Many congratulations to Daphne Zepos and Kiri Fisher for having recently acquired the Cheese School of San Francisco.
Daphne, who has been passionately involved in the cheese scene since the mid-nineties and is also co-owner of Essex Street Cheese, http://essexcheese.com a company that imports carefully matured Comte, Parmigiano Reggiano and Gouda into the United States is beyond delighted. "We plan to expand the number of classes and add more professional programs, but also vary the classes to include more cooking, more beer and more events. I hope it becomes a West Coast Meeting Center for the Cheese Obsessed" she said after the public announcement was made on Tuesday.
As a Brit living in the US and with July 4th fast approaching, historical dates are on my mind. So, last night I decided to refresh my memory about some of these pivotal moments in Anglo-American relations and the repercussions surrounding these events. For instance, how interesting, that Americans decided to symbolically boycott English tea, thereby giving rise to the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
As a result of the disasterous earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand last September, Sarah and Martin Aspinwall lost their beloved cheese store Canterbury Cheesemongers, their café and bakery.
Although the store itself was still standing after the quake, the building was deemed unsafe and demolished shortly thereafter. Despite this huge setback, Sarah and Martin relocated their business to a new premises, only to be hit again two weeks after they opened in February. Fortunately, there was less damage this time around and they are still open for business.
The other morning while out for a walk with the dog, a friend of mine pulled over in her car on the way to work. After waving hello, she called out “Did you see that snake back there on the road?” I walked over to her, mentally wondering if it was dead or alive, a firm grip on the dog just in case. Together we went to look at the snake, which was beautiful and very much alive slithering across the road.
Respectfully keeping our distance but at the same time trying to urge the snake towards the safety of the field, we tried to work out what type of snake it was. I took a photo on my phone and, after discussing various options and watching it slide effortlessly into the long grass, we parted ways, each going in our separate directions to work.
The North American Jersey Cattle Association, which represents the interests of all things to do with this handsome breed of dairy cow, held its annual conference and cheese competition last week.
The event, based at the spectacular (picture Indoor African theme park) location of the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, saw a healthy attendance together with well over seventy entries in the cheese competition.
Each entry was judged individually by three teams of judges comprising Jane Cisler of Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Paris Knox of W.D. Hoard’s and Sons, Dr. Bill Wendorff, Gina Mode and Marianne Smukowski all from the Center for Dairy Research and myself.
I heard this morning with great sadness that Ig Vella of Vella Cheese (and the original owner of Rogue Creamery) died last night. One of the few elder statesmen in the evolution of both Californian cheese and the American artisanal cheese movement, Ig will be sorely missed for his incredible knowledge and perspective—not to mention his unique personality.
My first encounter with Ig was shortly after I moved to California from London, when I went to visit his cheesemaking facility in Sonoma. Upon arrival I was met by a large-framed, unsmiling man dressed in what I later learned were his trademark red suspenders and slightly-too-small paper hat. I was immediately intrigued – and smitten!
Fromagination in Madison, WI is Voted 2011 Outstanding Retailer by the National Specialty Food AssociationMay 26, 2011 - 10:56am | by kate
Many congratulations to Ken Monteleone and his team at Fromagination http://www.fromagination.com in Madison, WI for having been voted 2011 Outstanding Retailer by the National Specialty Food Association. The store itself has imaginative displays as well as being ecologically sound. Cheese-wise, Monteleone has demonstrated unswerving support for the state's cheesemakers and the primary focus lies with offerings from Wisconsin although due regard is given to cheeses from further afield . Meanwhile in the kitchen at the back of the store, Chef Greg prepares daily delicousness using the ingredients sold in the shop. Great job all around. KA
San Simon is a tasty, not so well-known cow’s milk cheese from the region of Galicia, in Northeastern Spain. While curating a selection of smoked cheeses for a feature in our Summer 2011 issue, I got to learn more about this unusual cheese from Michele Buster, owner of Forever Cheese, who imports a wonderful traditional version into the United States. Here is a description and some photos taken by Michele on a visit to San Simon producer, Javier Pineiro.
The origins of San Simon are not wholly known; while some believe the cheese dates back to Roman times, others say it was developed at the beginning of the 20th century.
Either way, San Simon increased in popularity over the last seventy years. Until the 1980’s, cheeses were most often produced by housewives, using the milk from their own cows, frequently the Galician Blonde breed. The production process is very labor intensive, often with an output per person of only two or three cheeses each day.
On a recent foray into Manhattan, I went to Joe's Dairy on Sullivan St, famed makers of mozzarella.
The site has been a dairy for many decades. However, in 1977 the original "Joe" sold the store and dairy to seventeen year old Anthony Campenelli, who literally lived next door. It had been Anthony's dream to own the business and he, together with his brother Vincent and other members of the family, still operate it.
Fresh cow's milk mozzarella is made throughout the day in the tiny room behind the store with a certain number of cheeses being set aside for smoking. The smoking process takes place over hickory wood and lasts a mere four minutes.
For any cheese fans in the Pacific Northwest, don’t forget the 7th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival will be held this Saturday March 19th, 2011 at Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Oregon.
I was just talking with Tami Parr, one of the Festival’s organizers and here is what she says:
“This year's festival promises to be bigger and better than ever - literally! A bigger tent, more vendors and cheese celebrities will be on hand to ring in the seventh year of this festival celebrating all things Oregon cheese.
In attendance will be Oregon cheesemakers from Willamette Valley Cheese Co., Pholia Farm, Tumalo Farms, Rogue Creamery and many more, all sampling and selling their handmade cheeses. The farmer's market style event will also host local purveyors of all sorts of delectable treats including wine, beer, breads and chocolate. The fun, informal setting encourages attendees to meet the people who make the cheeses they've come to love.