Showing posts with label Bonne Bouche. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bonne Bouche. Show all posts

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Cheese

Now that it’s almost Christmas I’m finally going to write about our Thanksgiving feast. I celebrated with my 3 yr old nephew, my brother and sister-in-law (both vegan*) and two other friends. There was a tofurkey that word just looks really dirty in print for the vegans and a big ol’ bird for the omnivores. I made my world famous sweet potato pie with pecan butter crust and a veganized version that was bereft of the richness that can only be accomplished with two whole sticks of butter but was tasty nonetheless.

But you don’t care about that stuff do you? Of course not, you wanna know about the cheese. Before dinner we had a lovely little cheese course. The crackers were from 34 Degrees. The Apple Butter comes from Seedling in Michigan. The Fig and Black Tea jam from the amazingly awesome, super-cute and nifty husband and wife team, Matt and Clare of Quince & Apple.**

On to the cheese. First on the list is Bonne Bouche. You know my love for that cheese; my obsession with it’s silky, creamy, goaty goodness. I’m not going to expound too much except to say that goat cheese + fig and black tea jam = super awesome happy tumminess.

Next up is Quadrello di Bufala. You know that cheese from water buffalo milk is delicious right? Of course you do. You also know that water buffalo milk has a high butterfat content and makes everything super tasty right? Imagine if you a will a cheese made from the rich, fatty goodness of water buffalo milk, washed rind and inspired by Taleggio. What you get is this cheese that has a rough looking rind (a bit like tree bark), a soft (not gooey) paste and an almost indescribable taste. It’s a bit like butter and cream and sweet almond milk came together and had a delicious baby. It’s not as stinky as my beloved Taleggio, but it sure is delicious.

Here in the States you don’t usually see a lot of water buffalo cheeses, and when you do it’s usually Mozzarella. Tasty, but boring considering what is out there. Do yourself a favor and the next time you’re at the cheese shop/counter/auction ask your monger for a taste of anything with water buffalo milk . Delish!

Next is a cheese you won’t find for sale. A “Reblochon” aged for less than 60 days. Yes, it’s contraband cheese. I don’t care. A cheesemaker friend is experimenting and one of the benefits of having chesemaker friends (or in this case a friend of a cheesemaker friend) is that you get to try all manner of cheesy treats. Sometimes they’re delicious and your friend lets you cut a big chunk of treat and you share it with your friends on Thanksgiving. Some days I’m positive that I have the best job in the world.

While I’m not going to talk about this particular attempt at Reblochon (the flavor was there, but the texture needed work) I will tell you a bit about the actual AOC protected Reblochon from France.

The story behind the cheese is that back in the medieval days farmers were taxed based on how much milk their cows produced. In order to “mislead” the inspectors the farmers would milk the cows partially and then when the coast was clear would milk the cows again. The word reblocher loosely translates to the practice of the second milking. The second milking was used to make Reblochon.

Reblochon reblocher. Reblochon, reblocher. Uma. Oprah. Pretty nifty hu? Reblochon is also one of the most popular cheeses of France that you might never try in the States due to it’s raw milk, aged for less than 60 days status. If by some chance you get the opportunity to taste its luscious, creamy, paste please do.

Then there’s the BIG DADDY. My new bestest friend in the cheese world. Weighing in at approximately 12oz, coming from the rolling hills of Dodgeville Wisconsin from Uplands Cheese it’s RUSH CREEK!

About a month ago Rush Creek was released to much acclaim, and a frantic elbow-throwing desire by the public that I haven’t personally experienced since the Cabbage Patch Doll craze of the 1980’s. Yes, I'm that old. If you don't know what Cabbage Patch Kids are, think about the Tickle Me Elmo craze and you'll be on the right path.

What makes this cheese so special? I will try to speak of it critically, not emotionally.

  1. It's made by Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin. The folks who in the eleven years of entering the ACS conference have won 'Best of Show' an unprecedented 3 times including on their first time out.
  2. It's made of raw milk
  3. It is super uber soft and creamy almost like ready-to-eat fondue
  4. It's belted in bark
  5. Andy Hatch and his wife are nifty
  6. It's a seasonal cheese (come March nary a round shall be found)
  7. It's made from the fall and winter milk which is richer in fatty goodness and gives the cheese a sexy, slightly naughty feeling in your mouth
  8. Nom nom nom
Okay, so not completely without emotion, I can't help it, Andy and his wife (Mike, Carol and everyone associated with the farm and creamery) are super nice. Why does that matter to you? Here's my "logic".

People who are nice to people are also often nice to animals
Happy animals give you better quality product
Better milk = better cheese
Better cheese = happy people
Happy people are usually nice.
Nice people are nice to people
People who are nice to people are also often nice to animals

And that is my totally sciencey way of explaining why this cheese is so frickin good.

But wait! There's more! At the risk of making this my longest post ever and boring the stuffing out of you (that joke would've killed on Thanksgiving) I'm going to tell you more about Rush Creek in another post this week. There will also be a pooorly constructed video on how to remove the top rind. The video will also have unfortunate music to accompany it.

*Yes, they're vegan. Normally I would shun those who don't eat fromage, but they trust me and the cheeses I bring over and so cheese is the one exception in their otherwise vegan world.

**Matt & Clare are super awesome and their preserves are delicious. They make seasonal nummies, are very creative with new flavors (gala apple and sparkling wine is one of their newest), are wicked nice, bust their butts in their tiny workspace and are primed to be the next big thing in jam.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bonne Bouche part 2

So, after the sd memory card debacle, I only had 1/2 of the Bonne Bouche left. Not a lot to photograph, but still yummy. This is an ash-ripened goat milk cheese. Phenomenal cheese. I know I often say that something is one of my favorites, but this cheese is always in my top 5. Always. Even when I haven't had it for over a year and I feel as though my heart might break.

I did share with some of my co-workers. The responses ranged from "OhmyGod what is that?" to general lip smacking sounds while eyes rolled in the back of their heads. I also heard some moaning. Yes, this cheese is that good. If this cheese were a rock star it would be the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, and I would be one of the screaming throng.

I want this gooey, creamy, salty, grassy, green veggie, goaty, milky, lactic, nutty, acidic dream of a cheese. I'm so sad that I have no more, but super excited that I'll be picking up at least a dozen of them at the VT cheesemaker's festival.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bonne Bouche part 1

I am so excited! My friend Adam went back to VT a few weeks ago for his graduation from NECI. I told him that if he brought back some Bonne Bouche I'd be the happiest girl in the world. He came back with no cheese. His father, he alleged was going to be sending a care package and would send some cheese with it. Today I got that cheese. Adam's father rocks!

Bonne Bouche is one of my all time favorite cheeses. Seriously. I know I appear to have a lot of favorite cheeses, but some of them are more favorite-er than others we will now all pretend that favorite-er is a word. Bonne Bouche is one of them. She is a pasteurized goat cheese from Vermont Butter & Cheese Company and while everything they do is delicious, the Bonne Bouche is the best.

So I opened it at work to give everyone a taste. I took a bunch of lovely photos. While on the bus ride home I was thinking about how to write this post. What would I say? How could I possibly convey the awesomeness of this cheese? Would it be in poor taste if I said it gave me a mini cheese orgasm? Would I be lying if I said it was just mini? How could I do this cheese justice?

I get home, scarf down some dinner, sit down and turn on the camera to transfer my lovely photos. "Memory card requires formatting". What?! Formatting? But if I format I'm going to lose all my photos. My lovely pictures. My glorious cheese porn. I call my brother to see if he can help. Is there anything I can do? He gently but firmly tells me that it's over. The photos are gone. I have to accept it and move on with my life.

Even as I sit here typing I have not formatted the card. I keep thinking that somehow, by some miracle it will work. My cheese photos will just magically appear. Instead of the lovely post I was going to do tonight I am going to do dishes and clean out my fridge. Which I was going to do anyway, but after I did the awesome post.

Maybe I'll play some loud music to perk me up. Barry Manilow do your thing!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


No, I didn't just sneeze. Bijou is a lovely goat's milk cheese from Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. in the Green Mountain State. True, they don't make nearly as much cheese as Wisconsin or California, but VT is tiny. If VT was as big as those other states they would surely give them a run for #1 cheese-making state. BTW, look out WI, CA is coming after you.

I want you all to know that this post is 100% biased. I love goat cheese, I love VT, I love anyone who promotes goat cheese through creating, marketing, or eating. Enter Allison Hooper. If goats were to form a religion it might be called Hooperism. I myself am proud to be a "Hooperette".

Allison Hooper is the co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese. She is the creator of the Vermont Cheese Council. She is the president of the ACS. She is also really really nice. * I could go on and on about Allison Hooper, but my celebrity babbling, are not interesting to you, so I'll just say this, Allison rules. Hardcore.

Back to the cheese. So, recently Martha Stewart said that Bijou was one of her favorite cheeses.** But what is it? Bijou is a small goat's milk cheese aged for a little over two months. Flavors here are slightly sour, a bit citrusy, a wee bit goatish and little bit of grassiness when young. As it ages it....ok listen I've got to be honest. I don't eat this cheese aged very often. It doesn't last in the shop usually, and it certainly doesn't last in my crisper. I like it young. Young and creamy and sour and spreadable and yum. As it ages it becomes harder and more "Crottinesque", an intense goaty, sharp, saltier cheese.

Bijou comes in a two pack. You can eat one now, and then age the other, or you can be like me and eat them both with a fresh loaf of bread. Patience is a virtue, but cheese is tasty now!

It's so creamy and is aged, yet retains its fresh goaty goodness.

*To be honest, I haven't met Allison Hooper. I got all weirdly nervous last year and so I did say hi and she hi'd my back, but nothing more.

**When I picked up the Bijou from work I didn't know that Martha had given the official "good thing" thumbs up. I have been waiting for the Bonne Bouches to come into the shop. WAITING. STILL WAITING. In the interim I thought, well, a good Bijou is better than no VT cheese at all.

Monday, March 2, 2009

And the answer is......

Grayson is a New World cheese that is modeled after the Old World cheese Taleggio. I find Taleggio to be a milder cheese, while as I've described, Grayson is a big burly cheese. A lot of American cheeses are inspired by Old World cheeses. Bonne Bouche from VT Butter & Cheese Co. is a tastier (in my opinion) version of the French Selles-sur-Cher.

This has happened for a few reasons. First of all, this country is culturally speaking, a melting pot. Many American citizens have roots that can be traced to other cheesy parts of the world. When their ancestors came here, they brought their talents and knowledge with them. In addition, many cheesemakers go to Western Europe to learn how to make cheese. They bring those skills back and turn out American cheeses that are inspired by their travels.

The next time you're thinking about a cheese that's European, ask your cheesemonger if there's an American cheese similar and try them both. Compare the look, feel, smell and of course taste of the cheeses. You might find a new cheesy friend.