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Showing posts with label Stichelton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stichelton. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Resolve to Eat More Cheese

It's a new year which usually means making a resolution, keeping it for a few weeks, breaking it and then feeling bad about yourself for not having the willpower to continue going to the gym. In the grand tradition of my family I've decided to make resolutions I know I'll be able to keep.

  1. I resolve to eat more sheep milk cheese. I have been loving on the goats for years now. It's time to bring more Baa Baa to my life.
  2. I will accept orange Cheddar (I'm already halfway there)
  3. I will cook more cheese-centric recipes.
  4. I will renew my membership to the ACS in a timely manner, not wait until I get a second reminder letter like I did last year.
  5. I will visit cheesemakers outside of Vermont. (Maybe Maine?)
  6. I will never watch Sex and the City part 2 ever again. My eyes, ears and soul are still recovering.
  7. I will convince my once cheese-loving nephew to stop being a wicked beastie and to love cheese again. He's 3 1/2 so this could be an uphill battle.
  8. Fondue.
  9. I will finally clean out the fridge.
  10. Battlestar Galactica is awesome!
Okay, so number 10 isn't really a resolution, but seriously, it's so good. Just thinking about watching another episode right now has got me thinking that maybe I should stop writing and just take 45 minutes off. So tempting. All I have to do is press "play". Fine. I'll continue with the post.

Hopefully you all had a fantastic holiday season and are having a great start to the new year! I spent the Christmas holiday with my brother, sister in-law and wicked beastie. For dessert we had a traditional-ish cheese plate.




You've just got to have a blue for Christmas and I brought back some Stichelton. A raw milk delicious blue that tastes like Stiltons' wilder, more flavorful cousin. Next up is the Kunik from Nettle Meadow Farm in upstate New York. I have been pushing to get this cheese into our store for at least six months. Finally, my boss relented and agreed that this would be a fantastic cheese to bring in for the holiday season.

Kunik is a triple cream cheese made with goat milk and Jersey cow cream. It's also one of my favorite triple creams.

Founded in 1990 Nettle Meadow Farm primarily raises goats, although they have some sheep, some guard llamas (don't mess with a llama they will frack you up real good) and a rescue sanctuary filled with older goats, horses, and other farm animals.

When you first open the wrapping of the cheese you get notes of grass, herbs, pepper and mushrooms. The paste ripens from the outside in which means you get a nice creamy layer of cheese right under the rind and a more dense middle. On their website they call this cheese buttery, and while I agree I would like to add some more descriptors. This cheese is mushroomy, acidic, slightly salty, silky and is a bit like raw broccoli on the rind. A fantastic cheese good for a holiday, special occasion, or really any day that ends in the letter 'Y'.

Our final cheese on the plate is Ardrahan. Oh man, I really want to talk about this cheese with you right now. The problem is that talking about Ardrahan is more complex than just mentioning a cheese and what it tastes like. If I talk about Ardrahan I have to talk about Irish farmstead cheeses. If I talk about Irish famstead cheeses I have to tell you about how the industry had all but disappeared, and the people who helped bring it back, and how I want to go to Ireland and how washed rind cheeses are particulary delicious and it becomes it's own post all together.

For now I'm going to stop here and start working on the Irish farmstead cheeses post* in which I'll hopefully be able to do justice to lush green land, hard work, beaurocracy and deliciousness that all comes together to make some of the most delicious cheese on earth.

If you manage to see any Irish washed rind cheese at your local cheese counter or shop in the next few days, buy it, then when you read the upcoming post you'll have first-hand experience on the tastiness of Ireland.

*Truth is, I'm going to take a break just for 45 minutes to watch an episode of Battlestar Gallactica. Dang it! I just can't lie to you guys.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time for some housekeeping.

The first part of the day's post is finishing up a post I started before the wacky hectic schedule that was the ACS conference. So in this post I was talking about the Neal's Yard Dairy cheese tasting that I went to. We're going to finish up with the blue cheeses.



The blue positioned at about 7 o'clock is Strathdon Blue from Scotland. It was my first time every having a Scottish blue and I wish I could say it was fantastic. The flavors were good, salty, milky, moldy, grassy, buttery, but the texture. I couldn't get over it. David, our educator said that this particular wheel was a bit wet and he was right. It tasted to me as if a block of tofu, and a wedge of Stilton got together and had a baby. Not a pleasant texture for a cheese. Great texture for a fermented bean curd.

The next two cheeses (going clockwise) are the same, but different. Stilton. The first one we found out after tasting is done with a vegetarian rennet, the second one with a traditional rennet. I preferred the second one. I preferred it for the same reason I prefer raw milk cheeses, it had more flavor. Now, if I'd just tried the vegetarian cheese by itself I would have found it a pleasing cheese. Side by side with the traditional rennet cheese, I found it to be...meh.

Rounding out the cheese plate is Stichelton. Lovely, wild, untamed, grassy, ballsy Stichelton. I did a post about this cheese last spring, and in the interest of not repeating myself I'll just tell you to go here to read it.

Finally, I would like to send a big ol' shout out to Junglefrog for the lovely treats she sent. We joked that the first package she sent must have been eaten by the folks at customs, and after getting the goody bag, I'm sure they were. The Drop Donders are little licorice candies in the shapes of cars and a muffler that looks a bit like Emmenthal. The adults enjoyed them. Next up is the box of jimmies. Chocolate, rainbow and chocolate shavings. Soo good. I sprinkled them on ice cream and made the nephew and I very very happy.

And then there are the stroopwafels. Imagine a wafer sandwich filled with caramel. Now image going to the coffee shop not S***bucks, never S***bucks and getting your coffee and dunking this in there. Or break it into little bits and mix it into ice cream. Either way is good. Thank you so much for the treats, J.F.


Next post: What does 17# of cheese look like and why would I attempt to bring it back from Austin?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stichelton

One of my favorite blue cheeses is Stichelton. From all accounts Stichelton is what Stilton used to taste like back in the day. Before the scare.

What was the scare? In 1989 there was an outbreak of food poisoning. The poison: staphylococcus. The suspect: raw milk Stilton. Although the cheese was proven innocent, the Stilton Cheesemaker's Association required that only pasteurized milk be used for making Stilton. In order for a cheese to be called Stilton, it must be made from pasteurized milk.

Pasteurized milk is good right? Well, kind of. I enjoy pasteurized cheeses, and think that many cheesemakers do them well. Like most turophiles, I am a big proponent of raw milk cheeses. I think that cheese make with raw milk have a much more exciting and complex flavor profile as those that have been pasteurized. I can almost always tell a raw milk cheese (I'm working on my palate.)

Raw milk tastes milky. I know that sounds silly, but think about it. Milk has flavor. Milk should taste like whatever the animal was eating. Let's say that your cows are grazing on organic fields. You milk them and then make cheese with that milk. That milk and subsequent cheese is going to taste like your cows were outside munching on grass. If the fields were lush and filled with clover you're going to taste that. Now, if you take that same milk and heat it what happens? Well, you lose some of the characteristics of the milk. Heating anything changesflavor profile and it's bacterial makeup, and you're going to taste that in the final product.

Don't take my word for it, try it yourself. Get a piece of Stilton and a piece of Stichelton. Try the Stilton first. A pastuerized cow's milk cheese. It's a lovely cheese. A very tasty blue. Now try the Stichelton. An organic raw cow's milk cheese. Wow! What a difference! The Stichelton is creamy and buttery and has an absolute mammalian quality to it. It tastes green and sharp and milky and salty and delicious. When people came into the shop I used to do this side by side with them-impossible to do now since we don't carry Stilton.

Back to the cheese. Stichelton is made by Joe Schneider (cheesemaker) on the Welbeck Estate in partnership with Randoph Hodgsen of Neal's Yard Dairy (affinage). Neal's Yard Dairy is the premium affineur in England. They promote small farm made cheeses and have the highest level of quality control. I don't care where you're from, you must know Neal's Yard Dairy, and you must try their cheeses. Why not start with some Stichelton. Mmmm...cheese from "across the pond".

Air is introduced to the blue cheese through an injecting machine. This helps to insure the consistency of the veins. *Please read the comments for clarification*








Whenever possible, I encourage you guys to do side by side tastings. They're not only fun, but they are educational too. When people come into the shop and ask for Cheddar, I usually pick out three. I get a big daddy cheese like Montgomery's or Keen's from England, an American clothbound cheese like Beechers, or Fiscalini and then a cheese like a one year Grafton Village Cheddar. If you don't taste how do you know? Plus, it's free. You get to taste cheese for free. It's one of the only times I can think of where you get to taste the product before you buy it. Take advantage of it.