Although winter is finally upon us here in Boston, I was struck with the urgent and somewhat inappropriate desire for ice cream after working the lunch shift. I felt awkward about this quest, considering the weather, and was not surprised to find myself alone in the shop. I got myself a GIANT cone (with chocolate sprinkles), and took a seat to gorge myself and watch the world go by. Here I discovered the not-so-secret role of ice cream on a November day.
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I have been thinking about the role of cheese in this traditional feast. It’s a particularly heavy late-afternoon repast with nearly every type of food one can imagine: turkey with gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, roasted squash, cauliflower, chestnuts, parsnips, carrots, various high-starch side-dishes, including all sorts of potatoes, and, of course many different pies, like sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie. The list seems endless. At the end of this culinary hedonistic celebration, who has an appetite for a cheese course? I certainly don’t.
Being the cheese enthusiast that I am, it’s impossible to imagine a feast of gastronomic pleasures without fromage. However, the absence of a dedicated course does not mean that cheese isn’t part of the feast. Indeed, in dishes, like chestnut soup, acorn squash puree, and pumpkin dip, cheese hardly takes a backseat role.
In my last blog, I talked about what it is to be a cheesemonger, one of the more loved (and laughed at) titles that I've ever had the pleasure of using in my professional life. This blog, as promised, is about the difference between a cheesemonger and a cheesemaker. Based on the question I get often ("What kind of cheese do you make?"), I am sure that it must be made clear that these things are NOT the same.
Quite simply, a cheesemonger sells cheese. A cheesemaker makes cheese. And that's really the difference. One is there at the birthing and the other is there just prior to the hand off to the happy cheese consumer.
But there is more to say on this because they are interdependent folks and need each other to survive. Without the cheesemaker, the cheesemonger has nothing to sell. Without the monger, the maker is in serious trouble. Mutual respect and a healthy, in depth understanding and communication with one another is what leads to success for each profession.
We have a winner for the annual Scary Dairy contest!
First prize goes to Anonymous for her horrifying "cheese pockets" fantasia.
Anonymous wins the full sack of treats, generously donated by BelGioioso: A wedge of their Parmesan, which took 1st place at the 2010 World Cheese Contest, a piece of blue veined Gorgonzola, and a pack of Fresh Mozzarella Pearls—
"Each ball is 2.5g and is perfect for a healthy snack, topping pizza, salads and pasta. This convenient package has no water mess and additional shelf life."
16 Novembre 2010
I’m getting my Italian on, as is evidenced by the very authentic manner I have written the date above. But I am also experiencing something a little deeper, a sort of “marriage of two cultures” going on here, and I’m feeling it deep in my soul. Perhaps it is all the testaroli here in Luigiana that have me all a-flurry. A familiar texture with holes throughout the surface, an excellent range of uses, a history of accelerated migration fueling its creation… The most authentic and micro-specific product from Luigiano/Pontremoli, Testarolo is actually unleavened bread!
Testarolo (the fresh flatbread-like form) or Testaroli (plural, or when cut into pasta squares and served with sauce) is indeed the original unleavened bread, cooked in a Testi, aka, wrought iron fry pan. The shepherds would carry the heavy pans on their backs and use them to cook while crossing the mountains and having no time for yeast to rise. Sound familiar?
Throughout today and tomorrow, culture writers, editors and assorted n'er-do-wells will be gathering in sunny Somerville, MA to brainstorm about ideas and directions for the magazine. And then, candlepin bowling.
But we're just a small crew, so we need all the help we can get. Post your ideas and suggestions to this thread, and I will pass them on to the editorial team. Let us know what you think!
5.30am. Last time I work up this early was to dance and chant with the Hari Krishnas I hung out with at university. No less of an ideology but with a little less saffron and waving incense, my incentive this morning is CHEESE.
Boots, hair nets and aprons on, we are greeted by 1,200 litres of warming milk. Dutch cheese farm Boerderij Hoekelum (www.hoekelum.nl) is producing Gouda with truffle and herbs this morning.
I'm surprised to find myself in Holland at all. As part of a small film team (www.whattookyousolong.org) traveling the world in search of camel cheese (yes, camel cheese) I don't bat an eyelid at being in Mongolia, Somalia or Uzbekistan. But the Netherlands?
From the first day we heard about Frank Smits we knew he was something special. A young dutch farmer battling government legislation and animal activists, pioneering the scientific research, inventing the machinery and importing the first camels to see Dutch soil, perhaps ever.