It's that time again! Time to pen your poetic verses on the subject all of us know and love: cheese. That's right, our annual Valentine's Poetry contest is officially underway! We're appreciative of any style -- send us your haikus, free verse, limericks, sonnets, pantoums, whatever. Silly or serious, we'll take it, as long as it's inspired, and full of cheesy goodness (or hilarity, irony, declarations of love, whatever).
To submit your poem, sign in or sign up for the website, and leave a comment on this blog! All entries must be received by Monday, February 11th. The lucky winners will recieve a Fresh Goat Cheese Heart from Coach Farm (pictured). Need some inspiration? Check out last year's winners.
Today is January 15th. This is the day that I’d originally hoped the creamery would be completed. So of course, in a remarkable case of situational irony that no one could have predicted, today was the day that we finally obtained our building permit. You just can’t make this stuff up! This morning, Dave drove to the County of Marin offices to present the final piece of paperwork, an authorization for our project from the County Fire District. After paying more fees, they issued our building permit. Dave and I took a moment to celebrate with a couple of pints of beer over lunch today but before we toasted, I made him show me the permit. It felt a bit like the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie shows his family the Golden Ticket, and overwhelmed with happiness, they break into song and dance. We didn’t have time for singing or dancing because Dave had to rush off to check on some creamery work that is already underway….but maybe later.
Let’s just get this over with: NO, we do not have our building permit yet. We are still waiting. I’ve entered the New Year with the realization that our creamery will not be completed by my fantasy deadline of January 15th. I’ve accepted this, but here’s hoping for February 15th, which is more than the original 100 day goal (by 30 days), but we’re sticking to the $100,000 budget no matter what!
I’m glad the holiday season is over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scrooge or a grinch, but the holiday season is not very compatible with a construction project. Building a creamery requires the full focus and attention of not only the proprietors, but also the various officials, professionals and vendors associated with the project, and the holidays are both distracting and non-productive. Places and offices have limited hours, or days when they’re totally closed, and people take extra days off on top of that. It’s 2013 now, so let’s get to work!
As is required by a civilized society bent on projecting introspection (aka Will made me write this)...I've rounded up 5 things I found curious and captivating about 2012. I could run down a list of bad crap, but we've had enough of that for now, yes? So, here they are, in order of how they dawned on me:
In a world gone mad...
1. I'm surprised by how few surprising things there were. This probably either means I'm clueless, inured, or too quirky myself to see quirky for quirky. But if you take a look at Epicurious' prognostications on 2012 (delivered at the end of 2011) you'll see homemade dairy and cheesemakers sitting proud on their list of things to watch for this year. So I guess the fact that 'new trends' scooched a little closer to my reality in 2012 tamps down the 'surprising' factor.
The kraken slithers in its watery realm and the dire wolf scents the air...yes, indeedy, HBOs new season of Game of Thrones is amassing its vast marketing army for full scale invasion in Spring. Of course I started it with my garden picks for the characters (ok, that's a lie. HBO probably came up with merchandising ideas on their own...) and now HBO has (reportedly) tapped Ommegang to produce Iron Throne Blond Ale to coincide with the start of season 3.
GoT Geek digression...while various reporters seem to think the beer is a clear reference to Joffrey, I think it could just as easily be Cercei, or even Tommen.
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.