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:


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

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


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!


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:


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!