One of my favorite visits in my recent trip to Wisconsin was our tour and tasting at Chalet Cheese Cooperative led by Master Cheesemaker Myron Olson, who is the only certified Limburger maker in the US (Myron is also certified in Baby Swiss, Brick and "German Brick," or bierekase). He is a tome of information, and a jolly, contented, white-mustached soul who is both proud and practical.
There’s a cheese that took me a while to fall for, and it’s only made in the autumn and winter, from milk that’s suited for just this recipe. The cheese? Vacherin. It has a long history and comes from both France and Switzerland—though some American cheesemakers have adopted the idea and are making excellent domestic versions of the style.
It's November. My goal is that the creamery will be ready to rock on January 15th. We have yet to obtain ANY permits. Needless to say, I’m feeling anxious and frustrated with the slow pace at which things seem to be moving. On Monday I had a massive migraine for the first time in many months, hmm… I wonder what could be the cause.
Finn, an organic, double cream lactic-set cow's milk cheese, made by Charlie and Haydn of Neal’s Yard Creamery, may look a little familiar to any Zingermans Creamery customers as it closely resembles their Manchester cheese. While different pastures, milk, breed of cows, and the natural recipe adjustments all cheesemakers use to personalise their cheeses will set the two apart, they seem to share common ground. This is less of a surprise when you learn that part of the extensive research carried out by John Loomis, Paul Saginaw, and Ari Weinzweig involved a research visit to Neal's Yard Creamery to investigate cheese production.
Stephanie (our publisher) and I went to Cleveland this past weekend to work with Heinen's, a fantastic supermarket chain that's recently opened its first store outside of Ohio, in Chicago. We were there for a massive cheese & beer event for Cleveland Beer Week on Sunday, which Heinen's coordinated with Culture, 15 U.S. brewers, and 20 cheeses. It was an astounding success...more to come on that. This blog is about HEINEN'S.
Lots needs to be done to get the creamery project moving, but daily life seems to be getting in my way. Fortunately Seana and Dave are dedicating a lot of their time, and are making most of our progress!
We’re currently trying to obtain permits for plumbing, electrical, and water use. I actually thought this part of the process would go much quicker than it has, since the structure is sound and not too much needs to be done, relatively speaking. But permits take a lot of planning and negotiating. And you have to be willing to revise your plan and negotiate more. So while it’s a full-time job to get these things figured out and crossed off the to-do list, we go to our real jobs during the day, and work on permits in the hours between.
While at the Provvista open house on Sunday, I met up with Matt Day, owner/monger of Mt Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, WA. Great guy, great product, great everything. Like most cheesemakers, they are experimenting with different cheeses for future production. We chatted, and somehow I scored a couple of wheels of their current "Cheer Trial" cheese, a small surface-ripened cow's milk round that's washed in local Finn River (hard) cider. He wanted my feedback. So I thought I'd give it here, for all to see. The two wheels were labeled "A5" and "A6," and the A6 was my favorite. After each cider wash, it was allowed to completely open-air dry (the other wasn't) and the texture was firmer and more fudgy. It was less salty than A5, and the cider flavor was slightly stronger--which I liked. I did manage to share them with friends after my own evaluation, and most agreed with me. Honestly, I was surprised: I normally like the softer, oozier cheeses.
Hello Cheese Fans,
Well, the day has come. After three and half years working with culture, I'm off to conquer a new horizon.
Whether as assistant editor or web editor, my time at culture has been riddled with education of all sorts (cheese, food, publishing, writing, facebook posting...), and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I will miss working at the magazine immensely, and I'll miss our Facebook and Twitter communities just as much. You all are a special group of people, all tied together by one super-strength love. Three cheers for cheese!
Luckily, I'm leaving my responsibilities in Becca's capable hands. As our new social media manager she has stepped up to the plate like a champ this week, taking care of business on Facebook, Twitter, and the website. She rocks!
On a drizzly fall evening, Stephanie, Eilis, and I schlepped through Cambridge to visit central bottle wine + provisions, and let me tell you, it was worth braving the weather.
After a brief tour of the facilities, we were entertained with three separate wine and cheese pairings. Cabra La Mancha, an aged goat’s milk cheese with an unbelievable texture, was paired with a 2011 Muscadet. My favorite cheese of the three, the buttery and luscious Kind of Blue from Woodcock Farms, was paired with a sweet 2005 Vouvray. Finally, a garlicky, creamy Fromage Fort made from cheese odds and ends topped a soft baguette, and was paired with a 2011 Lagrein Rosé.