Hello, readers! I am SO excited about this blog post because today, my photographer buddy Gavin and I teamed up to bring you a behind the scenes look at one of my favorite cheesemakers: Bellwether Farms, maker of delectable sheep’s milk yogurts, scrumptious cheeses, and my favorite basket ricottas! They also make jersey cow’s milk cheeses, including their illustrious Carmody, sourced from Mountain View Jerseys’ milk just down the road.
During our recent visit to M. Cheesemonger’s hometown in Normandy, we were able to escape from his father’s Grande Fête preparations (more on that later) to visit some of the local cheese makers and farmers that make this region the dairy capital of France. Since I had been charged with organizing the Grande Fête cheese platter, our plan was to find some excellent local cheeses. The sun shone warmly and puffy clouds drifted overhead as we wound our way through the verdant countryside.
One of the “must-see” markets in Berlin is the Turkish market in Kreuzberg, held along the canal by the Schönleinstraße U-bahn stop. There’s a sizable Turkish population in the city, and to serve them, this semi-weekly market (Tuesdays and Fridays) offers special breads, spices, vegetables, household items, cloth, and more. There are also some great specialty jams, waffles, prepared meals from several African cuisines, and cheeses.
This year is a great year of European travel for me. I am visiting Switzerland, Germany, France, and England, so you can be sure I will be writing and tasting plenty! I update my Facebook and Twitter (@msscheesemonger) daily, and you can see more of my writings on my blog, http://misscheesemonger.com/.
Ever since Alissa Shethar, cheesemaker at North Bay Curds & Whey in Berkeley, announced that she was going to make buffalo milk cheese, I have been in a state of frenzied anticipation. Thank goodness she and I are both on the regulatory affairs committee of the California Artisan Cheese Guild! She was generous to bring in a wheel to share at our last meeting. At long last, I had my chance! And I got to take some home with me to photograph and share with you!
This year, I had the pleasure of working the Culture Magazine station at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, one of the largest specialty food shows around. Culture was tucked away as part of the World’s Best Cheeses booth, so I was happily nestled amongst some excellent food and people. Luckily, I was able to sample my way around the show as well. Here’s a short list of what tickled my palate over those three gluttonous days:
Recently, beer blogger Winton White, a.k.a. Beerichi Tuba, and I decided to get a little experimental with beer and cheese pairing. Cypress Grove Chèvre, whose famed Humboldt Fog is celebrating 20 years, kindly supplied us with some amazing cheeses, and City Beer Store in San Francisco offered to host the tasting. We were joined by my longtime photography buddy, Gavin Farrington, and got to work. Beer and cheese at noon, that’s not so bad, is it? Here’s what we found:
The Cheese: This ultra-mellow sheep milk gouda is made in Holland especially for Cypress Grove. It is slightly buttery, with some light pear or apple notes, with a smooth, long finish.
It’s so lovely when you like your neighbors. Granted, sometimes I don’t think I like all of mine, but there are some awesome ones in my building! One in particular, Melissa, is an excellent hostess who ALWAYS manages to have the perfect little plates, utensils, and pretty finishing touches at every event she hosts.
This past week, Melissa made this dessert – she called it lazy cannoli. It was delicious, easy, and downright enlightening. Even a kitchen klutz like me could make it. As someone who thinks about efficiency a lot, is this “lazy” or merely “highly efficient?" Anyway, try it for yourselves! Beware, though, you might not want to share it once you taste it.
Melissa’s “Lazy Cannoli” Recipe
15oz Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Confectioners Powdered Sugar
Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips to taste (around 1/2 cup as well). You can grate a dark chocolate bar instead of using mini chocolate chips.
Optional: some diced Maraschino Cherries to taste
This the second part to my two-part exploration of geographical indications in Mexico. The first part is here.
Armed with knowledge about the areas of the law described in my last post, an understanding of the people and cheesemakers of Mexico, and a tenacious spirit, Carlos Yescas is working toward a system that will recognize the traditional cheeses of Mexico and give them the status similar to that of the AOC system in France.