Monday, December 31, 2007

Saxelby Cheesemongers New Year's Resolutions

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Can it be?! Is it that time of year already?!? Crazy but true, New Year's Eve is upon us. And we all know what that means... plenty of champagne, plenty of reminiscing about the year gone by, and plenty of resolving what the new year will bring. At Saxelby Cheesemongers, we've made a few resolutions of our own. Here they are all laid out on the table, so to speak. Here goes... Hope you're all hungry!

Resolution #1:
Eat more cheese.

Just kidding. We do that anyways... But, seeing as 2008 is a leap year, we'll all need to do our part to get enough energy for that extra day in February. Why not get an early start?!

Resolution #2:
Visit more farms.

Not only is visiting farms the most fun part of our job, but one of the most important aspects too. If we don't visit our cheese makers to get a good picture of how they are farming, we may as well be writing sci-fi novels about our cheeses! Entertaining and imaginative to be sure, but not the most fact-based tomes around. And in 2008, we plan to have many more accomplices with us as we go seek out some of our favorite cheese makers. Thanks to you all, our Day A-Whey trips were a HUGE success last year! We can't wait to start up the old engines on the tour bus again and get out to see some cheese making in action. Look for more info in the coming months... we plan to resume our weekend cheese-ing sometime in April.

Resolution #3:
Get more involved with our neighborhood and community.

The Lower East Side is just busting with amazing places, run by amazing people, who have been at it since WAY before Saxelby Cheesemongers was even a little glimmer in some cheese head's eye. One place in particular, the M'Finda Kalunga community garden on Rivington Street, is one of the most beautiful gardens in the city, and has been extremely supportive of Saxelby Cheesemongers from the very start. Saxelby Cheesemongers will look to join forces with the garden to host some fun cheese/food/gardening events as the winter melts away and spring starts to show its face.

Resolution #4:
Find ways to tie more of our favorite things to cheese.

How does that Sound of Music song go? 'Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...' At Saxelby Cheesemongers our first love is obvious. Cheese. However, there are a great many things out there that we also love. Among them are the following: pirates, tugboats, accordion music, strong coffee, good books, Red Hook, riding bikes, and on and on...

We're out to find ways to bring all these things together under that big old umbrella called 'cheese love.' So watch out for new events that aren't your average wine and cheese tastings. We'll embark on some interesting little adventures, no doubt.


Happy New Year From Saxelby Cheesemongers! Peace, Love, and Cheese!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saxelby Cheesemongers Goes Home for the Holidays

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Good Monday morning cheese heads!

First of all, I would just like to say a big giant thank you to everyone who braved wind, sleet, and snow to help make yesterday's Wintermarket a warm and wonderful event! Though the setting was chilly, the vittles were fine, and all you food-loving New Yorkers (And Texans and Jersey-ites, and Atlantans) came out in style. Wintermarket was truly a historic market event for New York City. Never before were so many different sustainable farmers, chefs, foragers, and purveyors gathered in the same place! We saw truffles from Vermont, a whole rolled up pig porchetta with the head on, a giant bowl of Brooklyn-made ricotta drizzled with a dizzying array of East End honeys, artisan breads and bike-ground tortillas, the list goes on and on...

With support like that, hopefully we can make the market a permanent fixture down by the seaport and party hardy every Sunday! If you care to, visit New Amsterdam Public's website to learn more about Wintermarket and what you can do to help make another market event a reality.

But, alas, the week must begin anew. Don't worry, we didn't sell all our cheese at Wintermarket... there's still plenty to be had for those lovely (indoor!) parties y'all are getting down to. I am a big advocate, somewhat obviously, of being the bringer of the cheese plate at ye olde holiday party. Not only does it look kinda fancy and sophisticated, it involves much less time and gnashing of teeth than making a fruitcake!

Saxelby Cheesemongers Holiday Cheese Recommendations:

Atlantic Mist, Mecox Bay Dairy
Raw cows' milk. Bridgehampton, NY

Our little Mists are ripening up to the point of gooey perfection. For those of you who are haunted by the memory of that last succulent camembert you had in Paris way back when, good news! Atlantic Mist is the Long Island cousin to the aforementioned froggy cheese; buttery, runny, and just a wee bit barnyardy. Atlantic Mist was built for cold weather and a group of good friends around the table.

Ascutney Mountain, Cobb Hill Farm
Raw cows' milk. Hartland, VT

When I go home to visit my family for the holidays, Ascutney Mountain is my passport through the front door. Seriously. Once I forgot and was nearly turned around to get back on the plane to New York for having made such a careless transgression! Ascutney is aged, caramelly sweet, and ever so slightly earthy. It's rich and smooth, and will leave a little zing on your palate long after you've tackled the last bite.

Goat Tomme, Twig Farm
Raw goats' milk. Cornwall, VT

Ok, so we've been a bit biased towards cows till now. Maybe it's the love of butterfat when the mercury drops below a certain number? Goat Tomme has a richness all its own, though, and tastes like a burst of fresh grass in the middle of winter. Aged for three months and allowed to develop a divine and somewhat gnarly rind. Goat Tomme tastes of sweet musky goats' milk, cloves, spice, and good old Vermont conifers. Don't believe me? Come in and have a bite for yourself!


Saxelby Cheesemongers will be closed for the holidays Monday December 24th, Tuesday December 25th, and Wednesday December 26th.

We will re-open on Thursday December 27th at 9:00 am sharp!

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Better Butter

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers




100 bucks to the first person to guess what this picture is of...
Give up? Ok, fine. It's the Evans butter churn!

Let's just start by saying that not all butters are created equal. I for one, took butter as a given, just another one of those necessary staples in the fridge, at the ready for a little slice of toast or a little sautee of something or other. Then about two years ago, I was treated to a jaunt around upstate New York, visiting different dairy farms and creameries, and was promptly corrected by my taste buds.

Enter the Evans. Dave and Sue and their kids, who all work to make Evans Farmhouse Creamery the beacon of dairy goodness that it is. The Evans' cultured butter is the stuff dreams are made of, dense and rich and golden sweet. Why the heck is their butter so good? Well, the reasons probably number in the hundreds, but it all starts with the cows. Throughout the year, the cows' diet changes, going from fresh pasture and hay in the summer to a mix of small grains and dry hay in the wintertime. This time of year, the butter is a pale yellow, due to the fact that the cows are snacking on more dry hay and less fresh grass. Grass is full of carotenes, and those carotenes give summer butter its bright, intensely yellow color. However, winter butter is fattier, and arguably more silky and luscious because the cows, while producing less milk overall, give richer and more concentrated milk during the cold winter months.

So, while the magic starts with the cows in the barn, the next step on our butter brick road takes us to the creamery. After the cows are milked, the cream is separated and cultured for a day and a half before being churned. The culturing of the cream gives the Evans' butter a most excellent subtle tangy quality. Just think of the culture as a means to developing all those latent complex flavor components present in sweet fresh cream. After the culture has had time to fully ripen the cream, the butter is churned. (see somewhat scary photo above) It is then scooped out onto tables in the creamery to be 'worked' and pressed by hand. Now, all us non-farming folks may go to the gym after work, but Sue and her butter making crew get their workout right then and there. It takes her about three hours to press and knead 100 gallons worth of cream into the high quality butter we luckily get to spread on our toast. All that pressing ekes out any remaining moisture in the butter, and renders the final product dense and ridiculously decadent.

Now enter Saxelby Cheesemongers! We procure a delivery of fresh Evans Farmhouse butter each week so that you can enrich your fridge. Trust us, this butter'll make a believer out of you.

Saxelby Cheesemongers will prominently feature Evans Farmhouse butter next Sunday, December 16th, at Wintermarket, a one day market celebrating regional, sustainable food at the old Fulton Fish Market. Come on down and pick up a chunk for your larder, or treat yourself to a grilled cheese and pickle sandwich liberally slathered in Evans Farmhouse butter! Saxelby Cheesemongers will also be showcasing and selling a selection of our favorite cheeses, yogurts, cream, and other fresh dairy products.

Wintermarket:
A Seasonal Celebration of Regional and Sustainable Food Sourced, Selected, Produced and Prepared by a New Generation of Purveyors

Sunday, December 16th, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
The Fulton New Market Building
(South Street between Peck Slip and Beekman Street)

I know I already extolled the virtues of this market last week, but hey, it's gonna be amazing, so here I go again. In addition to tasty local cheese and dairy products from Saxelby Cheesemongers, Wintermarket will feature dried beans and freshly milled grains from New England, an array of expertly foraged foods from Vermont, and an irresistible menu of street food-style goodies, from Caroline Fidanza's vegetarian chili to Mario Battali's very own porchetta sandwiches.

For more info, check out newamsterdampublic.org


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, December 03, 2007

Winter Bonanza O' Stuff To Do

This Week (or month...) at Saxelby Cheesemongers
December is bound to be a blast! There are so many cheesetastic events coming up, the calender runneth over... So, if you're looking for a break from the pre-holiday mayhem, good cheese and good food are always a welcome respite.


Pickle and Cheese Night:
Rick's Picks and Saxelby Cheesemongers Lower East Side Feast!

Friday, December 7th
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (ish)
Rick's Picks
195 Chrystie Street between Stanton and Rivington

Once upon a time there was a thing called ladies night. Now there's pickle and cheese night. Thank goodness we're doing the latter. Fermented folkies of the Lower East Side Saxelby Cheesemongers and Rick's Picks invite you to a night of pickle and cheese pairings at Rick's funky pickle outpost! Stop on by to share a bite of Phat Beets and Bayley Hazen Blue, drink a little glass of wine, and order holiday pickle and cheese packs for your friends and family.


New Amsterdam Public Wintermarket:

Sunday, December 16th
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
The Fulton New Market Building
South Street between Peck Slip and Beekman Street

Quite possibly the greatest thing we've done all year. Saxelby Cheesemongers will be selling cheese, butter, cream, and other fresh local dairy at Wintermarket, a one day market event to be held at the historic Fulton Street Fish Market. Wintermarket is the first in a series of events put on by New Amsterdam Public, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create New York's first indoor public market dedicated to regional and sustainable food, sourced and sold by expert purveyors.

Farmers, foragers, bakers, and beekeepers from all over the Northeast will converge at the old Fulton Street Market to vend their wares and cook up some tasty vittles, all sourced from within a 500 mile radius of New York City. Chef Mario Batali will be making some ridiculously rich porchetta sandwiches; and chefs from the likes of Marlow and Sons, Centovini, Butter, and Applewood will be creating amazing dishes to help buffer the winter chill. As for us, we're sticking to grilled cheese and pickle sandwiches... With company like that, we best stick to the basics!

Wintermarket is free to the public. A $5 donation is suggested to help New Amsterdam Public continue their efforts to bring a local and sustainable public market to New York City.


Saxelby Cheesemongers hopes to see you out on the town sometime soon!


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh Olga!

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Good morning cheese lovers. I'm here today to tell you the tale of a little mixed milk cheese from the great state of Maine. Olga is our newest arrival at the shop, and we are delighted to have her around. She hails from Seal Cove Farm, a gorgeous patch o' goat farm tucked into a pine tree festooned inlet in Lamoine, Maine.

I had the chance to make Olga's acquaintance this past September while up in Maine for the Common Ground Fair. Barbara Brooks, cheese maker extraordinaire at Seal Cove, was nice enough to let me come and stay for the day, helping her milk the goats and tasting not a little bit of yummy cheese along the way.

Olga is the fruit of a lovely experiment pioneered by Barbara and her Ukrainian intern, Olga. Much like newly discovered planets or elements on the periodic table, it's only appropriate that such a successful innovation be named after its creator! Olga (the person, not the cheese) was interning in the United States while completing her dairy science degree and got it into her head that Seal Cove should make a washed-rind cheese like the ones she was ogling in the scores of cheese books around the farm. Coming from a land of fresh cheese and kefir, this was a grand departure from tradition, but she and Barbara persevered and knocked out the first batch last winter.

Barbara herself said, 'It was during hunting season, and those cheeses could have protected many a hunter, they were such a bright shade of orange!' The vigorous washing of the cheeses had rendered the rinds uber-pungent, uber-orange and uber-sticky to boot... Yummy to say the least, but a bit too volatile for her taste. So, it was back to the drawing board to see what she could tweak to make the cheese a bit finer and milder mannered.

Enter the Olga that we now know and love. Made from a mix of goats' milk from her own herd and organic cows' milk from a neighboring farm, this Olga hits you with a one two punch of flavor, starting with a bright and buttery blast from the cows' milk and followed by the mellow musky flavor of late fall goats' milk. The aging of the cheese gives it a firm and dignified paste, with a lingering caramel-toned sweetness on the finish. And though Olga (the cheese not the person) is still washed during the maturation process, it is no longer stinky or as in-your-face as the first incarnation was. These Olgas are crusted with golden-hued rinds that taste of white pepper and pure goat goodness.

So, roll out the welcome wagon for good old Olga, and come on in for a bite!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's in a Name?

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

What's in a name?

Ever stop for a minute to think about how some of your favorite cheeses got their names? If you're a geek like me, you've puzzled over it, and perhaps even done a little detective work to figure it out. In France and Spain and Italy, cheeses were named after a whole host of things, but the most common way to name a cheese was to name it after the town or region in which it was produced. It makes sense. That cheese is the stamp, more or less, of it's place of origin, and nobody could (in theory anyways) duplicate it. Thus were begotten Comte, Camembert, Manchego... the list goes on and on.

However, here in the US, our cheese makers have taken a more novel approach. Not being bound to any local cheese making tradition, farmers have decided to name their cheeses after a crazy multitude of things ranging from traditional dances to their Ukrainian interns. I delight in getting new cheeses from farmers who flex their creative muscles and give their cheeses sprightly and inventive names.


Here are some of my top contenders for best original cheese name:


Barick Obama:
(Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield VT)
Laini Fondiller has got to have one of the busiest brains in the cheese biz. Not only is she relentless about inventing new cheeses (I think her average is about one a week) she isn't shy about giving them some pretty hilarious names. Barick is a little paving stone shaped cheese of buttery, creamy, earthy cows' milk cheese with a beautiful washed rind kissed by patches of purplish and yellow mold.

Timberdoodle:
(Woodcock Farm, Weston VT)
Can you name this animal? My first guess was some sort of rugged take on the Labradoodle, that canine sensation that swept the country a while back. Thankfully, I was wrong. Timberdoodle is just a Vermonter's way of saying Woodcock, which according to my dictionary is a game bird with brownish plumage, a long bill, and short stubby legs. My opinion may be biased, but I think I'd rather eat the cheese! Timberdoodle is a mixed cow and sheeps' milk cheese with a light and nutty washed rind. The extra density and fat of the sheeps' milk gives it a supple and pliant texture that'll make you crow.

Constant Bliss:
(Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro VT)
With a name like this, who could resist?! Actually, Constant Bliss is both a man and a cheese. In the town of Greensboro, there is a monument near Willy's store tdedicated to some ill fated soldiers who met their demise in the great Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Constant Bliss and Moses Sleeper were their names, and if I were a cheese maker, I think I would have picked the former as well. Maybe old Moses'll get his day in the sun someday soon... A good name for a new local beer or moonshine perhaps? Constant Bliss is a little marshmallowy lump of delicious and creamy cows' milk cheese, all gooey around the edges with a thick and rich center.

Monday, November 12, 2007

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

It seems that it's been a while since I just straight up wrote about some cheeses that I am truly in love with right now. And what better way to start a Monday than to wax poetic about some lovely and wonderful specimens of fromage? Get ready, get set to get sentimental about some dairy. Embrace your inner cheese dork. It's cool, you're among friends.


Constant Bliss, fresh off the truck...

Sigh. There is nothing nicer than peering into a little wooden crate full of fat and happy little Constant Blisses. Usually shipped right at 60 days (the legal limit for raw milk cheeses) they arrive at the shop at their fullest and most flavorful. Each fluffy and buttery cheese is perfectly ripe, with hints of mushroom and spice and wet straw on the rind. Did I happen to mention that we just received a shipment? For the uninitiated, now's the time to savor the Bliss. The name'll need no further explanation.

A freshly opened wheel of Pleasant Ridge Reserve...

Cheese, much like wine, is full of kinetic energy, just waiting to express the myriad of flavors locked beneath its toughened rind. When you uncork a bottle, or crack open a wheel of cheese, all that savory goodness that's been percolating for months, sometimes even years, is released and you (lucky cheese eater) get the flavor equivalent of a slap in the face. In a good way though. Pleasant Ridge, now in its extra aged incarnation, has been aging for a year and a half, and is so chock full of rich carmelly goodness, it'll knock your socks off. We crack a wheel open just about every day, so chances are, your day will come to taste the fresh stuff sooner rather than later!

A big old spoonful of fresh ricotta (for breakfast, lunch, or dessert)...

I have been known to sneak a little spoonful of fresh ricotta every now and again to test its fluff and sweetness of demeanor. I do it in the name of quality control. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Contrary to popular belief, fresh ricotta is not just for lasagna. Use it for everything. No kidding. For breakfast, plop it on pancakes or eat it in a bowl with some fresh fruit, preserves, or honey. For lunch it's perfect on a sandwich, in an omelette, or simply mixed with olive oil and herbs atop a little crust of bread. For dessert, have it any old way you like it. A friend of mine mixes his with rum and espresso. (yum!) In summation, Fresh ricotta is to cooking what a blank canvas is to painting. Add as much or as little as you like to it, and you'll come out on the other side a happy camper. Maybe those minimalists really were on to something...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Goatstravaganza!

When's the last time you were invited to a Goatstravaganza?

Never? Well, you're not the only one... Let Saxelby Cheesemongers be the first to invite you to a goat-erific party this Thursday night in celebration of The Year of the Goat, a fantastic book and travelogue by Maragaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz.

For any of you out there who've dreamed of leaving the city for greener pastures, and you know who you are, this book is the ultimate inspiration. Margaret and Karl decided to pack up their Brooklyn digs and head out on the road for a year of living, eating, sleeping, and breathing (yes, all of these things) goat. From Maine to Arizona, they stayed with goat farmers of all persuasions, breeders, cheese makers, you name it... before returning to the East coast and starting a little farm of their own.

This Thursday evening, stop on by Aronson's Floor Coverings on 17th Street for a book reading, signing, and goat-centric shindig. Saxelby Cheesemongers will be carving up a selection of American farmstead goat cheeses, Chef Frank Lania will be preparing a goat meat tasting menu, and the wine selection will be none other than Goats do Roam (har har!) by Charles Back vineyards.

Oh, and did I mention that there will be live goats attending? Yes, it's true. As if you needed a grand finale.

Please rsvp to info@yearofthegoat.net so that we can be sure to bring enough goaty comestibles. Come on down and get your goat on!

Goatstravaganza!
Thursday, November 8th, 6:30-8:30 pm
Aronson's Floor Covering Showroom
135 W. 17th St. (btwn. 6th and 7th)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eek! What Happened to Monday?

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers
What happened to Monday?

One minute, we're out on our Day A-Whey cavorting around Sprout Creek Farm and picking loads of apples at Mead Orchard, and the next thing you know it's Tuesday... Yikes! Where does all the time go?

Well, sufficed to say I am sorry for my tardy email this week, but I hope it finds you all well and getting geared up for Halloween and whatever other mischief you have planned for the next few days.

This Day A-Whey trip was our best ever... the weather couldn't have been finer, the provisions were delicious, and the company divine. Margo Morris, one of the founders of Sprout Creek Farm, spent the morning walking the farm with us, explaining the hows and whys of life on the farm. In addition to making some exceptional cheese, Sprout Creek is first and foremost an educational center for kids. Since it's inception in 1982, Sprout Creek has been a place where children can come to learn about life on the farm, and what it takes to grow your own food. So, besides the cows, we got to get up close and personal with goats, sheep, ducks, chickens... you name it! I think I learned more about chickens than I ever thought possible, including the proper way to catch and hold one (it's by the feet, not the neck, should any of you care to know).

Over the years, Sprout Creek Farm got bigger, and their herd of cows became heftier as well. Six years ago, they opened their creamery and began to produce Ouray (the cheese that we know and swoon over) as well as a canon of other delectable cow and goats' milk cheeses. Colin, their young and passionate cheese maker, lead us on a gustatory tour of all of his cheeses, trusty standbys and new creations alike, elucidating all the ways milk can be made into cheese. Somewhere along the line as a CIA student, Colin became enamored with cheese and cheese making, and found his way down the road to Sprout Creek Farm. We are eagerly anticipating his new lactic innovations at the shop later this winter.

After a little lunch and stroll in the sun, we headed up to Mead Orchard for what turned out to be the last day of apple picking of the season! Since it's been so warm this year, the trees were still brimming with fruit, and the Braeburn and Rome apples were crisp and tart and just about as close to perfection as apples can come. On the crest of one of the orchard's hills, we were treated to a gorgeous view of the Catskills to the West and, much to our surprise to a few VERY late strawberries that were lurking under the leafy cover of low lying strawberry plants.

I think my Monday must have been spent just reeling over the goodness of Sunday, and concocting some plans for all those apples in my fridge. I'm thinking pie with a slice of Ouray melted on top...

Thanks to everyone who helped make this Day A-Whey our best yet! We'll be in touch soon about more trips for next summer. It'll be here before we know it!

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Discovery of Cheese! (or, eat your heart out Christopher Columbus)

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

The world of American farmstead cheese is a wee tiny blip on the radar in the evolutionary history of fermented milk foods. While we've been re-discovering our cheese heritage over the past 20 years or so, other cultures have been making cheese for millenia. References to cheese making sprout up like mushrooms all throughout the history of civilization. Homer made mention of it in 'The Odyssey,' remnants of cheese and earthenware cheese making pots were found in the pharaohs' tombs of Egypt, and even little David, who slew the giant Goliath, was a shepherd en route to deliver cheeses to his brothers when he was forced into his unlikely battle.

No one is really sure how cheese was 'invented' per se, but there seem to have been a number of factors conspiring that in the end, made cheese making possible. Back in the day when humans were hunter gatherers, there was no time, and indeed no feasible way to make cheese. All those wild goats, sheep, and cattle had absolutely zero interest in being milked by human hands. I mean, come on, can you imagine your average mammoth skin wearing dude approaching a tiny goat or sheep on a hillside somewhere yodeling 'here goaty goaty...' and getting any kind of favorable response? I think not.

So, with the domestication of livestock and the advent of shepherding came the stability necessary to make cheese. The shepherds tended the pastureland to nourish their flock, and were also attuned to the natural reproductive cycles of their animals that allowed them regular access to fresh milk. Legend has it that one cool and crispy night, a shepherd left his pot of milk too close to the fire and when he went to drink it, got a thick and curdy surprise. Legend also has it that on a hot summer day, the shepherd left his pot of milk out in the sun a bit too long (perhaps he'd had some wine with lunch?) and came back to discover the same thing. Curds in place of milk. That, fellow caseophiles, is the most simple kind of cheese. The milk curdles, is drained through some kind of apparatus (the earliest examples were wire baskets and earthenware pots with tons of tiny holes punched in them) and is salted and eaten fresh. Yum!

Another step in the evolutionary cheese chain was the discovery of rennet. Rennet is an enzyme found in the fourth stomach of a calf, and is used to coagulate milk, changing it from a liquid to a solid mass of curd. So, let's revisit our unsuspecting shepherd friend, the one who left the pot of milk out in the sun for a brief minute...

Bags made from animal stomachs were commonplace way back when, and were frequently used to transport liquids during travel. They were lighter and more compact than clay pots, and could be slung over the shepherd's back, like a little ready-made purse full o' milk (or wine, or water). So our shepherd goes out journeying with a skin filled with milk, pauses for a moment to whet his whistle, raises his bag to take a drink, and... surprise! Nary a drop of milk falls. The milk, with the aid of the rennet has curdled, and is now more of a yogurt or kefir-like substance. Rennet was found to be a more stable and reliable method of coagulating milk and is now the most widely used coagulant in cheese making. Thank goodness for hapless shepherds.

And so it has gone throughout the years... cheese is pretty much a history of one happy accident after another, yielding ever-more delightful varieties of dairy goodness. And we lucky Americans are on the precipice of a veritable cheese explosion, as more folks decide to take up cheese making, learning from pioneers of the American artisan cheese movement of the 70's and 80's or from apprenticing with European farmers. So, if you're not sure how to spend your Monday off, why not celebrate the discovery of cheese?!



And if you'd like to discover how to make cheese for yourself, don't forget! Our next Day A-Whey is coming up on Sunday, October 28th. Reserve your spot now! They're going like cheese cakes.

A Day A-Whey
Day Trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Mead Orchard
Sunday, October 28th
8:30 am to 6:00 pm

Join Saxelby Cheesemongers for our next Day A-Whey! The fall foliage will be breathtaking, the cows will be a-milking, and the apples ripe for the picking. Sit back, relax, and let us do the driving. All you have to bring is your appetite!


for tickets ($85) and more information, visit:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/21700

www.saxelbycheese.com

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saxelby Cheesemongers Announces (drumroll please...) Our Next Day A-Whey!

Day trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Mead Orchard
Sunday October 28th, 2007
8:30 am to 6:00 pm
Bus departs from Saxelby Cheesemongers
(Northeast corner of Essex St. and Delancey) at 8:30 am sharp!


For all of you who were out of town sunning yourselves for our last Day A-Whey, now's your chance to seize the cheese! Join Saxelby Cheesemongers on a cheesy excursion to Sprout Creek Farm to see first hand how our favorite dairy product is made. We'll tour the farm, enjoy a hearty picnic lunch, and then spend the afternoon picking apples at Mead Orchard just up the road in Tivoli, NY.

Summer may be over, but there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy a gorgeous day trip out of the city! The fall foliage will be breathtaking, the cows will be a-milking, and the apples ripe for the picking. Sit back, relax, and let us do the driving. All you have to bring is your appetite!

Our first stop is Sprout Creek Farm, a sustainable farm and creamery in Poughkeepsie. Daytrippers will observe Sprout Creek's creamery in action, and learn how cheese is made, from cow to cave, so to speak. Cheese maker Colin McGrath will explain the process and hold a Q & A session for all those curious about the mysteries of cheese! Visitors will then embark on a farm tour guided by Margo Morris, founder of Sprout Creek, to visit the gardens, barns, and on-farm market.

The tour will be followed by a scrumptious picnic lunch and featuring seasonal Greenmarket products and tons o' cheese. We'll relax in Sprout Creek's cozy converted barn and nosh on the best of the bounty the farmers' market has to offer. Daytrippers will be treated to a tasting of Sprout Creek's cheeses, including a few gems that have not yet been seen at NYC markets!

The next stop on our Day A-Whey will be Mead Orchards, located in gorgeous Tivoli, NY. We'll soak up a few more precious hours of sunshine and fill our bags (and our bellies too!) with loads of delicious apples.

The tour bus will return to Saxelby Cheesemongers by 6:00 pm, laden with plenty of cheese, apples, and happy daytrippers! Just think, you could be among them!!



For tickets ($85) visit:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/21700
www.saxelbycheese.com

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Cheese Ahoy! Hitherto Un-Tasted Cheese from Vermont

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Fall is truly here. And with it has come an onslaught of new and delightful cheeses! The two most recent additions to Saxelby Cheesemongers' selection are Vermont Shepherd and Dancing Cow Farm, both located in that Green Mountain, cheese-laden state to the North. We have been happily noshing on their excellent cheeses, and can't wait for you to get in on the action!

If someone could be blamed for instigating the artisan cheese shenganigans that have swept over Vermont in the past 15 years, Vermont Shepherd would be high up on the list of suspects. Back in the mid-90's, when the idea of milking sheep was judged to be about as sane as running around naked through a briar patch, David and Cindy Major had their own ideas. They scooped up their family, went to France, and apprenticed with various cheese makers in the Pyrenees region, learning how to transform their sheeps' milk into succulent and fantastical cheese.

Vermont Shepherd was one of the first great American farmstead cheeses, a grandaddy in the game so to speak, and we are more than proud to have it gracing the shelves of our humble little cheese cave. It is a large, UFO-shaped wheel with a rustic natural rind and a rich, smooth, ivory-colored paste. David Major got into the sheep game because he wanted to be a grass farmer (his own words, I swear!) and man, can you taste that Vermont goodness in each melt-in-your-mouth morsel of cheese. His sheep graze on the family's ample pastures from late spring on into fall each year, keeping the land renewed and beautiful, and transforming that grass into lots of concentrated and delicious milk.

Dancing Cow, on the other hand, is a new star in the American cheese galaxy. Steve and Karen Getz, the farmers at Dancing Cow, started making cheese in November of 2005. Steve and Karen came to farming in a pretty roundabout way, like many other American farmstead cheese makers. They left their respective careers (he was in telecommunications and she was a mom with kids all grown up) and started out on a cheesy journey of their own making.

For the first year, they milked their cows and made hay, learning the ropes of dairy farming and getting attuned to the finer points of how to manage their land. The Getzes now make a little bouquet of certified organic, raw milk cheeses from their herd of 30 Jersey, Guernsey, and Dutch Belt cows. The cheese is made only when the cows are out on pasture, using the freshest milk they can muster. Most farms will store milk from multiple milkings (cows are milked twice a day) to use for cheese making. Steve and Karen make tiny batches of cheese with milk that is straight from the cow, meaning that it is handled barely at all, and is a pretty much dead-on representation of what the cows were out eating on that particular day.

Saxelby Cheesemongers is ecstatic to offer you a taste of their Bourree, a small-ish wheel of washed-rind buttery goodness, with a pungent, pliant yet firm paste. Sarabande, the other newbie from Dancing Cow is a truncated little pyramid of cheese with a vibrant orange rind dusted with little patches of downy white mold. It looks almost too good to eat... if cheese were jewelry (an odd and potentially smelly proposition) I would set it atop a gold ring and show it off all over town.


Come on in and try some for yourself! The new cheeses await!


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jimmy's Brewhaha! It's a-comin'

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Good morning cheeseheads...

Mark your calendars, get set, and go for another rollicking good tasting at Jimmy's no. 43 on Wednesday, September 26th! It may be early in the morning, but my motto is this: it's never too early to think about dessert.


Jimmy's Brewhaha!
Chocolate, cheese, and beer tasting with Saxelby Cheesemongers, em Chocolatier, and Jimmy's no. 43

Wednesday, September 26th
Jimmy's no. 43
43 E. 7th St.

Tickets $30
Two Seatings: 6:30-8:00 pm and 8:30-10:00 pm

What could be sweeter (or more savory) than a guided tasting of chocolate, cheese, and beer from some of New York's most passionate purveyors? Join in the Brewhaha as Saxelby Cheesemongers, em Chocolatier, and Jimmy's no. 43 team up to bring you eclectic and delectable pairings of American farmstead cheese, handmade truffles, and exotic craft beers. The tasting will feature five pairings of chocolate, cheese, and beer ranging from lemon mint truffles and creamy fresh goat cheese to homemade turtles paired with nutty brown ale. Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers, Ellen Mirsky of em Chocolatier, and Chris Cuzme of New York's Homebrewers Guild will faciliate the tasting, elucidating how each product is made and why some seemingly off-the-wall pairings taste so darn good together!

Reservations are required. To book a reservation, please send an email to nycdat@gmail.com or call Saxelby Cheesemongers at 212.228.8204.

And though you may know all the dirt on Saxelby Cheesemongers, here's the skinny on the talented twosome who are collaborating to make this Brewhaha happen:

em Chocolatier was founded by Ellen Mirsky, who for the past 10 years has graced the kitchens of some of New York City's premier restaurants. Ellen's unique, high-quality chocolates are distinguished by her off the beaten path pairings of fruits, herbs, and spices, creating decadent, complex, and nuanced flavors.

www.emchocolatier.com


Jimmy's no. 43 is a neighborhood joint... restaurant and tavern extraordinaire dedicated to supporting local purveyors and food producers. In addition to its farmers' market driven menu, Jimmy's tap features some of the rarest and most sought after craft beers in the city.

www.jimmysno43.com


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www.saxelbycheese.com
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jimmy's Summer Camp for Food-Loving Grown-ups

Just because we're all grown up (well, some of us anyhow) doesn't mean that the spirit of summer camp is lost and gone forever! In the true spirit of making new friends and learning some fun new stuff (think arts and crafts hour, only substitute fresh ricotta and honey for paste, stinky cheese for play dough, and beer for well, beer!) Jimmy's no 43 and Saxelby Cheesemongers are hosting a tiny slalom of events this week to set you up proper for the Labor Day weekend.

Admittedly, some of it is kinda last minute, but we sincerely hope you'll be able to join in for a night or two of noshing, tasting, and good conversation in general.

Tonight!
Monday, August 27th
Artisanal Honey Tasting
7:00-9:00 pm
$15.00

You know all about the birds and the bees, but what about the cows and the bees? We love bees almost as much as we love our bovine brethren. Not least of all because the fruit of their buzzing, pollinating labor goes extremely well with butter and cheese!

Join in on this casual tasting of local honeys, lead by New York Slow Foodies Amy Thompson and Cecily Upton. We'll be tasting six different honeys paired with Alleva Dairy ricotta, Evans Farmhouse butter and plenty of fresh baked bread. In addition, two New York City beekeepers, one from the South Bronx and Fort Greene, Brooklyn will be on hand to demystify the business of keeping bees. Learn how honey is made and harvested, compare honey harvested from the same hives during different seasons, and learn about how the recent colony collapse disease is affecting honey production across the country.


Wednesday, August 29th
Jimmy's Brewhaha
Chocolate, Cheese, and Beer
7:00-9:00 pm
$20

Ah, the old Brewhaha... it's chocolaty, it's cheesy, it's back in action! Join Saxelby Cheesemongers and the beer whizzes (no pun intended) of New York's own Homebrewers Guild at Jimmy's for a tasting featuring the best of Saxelby's seasonal cheeses, paired with Jimmy's ever-changing selection of craft beers and a whole slew of delicious chocolate. Why settle on just one vice when you can have three all at once?! Reservations are required, please RSVP to nycdat@gmail.com or call Saxelby Cheesemongers 212.228.8204 to confirm a spot!


Enjoy the dregs of summer... they are altogether too sweet to pass up!

Happy Monday,
Saxelby Cheesemongers


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheeseblogspot.com

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cheese Myths Debunked! Volume 2: To Cheddar or Not to Cheddar


Cheese Myths Debunked!
Volume Two: To Cheddar or not to Cheddar... that is the question.





Josh of Jasper Hill Farm (surrounded by wheels of that much coveted Cabot Clothbound Cheddar!) is asking himself this very same question. But I think we can all agree that the answer is yes! I mean, without cheddar where would we be as a cheese loving people? In a dark dark place. That much is certain.

In keeping with the tradition of the cheese myths debunked! series, we are here to shed a little light on the old cheddar in the cave. Cheddar is one of the all time most popular cheeses in the history of American cheese. In recent years, mozzarella has usurped the number one spot for most popular cheese in the US (can you say Domino's pizza, anyone?) however, the kind of cheddar we're talking about belongs in a league of it's own.

So what is it that makes cheddars different from all their cheesy relatives?

In addition to being a most tasty and delectable cheese, the word cheddar is also a verb. It is a part of the cheese making process that lends an uber-creamy and dense texture to the cheese, as well as a plucky, makes-you-pucker sharpness. So, how do you cheddar a cheese? It all starts in the cheese vat. After the curds have been cooked and stirred, all the whey is drained from the vat, leaving a thick carpet of curds on the bottom. These curds mat and stick together, compressed by their own weight and mass. After letting them sit for a little bit, the cheese maker slices this mass of curds into rectangular blocks and stacks them on top of one another. For the next hour or so of cheese making, these blocks of curd are flipped and re-stacked by hand at 15 minute intervals.

Why the heck does the cheese maker put himself through this kind of torturous extra work, you might ask? Well for one thing, it's way cheaper than buying a membership to a gym. And, seriously now, it has everything to do with the end flavor and texture of the cheese! The more the curd is handled, the higher the acidity level goes. For a super sharp cheese like cheddar, this is a good thing. An acidic curd will produce a stronger, prickle-your-taste-buds cheese in the end.

After all the flipping and stacking is done, there is yet one more semi-grueling step to complete in order to make an authentic cheddar. The curd must be milled. What the heck does that mean? Well, depending on how big your cheese making operation is, it could mean a number of things. Some small cheese makers will mill their curd by hand, meaning that they cut up those aforementioned blocks of curd into small cubes. Larger cheese operations mill their curd with a machine, which resembles your garden variety mulcher. The blocks of curd are fed into one end of the mill, where they are shredded down into small chunks and spit out the other side. The milling of the curd ensures that the cheese will have a very dense and compact texture, which makes it ideal for aging.

After the curd is milled, it is salted directly in the vat and mixed thoroughly through one more time. The curds are then pressed into molds and aged anywhere from a few months to upwards of eight years! The older the cheese, the more thick and compact the texture becomes, and of course, it grows sharper with each passing year. Watch out for those super aged cheddars... they'll put a hurt on ya!

At Saxelby Cheesemongers, we've got a little bit of everything cheddar-ish: from fresh cheddar cheese curds from Hillcrest Dairy to cloth-bandaged cheddar from the cellars at Jasper Hill Farm to two-year-old Grafton cheddar from Vermont.

So stop on in and make the acquaintance of a tart and tasty cheddar. Your tummy will thank you.



www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Jasper Hill Farm Coffee Break

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers


It's 6:30 am and already I'm late! I'm up in Greensboro Vermont, and it's well past time to start making cheese at Jasper Hill Farm. So, I stumble downstairs to the cheese room and make myself a coffee and get to work. Well, in a relative sense. Somehow emailing seems like a wimpy excuse for work when confronted with all the work happening on the farm. And I find it funny that in New York getting up before 7:00 seems nigh impossible sometimes; but up here it seemed like the only reasonable thing to do. In fact, most of the staff at Jasper Hill arrives around 5:00, so to them, we're already well past breakfast time.

The milk is warming in the vat, and the washing is being done to get the cheese room ready. It's a lot of washing. Cheese molds, tables, floors, walls, the work never ends! Mateo, Tom, Emily and the rest of the crew are hairnetted and ready to start making some Bayley Hazen Blue. Soon we'll add some culture to the milk and really get cheesing, so to speak.

On the other side of the cheese room, Andy and some other folks are out in the barn, finishing up milking the last of their 40 Ayrshire cows. It's sunny and beautiful and I am having a tough time reasoning why I should leave Vermont at the moment. Everyone reassures me that come November I'd change my tune, when the the six month winter is well underway. But for now, it's paradiso!

The American Cheese Society conference was a wonderful dairy cacophony of butter, goat cheese, sheep cheese, cow cheese, chocolate cheese (?!) cheese spreads, and innumerable other cheesy comestibles. We found some real gems to bring back home to New York, so keep a look out for plenty of new cheese over the next couple of weeks.

But for now, it's back to the cheese room. I've got to get my hands in some curd while I've got the chance. In three months, Mateo will send this batch o' blue down to New York, and you all can evaluate our cheese making skills!

American Cheese Society Recap


This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers




It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a sculpture made completely out of cheese!!! Yes, we are a bunch of dairy geeks. Hear us roar.

So, last week we were up at Jasper Hill Farm, making delicious cheese and communing with the cows. But, we were also eating lots of cheese at the American Cheese Society Conference and picking out some gems to share with the likes of you all!

Here's the rundown of what's new on the cheese block:

Mecox Bay Dairy Cheddar:
A big old wheel of raw cow's milk cheese that has been aged for about six months. Mecox Cheddar is not your garden variety stuff. (reference photo above to see what Mecox Cheddar is NOT) Nay, it is an entity unto itself. The texutre is pliant, snappy, and creamy, reminiscent of much younger cheeses. Mecox Cheddar is characterized by fruity and nutty flavors, and has a bit of that swiss cheese acidity that tickles your nose as you munch on it. A gorgeous cheese to tote along on a picnic or to savor on a hearty hunk of toasted bread.

And if you can't make it into the shop to try a slice, why not just come on down to Mecox Bay Dairy with us this Sunday afternoon for A Day A-Whey! We've got a bus full of cheese lovers all set to go, and you should be on it. Don't miss this fantastic day trip! For more details, click on:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/18581


Hillman Farm Hilltown Wheel:
Caroline Hillman's cheeses are back! After a long winter and chilly spring the goats are up and 'em, and the cheeses are cave aged and ready to go. This year's first offering is the Hilltown Wheel, a three to four month old goats' milk cheese with a smooth and supple paste and a hint of lemon meringue citrus flavor laced in betwixt the musky goatier notes.

Woodcock Farm Timberdoodle:
A second prize winner in the farmstead category at the ACS! This unique and sweet mixed milk cheese (cow and sheep, unite!) is a true joy to snack on. The rind is carefully washed with salt water brine as the cheese ages, producing a mild and slightly earthy flavor. Timberdoodle is aged just about two months, and the resulting cheese is toothsome, buttery, and oh so slightly sheepy. Try it out with some heriloom tomatoes and spicy olive oil in a summer salad. You won't be dissapointed, trust me.


www.saxelbycheese.com
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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Day A Whey: Back with a Vengeance!

Day trip to Mecox Bay Dairy and Wolffer Estate Vineyards

Sunday, August 19th
8:30 am to 7:30 pm
And you thought Harry Potter was the hottest series around...

Summer seems to be speeding by WAY too fast, but you can plan on one last hurrah before old Labor Day rolls around. Join Saxelby Cheesemongers as we embark on another fabulous dairy-centric day trip to the East End of Long Island! In this incarnation of A Day A Whey we'll trek out to Mecox Bay Dairy, a gorgeous fourth generation farm in Bridgehampton and Wolffer Estate Vineyards, located just around the corner in Sagaponack. We'll be treated to the best of the South Fork's bounty of wine and cheese, and weather permitting, even have a little time to soak up some sun at a local beach.

We'll start the day at Wolffer Estate Vineyards with a wine tasting brunch on their gorgeous outdoor terrace. Wolffer Estate has a unique microclimate, rich soils, and close proximity to the ocean, yielding wines that truly reflect the taste of the land and the growing season. Wine maker Roman Roth crafts an amazing array of white and red wines, ranging from sweet Late Harvest Chardonnay to spicy and lean Cabernet Franc. Looking out over the vines, day trippers will taste six different Wolffer Estate wines paired with Mecox Bay Dairy cheeses, fresh fruits, greens, charcuterie, and breads.

Next, our caravan will head out to Mecox Bay Dairy, where cheese maker and herdsman Art Ludlow will lead us on a tour of his farm, from milking parlor to cave. Art is the consummate can-do farmer, having transitioned from growing potatoes to milking dairy cows and making absolutely incredible cheeses. Currently, he milks eight (count 'em, eight!) cows, makes five varieties of raw milk cheese, and ages them in a cave built in his converted potato barn.

Mecox Bay Dairy is one of the few remaining farms in the area, and is a truly tiny and wonderful farmstead cheese making operation. Art's cheeses are only available at the Sag Harbor farmers market and a tiny smattering of retailers, so cheese lovers take heed! Be ready to savor some of the best cheese being made in New York, and the entire East Coast for that matter.

And just as a little icing on the cheese cake (so to speak), if the weather's fine, we'll take a quick jaunt down the road to one of the East Ends beautiful beaches. Take a stroll, swim, soak up some sun, whatever suits your fancy! Just bring along a towel or blanket and call it a day. A whey.



For tickets ($95) and information visit:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/18581


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Cheesemongers Gone Wild!

Saxelby Cheesemongers to Attend American Cheese Society in Burlington, Vermont.


This week is a big week for cheese nerds across the nation. The American Cheese Society, venerable cheese institution that it is, is holding its annual conference and cheese competition in Burlington, Vermont. This year is the biggest year in ACS history, both in terms of people attending and cheeses entered in the contest. Over 1200 cheeses from hundreds of American dairies will be tasted, analyzed and judged by an international panel of cheese gurus. We believe that it is our noble cheesly duty to attend. And eat.

So, Saxelby Cheesemongers is taking a little hiatus to attend the conference. We will be closed from 3:00 pm on Wednesday, August 1st to Saturday, August 4th. We'll be doing LOTS of tasting, and don't you worry, we'll be bringing some of our favorite cheese finds home to Essex Market to share with you.

For those of you hungry for more details on this strange and wonderful phenomenon in the wild world of cheese, check out the ACS website at
http://www.cheesesociety.org/


Stay tuned next week for a post-ACS update and new additions to our ranks of fromage!



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Monday, July 23, 2007

Cheese Myths Debunked!

Volume One: Blue Cheese
Good afternoon cheese hounds! This is the first of a set of emails dedicated to demystifying the seemingly complicated world of cheese. Cheese doesn't need to be confusing or intimidating, I assure you. All it needs to be is delicious. Simple enough! So, if any of you out there have urgent or nagging cheese questions, I implore you to send them in. You could be the featured cheese head of our next volume of cheese myths.

This week we're going to get this cheese ball rolling by divulging the wonders of (drumroll please) blue cheese! Strong, spicy and wonderful, blue cheese is one of the true wonders of the cheese world. From Roquefort to Maytag, blue has been around for ages, wooing many a cheese lover with it's distinctive flavors.

Let me start off by saying this: not all blues are created equal. There are many folks out there who are convinced that they don't like the funky taste of blue cheese. However, blues come in all kinds of permutations, from mild and creamy to aged and rank. And just for the record, blues don't discriminate. There is a barnyard symphony of possibilities from cows' milk to goats' milk to sheeps' milk blue. In other words, try some different styles of blue on for size and you may just find something that makes your palate sing!

The flavor and strength of a blue cheese can be influenced by any number of things, but two among them stand out: how long the cheese has been aged and what kind of mold has been used to create it. Just like all other cheeses, the different strains of mold aid in the development of flavor. Now, with blue cheese, all the molds are a variant of penicillium roqueforti, named after the French king of blues. According to cheese legend out there, this mold was accidentally introduced to a batch of cheese when the cheese maker brushed up against some especially ripe (and moldy) rye bread somewhere between his house and the cheese house. So, though all blues stem from this kind of mold, the different strains express different flavors, from sweet chocolate fudge to barnyard to black pepper.

Now for the million dollar question: how does the blue get into the cheese? Contrary to popular belief, blue mold is not injected into the cheese. I mean, it seems like the most logical explanation, right? You see all those blue streaks running through the cheese and you think it must be blasted in there somehow. However, the blue mold in cheese grows in a much more old fashioned way, with a little help from our good buddy oxygen. When the wheels of cheese are made, a little bit of penicillium roqueforti is mixed in with the curd. The cheese is left to ripen for about a week, and then the cheese maker comes along with his trusty little copper or stainless steel poker and gives the cheese a few good jabs. The cheeses are poked a number of times throughout the aging process to be sure that the oxygen has plenty of avenues into the wheel and voila! Wherever there is a hole, a blue vein will grow.

So go out into the world, cheese people and dazzle your friends with your newfound trivia. Who knows, you may end up on Jeopardy some day and actually use this!


Stay tuned for the next installment of Cheese Myths Debunked!


www.saxelbycheese.com
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Monday, July 02, 2007

July = American Cheese-a-palooza.

An extremely informative rundown of all things cheesy in July.

For all of you die hard patriots out there (and everybody else with a healthy appetite for fromage) July is the perfect month to eat American cheese! Wouldn't our forefathers be proud to know that our great nation is producing such a myriad of tasty cheeses and dairy products? I can see it now: George Washington crossing the Delaware, thumbing his nose at old British Cheddar in favor of a slice of Cabot Clothbound from Jasper Hill Farm, fireworks exploding in the background, little chunks of cheese raining down on everyone from the sky. This is the stuff of Hollywood movies. And my imagination.

In keeping with this month's domestic cheese mania, Saxelby Cheesemongers has put together a few fun and informative events! If you're in town, come hungry! you'll taste and learn all you need to know about American Cheese.

The Atlas of American Cheese


This Friday, July 6th

The Atlas of American Cheese book talk hosted by Jeff Roberts
Artisan Cheese and Craft Beer Tasting

Jimmy's no. 43
43 7th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Ave.)

Two Seatings!
6:00-7:30 pm (early birds)
8:00-9:30 pm (burly birds)

Be sure to get your tickets early, as space is running out fast!
Tickets are available online, just click on the links listed below.


Saxelby Cheesemongers, Jeff Roberts, author of the newly released Atlas of American Cheese, and Jimmy's no. 43 are joining forces to bring you the best American Farmstead cheese tasting of the summer! Listen as cheese aficionado Jeff Roberts details his cross-country sojourn, meeting cheese makers and discovering some of the most obscure handmade cheeses being crafted in America today. From the green mountains of Vermont to the rugged Alaskan backcountry, Mr. Roberts has seen (and tasted) it all! Saxelby Cheesemongers, purveyors of fine American farmstead cheese, will provide a five flight tasting of delicious, off the beaten path New England cheeses, while Jimmy Carbone serves up some home-grown condiments and pours tasty craft beers to calm that cheese-induced thirst. And to quench that other thirst (the one for knowledge that is) Jeff Roberts will be on hand to answer questions for all those inclined to learn more about the American cheese revolution happening in our midst!

Jeff Roberts is a co-founder of the Vermont institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont. He is also an active leader in Slow Food USA's raw milk cheese presidium, and helped organize numerous initiatives for sustainability and agriculture in the US and abroad. The Atlas of American Cheese is the most comprehensive volume on domestic artisanal cheese to be published to date. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to meet an American cheese master!


All attendees will receive a signed copy of Mr. Roberts' book, The Atlas of American Cheese, hot off the press from Chelsea Green Publishing.


For tickets ($60) and information, please visit:

www.saxelbycheese.com
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/16750

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Upcoming Events in July

Saxelby Cheesemongers is doing it up with tons of cheesy events this month.

Friday July 6th: The Atlas of American Cheese book talk and cheese tasting at Jimmy's no. 43

Join author Jeff Roberts and Saxelby Cheesemongers for a five flight tasting of American Cheese. Learn about Jeff's new book and travels throughout the US, seeking out the best American cheeses.

for tickets visit: http://brownpapertickets.com/event/16750



Saturday July 7th:
The Atlas of American Cheese in-store book signing with Jeff Roberts

Come on down to Saxelby Cheesemongers to talk shop with Jeff Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Cheese and co-founder of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese.

Saturday July 7th:
Slow Food NYC American Cheese Summit

6:00 pm -7:30 pm
Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 East 11th St.
NY, NY 10003

Slow Food NYC is hosting it's first ever American Cheese Summit. Panel discussion featuring author Jeff Roberts, Liz McAlister of Cato Corner Farm, Peter Dixon of Consider Bardwell Farm, Karen Weinberg of Three Corner Field Farm and Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers.

Sunday July 8th: Un-Fancy Food Show at the East River Bar in Williamsburg

It's that time of year... the Fancy Food Show is upon us. But why pay $50 and truck all the way up to the Javits Center when you could come hang with local foodsters like Fleisher's Meats, Jasper Hill Farm, and Wheelhouse Pickles at a great backyard BBQ in Brooklyn? Grass-fed hamburgers, raw milk cheeses, and local honey will rule the day at this fantastical gathering!

The East River Bar is located at 97 South 6th St, Brooklyn NY 11211

Sunday July 15th: Why Buy the Cow? Women in Cheese and Dairy at Blue Hill Stone Barns

Local dairy women Maureen Knapp, Lisa Schwartz, and Anne Saxelby will discuss womens' role in dairying at this fun and informational session at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Sunday July 29th: A Day A Whey, part three! Trip to Mecox Bay Dairy

Stay tuned for more details! This upcoming trip promises to be tons of cheese making fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grass Fed Goodness

Well, it's summertime, and that means lots of tall, green, good grass. Well, most places anyhow. I'm sure that Central Park and Prospect Park are trying their darndest to keep up, but there's just no comparison between our New York City greenery and full-on pasture.

You may be asking yourself, what the heck does this have to do with cheese? Grass is nice and all, makes for nice scenery, and is good to stomp around in... but there's more! Good grass equals a plethora of good things for the farmer, for the animals grazing on it, and for us stalwart eaters of grass-fed cheese!

Grass is good for the farmer because he (or she!) can feed his animals the old-fashioned way, by grazing. This not only manages the natural growth of grass on the land, it actually improves it as animals move through the fields leaving little bits of manure magic behind. Who needs a tractor when your fertilizers walk on four legs?

Grass is good for the animals because it's chock full of potent vitamins and minerals. When cows, sheep, and goats are being milked, their bodies essetially work overtime to ensure that they are consuming enough nutrients to support their young (by way of milk!) as well as sustain themselves. Since there's only so much an animal can consume during the day, grass is pretty much the healthiest snack going.

Grass is good for us because we get to absorb some of those extra vitamins and minerals as well! When animals are left to romp outside in the summer sunshine, they eke nutrients from the plants that we humans (with our goofy little one-chambered stomachs) couldn't otherwise get. Grass-fed milk is full of beta-carotene, vitamins A and E, and CLA which is good fat known to fight cancer and other diseases. And last, but certainly not least, grass-fed cheeses are by far the tastiest cheeses on the map. After all, milk is like wine... it should taste like the place it comes from. Grass-fed milk has more complex flavors and aromas which, when made into cheese, pack a wallop of taste into a tiny little morsel.

Grass-fed cheeses good to munch right now:

Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson:
It's back! The gooey, buttery, slightly pungent cheese from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Meadow Creek Dairy is one of the only truly seasonal cow dairies making farmstead cheese, and Grayson is a shining example of what a little good grass can do for your tastebuds! This week marks the release of the first batch of the season, so come on in and try a bite.

Jasper Hill Farm Bartlett Blue:
A big, blustery, and fudgy blue from the brothers Kehler up in Vermont. Bartlett is riddled with gorgeous green-blue veins and has a little salty punch that makes it the perfect mouth watering accompaniment to a glass of sweet white wine or dark syrupy port.

Twig Farm Square Cheese:
Michael Lee's goats are some of the scrappiest around (in a good way). These hardy little buggers are on the browse from spring till fall, eating up tons of grass, shoots, leaves, brambles, and whatever else they can get their teeth on. The resulting cheese is floral, savory, and has gamey musky undertones.



www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Picnic Cheese Addendum

Ok cheese-sters.

Just in case you need a little picnic inspiration, we've compiled a little list of outdoor jaunts that are PERFECT for cheese consumption. I mean, in theory, anywhere, bus stop benches included, is a perfect place for cheese consumption. But if you're looking for a beautiful place, well we've got your number.

New York Picnic-Ready Venues:

Here is a list of free events that equal picnic time. Use the money you saved on tickets to go buy more wine and cheese!

Brooklyn Bridge movies with a view 2007, Starts July
5th. Check out the link!
http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/index.cfm?objectid=EF670B44-3048-2C77-F20C2202337458ED

Music in the Park (Central, that is...)
Series of concerts and great operas to pair with
special cheeses! La Boheme is June 12 and Faust June
13th.
http://www.centralparknyc.org/activities/music

Shakespeare in the Park (Romeo & Juliet)
Mon June 11 at 8PM, Mon July 2 at 8PM & Sun July 8
http://www.publictheater.org/view.php?mode=eventdisplay&eventid=863

Finally the Bryant Park Film Fesival
starts June 18th
http://www.bryantpark.org/calendar/film-festival.php

Picnic Cheese if you please!


Picnic cheese if you please!




Saxelby Cheesemongers Day A Whey trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery has left me bitten by (and smitten with) the picnic bug...

And you don't need to travel far and wide to have a stellar summer picnic. All you need is a healthy chunk of cheese. And maybe one or two other essentials (bread, wine, what else is there?) to round things out.

There are a few cheeses that seem to me to be especially picnic worthy these days. So before you head out to the park, be sure to check out:

Three Corner Field Brebis Blanche:
A light and tart little button of fresh sheeps' milk cheese. I swear to you, drizzle this guy with a little bit of honey and you might find yourself floating away on a blissful little trip to cheese paradise*

*wine aids considerably with this effect

Try it with a crisp, floral summery white like Vouvray or something more mineral and apple-ish like Muscadet.

Lazy Lady Farm La Petite Tomme:
A delicious disc of soft, creamy, thick goat cheese from the artful hands of Laini Fondiller. If this cheese doesn't make a goat lover out of you, you've got some explaining to do...

Try it with a spiced wheat beer, the hints of coriander and citrus'll do a goat cheese good.

Cato Corner Farm Brigid's Abbey:
A stalwart and rustic picnic cheese if there ever was one. This country-fied tomme of sweet and buttery cows' milk cheese is just begging to be eaten alongside your favorite chunk of cured meat or juicy summer fruit.

Try it with everything! But if I must be more specific... how about a light dry red, like Beaujolais or a nutty brown ale?

Birchrun Hills Farm Birchrun Blue:
Earthy creamy blue from hearty Pennsylvania Holstein cows. The rind, dusted with white, brown, and purplish mold contributes a floral and mushroomy quality to the rich creamy blue that lies beneath.

Try it with a bright juicy red like Zinfandel or a sweeter white like Riesling.




So there. Go picnic your little heart out! And don't say we didn't warn you about the bug...


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Back to the Brine!

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

It's back to the brine!
Memorial Day weekend at Three Corner Field Farm comes to an end...




While most people spent their Memorial Day out at a barbeque or sipping frosty cocktails on a roof or in a park somewhere, I elected to head out to Three Corner Field Farm in Shushan, NY to get into the cheese (so to speak) with Karen Weinberg, Paul Borghard, and their two daughters Emily and Zoe. What better way to kick off the summer than cavorting with farmers and their sheep?!

Three Corner Field Farm is home to a whole caucophony of grass fed sheep and lambs who supply the farm with incredible cheeses, yogurts, and milk as well as lamb and wool. The farm is sustainable in every way, from their solar powered water system in the cheese house, to their implementation of a rotational grazing scheme for their sheep. Summer is the best time of year to visit Three Corner Field Farm; The pastures are gorgeous, rolling and green, the sheep are basking in the sun and mowing down the tall early summer grasses, and the milk is plentiful and insanely delicious.

People regard sheeps' milk with a certain degree of suspicion, which I assure you is totally unfounded. On the contrary, sheeps' milk is the stuff dreams are made of, more readymade vanilla milkshake than straight up milk. Look out for sheeps' milk on Saxelby Cheesemongers' shelves in a few weeks when production hits full swing. You won't be dissappointed... To tide us over till then, however, I did manage to bring home some booty in the way of fresh cheeses and yogurts made by the skillful hands of Karen Weinberg.

Karen began her cheese making oeuvre with two cheeses, Brebis Blanche and Shushan Snow. The former is a fresh little button of sheeps' milk goodness, with a light, nutty, almost citrusy flavor. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, and absolutely sublime when drizzled with a bit of honey. Shushan Snow is a camembert-style cheese that when ripe, achieves an unprecedented degree of gooey-ness bound to make you grin and tap your toes. It's flavor ranges from pure butter to distinctly herbal, with hints of the diverse grasses and plants that make up the sheeps' daily smorgaasbord of grazing.

And then there's the yogurt... oh, wonderful yogurt! Sheeps' milk yogurt is amazingly rich and healthy, and is easier to digest for those who have troubles with cows' milk products. Three Corner Field Farm's yogurt has the consistency of a Greek style yogurt, dense and heavy enough to sustain you through an Arctic winter. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it does make cows' milk seem pretty wimpy in comparison.

I packed a cooler full of these sheep milk goodies, so stop on by the shop this week and try something new!!

Also, if you want to hear more sheepy stories, check the blog later tonight for a more in depth profile of Three Corner Field Farm. It's a farm to marvel at, let me tell ya.
Reminders and such:

A Day A Whey (the sequel!) is coming up this Sunday, June 3rd

Don't miss a fantastic day trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery in New Jersey
We'll see a working sheep dairy in action, from cheese making to the cheese cave, and finish up our day with a picnic on the farm.

The bus is filling up fast, so get your tickets today!

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/15681


Tomorrow Night, Wednesday May 30th, join Saxelby Cheesemongers at Jimmy's no. 43 for a rollicking tasting of artisanal chocolate, cheese and beer!

Enjoy delicious custom pairings dreamed up by cheese geek Anne Saxelby and chocolate and beer geeks from New York's own home brewers club.

The festivities start at 7:00 pm and finish at 9:00 pm.

Jimmy's no. 43
43 7th Street between Bowery and 2nd Ave.
212.982.3006



www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Art of Eating

This week at Saxelby Cheesemongers


The Art of Eating featuring Jasper Hill Farm now on sale at Saxelby Cheesemongers!


Venerable foodie publication The Art of Eating has chosen to focus on one of our favorite farms for their spring issue! Mateo and Andy Kehler, owners of Jasper Hill Farm, are the centerfolds (so to speak) of the current Art of Eating. If you've never read it, The Art of Eating is a gorgeous magazine devoted to unearthing the tradition and culture behind some of our most beloved foodstuffs. Not your average publication, it comes out just four times a year, and each volume can be considered an addition to an ongoing encyclopedia of food and the pleasures of the table. Saxelby Cheesemongers is proud to offer The Art of Eating, as it is not available on newsstands and at only a small number of specialty cookbook shops in the city.

The feature story details the history of clothbound cheeses in Vermont, and how the brothers Kehler up at Jasper Hill Farm have jump started the renaissance of traditionally aged cheeses with their delicious and addictive Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. The wheels of cheddar are made from a single herd's worth of milk from one of Cabot Creamery Cooperative's farms. The cheeses are produced at Cabot, and then shipped down the road to Jasper Hill Farm where they are bound in muslin and aged in their cellars for anywhere from 8 months to upwards of 18 months. Look out cheese people... this cheese doesn't take no bull from nobody. It is crackly, crumbly and sweet, with a divine butterscotch sharpness that you won't find in any other cheese in town. A very limited number of wheels are made each year, and each release of a new batch is enough to cause little ripples of pandemonium in our pool of loyal cheese geeks.

So guess what? Saxelby Cheesemongers was lucky enough (after much begging and pleading) to get our hands on a wheel of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar this week. We'll bust into it tomorrow, so if your curiosity is piqued, come on down and taste a little sliver! And if that little bite of cheddar leaves you thirsting for more (cheese or knowledge) you can take a chunk home with you and cozy up with a copy of The Art of Eating to learn all about where your cheese comes from!


And don't forget.... A Day A Whey (the sequel!) is coming right up.
Get your tickets while the gettin's good!

A Day A Whey (the sequel!)
summer day trip to the Valley Shepherd Creamery

Sunday June 3rd
11 am to 7 pm

For tickets ($75) visit
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/15681



www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Day A Whey... (the Sequel!)

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers...
A Day A Whey... the Sequel!
Summer Day trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery

Sunday June 3rd
11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Bus will depart from Saxelby Cheesemongers at 11:00 am sharp!
daytrippers should arrive no later than 10:30 am


If your curiosity about American farmstead cheese extends beyond the reaches of the cheese counter, we have the antidote! Say hello to summer with Saxelby Cheesemongers as we take you on a delicious day trip to the Valley Shepherd Creamery in Long Valley, New Jersey. We'll see some sheep, soak up some sun, and picnic on the farm! Sit back, relax, and let us do the driving.... all you have to bring is your appetite.

Valley Shepherd Creamery is a sustainable family farm producing farmstead cheese, yogurt, and gelato from their flock of East Fresian sheep. Our day trip will begin with a tour of the creamery guided by Eran, head honcho and cheese maker at Valley Shepherd. He'll give us the skinny on the cheese making process from sheep to finished product, revealing what it takes to make great farmstead cheese.

Next, we'll take a little stroll through the pastures to hobnob with the sheep and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. In early June lambing will be in full swing, so there will be plenty of little ones ambling around the farm! Take your time, take some pictures, heck, take your shoes off if the mood strikes! When's the last time you felt some good green grass under your toes?

After spending some quality time with the sheep and their lambs, we'll be treated to a private tour of Valley Shepherd's aging cave, where their award-winning cheeses are matured to perfection. As the afternoon begins to wane, we'll finish up our day with picnic out on the farm's back porch, noshing on delectable sheeps' milk cheese, freshly baked local breads, and fruits from the Union Square Greenmarket.

We'll provide all the munchables... just bring a bottle of wine to round out the picnic, and get ready to enjoy the sunset from Valley Shepherd's outdoor deck!


As the sheep like to say, baah there or baah square.


For tickets ($75) and information visit:
http://brownpapertickets.com/event/15681

Other inquiries:
email events@saxelbycheese.com
call 212.228.8204


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

Saxelby Cheesemongers: Aged One Year!

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Saxelby Cheesemongers: Aged One Year!

So, the seemingly impossible has come to pass. Saxelby Cheesemongers has weathered the cheesy storms out there and celebrated its one year anniversary on Saturday. Sadly, we weren’t able to convince anyone that cheese goes hand in hand with Cinco de Mayo, so no margaritas were drunk. We did have plenty of cupcakes though, and new cheeses to boot! And really, what goes better with cupcakes than cheese?

To celebrate our opening last year, we offered a ten percent discount to all of our customers. We’d like to keep that tradition rolling along the road to cheesy enlightenment, so to speak. So if you, intrepid cheese lover, print a copy of this email and bring it into the shop during the month of May, we’ll give you ten percent off your purchase. Expand your lactic horizons, try some new cheese! We’ve got plenty of newbies on offer, including a few delectable wheels from Mecox Bay Dairy out on Long Island. These are cheeses to write home about, believe me.

Thanks to all you farmstead cheese fiends out there that made the first year such a blast! There will be plenty more shenanigans to come, starting with a one year anniversary garden party! (details to follow soon) Also, keep a look out for more tastings and events as we gear up for some hot cheese in the summer time.


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com


Saxelby Cheesemongers Voted Best Cheese Shop
New York Magazine Best of NY 2007!
http://nymag.com/bestofny/food/2007/28738/

Monday, April 23, 2007

These are a few of our favorite things...

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

These are a few of our favorite things…

Well, Maria said it better than anyone, though I don’t recall her listing cheese explicitly in her little tune. Maybe that’s what was in the little brown package tied up with string? Sounds good enough to me!

So, being a teesny bit gluttonous, our favorite things this week happen to be chocolate, cheese, and beer. And who better to bring these things together than the world famoso Jimmy Carbone? Clear your Wednesday calendars cheese heads. The perfect storm (culinarily speaking) is brewing!

Jimmy’s Brewhaha II
Wednesday, April 25, 7-9 pm
Jimmy’s no. 43
43 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd.

$20 per person

Join us for the second of hopefully many Brewhahas at Jimmy’s no 43! The Brewhaha is a Jimmy Carbone innovation, meant to introduce foodies to one another and to the purveyors bringing you some of the best grub in town. This incarnation of the Brewhaha will feature Sixpoint Beer, Jaques Torres chocolates, and Saxelby Cheese, paired in daring and delicious combinations.

Also, stay tuned for details on a beer and cheese tasting Wednesday May 2nd at Essex Restaurant. Details forthcoming on the blog.


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com


Saxelby Cheesemongers Voted Best Cheese Shop
New York Magazine Best of NY 2007!
http://nymag.com/bestofny/food/2007/28738/

Sunday, April 15, 2007

We've got the blues.

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

It’s rainy out there. And we’ve got the blues. Lots of them.

Don’t get yourself all down in the dumps. Rainy weather is the perfect time to eat cheese! I mean, it doesn’t get much better than camping out on your couch, pouring a glass of wine, and watching a good movie or two with some little cheese friends. And I guess if you really wanted to, you could invite some of your human friends too…

This week we’ve got more blue veins running through shop than ever before. Stop in and get yourself a piece of the blues!

Birchrun Hills Farm Birchrun Blue:
An incredibly gooey and savory blue from the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside. For those of you who love a good creamy blue, watch out. Birchrun may just knock your socks off. The paste calls to mind the slathery-ness of buttercream frosting, and the rind is deep brown, earthy and dusty, giving the cheese an intense earthy finish.

Woodcock Farm True Blue:
Holy cow. Mark Fisher has really done a number on this one. True Blue (which I suspect has nothing to do with the Madonna album) is one wallop of a blue cheese, super-rich, buttery, and rustic, with a hint of white pepper that lingers on the tongue when you chow on it. Take home a slab and see what a real powerhouse of a blue can do.

Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue:
Named after the road George Washington built to kick some French-Canadian booty way back when, this blue is a chocolaty, fudgy, crumbly slice of heaven. Mixed in with all that sweetness is a little bit of barnyardy flavor, just to remind you where it’s coming from. Cows. Tastes like the genuine article!

Maytag Dairy Blue:
A classic from America’s heartland, this cheese has been rocking and rolling and topping your salads since 1941. Made by the same folks who make the dishwashers* Maytag Blue packs a buttermilky tangy and fruity punch into every delectable bite.

Hook’s Cheese Company Blue Paradise:
A double cream blue aged for over a year from Wisconsin. So thick it’ll stick to the roof of your mouth like peanut butter. I can’t imagine a better blue to top a burger, or to stuff into some devils on horseback. Go on, indulge already!


*Maytag dishwashers are now made in China, but the blue is still made by burly corn fed Iowans.


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com


Saxelby Cheesemongers Voted Best Cheese Shop
New York Magazine Best of NY 2007!
http://nymag.com/bestofny/food/2007/28738/

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Return of the Goats!

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

The Return of the Goats!

Look out. The goats are back in town. From Lazy Lady Farm to Beltane Farm, there are goat cheeses galore at the shop starting later this week. After taking the winter off, all those does (ie lady goats) are back in action; and our palates are primed for some springtime cheese!


New Goats in Cheese Town:

Lazy Lady Farm Marbarella:

Many of you remember Trillium (a Lazy Lady creation consisting of layers of goats’ and cows’ milk) with a fondness bordering on obsession. Myself included. Well, Marbarella is the all goat version… three tiers of goats’ milk goodness separated by wispy layers of vegetable ash. A cheesy phenomenon not to be missed!

Beltane Farm Fresh Chevre:

How can something so simple taste so good?! The logs of fresh chevre from Beltane Farm are tangy, lightly sweet, and oh so wonderful. The craftsmanship of cheese maker Paul Trubey shines through with his delicate, creamy, and silky chevre. Use any excuse you can to treat yourself to a wee morsel.

Lazy Lady Farm La Roche:

A little bell shaped wonder from the talents that be up at Lazy Lady. Covered by a thin coat of downy white mold, the paste beneath is pure magic… tasting of goat, cut hay, and most important, a little bit o’barnyard.


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com


Saxelby Cheesemongers Voted Best Cheese Shop
New York Magazine Best of NY 2007!
http://nymag.com/bestofny/food/2007/28738/

Monday, April 02, 2007

What the heck is a washed-rind cheese?

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

What the heck is a washed-rind cheese?

No, there are no power washers, hoses, or bath towels involved… Saxelby Cheesemongers is here to demystify that stinky and elusive category of cheeses called washed-rind, or, to the cheese geek, smear-ripened.

You can spot (or smell) a washed-rind cheese from a mile away in a cheese shop. They have distinctive orange or reddish rinds and tend to range in texture from soft and supple to downright gooey. The coloration of the rind comes from a helpful little bacteria called b-linens, or brevibacterium linens. These same little bacteria are the culprits responsible for their pungent odor.

But how do these little b-linens appear in the first place?

Well, washed-rind cheeses are cheeses that are naturally not very acidic, meaning that the environment on the rind is perfectly predisposed for the growth of b-linens. When the cheese is young, it is washed, usually with a saltwater brine, but other tasty liquids such as beer, brandy, or eau de vie can be used. When I use the term washing, I mean that the cheese is literally rubbed down with a small amount of liquid, just enough to moisten the surface. This makes a perfect little habitat for b-linens to grow and proliferate, spreading their stinky little gospel across the surface of the cheese. From thence forward, the cheeses are washed a few times a week until fully ripened and ready for market.

All those b-linens have been working hard… it would only be right for us to show them a little love and chow on some stinky washed-rind cheeses.

Primo examples in the washed-rind, smear-ripened category include:

Cato Corner Farm Hooligan (raw cows’ milk. Colchester, CT)

A delightful little bomb of funk from Mark Gillman and Liz McAlister’s cellar. Washed twice a week with brine, Hooligan picks up nutty flavors as well as notes of fermented fruit.

Lazy Lady Farm Barick Obama (pasteurized cows’ milk. Westfield, VT)

Laini’s done it again. And this time to a Democrat. This little brick o’ cheese is a decadent treat. Smells like asparagus! For real! And tastes just as buttery and funky as can be.

Jasper Hill Farm Winnemere (raw cows’ milk. Greensboro, VT)

Whoo doggy! This cheese is just about as ripe as they come. Washed with strong Belgian ale, and bound in spruce bark. These forces of nature combine to make a cheese that is runny and puddlesome, with woodsy, smoky, and robust flavors. Get it while it’s hot!


Saxelby Cheesemongers Voted Best Cheese Shop
New York Magazine Best of NY 2007!
http://nymag.com/bestofny/food/2007/28738/


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cheesy Events Forthcoming!

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Ok, I know that a mid-week update is highly unusual, but there are just too many good things going on in the next few days to ignore. Both are related to cheese… one a bit abstractly. So, if you can’t make it into the shop to sample new goodies, stock up on cheesy comestibles at the following events!

Tonight! March 29th 6-9 pm
Greenwich House Pottery Member Showcase:
16 Jones St. (between Bleecker and W. 4th St.)

You may think that ceramic pots and cheese have little to do with one another, but they do! I have some lovely pots disguised as wheels of cheese in my shop, thanks to a Greenwich Pottery artist. Not only can you go and marvel at the gorgeous earthenware, you can belly up to the cheese plate and sample some Saxelby cheeses.

The Showcase continues throughout the weekend:
Friday and Saturday from 12-8 pm
Sunday from 12-4 pm


Saturday March 31st 4-8 pm
Discovery Wines Gigantor Wine and Cheese Tasting:
10 Ave. A (between Houston and 1st St.)

Scott and Matt over at Discovery have really outdone themselves this time! On Saturday afternoon, they will be cracking open 18 different wines for the tasting. Saxelby Cheesemongers is attempting to provide some sustenance so that you can taste them all and still make it out the front door! We’ll be throwing down five different cheeses, from young and gooey to aged and nutty to cleanse your palate. You might just be inspired to take a bottle (or two) home with you and have your own little wine and cheese shindig.

Hope to see you there!



www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Cheese Ahoy!

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers


Endlessly seeking to please your cheesy palates, Saxelby Cheesemongers has sought out some newbies for the shop. From familiar farms like Cato Corner Farm to new folks like Consider Bardwell Farm, we have some great finds ripe for the noshing. How ‘bout a warm welcome for the new guys!

Cato Corner Farm Drunk Monk:
(raw cows’ milk. Colchester, CT)

Drunk Monk is a Hooligan gone wild, washed in a nutty brown ale from the Willimantic Brewing Company. For centuries, monks had the good life… making cheese and beer in house, and combining them to make tasty cheeses. Now Cato Corner Farm, hardly a monastery, is following in their footsteps. Drunk Monk is rich, dense, and creamy, and gets better and better the longer you leave it out on your kitchen counter. A stinky pursuit, but well worth it!

Consider Bardwell Farm Manchester:
(raw goats’ milk. West Pawlet, VT)

Manchester. Which New England state are we talking about here anyways? This is a cheese that all Northeasterners can relate to. Perhaps Manchester is to cheese making what Springfield was to the creators of the Simpsons. Aged anywhere from four to seven months, Manchester is a robust, animal-y, and slightly spicy cheese. It’s texture and temperament make it perfectly suited to shave over salads, or as a table cheese.

And this is just the beginning! In the coming weeks we will be steamrolled by new cheeses as goat cheese season comes into full swing. Keep a look out for all those fresh little goats… they’re tasty little trouble makers.



www.saxelbycheese.com
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Beer Bath! A Cheese's Dream Come True.

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Beer Bath.

Sunday March 25th
At Jimmy’s no. 43
43 7th St. between 2nd and 3rd.
The party starts at 3 pm

A recipe for delicious! As if cheese weren’t tasty enough on it’s own, some intrepid cheese makers out there (starting with some monks with a fancy stash of fermentables) have been washing cheeses with beer for centuries.

What does this mean, and why the heck would anyone do such a thing? Well, to have a beer-washed cheese means liberally rubbing the cheese down with beer a few times a week to encourage different kinds of bacterial growth on the rind. The most common type of bacteria to grow on a cheese of this style is brevibacterium linens, or b. linens for short. You can recognize the presence of these little microscopic fellows by the bright orange color they impart to the rind as well as the stink-o pungent odor they cause the cheese to have. As for why they started doing it, I mean come on, why wouldn’t they? Beer + Cheese obviously equals love. And beers, as uniquely flavored as the day is long, all lend their particular flavors to a cheese as it is washed, infusing it with a bit of malty, hoppy, yeasty essence.

This Sunday, join Saxelby Cheesemongers and Jimmy Carbone as we sample some beer washed cheeses served alongside the ales and lagers they are aged with! Come see what a difference a brew makes.


www.saxelbycheese.com
http://saxelbycheese.blogspot.com

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pictures!

Hey Everybody.

I've been pondering this for weeks, but, as most of my battles with technology eventually prove, it was much less hard than I anticipated. Saxelby Cheesemongers is now on flickr, which means that YOU get to spy on all of our cheesy campaigns in and around New York.

The first installment of photos features Benoit (cheesemonger extraordinaire) and Mark Gillman (cheese maker at Cato Corner farm) making some Bloomsday cheese, one of the finest specimens of cows' milk cheese this side of the Mississippi. (It doesn't get any less fun to spell the older you get.)

About a month ago, Benoit and I made a trek up to Cato Corner to make cheese for the day and check in with Mark and Liz to see what was doing at the farm. It was quite a lovely stay... we took advantage of the many opportunities on the farm to wear hairnets and change into cheese making clothes in a frigid stairwell leading down to the cheese cave. No one ever said making cheese was going to be easy.

It only served to make us hungrier for dinner that night, which was expertly whipped up by Mark (AFTER, I emphasize, a day's worth of making cheese) We were joined by the folks down the road from Beltane farm for a night of wine drinking and cheese eating and all around good times.

For anyone who's ever wondered what it looks like to make cheese, it's just a click away!

http://flickr.com/photos/7376049@N04/

To Bind or not to Bind... that is the question.

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Clothbound Cheeses in the house!

What a difference a rind makes. The rind of a cheese is a very
delicate thing indeed. Well, sometimes. Cheese rinds can range in
texture from hard as a rock (ever tried to eat a Parmesan rind?) to
orange and stinky and slimy and gritty (a la Hooligan or Grayson).

But our concern this Monday morning is the beautiful clothbound, or
cloth-rinded cheese emerging from the cellars of Jasper Hill Farm.
When a young cheese, say a Colby or Cabot Cheddar comes to Jasper Hill
farm, it gets lavished with a treatment to rival the likes of Canyon
Ranch. First, the cheeses are wrapped in muslin. Then, and this is
the spa treatment part, they are schmeared with lard. This serves a
dual purpose: the lard acts as a bond between cloth and cheese, but
more importantly, it provides a cozy environment for the bacterial
development of the rind to happen. As mold begins to grow on the
surface of the cheese, it metabolizes the lard to do it's magical
cheesy work. By the time the mature cheese leaves the cave, the lard
has been consumed, and a gorgeous dusty and rustic rind has been
formed.

Keep in mind these pretty little rinds aren't just for show... they
actually allow the surface of the cheese to breathe, thereby allowing
more complex flavors and aromas to develop within.

>From the cellars at Jasper Hill Farm, these cheeses are ripe for the
picking:

Cabot clothbound Cheddar:
An 8-month-old cheddar, chock full of grassy, earthy, and savory
goodness! Dubbed crack-cheese by some (hey, there are some extreme
cheese fans out there!), and loved deeply (but not to the point of
addiction) by just about everyone else.

Crowley clothbound Colby:
You think you know Colby?! Think (or taste) again! Dense, creamy,
rustic and snappy of texture, this is one fine specimen.