Monday, May 26, 2008

You Know it's Summer When...

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

It seems as though we have finally arrived at the advent of summer! The weather is warming up, the days are becoming gloriously long, and whether we like it or not, our inner cheese barometers are shifting as well.

My theory lacks real scientific proof (any scientists reading out there? You could help!) but in the summertime people just like to eat fresh cheeses. Feta, chevre, mozzarella, you name it. Being an American farmstead cheese shop, we thought we were out of the running when it came to burrata, that magnificently creamy Italian cheese that people run across town and wait in long lines for... However, thanks to our Philadelphian friends Emilio and Claudio, we've got the burrata pipeline up and running (it's quicker than the Amtrak I might add!) and it is here for you all to enjoy.

Burrata was developed in Italy in the 1920's as a way to make use of all the 'ritagli' or little scraps left over from mozzarella making. In making mozzarella, the curd is plunged into hot water and then stretched and kneaded, much like dough is when making bread. Some ingenious family divined a way to strech their curd into a pouch-like shape, and then filled this little divit with all the ritagli, topped it off with a bit of panna (Italian for heavy cream) and then tied it off with a little knot at the top. Burrata is traditionally wrapped in leek leaves, the green color of the leaves being meant as a guarantee of freshness and quality. Mother nature generally doesn't lie, and if the leaves begin to look yellowed, it is a pretty good indicator that the cheese has passed its prime.

The Italian cheese tradition in Philly is a strong one to say the least, and Emilio and Claudio have been perfecting their burrata recipe over the last few years. That they are willing to share with us just tickles us pink, and we can't wait to pass that buttery goodness along. So grab yourself a tomato and a cheese-loving friend and split up a burrata for dinner!

And don't forget, our next Day A-Whey trip to Consider Bardwell Farm is coming up, Friday June 20th to Sunday June 22nd. It is almost full, but there are a few spots left for those of you folks who want to get your hands in the cheese vat and make some cheese! Read the blog for more details, or call the shop at 212-228-8204 to reserve a spot.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Day A Whey Recap

It was a dark, misty and somewhat angsty morning...
(the picture above would lead you to believe otherwise, but I'll get to that part later)

A group of forty or so intrepid and moderately obsessed cheese lovers was gathered outside the Essex Street Market, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, donning raincoats and jetting off for last minute cups of coffee before the departure of the big old bus.

After a sleepy, green-trees-everywhere, tranquil drive, the bus pulled up to Wolffer Vineyard, cloaked in an appropriately European kind of fog that would make Manhattan seem ugly and dour. However the vines took to it quite nicely, looking craggy and Sleepy-Hollowy and noble despite the inclement weather. After milling around rows of nascent grapes, talking trellises, training methods, and all aspects of viticulture, lunch was laid out, a menagerie of rich raw cows' milk cheeses, Greenmarket salad, fresh bread, cured meats and dried fruits and nuts.

Come one o'clock, the group shoved off from the vineyard to Mecox Bay Dairy... farmward ho! As the bus rambled through downtown Bridgehampton, inviting more than a few wary glances and stares from the natives (after all, nothing says here comes trouble like a giant tour-ish vehicle) there seemed to be a general attitude of warming in the skies. And just as the winemaker had promised, the mist dissipated to reveal what might be one of the most pleasant sun-streaked afternoons on record.

At the farm, Art and Stacy Ludlow, farmers extraordinaires, showed off their impressive stock of pigs, chickens, ill-tempered geese, and cows. The group of cheese lovers wove their way through the old potato barn to the milking parlor, to the cheese room, and out to the calf barn, where the newbies of the herd were housed. All aspects of the farm, from the veggie growing, to the bee-keeping, to the cheese making, fit into Art and his brother Harry's plan to re-make their fourth-generation family farm into a viable and diverse operation that serves their local community.

Last but not least, the contraband icing on the cake so to speak, Art treated everyone to a sip of raw milk from his Jersey cows. The challenge was laid out... the contenders took to their corners: pasteurized Tuscan milk from Key Foods in Brooklyn versus raw milk from Mecox Bay. Needless to say, the odds were in no way even, and when the starting bell dinged, Art's raw milk delivered a knockout punch that sent the Tuscan reeling. Poor little guy.

But wait, there's more! All of this madcap cheese love is available for you to see! Just click on the photo above or the link below to hopscotch through cyberspace to

our brand spankin' new flickr page

Till the next episode of A Day A-Whey... Saxelby Cheesmongers wishes you good cheese and good cheer.

Upcoming Events

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

Well, another week is upon us, and a rainy one at that. This musty Monday morning, Saxelby Cheesemongers would like to wish you good cheer and thoughts of cheese and sunshine in the forthcoming weeks! Yep, we're back on the cheese trail, and want to invite you out for a night or two of good old-fashioned fermented fun. So mark your calendars, ignore the rain, and get ready to eat some cheese!

The party starts tomorrow (why wait?) when Anne Saxelby and Rick Field of Rick's Picks team up for a Slow Food-style salon about the business of being local. We'll be eating some killer pickles, savory cheeses, and telling stories about the experience of being a slow entrepreneur in New York City.

Slow U: The Business of Local

Tuesday, April 29th
6:00pm to 8:00 pm
The Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 E. 11th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave)

Tickets are $20 for Slow Food Members and $30 for Non Members
Visit (search for Slow U: The Business of Local) for tickets and more info.

And comin' round the mountain next week, Saxelby Cheesemongers and the folks over at Back Forty are rolling out the welcome mat for springtime with a stellar lineup of seasonal beers and cheeses. For those of you who don't know Back Forty, Peter Hoffman's rustic new restaurant in the East Village, you are in for a treat! We'll be serving up some hard-to-find craft beers and farmstead cheese, and discussing what makes these seasonal pairings really shine.

Saxelby Cheesemongers and Back Forty Present:
Spring Beer and Cheese Tasting

Wednesday, May 7th
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Back Forty
190 Avenue B (at 12th St.)

To make a reservation call Back Forty at 212-388-1990.

Here's to cheese, chatter, and good times!