Sartori Gorgonzola Dolcino

August 19, 2011


The Lady brought home a wedge of this delightful gorgonzola and The Man and I have enjoyed it three times this week. The first tasting was on warm French bread fresh from the oven and then The Lady used it to make a salad dressing which is featured on our recipe blog. She used the last to make a pasta and chicken dish that had The Man swooning for hours… it was almost embarrassing… but since it was The Man… not really much of a surprise. (Links to the recipes are below.)

Sartori Cheese in Wisconsin makes cheese that is always a hit around the manse. In addition to the Dolcino, they make the most-decorated Parmesan made in America, SarVecchio and one of my favorites, Bellavitano Gold. When The Lady was cooking last night, I caught a glimpse of a few other Sartori cheeses in the fridge… stay tuned… more reviews to come…

This is one creamy cheese; the cheesemaker adds extra cream and carefully ages this gorgonzola to perfection. On the blue scale, this is on the mild side but distinctive enough to satisfy even the most discerning turophiles. It’s smooth and silky; spreads easily on the warm bread. You will never regret adding this gorgonzola to your cheese board.

I give Sartori Gorgonzola Dolcino 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: The possibilities are endless. In three short days, The Lady served this cheese in three ways and each was a hit. The Salad Dressing she made was divine; but the chicken pasta dish she made was truly to die for… seriously… You can also pair this cheese with pairs and red grapes. The Lady served Dolcino on a cheese plate last year and you can read my thoughts by clicking here.

Wine Pairing: The Lady always likes a sweeter wine with her blues like a Port; but with the pasta dish, she chose her new favorite wine, Pinot Noir.

Beer Pairing: How about a Stout?

Source: Pasteurized Cow Milk

FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

Member, Association of Food Bloggers

Get your Locavore on today at Murray’s Cheese Shops grand Opening at the King Soopers on Leetsdale in Glendale, Colorado!!

If you love Monterey Jack and you love Monterey Jack stuffed with stuff, then you’re going to love the Rocking W Natural Cheeses from the West Slopes of the Rocky Mountains!! It just doesn’t get much better when it comes to local flavored natural cheeses.

The Lady returned from Denver with a bag full of cheese and in her Colorado cache were three flavored Jacks made by a sixth-generation family of cheesemakers.

More than forty years ago Robert and Charlotte Webb (great name!!) decided to buy her parents twenty dairy cows and start their own dairy. Then they bought eighty acres just west of Olathe, Colorado and began their lives as dairy farmers. Today their son and son-in-law are co-owners in this farmstead artisan cheesemaking business. The milk is made into cheese within twenty-four hours of milking from cows that only eat feed grown on the Rocking W Farm.

The three cheeses The Lady brought home are all Monterey Jack stuffed with wonderful herbs, spices and vegetables. The first one we tasted was filled with Portobello mushrooms. It was earthy, creamy with lots of Portobellos, button mushrooms and leeks. Delish!! The second we tasted was tomato and basil jack cheese. Mam, oh, man; lots of tomato and lots of basil. The third had chives and garlic; this one was a favorite of The Man. The Lady and I found the Portobello jack to fit our tastes the best. The cheese is all three was crumbly when slicing but creamy on the palate.

All ingredients labels indicated that nothing artificial had been added; just milk, rennet, salt and the veggies and herbs… now that’s natural.

I give all three Rocking W Flavored Monterey Jack Cheeses 3 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Snacking is always an option; but cooking is also a definite way to go with these cheeses. As I write this review, The Lady is making breakfast quesadillas using the Garlic and Chives Jack. You can read her recipe by clicking here. She has plans to make a mac n cheese with the Portobello and leek cheese… always a favorite around the manse…

Wine Pairing: The Lady suggests either a Chardonnay or a nice Table Red.

Beer Pairing: For fear of offending Mr. Richardson from Fort Collins (read his comment at the bottom), The Man decided to go with Fort Collins Brewery’s Weizenheimer Wheat IPA… seemed a perfect pairing suggestion on several levels…

Source: Pasteurized Colorado Cow Milk

Rocking W Cheeses are available at your new Murray’s Cheese Shop located at select King Soopers including the new Murray’s at the Glendale, Colorado location … stop in today and enjoy the new Murray’s Cheese Shop and take home some Rocking W to enjoy tonight. The wines and beers recommended are also available in the liquor department as well. King Soopers is Colorado Proud!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Member, Association of Food Bloggers

Kona Grill Tampa

The Lady is in Denver for ten days, leaving The Man and me to fend for ourselves… it’s not easy… The Man, while he tries, doesn’t speak feline the way The Lady does… but we survive, counting the days until she returns… which will be Tuesday evening…

Today, after her work in the Murray’s Cheese Mines at King Soopers, she treated herself to a visit to the Cherry Creek Mall… ooh la la… according to The Lady… very nice mall. After checking out the mall, which reminded her of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, The Lady decided to have dinner at the Kona Grill. Since she was a party of one, she chose to sit in the bar. She was barely seated when her server arrived and delivered menus.

The Lady chose a glass of Pinot Evil, a Pinot Noir from France to start. Nice and inexpensive.

The menu at Kona Grill, which is a nationwide chain (but hasn’t made it to the Pacific Northwest where The Lady, The Man and I hang out) is amazing. It includes a large sushi and sashimi menu plus lots of sushi rolls; flatbread specialties; “slim chance” low calorie entrees and signature entrees.

The Lady started with “Kona Calamari”, a tempura-battered calamari, deep fried but not oily. It was actually quite “light”, the way properly-prepared tempura should be. The aioli dipping sauce was OK, a little more mayo than The Lady liked; but still enjoyable. The Lady would have preferred a sweet chili sauce; but that’s just her…

She planned to order sushi and sashimi until she spotted “White Truffle Lobster Mac n Cheese” as an entrée. You’d think she get enough cheese day-in and day-out… but… no… As you might guess,  she ordered the mac n cheese…  we’re always in search of another perfect mac n cheese… a journey that hopefully will never end…

Made with cold water Maine Lobster and cavatappi pasta, this mac n cheese is served mounded high in an individual oval serving dish. It was browned just enough to give the top a little crunch. On a personal note, The Lady would have liked more lobster… who wouldn’t… and she couldn’t taste the white truffle oil. But the cheese sauce was nothing short of divine. The Lady asked her server about the types cheeses used and Jeremy, the Executive Chef, came out and chatted with The Lady. The cheese sauce includes grated parmesan, aged cheddar and smoked gouda. To The Lady’s surprise, Jeremy also adds a bit of Velveeta to make the sauce creamier.

When was the last time you saw White Truffle Oil, cold water Maine Lobster and Velveeta in the same recipe? The Lady researched and found a Lobster and Truffle Oil Mac n Cheese  and then to her surprise, she did find a mac n cheese recipe that included Velveeta and White Truffle Oil… who knew… but alas none of the three together except at the Kona Grill.

The Lady enjoyed her dining experience at the Kona Grill and plans to return the next time she is in Denver and other cities where the Kona Grill may be.

The Lady gives the Kona Grill 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got and all I will loan her for rating…). She gives the service at the Kona Grill 4 Paws out of 4 Paws – the service was impeccable.



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


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…

I give Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

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

Westfield Farm Capri

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.

I give Westfield Farm Capri 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

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


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…

I give Todd Trethowan’s Gorwydd Caerphilly 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). 

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.

Trivia: The cheese is named after the farm where the Trethowans make it. The farm is located near the Village of Llanddewi Brefi, in Ceredigion, West Wales.

Vegetarian-Suitable – Made using Microbial Rennet

A washed rind, sheep milk cheese made in the USA? Made in Missouri; the heart of Cow-land… how did this happen??? Luckily for all of us cheese nerds, a group of women own and operate a farm in the Missouri River Valley northwest of Kansas City… like I said… Cow-land…The sheep they raise are pasture-fed using strict rotation pasture feeding first developed in New Zealand. The Ladies of Green Dirt Farm, Sarah and Jacqueline, also believe in humane treatment of the animals they raise, allowing them plenty of room to roam and play with their friends and eating foods that are right for their bodies. The farm has received the “Animal Welfare Approved” Seal.

Now for the Bossa… a nova cheese for moi… This sheep milk cheese is washed as it ages giving it that distinctive funky, meaty aroma that The Man adores… The orange rind is edible, as are most washed rind cheeses, and inside is a mushroomy, nutty somewhat firm paste that melts in the mouth. With age it becomes softer and maybe a little gooey. It peaks in the 60-80 day range, so know your supplier.

When your guests start swooning, you can blame it on the bossa…

I give Green Dirt Bossa 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate, it satisfies that “Something Stinky” position. Serve it with a warm baguette and a dab of apricot preserves. You can add it to a grilled cheese and you’ve got yourself a winner with a couple slices of prosciutto.

Wine Pairing: A sweet, dry wine.

Beer Pairing: ESB

Awards: 2009 American Cheese Society Winner

Source: Pasteurized Sheep Milk

San Andreas

Made with Raw Sheep Milk & Vegetarian Suitable Cheese

Fellow cheese lovers, The Lady’s new cheese gig is just about the best thing that ever happened to this Feline Foodie. Second only to the day The Brain deployed me to Burbank to assume the command recently vacated when the Mighty Mike Tyson was called home to the Mothership. My cheese fridge runneth over. The Lady told me there were thousands of cheeses made around the world and every time she goes away… she returns with gifts… cheese, of course. I pray The Brain allows me time enough to taste every cheese known to man including Yak Milk cheese… The Man and I are lonely when she travels but upon her return we are blessed… it doesn’t get any better than this…

Hidden in her luggage, along with the Bayley Hazen Blue, was a wedge from the California farm where our good friend Lenny works: Bellwether Farms. They make Carmody, another perennial favorite around the manse. You can read my review here.

This time she brought home San Andreas, made using raw sheep milk. This farmstead cheese is as smooth as Frank Sinatra’s croon and as full-bodied as Marilyn Monroe… my small homage to the time when singers were singers and women still had curves… but I digress…

With each sheep milk cheese we taste, The Lady and I become more enamored and San Andreas doesn’t disappoint. It’s creamy and mild with just a hint of sour on the finish. It might be likened to a pecorino from the Tuscany region of Italy.

The Lady served this with Divina Halkidiki Olives sprinkled with Sicilian herbs and to know one’s surprise… The Man swooned…

I give Bellwether Farms San Andreas 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got.)

Serving Suggestions: As part of a cheese plate, all you need to add are a few olives and rustic bread.

Wine Pairing: I would suggest a new blended red.

Beer Pairing: A blonde ale might make an interesting pairing.

Awards: 2007 ACS – Second in Class

Editorial Note: You can expect more 4 Paw ratings that I normally award. The Lady’s new job is exposing her to the crème de la crème of cheese… stay tuned… it’ll only get better…

Bayley Hazen Blue

July 3, 2011

Made Using Raw Milk

Let’s face it; the good folks of Vermont, for the most part, travel to the beat of a different drum. Despite their unbridled sense of independence, Vermont citizens also possess a great responsibility to each other and the land they call “The Kingdom of Vermont”. .. This attitude has also spilled over to my fellow observers who watch over that Quadrant in the NE United States and SE Canada. The Brain constantly finds himself spending precious time whipping those pesky, independently-thinking felines into line… not unlike herding cats… but I digress…

In the mid-1990s, Andy and Mateo Kehler, just out of college, headed to Vermont, land of many pleasant summer childhood memories spent at their grandparents’ home, with just one dream… to grow hops and make beer. What newly-graduated college guys don’t dream of making beer? In my younger days, I dreamt of my own endless fields of catnip, organically grown using sustainable farming practices… ah the good ole days…

The Brothers Kehler bought two hundred acres of farmland near Greensboro, Vermont and began studying the practicality of making beer. It just wasn’t there. Then came tofu; again it was a no go. They looked around and bam!! The light went on; they were in the middle of Dairyland. So… what do you do in the middle of Dairyland? You buy cows and become dairy farmers. Luckily for cheese lovers everywhere, that’s just what they did.

In 1998, Jasper Hills Farm was born and the brothers began to educate themselves on sustainable farming. Mateo, who had a degree in economic development, spent three years working with farmstead cheesemakers in the U.S., England, France and Spain. One of those years was spent working at Neal’s Yard Dairy in England. He also began to develop recipes for making cheeses appropriate for their dairy in the Northeast corner of the Kingdom of Vermont.

Andy has a degree in poli sci and philosophy… philosophy, now I finally know how you use a degree in philosophy… you make cheese… did I say that out loud??? (Andy, no disrespect… please forgive my free association… J) In 1993, Andy worked on a sustainable agriculture project in Chile, which included dairy operations. He is a building inspector and contractor which provided him with the knowledge and skills to design and build a state of the art dairy facility. And that’s exactly what he has done.

In 2002, the brothers bought a herd of 15 Ayrshire heifers and began their adventure making some great cheeses. And then another dream became reality… The Cellars at Jasper Hills… state of the art aging caves where the brothers take the young cheeses of their fellow cheesemakers, age them and prepare them for the consumer.

The Lady and I greatly admire the accomplishments of these two brothers who truly care for the land, the animals and also for other dairy farmers.

The brothers make two cheeses and one is Bayley Hazen Blue. This natural rind blue cheese, made from whole raw Ayrshire milk, primarily uses morning milk with less fat.

The Lady, The Man and I love this cheese. Because it is made with raw milk, the tastes of grass and hints of nuts are stronger than the blue mold making a well-balanced cheese. You get the best of both worlds; raw milk delight and kick from the blue. This cheese is a little drier than many blues and crumbles well. Your next cheese plate should finish with Bayley Hazen Blue.

I give Bayley Hazen Blue 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). 

Serving Suggestions: Even though it crumbles well, I would be reluctant to “waste” this wonderful cheese on a salad… of course, that being said, you’d be talking a superior salad. The Lady served it naked with a warm baguette. The Man swooned and while he was swooning I pawed off an extra serving for myself. The Lady noticed the paw marks but thankfully she was still feeling guilt at leaving me home while she was gallivanting in New York… so she merely smiled… You might drizzle a little honey on this cheese and serve with hazelnuts.

Wine Pairing: Tawny Port or a sweet, chilled dessert wine.

Beer Pairing: A chocolate stout would pair well with Bayley Hazen Blue.

Awards: 2007 ACS 2nd Place in the Open Farmstead Category.

Trivia: Bayley Hazen is an old military road that traverses Northern Vermont. Our first U.S. President, still a General, commissioned the road to carry troops to fight the British on the Canadian front, should one open up. No battle ever took place, but the road carried the first settlers into the Greensboro, Vermont area. The road is still used today.