it is becoming a favorite around the manse. This is a red blend and it’s fruity and smooth… a very nice wine…

Beer Pairing: James Squire Brewhouse Australian Brown Ale

Source: Pasteurized Cow Milk

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.

Kurtwood Farms’ Dinah

October 3, 2010

One of the seminars The Lady attended at the 2010 ACS Cheese-a-topia featured cheeses from the Pacific Northwest and cheesemakers and cheese hounds who specialize in the same. Tami Parr, of the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project and author of Artisan Cheeses of the Pacific Northwest, served as moderator. Four cheeses were tasted: WSU’s Cougar Gold, Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s Boerenkaas, Sally Jackson’s Raw Sheep Milk (all of which I have reviewed in the past) and Kurtwood Farms’ Dinah. Notes on the entire seminar will be uploaded here in the next few weeks.

Kurt Timmermeister, the owner of Kurtwood Farms and the cheesemaker who created Dinah spoke on the panel and told us how he came to be a cheesemaker and dairy farmer. He studied in Paris, looking forward to a life in Foreign Service; but Paris brought out his love of food and restaurants. When he graduated, he returned to Seattle and began a career in food service. A series of jobs in kitchens and dining room led to him opening his own café at the age of twenty-four. For the next two decades he opened a series of even larger cafes while exploring small-scale farming.

In 1991 he bought four acres on Vashon Island; land that became Kurtwood Farms. He cleaned the land off and planted fruit and nut trees. Over time, Kurt bought more land and built a pasture and added sheep, pigs and cows. By 2003, he left the restaurant business and Kurtwood Farms became his full-time job.

He built a professional kitchen to process the food grown on the farm to prepare dinners of greater quality for friends to gather. After acquiring a Grade A Dairy license, Kurt began to milk his small Jersey herd. That led to building an underground cheese cave and began producing Dinah, a fresh, bloomy rind farmstead cheese.

He makes 300 8 ounce rounds of Dinah a week and after thirty days of aging, he delivers the cheese himself, in his pick-up to a select number of restaurants and cheese shops in the Seattle area. His two dogs ride along with Kurt to keep him company.

Kurt is also making a second cheese, Francesca, which is an eight pound round of aged Grana Padano-style hard cheese which he hopes to have on the market by the fall of 2011.

One obstacle he encountered was finding equipment to fit his “smaller” operation. No company in the US made a vat in the forty-gallon size and he ended up buying equipment from Slovenia and Netherlands.

Dinah was his first Jersey cow, who has since passed, and today his herd consists of eleven and he milks three or four regularly.

Dinah, the Camembert-style cheese is made using slow-pasteurized milk, in hopes of keeping the milk’s character and fatty tones. It is hand ladled into molds and after thirty days is “ready for its close-ups” in Seattle.

For someone who professes to not really know what he is doing, Kurt delivers a superior cheese that captured the heart of The Lady. She said you can taste the Jersey but not the barn. It oozes and literally melts in your mouth. It is buttery and splendidly delicious. Sometimes the bloomy rind can be a bit on the mushroomy side; not this one; it’s more like eating a cloud.

The Lady gives Dinah 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got to lend her). She gives Kurt only the best; she greatly admires those who fly by the seat of their pants and aren’t afraid to try something new…

Serving Suggestions: Schmear a wedge of this on a warm baguette and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: Using the theory of pairing wine and cheese from the same region, The Lady suggest Vashon Winery’s Semillon.

Beer Pairing: Iron Horse Brewery’s Malt Bomb Brown Ale

Source: Slow-Pasteurized Jersey Cow Milk

 

After Beecher’s, The Lady grabbed a cab and headed up the hill to the Seattle “No Pets” Sheraton to attend more seminars about… cheese…

The first of the day was Tasting: Pacific Northwest Dairies – Past, Present and Future.

(We will review the Sally Jackson and Dinah cheeses from this seminar when we return to the manse. We have previously reviewed the Cougar Gold and Boerenkaas and links are provided below.)

Tami Parr of The Pacific Northwest Project moderated the panel which included Marc Bates of Bates Consulting and previously at Washington State University. He took the group through the history of cheesemaking in the Pacific Northwest and after his presentation treated the group to a tasting of the WSU’s truly world-famous Cougar Gold.

Tami took the group through a tasting of a Sally Jackson Chestnut Leaf-Wrapped Sheep Milk Cheese. Sally Jackson was a pioneer cheesemaker after receiving a government grant during the Carter Administration.

Rod Volbeda of Willamette Valley Cheese Company told the story of his journey from dairy farmer to cheesemaker. He brought his young gouda, Boerenkaas, for the group to taste.

The last cheesemaker to speak was Kurt Timmermeister who left behind the restaurant business to make cheese on Vashon Island, just south of Seattle. He currently milks 3 Jersey cows and makes 300 wheels a week of a bloomy rind camembert named after his first cow, Dinah. Once a week he drives his pick-up into Seattle to deliver his cheese to restaurants and a few retail outlets including Sheri LeVigne’s Calf & Kid. He shared his lovely Dinah with the attendees.

After the seminar, the Annual ACS Business meeting was held in the Grand Ballroom with Foods of Quebec hosting a gourmet lunch from a menu developed by Chef Paul Little of the Montreal Westin Hotel. The Westin will be the host hotel for the 2011 ACS Conference and Cheese Competition. The third course of the meal was a cheese plate of five Quebec cheeses followed by a tasting of the 2009 World Cheese Awards Grand Champion, Le Cendrillon. (Again, all of these cheeses will be reviewed once we are back at the manse…)

The afternoon seminar was a panel discussion of Affinage, the art of aging cheese. On the panel were Doug Erb of Landaff Creamery, Raef Hodgson of Neal’s Yard Dairy in the UK and Herve Mons of Mons Fromagerie. The panel was moderated by Kim Iannotti of the Peterson Company. The Lady enjoyed this seminar and picked up more useful information… more details to follow…

The Lady feels this conference has been an important step in her cheesemongering journey and she asked that I thank the ASC for providing this venue for its members and cheese professionals.

Tomorrow the conference concludes with morning seminars and the grand finale, The Festival of Cheese where the winners of the cheese competition will be announced including the Best of Show and the Cheesemonger Merchandising Competition. Winners will be announced at Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony and the event is open to the public. Tickets are $85.00.