Monday, December 28, 2009

Saxelby Cheesemongers Year-End Shakedown

This YEAR at Saxelby Cheesemongers!

I can hardly believe it, but a whole year has come and gone! Saxelby Cheesemongers fermented its way through 2009 with a cacophony of good cheese and good times. This week, in honor of anyone who's ever received one of those inevitably odd, 'Hey! Look! This is what our fabulous magnificent family has been up to this year!!' letters in the mail, we've decided to go for a cheesy recap/rundown/roundup of the year in curds and whey...

It was a year of learning things great and small for the folks at Saxelby Cheesemongers. Both Anne and Benoit were recipients of the NYC Fire Department's 'Certificates of Fitness' for propane use at outdoor events. Yes, they trust us with flammable gas. Proudly we managed not to ignite the entire Brooklyn Flea while attempting to make grilled cheese and pickle sandwiches. Were we girl scouts, this achievement badge would boast a tiny sandwich buffeted with flames coming from all sides. We'll be back next season, grilling up some more goodness!

After dynamiting half their hillside away and shaking the town of Greensboro to it's rugged core, the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm revved up the cheese world in Vermont this year (and it's not the first time!), introducing us to a selection of new and delectable cheeses. Saxelby Cheesemongers was proud to welcome little babies like Oma, Landaff, and Moses Sleeper to the ranks of well loved cheese at the Essex Market. Not only are they well-made and cute as a button, they also taste great. Lets hope that cheese in those Cellars is like rabbits... the more the merrier!

We saw a fish-stinky, abandoned marketplace come alive again with a bigger, badder incarnation of the New Amsterdam Market! Saxelby Cheesemongers, minus the fish guts, plus a cadre of super talented food makers and sellers, got down and dirty on South Street for what hopefully becomes a permanent fixture on the waterfront of Lower Manhattan.

Saxelby Cheesemongers sent a team of cheese delegates (or, er, ok, it was just me and Benoit) to Europe for a whirlwind tour of cheeseries, dairies, caves, and festivals this past September. Armed with a suitcase full of unrefrigerated, ripe-as-all-get-out goat cheese, we spread the gospel of American farmstead cheese to all those onlookers, naysayers, and curious bystanders at Slow Food's 'Cheese' festival in Italy. Using diligent diplomatic skills (i.e. free tastes and long lunches and dinners) Saxelby's made peace with the other caseophiles of the world, ensuring long-lasting peace between farmstead cheese lovers.

Just barely managing to stay out of the local police blotter for piloting a bus through farmy back roads in Bridgehampton and Poughkeepsie, Saxelby Cheesemongers and our band of cheese-loving cohorts explored the nearer reaches of farm country, picnicking and apple picking and wine tasting our way through glorious summer and fall Sundays on our Days A-Whey. Look out for next year's schedule in the coming months! We're up for causing some trouble and doing some serious snacking.

Last but not least, Saxelby Cheesemongers delved into new media outlets with a cheese-centric radio show on the Heritage Radio Network. Though a stranger discourse may never have been served up over the interweb-waves, turns out that when it concerns curds, there's a heck of a lot to talk about. Look out for a movie trailer sequel to the film 'Pirate Radio' in 2010 entitled ' Heritage Radio. Not Quite Pirate, but Straight Out of a Shipping Container.'

We're looking forward to a cheese and hijinks filled 2010!! Thanks to you all, and to our cheese makers for making our last year so special!!

Till next year! Eat Cheese and Be Merry!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow can keep Saxelby Cheesemongers from getting you the finest American farmstead cheese this holiday season! The blizzards may be blowing outside, but inside we've got our cold box stocked with delightful new cheeses for cooking, nibbling, or pairing with whatever festive beverage floats your boat. We've also got butter, creme fraiche, and cream a go-go for all your cooking and baking extravaganzas. This week, swing by Saxelby Cheesemongers to see what's new and make merry with a little dairy!

Also, don't forget to place your orders by midnight tonight for delivery in time for Christmas! Visit and get a 10% discount on any cheese selection when you enter the word 'cheese'

Sozzled Pearl
(pasteurized cow and goats' milk, ME)

These little babies are the perfect holiday treasures to tote along to a festive scene. Each round of cheese is wrapped in grape leaves that have been steeped in bourbon, rendering the texture utterly gooey and supple. The bourbon gives the cheese a caramelly, spicy twang (think nutmeg and cinnamon) while the musky, creamy-sweet flavor of the goat milk shines through. A uniquely American cheese that does our patriotic spirit proud.

Queso Blanco
(pasteurized cows' milk, RI)

At long last! A fresh, Latin-style cheese that doesn't taste like rubber! This cheese has been on my wish list for a long time, and luckily the folks up at Narragansett Creamery in Providence have heeded the call. This Queso Blanco is mild, milky-sweet, and chewy. Buy it, try it, fry it... whatever you end up making with this cheese, you'll be happy you did. We like to mix it up with some of Hot Bread Kitchen's corn tortillas for a quesadilla to beat all others!

Queso Fresco
(pasteurized cows' milk, RI)

The yin to our aforementioned Queso Blanco yang, Narragansett Creamery's Queso Fresco is light and tangy and moist. Full of sweet, yeasty whey, this cheese is another go-to for cooking. Slice and melt it atop a pizza, shred and garnish a spicy Mexican dish, or chunk it up in a salad for a refreshing but toothsome treat. This delicious briny cheese hails from the first artisan creamery in our very own Ocean State!

Sheeps' Milk Ricotta
(pasteurized sheeps' milk, NY)

For anyone who's never had a true sheeps' milk ricotta, you're in for a wallop! First discovered in Italy by the makers of Pecorino Romano, ricotta has become one of the world's most beloved cheeses. The sheeps' milk version, however, is a far cry from what most of us know from the old supermarket shelves. The curd is dense, dry, and crumbly, with a sweet, yet distinctively sheepy flavor. Drizzle with honey for a crostini to make your guests swoon with cheesy love.

Till next week, Happy Holidays, eat cheese, and be merry!
'Cutting the Curd' a dairy-centric radio show on Heritage Radio Network

Monday, December 14, 2009

The temperature is dropping, the parties are starting up, and the weeks till the holidays are waning away. Cheese happens to be an ideal anitdote for cold, a balm for any social gathering, and a great thing to send the ones you love for the holidays! Didn't know we ship cheese? Well, it's a little secret we've been keeping that's ripe for sharing! Check out Saxelby Cheesemongers'mouth-watering holiday gift selections at and let us make your season bright!

From today till December 31st, get 10% off our gift selections including our indulgent Cheesemongers' Choice assortments as well as our Cheese of the Month Club. Just enter the word 'cheese' in the coupon section to get your dairy discounted.

Saxelby Cheesemongers' Holiday Cheese Selections 2009!
Click on any of the links below to get to our online store

Cheesemongers' Choice
Small $49
Large $79

We're opinionated, and we're not afraid to say it. Put some faith in your monger and let us curate your cheese plate! We'll pick a peck of cheese that represents the best the barnyard has to offer. The result: a veritable cornucopia of American farmstead cheese. The small Cheesemongers' Choice features three luscious half-pound chunks of cheese, delivered right to your doorstep!

Cheese of the Month Club
3 month $150
6 month $300
12 month $600
Seasonal $200

For the dedicated turophile, Saxelby's Cheese of the Month Club is the only way to get your hands on the rarest and tastiest American farmstead cheese! Each month, a selection of three half-pound wedges of our most mouth-watering cheese will be lovingly packed and shipped to the cheese lover of your choice.

**Please note the following schedule for shipping!**

Christmas orders
Orders must be placed by Monday, December 21st to receive it by Thursday, December 24th!
Orders placed after December 21st will be shipped on Monday, December 28th.

New Years orders
Orders must be placed by Monday, December 28th to receive it by Thursday, December 31st!
Orders placed after December 28th will be shipped on Monday, January 4th.

Raw Milk on the Radio!

It sounds hard core, and it is... check out Saxelby Cheesemongers' most recent episode of 'Cutting the Curd' on the Heritage Radio Network. Anne interviews David Gumpert, author of the recently published book 'The Raw Milk Revolution' and

Listen in to 'Cutting the Curd' on Heritage Radio Network archives!

Till next week! Eat cheese and be merry!

Cutting the Curd, a dairy-centric radio show on Heritage Radio Network

Monday, November 30, 2009

When Pasture Meets Pâté

So, Thanksgiving has come and gone... You may feel full now, but Saxelby Cheesemongers suspects that you'll have room for more noshing soon enough! After all, isn't that what the holidays are for?! Just in time for the festivus season we've created a divine porcine (and bovine and ovine) holiday gift selection entitled Pasture and Pâté. Don't know what to bring to that holiday get together? Don't know what to send that food lover in your life for the holidays? Look no further! It doesn't get much more delicious than this. Order one for pickup at the shop or ship anywhere in the US of A by ordering online at!

Pasture and Pâté
$49 (plus shipping)
Includes one half-pound piece of savory pâté and three half-pound wedges of fine American farmstead cheese.

This is what happens when pastoral worlds collide! Three rustic American farmstead cheeses meet locally produced country pâté in this unbeatable holiday gift selection. Gabriel Ross, a New York charcutier, has crafted a limited run of his sublime 'Trotter Terrine' specially for Saxelby Cheesemongers. Gabe's hearty pâté is the perfect protein-laced foil to Saxelby's selection of delectable cheese. Each Pasture and Pâté selection includes a half-pound piece of pâté, and three half-pound wedges of hearty cheese: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, a sweet and caramelly cheddar laden with pockets of crystalline crunch, tart and tangy Landaff, from New Hampshire, a Welsh-style cheese with an earthy finish that renders it perfect for all snacking occasions, and last but not least, Vermont Shepherd, a nutty and downright mutton-y cheese with a complex, grassy finish. Add some delicious to your holiday nosh with Saxelby Cheesemongers' Pasture and Pâté!

Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hooray! Turkey day is almost here. It's time to pull out the old shopping list and plan for hours (and in some cases days!) of cooking. It's gonna be a long and delicious weekend... We're talking lots of time in the kitchen, relatives coming and going, cooks cooking, and tempting smells issuing forth from ovens to waft around the house and incite episodes of drooling and acute tummy rumbling. Saxelby Cheesemongers thinks it would be wise, and indeed prudent, to have a spread of cheese out on the table to keep the hungry masses at bay!

We've got a whole slew of fermented fixes for your Thanksgiving dinner regimen... From our Turkey Day Triumvirate, a ready made cheese plate, to special deals on our most coveted cheeses, as well as a small arsenal of fatty cooking ingredients, stop by Saxelby's to stock your fridge with local dairy goodness.

Our Turkey Day Triumvirate (now just $30!) is perfect remedy for the busy cheese lover this week. We've taken all the hard work of choosing out of the equation and have crafted a delicious cheese selection for you and your fellow cheese heads! All packed up in a cute wooden box, this Triumvirate features three hearty wedges of our favorite cheese... Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a nutty and sweet raw cows' milk cheese, Mont St. Francis, a surprisingly fruity and gamey goat cheese, and Bayley Hazen Blue, that classic, fudgy blue that's sure to leave everyone clamoring for more.

In the dairy department, Saxelby Cheesemongers has your cooking needs covered. Farmstead butter, eggs, organic milk and cream, creme fraiche, buttermilk, and fresh ricotta by the pound will make your sweet and savory dishes that much moreso...

And last but not least, let's not forget our cheese of the week. We've taken a caprine turn this Monday morning and who better to single out than our favorite (un)Lazy Lady, Laini Fondiller! Her Valencay, a tangy truncated pyramid of chevre, will be on special this week for $6.99 per piece. It's the perfect piece of cheese to bring along to dinner. Who wouldn't love a beautiful little morsel of chevre to crown their cheese plate? We can't think of anyone, but then again, I guess we're a bit biased in that department...

Till next week... Gobble Gobble up some cheese!

Click here to listen to Saxelby Cheesemongers 'Cutting the Curd', a dairy-centric radio show on the Heritage Radio Network!

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Amsterdam Market... Countdown to T-Day!

Need a delicious selection of cheese for the holiday? Saxelby Cheesemongers has you covered! Pick up Saxelby's Turkey Day Triumvirate, a delectable selection of cheese for your Thanskgiving Feast for just $35 at the New Amsterdam Market.

This Sunday, November 22nd!
Saxelby Cheesemongers at the New Amsterdam Market
South Street, between Beekman and Peck Slip
11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Come one come all to what is sure to be one of the most festive and most mouthwatering markets of the year! Saxelby Cheesemongers will be making another appearance at the New Amsterdam Market with some tantalizing cheeses to tote along to your Thanksgiving feast. Stop by and sample them all, or pick up one of our festive Turkey Day Triumvirate selections. For $35, you get three luscious wedges of American farmstead cheese, wrapped up and nestled in a wooden box... a readymade cheese plate for your T-day celebration!

Each Turkey Day Triumvirate features a hefty wedge o' Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a caramel-sweet, nutty and vivacious cows' milk cheese from the grassy hills of Wisconsin, a racy and barnyardy slice of Mont. St. Francis, a fruity, washed-rind goat cheese from Capriole in Indiana, and a rich, salty, chocolate-fudgy chunk of Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm. Our threesome is bound to please all the cheese lovers at your gathering, be they lovers of the strong and stinky or the mild mannered and demure.

We'll have a few other incredible cheeses at the market, so stop by for a taste of the best cheese this side of the Mississippi. Oh, and a little side note... not that we're scientists or anything like that, BUT, we've heard that a little cheese, when eaten along with a bit of that magical tryptophan-filled turkey amounts to what could be the best nap of your life. Three cheers for Thanksgiving! Day of feasting and lazing about!

Which brings be to the last item of business on the old cheese docket today... You didn't think I'd forgotten the cheese of the week, did you? Good gracious no! This week at Saxelby Cheesemongers, we'll be putting some Oma up for grabs, an incredibly buttery, slightly pungent raw cows' milk cheese from the Von Trapp Farmstead in Waitsfield, Vermont. That's right, those singing Von Trapps are now cheesemaking Von Trapps, and they've done their grandmother Oma proud with this cheesy homage. Stop by the shop and pick up some Oma for just $15 per pound. You might just leave the shop yodeling with glee.

Till next week! Eat cheese and be merry!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Appalachian Club

This week, Saxelby Cheesemongers is giving a bovine salute to one of our newfound favorites, a little cheese from the Blue Ridge Mountains called Appalachian.

For as long as Saxelby Cheesemongers has been around, we've loved on Grayson, that pungent, custardy, butter-yellow cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia. But all the while, like the stereotypical shy (but kinda hot) girl at the high school dance, waiting there patiently in the wings was Appalachian. An unsuspecting cheese whose subtle graces and lovely sweet flavor finally caught our eye. In the interest of spreading that cheese love around a little bit, Saxelby Cheesemongers is offering Appalachian at a special price of $13.99 per pound for this week only!

Were the cheese shop a John Hughes film (and wouldn't that be great!), this week would be the montage scene, the Appalachian getting a makeover, going out shopping with someone cool and returning triumphantly to all of the 'popular' cheeses and wowing them with its fabulousness. Appalachian, a stout and earthy quadrangular tomme, boasts a beautiful white and purplish rind and a mellow, creamy golden paste. Grab a chunk to round out your cheese plate, to give to the kids as a hearty snack, or melt for that perfect mid-day grilled cheese sandwich. Made from the rich milk of the Feete family's herd of stalwart Jersey cows, this cheese is poised to win over any cheese lover's heart. All it takes is a little open-mindedness. You all know the drill... just take off the glasses, get that cheese a perm, put some legwarmers on it, and voila! That mild mannered little cheese is just busting with charm! And so the montage rolls to a close... A hearty chunk of Appalachian in the passenger seat of the convertible, Raybans on, driving off into the sunset, or into your cripser drawer. We've thankfully left the legwarmers out of the cheese case, but still think you should come on down to the shop and pick up a chunk of Appalachian to savor!

In other news, don't forget to check out Saxelby Cheesemongers on The Martha Stewart Show! Anne does a little ditty about the Essex Street Market and why she loves American farmstead cheese.

Till next week... Eat cheese and be merry!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Martha Loves Vermont Cheese!

What do Saxelby Cheesemongers and Martha Stewart have in common? Well, we're no good at baking, so that's out... And when people come to my apartment they generally peer in skeptically and heave a heavy sigh of pity as they eye mini mountain ranges of clutter, but (and there has to be a but...) we do both love Vermont cheese! In fact, Martha and her band of fellow food lovers are so enamored that they dedicated a sprawling, gorgeous spread to the Green Mountain State in the November issue of 'Martha Stewart Living'.

In the pages of Martha's magazine, farms we love like Jasper Hill, Consider Bardwell, Thistle Hill, Willow Hill, and Blue Ledge Farm all bask in the cheesy glow of praise bestowed on them by America's first lady of taste. If you don't get a chance to pick up the latest issue of the magazine, tune in to the Martha Stewart Show on November 5th for a tour de fromage with Vermont's finest cheese artisans as they take the stage and talk cheese!

Bound together by a love of their landscape, Vermont cheesemakers are making change, and I don't mean like a toll booth operator. From keeping local farms vibrant and economically sound, to creating jobs and an artisan tradition in one fell swoop, cheesemakers are leaving their mark, and a good one at that, on the state. Vermont's agrarian tradition relies on a multitude of small independent farms as the foundation for the preservation of the working landscape as well as the invigoration of small rural communities. This may sound like a bunch of idealistic hoo-ha, but the bottom line is that cheese allows small Vermont dairies to survive, and all the while producing something that tastes great! Who can argue with that??

So, if you'd like to taste for yourself what all the ruckus is about, stop by the shop for a nibble or two of delicious Vermont farmstead cheese. For this week only, Saxelby Cheesemongers is offering a special on Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, that delicious, creamy-as-all-get-out, butterscotchy-sweet behemoth round of cheese that is a special collaboration between the old timers (Cabot Creamery) and the greenhorns, relatively speaking (Jasper Hill Farm) of the Vermont cheese biz. We'll be cutting Cabot for $16 per pound, a five dollar slice off the regular price. If you haven't tried this cheese yet, shame on you! In our opinion, it's one of the best cheeses to ever hail from the great state of Vermont.

Till next week, stay tuned to Saxelby Cheesemongers for more cheesy news from the northeast!

Monday, October 26, 2009

If Video Killed the Radio Star...

If video killed the radio star, then the old interweb revived it, zombie-like, and plunked radio down into another dimension.

This week's episode of 'Cutting the Curd' on the Heritage Radio Network was all kinds of intertwined. I interviewed Chris Gray, of Consider Bardwell Farm, about the unlikely intersections of cheese and rock and roll. For Chris, it wasn't a far leap from a career in beautiful music to a gig with farmstead cheese. The permutations that technology and craft are undergoing are mind boggling, yet sort of straightforward in the end. Mr. Gray loved music for it's independent, artistic, and expressive underpinnings. When the label he worked with for many years became co-opted by industry bigwigs, he was left in a little bit of a spiritual lurch. Suddenly the artists that he admired and sweated for for so many years were no longer 'viable' in that terrible, flattening, economical way that renders FM radio largely unlistenable today.

In an unlikely turn of events (oh, aren't the best things always so!!!) friends and fellow urbanites of Chris Gray and his wife Laura Brown bought a house in the podunk town of Pawlet, Vermont for weekend respites from the crazy life. Chris wended his way to Consider Bardwell Farm after a couple of innocent drives past the farm whilst weekend-ing, and is now a bonafide cheesemaker and professional farmers' market man/nomad/gypsy that would make the old world equivalents blush.

On the show, what began as a silly question ('Is there a connection between cheese and rock and roll? Beyond that British ex-Blur singer who now has a dairy??') soon evolved into a lively and deep discourse about the nature of craft. Where big business squelches the goodness out of cottage industries, new opportunities mutuate and create mutuality between lovers of homespun, authentic things.

The moral of the story? If the dairy industry killed the cheese as we knew it, the radio stars are ready to step in and take a (milk) stand. Listen in and see for yourself!

A side note worth your eyes' attention for one more minute this Monday morn. From here on out, Saxelby Cheesmongers has decided to feature one cheese per week at a special price to further the gustatory delight of fromage lovers across the city. This week's cheese has a special connection to rock and roll, as it's name was spawned by a classic Aerosmith song....

Mixed Emotions
(raw goat and cows' milk. Lazy Lady Farm, VT)
regularly $26.99/lb, now $20.99/lb

Laini Fondiller, our resident poet laureate of goat cheese, was inspired to name this cheese after making another called 'Sweet Emotions.' If the sweet one was all cow, surely the combination of the milks could be dubbed 'Mixed Emotions.' Our feelings on the cheese however are crystal clear! It is by turns sweet, musky and earthy, exuding an essence of freshly overturned soil and mushrooms. From the gray tomme style rind to the ivory interior, we're all kinds of infatuated.

Till next Monday, may cheese, rock and roll, and all the other arts inefficient by nature inspire you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In the Wise Words of 'They Might Be Giants'

'Even old New York was once New Amsterdam... Why they changed it I can't say. Guess someone liked it better that way!!!'

Saxelby Cheesemongers at the New Amsterdam Market!
Sunday, October 25th
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
South Street between Beekman and Peck Slip
click here for a map

We at Saxelby Cheesemongers, agree with the immortal words of 'They Might Be Giants'. New Amsterdam is just fine by us! (No offense to the Brits reading this) Our great city has grown a lot since this here map was drawn, but that original market spot, just south of Wall St. (see ye olde dividing line on the map) stands as a testament to the commerce and trade that made New York, in the words of famed explorers, 'the key to the continent.'

There's plenty of comestibles and delectable sundry to be unlocked and gobbled this Sunday, October 25th at the second incarnation of the New Amsterdam Market. The first market was a resounding success; tables were heaped to the breaking point with piles of oysters, sinful sweets, robust meats, and wheels of cheese. This time should be no different... We're bringing along a brand new cache of cheese to whet marketgoers' collective autumnal appetite. From stout and caramelly sheeps' milk cheeses to sweet milky cows' milk tommes to tangy and silky chevres, Saxelby Cheesemongers is putting out the best of the best. Bike, walk, or subway it on down to the waterfront this Sunday and help make this New Amsterdam Market the best yet!

For more information on the market, including special events and a list of vendors, visit

See you this Sunday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Community Rocks

Greetings and salutations this Monday morning from Saxelby Cheesemongers! Today's email isn't about the latest and greatest American farmstead cheeses, rather it aims to pay a bit of respect to the community of people who make this crazy cheesy world tick. From the farm to the table, there are a myriad of people at large in this community called cheese that make my life, and I'm sure many of yours too, very special. I'm going to aim to illustrate some of those concentric circles of community, in a much less elaborate (and hopefully more whimsical way) than Dante did.

The first and most important ring in that equation is you. Yes, you. Without cheese lovers out there willing to test their waistlines and brave the potential cholesterol-ic consequences of delicious dairy products (though I am not sure how heartily I believe any of those doctors claims... remember all those demonizing things they said about eggs back in the 90s?) my job would be pretty dang boring. The Essex Market is a testament to community that I live and breathe every day. And let me tell you, sometimes the trade winds are gentle and fresh smelling, and sometimes they are rife with pungent and unsavory storms. No matter what the weather, no matter what the mood, the market is a fantastic place to carry out our day-to-day cheesing. And you all make up the fabric of the shop, weaving together our collective dairy obsession. It's a good club to be a part of. And much tastier than a knitting circle.

Another spherical line can be drawn around our restaurants and chefs. Without their reverent support of farmstead cheese, American cheesemakers wouldn't be nearly as far along as they are today. Because chefs are willing to slice our native fromage up there with the best of the world, cheesemakers and their labors are given their just desserts. Where once it was rare to see an American cheese grace a cheese plate or roving cheese cart, it is now a common occurrence, and thankfully so. We should also thank them heartily for their non-cheese related work too... I for one, would live a much more ascetic life were it not for all the incredible edibles here in New York.

And now we come to the cheesemakers! Duh. The most obvious and crucial circle must be right on the farm. And I'm not talking crop circles. I'm talking groups of people like the Vermont Cheese Council and the New York State Artisan Cheese Guild, bodies that bring cheesemakers together to support one another, troubleshoot, and elevate their craft to new levels of gastronomic delight. Farms like Jasper Hill have taken their love of cheese to astounding heights, going so far as to build infrastructure (read: giant cheese caves) help develop and nurture the craft of cheesemaking through special on-farm workshops, enable young cheesemakers to get into the game, and to take care of the aging, packing and selling of some of Vermont's finest farmstead cheeses. This week on 'Cutting the Curd', my show on the Heritage Radio Network, I interviewed Mateo Kehler, owner and cheesemaker at Jasper Hill Farm about the vision and mission of this burgeoning bovine (ok, ok, and ovine, and caprine) community in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Last but not least, there is the community of cheese sellers across the world. We were lucky enough to spend some time with many of them this past September at the Slow Food Cheese fest in Bra, Italy. Institutions like Neal's Yard Dairy in London, Herve Mons' caves in France, and the Cravero and Guffanti families in Italy are all working toward a common, singular goal: to keep good cheese coming to market, and to promote the agricultural patrimony behind that cheese. We may be the merchants, but I hope that we can also act as translators between the worlds and experiences between the pasture and the plate.

Till next week, love your community. It's where you're at!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Pickle Day is Back!

Saxelby Cheesemongers join the LES Pickle Day!
Sunday, October 4th
11:00 am to 4:30 pm (we'll be pickling from 11:00 to 1:30)
Municipal Parking Lot just south of Delancey, between Essex and Ludlow

After traipsing around Europe for the past week and a half, it's good to come home to a local yokel gastronomic fête. The Italians may celebrate the truffle and the snail, but New Yorkers revere the grand cornichon. That's right folks, Pickle Day is right around the corner, and you better all be there this Sunday to munch on all of the fermented concoctions lining the streets of the Lower East Side! Saxelby Cheesemongers, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Rick's Picks are teaming up to give you a one-two-three punch of cheese, tortillas, and of course, pickles.

Pickle Day was started nine years ago by Nancy Ralph, director of the diminutive but fascinating New York Food Museum. Back in the day, the Lower East Side could have been paved with pickles (what a squishy, vinegary affair that would've been!) Ms. Ralph, being the resident culinary historian that she is, wanted to create a festival to pay homage to one of the city's favorite snacks. Each year, Pickle Day grows and grows, and this year has bubbled and fermented to take over the entirety of the parking lot just below Delancey Street between Ludlow and Essex. We'll be taking the early shift this Sunday, cooking up some love at the Rick's Picks tent from 11:00 to 1:30, so come on by and get some grub!

Rick Fields, proprietor and head goof ball behind Rick's Picks put it to us this year to come up with a tasty, savory something or other to show off his latest pickle, Handy Corn. And just what is Handy Corn, you may ask... Nothing more and nothing less than a delicious pickled corn relish: sweet, vinegary, and laden with that magic combo of aromatic spices that set all of Rick's Picks a head above your average gherkin.

For this year's Pickle Day, we decided that we'd pit corn against curds, smush it all between a coupla Hot Bread Kitchen Tortillas and make a quesadilla like none other. In a bout of recipe testing last night, the thumbs were all pointing skyward for this cheesy, toasty, pickley treat. Just in case you can't join us for the most mouth puckering celebration of the year, here is the key to making the perfect Handy Corn Cheese Quesadilla... Happy munching and hope to see you Sunday!

Saxelby Cheesemongers' Handy Corn Quesadillas

You will need:

1 8 oz container of cheese curds
1 package Hot Bread Kitchen corn tortillas
1 jar of Rick's Picks Handy Corn
a bit of butter

Toast tortillas in a dry, medium-hot skillet. Toast tortilla for 30 seconds, then flip and toast the other side. Put toasted tortillas on a plate and cover with a towel to keep them warm.

When all tortillas are toasted, butter your skillet, lay one tortilla down, cover with a modest (or not so modest depending on how cheesy you feel!) handful of cheese curds.

Spoon one generous spoonful of Handy Corn atop the curds and cover with second tortilla.

Toast quesadilla over low-medium heat (covering the skillet if you want meltier cheese quicker) one one side for about 1-2 mins. Flip the quesadilla and toast the other side.

Last but not least, sprinkle with a dose of Tabasco for a little extra kick!

If only all dinners were this easy....

Till next week! See you on the Lower East Side this Sunday for some fermented fun!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Benvenutti a Tutti da Bra!

This week's dispatch is being spirited to your inboxes across an ocean and a few countries in between. Saxelby Cheesemongers hit the road last week to come to the small, lovely town of Bra, in the Piedmont region of Italy. The area is home to a great many culinary delights including raw Piemontese sausage, noble wines, white truffles, and humble snails. Or as the Italians would say, le lumache.

It seems fitting that the snail has a privileged place in local gastronomy, as Bra is also the birthplace of Slow Food. Some odd years ago an incredible man named Carlo Petrini turned his hometown upside down when he decided to start the incredible, benevolent organization we know as Slow Food. From that man and his passion for food that is good, clean, and fair, sprung an organization that now spans the globe, touching places as large as New York City and as small as the clusters of islands that pepper the coast of Greece.

Every two years, grazie a Slow Food, the cosmos converge, the Milky Way of course taking center stage, and the festival we call Cheese pops up in the town of Bra like a cluster of mushrooms after a delicate rain. What is Cheese? Nothing more and nothing less than an international gathering of cheesemakers, cheesemongers , affineurs, and cheese lovers. Over the course of four days, Bra is filled up to the gills with revelry, white tents line the streets and colonize the piazze as hundreds of thousands of hungry turophiles descend and sample cheeses that range from the sublime to the downright strange.

I myself ate what some might consider an embarassing amount of cheese at Cheese. Were I weighing it in on a scale I might have fainted as the total racheted up over the course of the weekend. Thankfully I'm much too disorganized to do anything of the sort, and know that in the end I can just chock it all up to a hefty dose of R&D for my own internal cheese file. I ate blues so moldy that I was hard pressed to find a spot of white, multi-tiered local cheeses shaped like wedding cakes, creamy and tangy mozzarella di bufala, raw goats' milk cheeses from England of unsurpassed delicacy, light pasta filata cheese from Japan dipped in soy sauce, fine stout mountain cheeses from Bavaria and the Jura that were alternately robust and steak-like to fruity, sweet, and caramel-esque. The list goes on and on... Sitting here in the piazza looking over at all the tents, I am already nostalgic, hoping 2011 will come tumbling through the hourglass a bit quicker than it should!

This year was the first year that American cheeses were represented at Cheese, and what a grand success it was! By Sunday afternoon, with more than a full day of fromaging left to do, the Americans sold out of every last morsel of cheese there was to be had. Pleasant Ridge Reserve was sliced and diced and cleared out by Saturday afternoon, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawks were scooped up by the dozen, Vermont Butter and Cheese Coupoles dotted many an Italian dinner table, and blues like Jasper Hill's Bayley Hazen and Rogue Creamery's Blue made even the most devout of gorgonzola-ites swoon.

For many Cheese-goers, it was the first time they tasted American cheese. French, Italian, British, German, Swiss, Dutch, Japanese swung by the American counter, taking it all in (literally) and praising the fine and tasty work of our cheesemakers. I had the good fortune to be on the stand for a while, slicing up bits of Twig Farm's Goat Tomme, speaking my pigeon Italian with the locals. I asked them again and again, is this the first time you've had American cheese? And throughout the day the answer was a resounding yes. Then I'd ask them, well, what do you think? And as only true Italians can do, they'd do a little shake of the hand or a little lilt of the head that speaks volumes. Buonissimo! Was the unanimous decree.

We'll have to wait two years for the next Cheese, but in the meantime can bask in the immense satisfaction of having American cheeses on the Slow Food map in Bra! As soon as I come home, there'll be a mess of pictures to check out on the photo section of our website. Till next week, eat lots of American cheese and be happy!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Henry Hudson Makes a Market!

New Amsterdam Market is back in action, just in time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage to the river that now bears his name. Join Saxelby Cheesemongers this Sunday at the old Fulton Fish Market for New Amsterdam's inaugural market of the season!

New Amsterdam Market

Sunday, September 13th
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
South Street (btw Beekman and Peck Slip)

It's easy to forget what made this little island such a compelling place to explorers when Hudson sailed into the harbor 400 years ago. The Hudson River, broad and wide and reaching deep into the land was called the key to the continent by some. The location of the island of Manhattan, sandwiched between the Hudson and the East River (a salty tidal strait) was an ideal place for settlement and trade because it had one of very few harbors that did not freeze completely over in the wintertime.

The southernmost tip of Manhattan was the first part of the island to be settled, and had all the 17th century frills... a fort, a wall, a smattering of homes and small businesses, and of course, a market district. Since the 1600's, the South Street Seaport area has been the city's marketplace. It has known many incarnations, most recently being home to the famous and sometimes infamous Fulton Street Fish market. The culture of the marketplace, its vendors, their sweat, the near-constant movement of goods, the haggling, the wheeling and dealing, the conviviality of it all are have smoothed and weathered the cobblestones, literally making up the mortar between them.

Today, that part of the city floats in a rather uncertain place. The fish market has moved north to the Bronx, there are historic ships moored at the docks, and there is still commerce, though confined to an odd shopping mall that juts out into the river on Pier 17. The empty market stalls and cobbled streets are in limbo, in search of a purpose that will do justice to their history and revive the neighborhood. What better way to do that than a public market? Public markets have served as gathering places since time immemorial, places for exchange of goods, but also places of great social and civic importance.

Were New Amsterdam Public to achieve its intention of establishing a permanent public market, it would turn New Yorkers collective pantries around. Locally sourced products, animal, vegetable, and mineral would be available to urbanites, sourced and sold by expert purveyors. The streets would spring to life each morning as the merchants built up displays spilling over with their wares. The subsequent bustle of shoppers, watchers, and people from all walks of life would swell through the streets and eddy at the end of each day, mimicking the tides that make the rivers flow.

Join us at the Seaport this Sunday to eat, shop, and reinvigorate the public market!

Till next week....

Monday, August 31, 2009

September... More Than Just a Great Earth, Wind, and Fire Song

What the heck happened to summer?! One minute it's a rainy, San Francisco-esque June, and the next, Labor Day is around the corner. While summer was great, I always am one to look forward to fall. There's a different kind of energy around. The city shrugs off it's dog-days, sleepy mantle as school starts up, the mercury falls (fingers crossed!), and people get back to the business of doing what they do. At Saxelby Cheesemongers, that means catapulting into a month of activity, on the internet waves, at the marketplace, and on the farm. Consider this your fall preview of what's to do in our world of cheese!

'Cutting the Curd' with guests Mary Habstritt and Anne Mendelson
Sunday, September 6th
3:30-4:30 pm,

We're back this Sunday to stir up the curds and dish about dairy history on the Heritage Radio Network. Two members of the dairy intelligentsia will be on the show this week to discuss milk trains, and how they serviced New York City during the 20th century. Mary Habstritt, renowned industrial archaeologist and writer will join us to discuss the hows and whys of milk's movements from the country to the city. You may not know this, but up until the 1940's and 50's, home delivery of milk via horse-drawn wagon was not uncommon in this great metropolis! Anne Mendelson, milk connoisseur and author, will elucidate the history of our predilection for and obsession with this creamy, frothy beverage. So pull up a chair, have a tall glass of milk and a plate of cookies on hand and listen in!

New Amsterdam Market
Sunday, September 13th
11:00 am to 4:00 pm,

New Amsterdam Market is back for the season! And not a moment too soon. This year is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up the majestic river that bears his name. New Amsterdam Market, in what will be the first of FOUR monthly markets, will be setting up shop to coincide with Harbor Day, a waterfront fest to celebrate New York's ties to the river and the sea. Take a jaunt down to the Fulton Street Fish Market for a spread of edible regional bounty like you've never seen before. New Amsterdam Market aims to re-establish the institution of the public market in New York City. London has Borough Market, Barcelona's got La Boqueria, New York is on its way! Your attendance and support of New Amsterdam will help spur this dream towards reality! For a listing of dates of future markets and more information, visit

A Day A Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard
Sunday, September 27th
9:00 am to 7:00 pm,

The clock is ticking on this one... just a few spots remain on our farm field trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard! We'll be heading up to Sprout Creek's award-winning creamery on a chartered coach for a cheese tasting, picnic lunch, and farm tour. After the farm tour, we'll head over to Terhune Orchard for an afternoon of apple picking in the sunshine. We'll harvest the bounty of Hudson Valley apples that are sure to be ripe and delicious . Sit back, relax, and let us do the driving.... all you have to bring is your appetite! What are you waiting for?! Grab a friend or two and reserve your spot soon!

Till next Monday! Keep on cheesing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

From Vermont with Love

Greetings and Salutations from the milky misty Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. This quiet and beautiful place is buzzing this morning.... farmers, milk maids (and milk men) cheese makers, and affineurs are all at work, racing around the Cellars at Jasper Hill and making a myriad of things happen. I have been told I can take a quick coffee break... enough time to drink a cuppa (with raw milk from the farm!) and schmear a bagel with some butterfat left over from the last make of Constant Bliss to impart some cheesy words.

I came up to this great green state for the Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival, which was held to great acclaim and great attendance yesterday at Shelburne Farm. Only the second festival of its kind, it was truly a congregation of some of the finest cheeses and finest cheese people in the country. Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. was celebrating its 25th birthday, and organized the festival in tandem to spread the lactic love to all of their cheesemaking brethren across the state, and even across the region. Folks like the Cellars at Jasper Hill, Grafton Village Cheese, and Cabot rallied with amazing support to make the festival a reality. All told, over 30 cheese makers set up shop in the historic coach barn at Shelburne, with offerings ranging from queso fresco to dulce de leche made from goats' milk. To futher whet folks' whistles, the fest featured wine, beer, ice cider, bread, soy, and pickles all from the state, showcasing the fact that Vermont is truly the center of a little food revolution.

For a dispatch from the cheese fest with way more of the nitty gritty, all you need do is visit the Heritage Radio Network to hear this weeks' episode of 'Cutting the Curd.' We talk with Allison Hooper of Vermont Butter and Cheese, Mark Fisher of Woodcock Farm, and Alec Webb of Shelburne Farm about all the goings on at the festival and why cheese is so important (gustatorily, economically and otherwise) to Vermonters. If you missed this year's festival, have no fear, there are plans in the works to do a sequel next fall, and my instincts tell me it'll be even cheesier!

So, this afternoon I'll be New York bound, my car packed to the gills with cheeses procured from various farms at the festival. Come tomorrow morning, we'll be carving into them at the shop and would love to share a bite or two. Among the gems, we've gotten the first Weston Wheels of the season from Woodcock Farm, so all y'all who've been craving aged sheeps' milk cheese, now's your chance. We've also packed away a cache of gooey Summer Snow, a fabulous sheeps' milk camembert from Woodcock Farm, milky sweet Goredawnzola from the Green Mountain Blue Cheese Company, and tart, tangy Lake's Edge, one of our favorite goats from Blue Ledge Farm.

Stop by and snag a slice, practically fresh from the farm.

Till next week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Cows are Calling...

What? On a Wednesday?!

Blame it on the heat wave, blame it on the ocean waves, I've been a-whey myself these past few days and got back to NYC just in time for the sweat-fest that is August. It's a good time to imagine greener pastures and cooler weather.... so go ahead and let your mind wander fall-ward. There are just a few spots left for our next Day A-Whey trip, and they're going like cheese cakes! Be sure to reserve your spot on the old cheese mobile. There's bound to be good times, crisp apples, and of course, plenty of good cheese.

A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard
Sunday, September 27th 2009
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Trip begins and ends at Saxelby Cheesemongers, 120 Essex Street
for tickets ($95) and more info, visit

We here at Saxelby Cheesemongers would like to interrupt your Monday afternoon to ask you a very important question: what could be finer than spending a day out in the country, communing with cows, noshing on cheese, and picking loads of juicy apples? Not a whole heck of a lot.

So jump on the bus and come along on our Day A-Whey farm field trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard! Join us on our chartered coach as we explore the finest of the Hudson Valley's farm country at the peak of fall foliage. The first stop on our Day A-Whey adventure is Sprout Creek Farm, where we'll see first hand how fine farmstead cheese is made. After a tour of the farm and creamery, guests will be treated to a lavish picnic lunch featuring locally foraged foods and Sprout Creek cheeses. In the afternoon we'll continue on to Terhune Orchard for a few hours of sunshine and apple picking. The coach will return to the city in the early evening after a full day of farm goodness!

Sprout Creek Farm, located just about an hour and a half north of the city in Poughkeepsie, was founded by nuns in the late 1980s as a place for children to reconnect with nature and learn about agriculture. After almost 30 years of agri-education, Sprout Creek has come to be one of the premier creameries in the country. Colin McGrath, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of the Arts, is the talented young cheese maker behind Sprout Creek's award-winning cheeses. Colin will lead us on a tour of the creamery, showing from start to finish how top quality farmstead cheese is made. Sprout Creek's founder Margo Morris will then guide us on a ramble of the multi-faceted farm, showing off the gardens, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, ducks and chickens that make up the day to day rhythm at Sprout Creek.

After the farm tour, daytrippers will be treated to a bountiful picnic lunch, served in Sprout Creek's cozy, historic barn. Salads, fruits, and cider from New York City's own Greenmarket will be laid out for the noshing alongside a sampling of charcuterie, freshly cut chunks of Sprout Creek cheese and a selection of fresh breads from the Sullivan Street Bakery.

Once we've all had our fill of delicious farmstead fromage, the coach will amble on down the road to Terhune Orchard for an afternoon of apple picking in the sunshine. Come mid-September, Terhune Orchard boasts an amazing array of apple varieties. Daytrippers can pick a peck of Empire, Gala, Golden Delicious and Cameos to munch alongside their cheeses. The chartered coach will return to the Essex Street Market by 7:00 pm, full of happy, sated daytrippers.

So what are you waiting for?! Isn't it about time you had a Day A-Whey?

For tickets ($95) and information visit

***Please note that the ticket price includes transportation, food, and apple picking***

Monday, August 10, 2009

Good Monday to you all! It's been a riveting week in cheese country, as this year's American Cheese Society conference was underway, kicking ass and raising hell down in Austin, Texas. Ok, that may be a bit of a strong description, but when it comes to things Texan, it always seems appropriate to throw a little tough guy talk around. There was a lot of jalapeno cheese though, according to expert eye witness Tia Keenan, who was kind enough to join me on 'Cutting the Curd', my Sunday radio show on the Heritage Radio Network. Tune in to the archives to hear Ms. Keenan dish about the Lone Star State, cheese, chicken shit bingo, and how she developed her love of all things dairy.

Cheese is a big deal food in Austin. The city's culinary roots are firmly entrenched in the Tex-Mex tradition that rules the regions restaurants. There is a type of cheese / condiment there called simply 'queso' that is as common as bread and butter up north here in Yankee country. Just about every restaurant in town has their own slightly tweaked version of queso that is liberally applied overtop enchiladas and spooned into cups for noshing with nachos.

But the American Cheese Society tends to bring the thunder... this year to the tune of over 1300 cheeses from cheese makers large and small across this great nation. Saxelby Cheesemongers is pleased to feature more than a few award winning cheeses in the old cheese case down at our shop at the Essex Market. Come check out these delicious specimens, all of whom were lauded at this year's ACS meeting:

Grayson (Raw cows' milk. Meadow Creek Dairy, VA)
Every year Grayson tops the charts in its category at the ACS. This soft, washed-rind cheese is pungent, beefy, and shines like intergalactic butter due to the fact that their cows graze some of the finest pasture in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Vermont Ayr (Raw cows' milk. Crawford Family Farm, VT)
A tiny swiss-style tomme that keeps getting better with each passing month. The paste is dense and creamy, with hints of toasted almonds, sweet milk, and bright fruit.

Maple Smoked Gouda (Raw cows' milk. Taylor Farm, VT)
As close as you can get to bacon without eating bacon... this rich, hearty smoked cheese will knock your socks off. None of that liquid smoke flavor here... just pure Vermont goodness. Maybe we could try melting in on pancakes?!

Pawlet (Raw cows' milk. Consider Bardwell Farm, VT)
Tried and true. Pawlet is like the golden retriever of cheeses: easy, cute (yes, cheese can be cute), and immensely eager to please. It's what we use on our grilled cheese and pickle sandwiches at the Brooklyn Flea.

Spring Brook Tarentaise (Raw cows' milk. Spring Brook Farm, VT)
A showstopper. This fine Alpine-style cheese is made from rich Jersey milk, giving it all the grassy goodness of a classic Comte, but backed up by a sharp fruity zing. Just eat a piece. You'll see what we're talking about.

Till next week! Be good. Be cheesy.

And don't forget! Our fall Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm is right around the corner... Get your tickets at today!

A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard
Sunday, September 27th
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Trip begins and ends at Saxelby Cheesemongers
for tickets ($95) and more info visit

Monday, August 03, 2009

From Dog Days to Cow Days... Saxelby Cheesemongers Announces Our Fall Day A-Whey Trip to Sprout Creek Farm!

August is upon us. And we New Yorkers know what that means... the dog days of summer are truly here. Well, if August is full of days for dogs, then September is bound to be full of days for cows! Moo-ve on over summer, Saxelby Cheesemongers is pleased to announce our fall Day A-Whey Farm trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard! You'll feel cooler when you're done reading this, we promise...

A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard
Sunday, September 27th 2009
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Trip begins and ends at Saxelby Cheesemongers, 120 Essex Street
for tickets ($95) and more info, visit

We here at Saxelby Cheesemongers would like to interrupt your Monday afternoon to ask you a very important question: what could be finer than spending a day out in the country, communing with cows, noshing on cheese, and picking loads of juicy apples? Not a whole heck of a lot.

So jump on the bus and come along on our Day A-Whey farm field trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard! Join us on our chartered coach as we explore the finest of the Hudson Valley's farm country at the peak of fall foliage. The first stop on our Day A-Whey adventure is Sprout Creek Farm, where we'll see first hand how fine farmstead cheese is made. After a tour of the farm and creamery, guests will be treated to a lavish picnic lunch featuring locally foraged foods and Sprout Creek cheeses. In the afternoon we'll continue on to Terhune Orchard for a few hours of sunshine and apple picking. The coach will return to the city in the early evening after a full day of farm goodness!

Sprout Creek Farm, located just about an hour and a half north of the city in Poughkeepsie, was founded by nuns in the late 1980s as a place for children to reconnect with nature and learn about agriculture. After almost 30 years of agri-education, Sprout Creek has come to be one of the premier creameries in the country. Colin McGrath, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of the Arts, is the talented young cheese maker behind Sprout Creek's award-winning cheeses. Colin will lead us on a tour of the creamery, showing from start to finish how top quality farmstead cheese is made. Sprout Creek's founder Margo Morris will then guide us on a ramble of the multi-faceted farm, showing off the gardens, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, ducks and chickens that make up the day to day rhythm at Sprout Creek.

After the farm tour, daytrippers will be treated to a bountiful picnic lunch, served in Sprout Creek's cozy, historic barn. Salads, fruits, and cider from New York City's own Greenmarket will be laid out for the noshing alongside a sampling of charcuterie, freshly cut chunks of Sprout Creek cheese and a selection of fresh breads from the Sullivan Street Bakery.

Once we've all had our fill of delicious farmstead fromage, the coach will amble on down the road to Terhune Orchard for an afternoon of apple picking in the sunshine. Come mid-September, Terhune Orchard boasts an amazing array of apple varieties. Daytrippers can pick a peck of Empire, Gala, Golden Delicious and Cameos to munch alongside their cheeses. The chartered coach will return to the Essex Street Market by 7:00 pm, full of happy, sated daytrippers.

So what are you waiting for?! Isn't it about time you had a Day A-Whey?

For tickets ($95) and information visit

***Please note that the ticket price includes transportation, food, and apple picking***

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cheers to the Champlain Valley!

When we think of European cheeses, we tend to imagine fairly well defined regions where we can expect to find specific styles of fermented milk goodness. Dry, sharp cheeses from the arid regions of Spain and Italy, velvety buttery cheeses from the cool climes of Northern France, giant wheels of robust and hearty cheese from the Alps. Certain areas are known for their cheese making prowess, just as certain soils are touted as producing some of the finest wines.

In the US, farmstead cheese has grown up in a much different way than in Europe. Whereas across the pond there was a slow percolation of culture (bacterial and human) that lead to certain areas producing certain types of cheese, here in the states it has unraveled in more of a willy-nilly fashion. American farmstead cheese makers have come to their craft from many different walks of life, and in many respects their cheeses are unique edible artifacts that represent the experiences, apprenticeships, travels, and influences that lead up to their taking the crazy plunge into the world of curds and whey.

That said, there are definitely cheese regions of our own odd American making that are coalescing before our very eyes. Twenty years ago there was a smattering of farmstead cheese makers across the country; each farm was an island, a renegade, a strange exception to the rule of what farming should be. Now, there are little pockets of farmstead cheese making that skip and bound over the tremendous gap from California to Maine.

Vermont's Champlain Valley is one of those hotbeds of artisanal cheese making that has erupted quietly but surely as mushrooms after a good dose of rain. I spent last weekend traipsing around the Valley with my family, and was struck by the number of cheese makers nestled within a ten mile radius of the little town where we stayed. There is a true cheese culture developing there, putting down its roots and slowly but surely altering the farmscape and the surrounding community.

In an area known for dairy, artisanal cheese is a new take on an old farming tradition. Most farms in Addison made their living producing milk and cream for far off markets. Some of it left the Valley as fluid milk bound for Boston or New York, and some was sent off to one of the big coops in the state to be turned into cheese. Now there is a proliferation of local cheese makers who are demonstrating that there is a way to run a dairy and produce something of higher value than commodity milk. And that something (glorious, succulent cheese!) enriches the community threefold. It preserves the farm landscape, encourages a burgeoning craft, and provides us with something ridiculously tasty to eat.

At Saxelby Cheesemongers, we are proud to feature a small army of cheeses from Vermont's Champlain Valley, and encourage you to come in for a taste of the region. Each one is unique as its maker and the patch of farmland it hails from...

Goat Tomme
Twig Farm (raw goats' milk. West Cornwall, VT)
Cheese maker Michael Lee and his thiry-odd does are the forces behind this earthy and musky tomme. The herbal and floral flavors that issue forth from the ivory-colored paste owe their existence to the rough and scrubby pastures and woodlands the goats spend their days browsing.

Dancing Cow Farm (raw cows' milk. Bridport, VT)
A simple, but elegant tomme made from the pastured milk of Steve and Karen Getz's herd. Bouree is aged for about five months, with the Getz family entrusting the affinage to the folks up at Jasper Hill Farm. All that rind-washing tlc renders Bourree supple, and delicate, with a buttery pliant paste and flavors of toasted nuts, tobacco, and freshly cut grass on the palate.

Blue Ledge Farm (raw goats' milk. Salisbury, VT)
One of the gooiest cheeses this side of the Mississippi. Dunmore is a raw milk marvel from Greg Bernhardt, Hannah Sessions, and their troupe of stalwart caprine amigas. The wheels are coated by a bloomy white rind that comes to buckle and bulge as the cheese ages, evoking the finest and most mushroomy flavor one could dream of. Beneath the rind is a layer of buttercream soft cheese, leading to a core that is chalky, yet fine in texture.

Vermont Ayr
Crawford Family Farm (raw cows' milk. Whiting, VT)
Taking its name from the Crawfords' handsome herd of Ayrshire cows, Vermont Ayr is rich and swissy, with an undeniably fruity quality. Vermont Ayr is aged in the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm; the gorgoeous natural rind is rustic and mottled with white and coffee colored spots. The cheese imparts a mineral zing that'll make you pucker just a bit.

Scholten Family Farm (pasteurized cows' milk, VT)
Weybridge is a rich and buttery cheese made from the milk of Dutch Belted cows, a traditional breed of dairy cow not so often seen these days in Vermont. Weybridge is quite light and moist for a bloomy rind cheese, evoking the tang of rich crème fraiche. The finish is delicately barnyardy (a paradox if ever there was one) and slightly tart.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mini Burrata!

This week's email is small and milky sweet. Whoever said that the best things come in small packages knew a thing or two about jewelry and as it turns out, cheese too. Not to say that we don't love us a big old honking chunk of fromage every now and again, but there are times to acquiesce and appreciate the little things in life.

What the heck am I getting at? Mini burrata! Saxelby Cheesemongers is pleased to announce the arrival of these diminutive pillows of curd and ricotta laden goodness. Just like their big brothers, these burrata are crafted by hand in Philly. The mozzarella curd is stretched and formed into a little pocket before being filled with curd and panna.

Clocking in at a fighting weight of just about four ounces, mini burratas are tiny but terrifically delicious. So, if you've ever stared a big burrata down and wondered just how in god's name you were going to eat the whole thing, here's your answer. And at just $3.50 a pop, you might want to snag a few...

Till next week! Small is beautiful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fresh Milk on the Radio

Saxelby Cheesemongers gets down and dairy on the Heritage Radio Network with author Anne Mendelson...

Saxelby Cheesemongers' bi-weekly show, 'Cutting the Curd' waxes poetic on a myriad of dairy-centric topics. Listen in live every other Sunday from 3:30 to 4:00 pm or check out the Heritage Radio Network archives to hear the latest and the greatest... Yesterday's dispatch featured a conversation with Anne Mendelson, author of the delightful book Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages

Milk. It does a body good. We've all heard that refrain a thousand times or more. But it wasn't always that way. Before there were milk marketing campaigns, much of the world preferred their milk in the already soured format. Yogurt, cheese, and other fermented milk products ruled supreme for thousands of years before people started drinking the fresh stuff. Whether that was a result of climate, physiology, or convenience is up for debate. And debate and ruminate Ms. Mendelson does.

From the backyard cow to the super dairies at work in this country today, Anne Mendelson's tome traces the lineage of our dairy industry, linking our predilection for fresh milk with the growth of an industry that came to favor production and efficiency over flavor and health. As a young one growing up in the suburban midwest, I had no idea what constituted 'real milk.' I always assumed the white stuff lining the refrigerated shelves of the supermarket was the end all be all of the milk line. Our radio debate focuses in on the merits of real milk: it tastes better, it preserves local dairies and a working farm landscape, and means healthy and happy animals. Our fridge at Saxelby Cheesemongers is chock full of the good stuff... organic, unhomogenized cows milk from the Evans Creamery, and organic goat's milk from Kortright Creamery, both from small farms upstate New York.

So get yourself a cookie, crack open a bottle of creamy, delicious milk, kick back and listen in to this and our next dairy pursuits over the airwaves.

Till next Monday! Drink milk and be merry.

Monday, July 06, 2009

New Cheese on the Board

It's now officially the height of summer. July fourth has come and gone, and the days are long and lazy. That means plenty of time for barbequing, picnicking, beach-going, and carousing of all kinds. It also means that the cheese cave is practically overflowing with goodness as we begin to harvest the myriad of cheeses available from all the farms we work with. Saxelby Cheesemongers is pleased to announce the addition of a few wonderful new cheeses to our roster of dairy delights. So, if you're yearning for a little cheesy excitement, take a swing by the shop and nibble a morsel or more of some our new arrivals. Whether you're looking to beef up your picnic basket or round out the old cheese drawer in the fridge, you're sure to find something you love.

Did we mention that in addition to being delicious these new cheeses are all easy on the pocketbook as well? Whoever said you can't have too much of a good thing was right on the money.

Meadow Creek Dairy (raw cows' milk. Galax, VA)
$16.99 per lb

A bright, nutty quadrangular cheese with a musty, mushroomy rind. Made from raw Jersey milk and aged for 4 to 5 months, Appalachian is a fine specimen of an Alpine-style tomme. The ochre, golden-colored paste is supple yet snappy and has a subtle but deep flavor that is attributed to the fine pasture that the cows graze. A mellow but beautiful cheese that would make the strapping Swiss cowherds swoon.

Red Meck
Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese (raw cows' milk. Mecklenburg, NY)
$16.99 per lb

Red Meck is a stout, chubby wheel of cheese from New York's own Finger Lakes. Laced with Swissy eyes and boasts a particular prickle that'll set your tastebuds reeling. The flavor is sharp and distinctive, balancing bright, spicy fruity notes with sweet milky undertones. The rind of Red Meck is periodically washed with brine, adding a dose of pungent, tang to the cheese as it matures.

Scholten Family Farm (pasteurized cows' milk, VT)
$7.99 per piece

Weybridge is a brand spankin' new cheese, aged in the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm. This rich and buttery cheese is made from the milk of Dutch Belted cows, a traditional breed of dairy cow making a comeback in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Weybridge is quite light and moist for a bloomy rind cheese, evoking the tang of rich crème fraiche. The finish is delicately barnyardy (a paradox if ever there was one) and slightly tart.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cheese as an Act of Patriotism

This week's yarn is a doozy, a story of patriotism and dairy culled from the annals of American history. I once heard mention of a tall tale involving a little town in Connecticut, a giant cheese, and President Jefferson, and thought there could be no better week than this to delve into the strange and hilarious story of the Mammoth Cheese.

Back in 1802, when Thomas Jefferson was in the White House, a little reverend in a little town in Connecticut decided to script a love letter in curd to the commander in chief. Reverend John Leland, a Baptist marooned in a land of staunch Calvinists, symapthized with Jefferson's progressive ideals surrounding the separation of church and state, and the two men struck up a friendship. Leland figured that the best way to show his admiration and devotion to the big guy would be to enlist his congregation's labor in the fabrication of a giant wheel of cheese to be delivered to Washington.

He called on every farmer in town to bring every drop of milk or every bit of curd from their dairies to the town's cider mill, where they jury-rigged a makeshift cheese press where the apples would usually get squashed. A provision was made, however, that no milk from a farmer with Federalist leanings would be included in the project, 'lest it should leaven the whole lump with a distasteful savour.' (As quoted from an article written for 'Gentlemans' Magazine', circa 1869. Why don't we talk like that anymore?!)

The resulting cheese, a wheel of Cheshire, tipped the scales weighing in somewhere between 1200 to 1600 pounds. I suspect the discrepancy in weight is like a big fish tale... there's always a bit of wiggle room where more drama and more heft are likely to be inserted. The unwieldy cheese was too awkward to be transported in a normal horse drawn cart, so the Reverend harnessed his beasts to a sleigh, and dragged the cheese for 500 miles through the New England winter to the White House. I mean, come on, can you imagine waking up one morning and peeking out the window only to see an enormous cheese glide by silently over the snow? I'm telling you, those were the days!

The cheese was presented to Jefferson on January 2nd of 1802, who by all historical accounts, was pretty darn impressed. He sliced off a wedge, took a walloping bite, and declared it a fine example of the craftsmanship and industriousness of his countrymen. The Mammoth Cheese, as it came to be called, remained at the White House for over two years, and was slowly chipped away at during many ceremonial dinners. You can imagine the waitstaff and their grumblings... 'Would anyone like more cheese? We have a lovely macaroni and cheese casserole for dinner tonight...' Rev. Leland's Cheshire was on the menu for the Independence Day banquet of 1803, a full year and a half after it was first nibbled on. So for any of you who've ever wondered about how long you can keep a chunk of cheese in your fridge, keep this tale in mind. Our forefathers didn't mess around when it came to dairy.

So add it to the list of grocery items for this year's barbeque... hamburger patties, ears of corn, a six pack of beer, and a gargantuan wheel of fromage.

Oh, and don't forget to mark your calendar... Saxelby Cheesemongers will close at 5:00 pm on Friday July 3rd, and will be closed Saturday July 4th. We will re-open on Monday July 6th at 9:00 am sharp.

Happy Fourth!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Tasting and Rain Dance Workshop

Last week's email was dedicated to sheep, and these little guys pictured above were feeling a bit left out. And goats, as you may have heard, are known to have a bit of a mischievous streak. At Saxelby Cheesemongers, we don't want any trouble from the goat powers that be... So, in honor of our caprine buddies, this week we're crafting a little shindig for the fabulous creature we call the goat.

Summer Goatstravaganza!
Wine and Cheese Tasting at Discovery Wines
10 Avenue A (between Houston and 2nd)
Sunday, June 28th
6:00 - 7:30 pm

For Reservations ($45) and more info, call (212) 674-7833

This Sunday, we'll be celebrating summer (it's going to arrive, we swear!!) with a wine and cheese tasting devoted to the best of the goats. Join us at Discovery Wines as we guide you through the wild world of chevre. 'Tis the season for goat cheese in all its incarnations, and we aim to nibble a little bit of all of them. Savor fine, paprika-dusted pyramids from Capriole Dairy in Indiana, earthy weathered field-stone-looking Square Cheese from Twig Farm and racy, caramel-sweet gamey Manchester from Consider Bardwell Farm, just to name a few. Tim from Discovery Wines will be on hand with an arsenal of delicious fermented grape juice to compliment our selections.

Think you don't like goat cheese? Well, we're here to assure you that there's much more to it than the tangy, spreadable stuff that bedecks your salad. Come on out and give it a try! We may just make a believer out of you.

As for the rain dance... I'm willing to give it a try if y'all are.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hail to the Sheep

Hail to the sheep. Mother nature's scrappy and robust ruminants. From Iceland to the Middle East to New Jersey, sheep have been running amok for centuries, making their agricultural mark. Of course, for our own selfish purposes, it's the dairy sheep that interest us most. Still by far the smallest cheese contingent in the United States (cows and goats outnumber our fleeced friends by quite a long shot) they produce some of the best dairy products around. This week's email is a love letter to sheeps' milk ricotta, fresh from Vermont.

Vermont Shepherd was one of the pioneer sheep dairies in the US, proving that it was possible to make a living from milking sheep and making cheese. After a trip to France in the early nineties, the Majors set up shop in southern Vermont and began making Vermont Shepherd, an aged cheese after the Pyrenees tradition. This year, for the first time Saxelby Cheesemongers is thrilled to carry their Ricotta Lana, a mouth watering take on sheeps' milk ricotta that lies somewhere between the fluffy, springy fresh stuff and the more dense and compact ricotta salata.

Ricotta Lana is made from fresh curd, just like traditional ricotta, but is then molded and drained in small baskets to squeeze out a bit more moisture. The result is a fresh cheese that is curdy and snappy, with a sweet, yet sheepy flavor so distinctive you might think you've wandered into a congregation of the ovine persuasion in some French or Italian village. Ricotta Lana is meaty and rich for a fresh cheese; it has enough heave-ho to make a killer gnudi, and makes a lasagna so fortified you could cross a desert after eating it. For lighter summer fare, let the Lana grace your breakfast table topped with your favorite honey or preserves. Or just crumble a bit over a menagerie of crisp greens for a more satiating salad. We've searched high and low for a sheeps' milk ricotta to please our palates, and want you to have some too.

Till next week... may the sheep cheese be with you.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Who's Your Daddy? Radio, Father's Day, and a Whole Slew of Other Stuff...

This week's email is dedicated to dads. Father's Day is coming right on down the pipeline, and Saxelby Cheesemongers is poised to celebrate in a myriad of ways. From mail order cheese to our new radio show, we're going to be kicking out the cheesy jams to all the padres this June 21st. If you're stumped over what to get for dad on his special day, (and I know I ALWAYS am...) why not go for a box o' delicious cheese? Add some beer and a barbeque to the equation, and you've got yourself a little slice of dad heaven. Check out to check out our gift selections. Just think, YOU could be the food hero of this father's day.

In other news, yesterday was a banner day for Saxelby Cheesemongers. My love of radio and all technologies antiquated landed me a spot on the burgeoning Heritage Radio Network, which broadcasts out of a delightfully quirky, DIY pizzeria in Bushwick. Half radio station and half platform for a killer garden, Heritage Radio exists within the walls of two green shipping containers, atop which sit raised beds full of sugar snap peas, tomatoes and other tasty greens.

The Heritage Radio Network was started by one Patrick Martins, one of the founders of Heritage Foods USA. Through the business, Patrick and his cohorts aim to save heritage breeds of livestock, mostly turkeys and pigs, by hooking up farmers in the midwest with savvy chefs and restaurateurs who have an eye for quality meats. Just last year, the spirit moved him to take his 'slow' business show on the road. Patrick convinced the owners of Roberta's that they needed to have a radio station in the back yard (really, what respectable pizzeria doesn't?) and in the spirit of wily culinary cowboys, they agreed. Two shipping containers and many a good conversation later, Heritage Radio is thriving. Programming is great and growing all the time, and features chefs, artists, master composters, authors, and now dairy gurus too!

'Cutting the Curd' is my radio homage to all things dairy, and airs live every other Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm. The inaugural broadcast was devoted to National Dairy Month, and I got the chance to interview some folks from Wisconsin who play a big role in all the festivities. I talked with Jeanne Carpenter, author of a fantastic blog about Wisconsin cheese (, and Bill Schlinsog, a retired cheese and butter grader for the Wisconsin State Department of Ag. You can check out the show any old time online by visiting

On Sunday June 21st, Cutting the Curd will delve into the crazy and complex world of breeding and genetics with a special Father's Day episode entitled 'Who's Your Daddy?' We'll get some folks on the horn to talk about different breeds of dairy animals and what a difference the right genes make. It may not be a subject we New Yorkers can put into practice in our day to day lives, but when else do you get to hear about someone who flies frozen goat sperm across the country for a living?

So pony up this Father's Day with some cheesy treats and afternoon audio entertainment! See you over the interweb-waves!

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's National Dairy Month! (As If We Needed an Excuse to Eat More Cheese...)

This morning, whilst spelunking around the internet in my parents' kitchen in Chicago, the cheesy gods offered up this tidbit of dairy trivia. June is National Dairy Month. Who knew?! Certainly not me, and I've been in this game for quite a minute or two now. I was looking for cheese related holidays, knowing that shavuot happened just last week, but who needs a one day holiday when you can have four weeks worth of dairy-centric festivities?!

According to the milk-lore out there, National Dairy Month started off as National Milk Month way back in 1937. And it wasn't just a summer love letter to cows and dairymen alike... it was designed to keep the public's appetite for dairy high during times of peak production. Cows tend to produce the most milk in early summer when they have just freshened and are turned out on pasture, grazing their way through tons of grass and greenery. The Dairy Council, bent on using up all that good milk instead of turning it into processed gobbledygook like they do today (milk powder, powdered whey, etc, etc) went on a dairy rampage, and states from Wisconsin to New York began having parades, cow camps, milking competitions, and free food! (ice cream, omelettes, curds) all in the name of promoting dairy.

Last year, when I was a judge at the American Cheese Society competition, my co-judge happened to be a seasoned Midwestern dairyman. Bill Schlinsog was a 50 year veteran of the Wisconsin Dairy biz, and worked his way through the dairy industry from helping his folks operate a small cheese plant without electricity near Madison, to being a professional cheese and butter grader for the state. He told me about his own county's Dairy Days festival, which according to him was far and away one of the best parts of the job. Each June, people from miles around would converge at a different dairy farm for a day of farming and food. Bill was responsible each year for the gargantuan cheese omelette... they would crack up a couple hundred eggs, shred an obscene quantity of cheese, and with the help of some good Wisconsin butter, would fry the whole thing up and serve it for breakfast. Now that's what I call a dairy day.

So for anyone out there who was looking for an excuse to eat more cheese, there you have it. Make some ice cream, fry up some curds, or just grab a hearty block o' something delicious for the house. Cholesterol be damned! 'Tis the season for cheesin'!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheese So Fresh You Could Slap It!

Now that all the smoke has cleared from the Memorial Day barbeques, it's time to kick off summer proper. At Saxelby Cheesemongers, we can't think of a better way embrace the heat than to bust out a selection of new, fresh cheeses. When the mercury goes up, forgo the oven and knock together a low maintenance dinner from a humble chunk of delicious cheese. Be it burrata, ricotta, fresh chevre, or beyond, these cheeses are sure to fill your belly, cut cooking time down to something you can count out on your ten fingers and toes, and keep the median temperature of your apartment in a comfy range. What's not to like?!

Here's what's happening in the fresh cheese department at Saxelby Cheesemongers:

Burrata is back. Yep, we couldn't wait any longer. The luscious, creamy stuff will be arriving each and every Thursday fresh from Philadelphia. Tote one of these bad boys home, slice it open amidst some salad greenery (or just a chunk of fresh bread) drizzle with olive oil, and voila! Dinner is done.

Vermont Shepherd's ricotta salata is making its first foray beyond state lines this summer! We are pleased as punch to count it among our favorite summer cheeses. Made from pasteurized sheeps' milk, this ricotta salata is dense, curdy, and has just the right amount of tang. Drizzle a bit o' honey on top, flick some sea salt on for good measure and try not to eat it all at once. 'Try' being the operative word there...

Beltane Farm's fresh chevre, one of our perennial favorites, has been most tasty over the past few weeks. Tangy, silky and mild, this cheese makes for a downright lovely schmear on bread, a tasty one-up to a quiche or frittata, and an ideal companion for smoked salmon. Now I've gone and got myself thinking about breakfast... a trip to Russ and Daughters will be in order.

Salvatore Brooklyn's smokey ricotta. Whoa. Need I say more? Their thick, addictive, dairy dream of a cheese is now getting the s'more treatment. Smokey ricotta is hung in a cheesecloth, smoked over cherry wood, and somehow comes out tasting like a toasted marshmallow. Skeptical? Well, to you non-believers, I offer up a taste. You know the old saying, 'they drunk the kool-aid?' We just might have to alter that adage to something more ricotta-centric.

Till next week! Keep the kitchen cool and the cooler full o' fromage!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hot Bread Kitchen for a Cool Spring Day

This bulk of this week's email has not too much to do with cheese. And no, it's not just indigestion from last week's cream cheese sandwich loaf...

In our efforts to simultaneously expand our culinary horizons and pack ever more deliciousness into our tiny stall at the Essex Market, we will instead turn the focus toward our newest arrival, Hot Bread Kitchen's handmade Corn Tortillas! However, cheese junkies need not despair... our beloved fermented dairy products will be waiting in the wings to play the supporting role of rich and gooey filling.

Hot Bread Kitchen is a much-lauded project in social entrepreneurship founded by the indefatigable Jessamyn Waldman. (see cute picture on the left!) The Kitchen's mission is simple; to produce quality traditional breads from all corners of the globe while providing job training, English classes, and plain old empowerment to immigrant women in New York City. Since its inception just a year and a half ago, Hot Bread has employed women from Mexico, Bangladesh, the Phillipines, Ecuador, Mali, and Afghanistan. The array of breads produced by Hot Bread Kitchen have their roots in these women and their respective bread cultures. When Hot Bread reaches its full capacity, it will provide a year long training program for 80 women focusing on English classes, kitchen math, and culinary entrepreneurship. After the program is completed, the women will be poised to start their own businesses or land quality jobs in restaurants around New York City.

Hot Bread Kitchen's corn tortillas are unique among tortillas in New York City. Why? Because they are made from pure ground corn. It seems simple enough, but like most of our foods, tortillas have become victims of mass production. Most corn tortillas are produced from a mixture of ground corn and flour, but the unmitigated yellow, red, and blue stuff is far superior in flavor and texture. At Hot Bread, the corn is stone ground, splashed with a little bit of lime juice to soften the kernels, and then quickly baked on a comal to enhance the rich corn flavor. Tortilla lovers beware... once you've fried, steamed, or toasted one of these babies, you'll be a convert for life.

Being the cheesy fools we are, we decided to craft a little quesadilla recipe from our luscious corny friends. Looking for ideas for dinner tonight? Look no further. Dinner is served!

Saxelby Cheesemongers' Hot Bread Kitchen Quesadillas:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 lb of melty cheese of your choosing (we picked Russo's Raclette)
1 package Hot Bread Kitchen Corn Tortillas

-Slice cheese and assemble quesadillas

-Melt butter in a heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat

-Once butter foams, place quesadilla in pan and cook for 2 mins on each side until cheese is bubbly.

-Chow down and enjoy!

***if you'd like more information on Hot Bread Kitchen, visit, or watch an award winning documentary about the project.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Was Walking Down the Street One Day...

I was walking down Court Street one day in the merry merry month of May, and was taken by surprise by this book! Monday had come and gone, busy and too short, and I was puzzling over what to write when voila, the wily cheese deities dropped this little gem in my path.

How this should fall into my hands is up to the cosmos to sort out, but I was quite amused and delighted to stumble upon it. Romance Cheeses from Kraft, circa 1971. Wow. It just doesn't get much better than that. And the best part of all... the person before me paid four bucks for it! Well, I guess given the culinary magic within, it's well worth it in entertainment value. Here, faithfully reproduced, are two of my favorite recipe finds from this ageless tome. Kids, don't try this at home...

Suburbia Stew:

2 lbs of beef, cut in 1 inch cubes
All purpose oil (yikes!)
1 can condensed beef broth
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
6 medium onions, cut in quarters
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
6 medium carrots, cut in thirds
1/2 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese (All caps. Fancy, eh?)
2 cups hot mashed potatoes

Brown meat in oil. Add beef broth, water, and seasonings; cover and simmer 1 hour. Add vegetables and continue to simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Pour into baking dish. Stir cheese into potatoes; spoon on top of hot stew. Broil until potatoes are lightly browned. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.

Quicker way: (My personal fave) Two cans of canned stew may be used.

Frosted Sandwich Loaf: (there are no words...)

1 loaf of unsliced sandwich bread
2 8 oz packages of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped watercress (As a consolation prize)
Dash of salt and pepper
Egg Salad
Ham Salad
1/3 cup milk

Remove crusts from bread. (Aha! Is this where that whole thing started?!) Cut into 4 lengthwise slices; spread with margarine. Combine 1/3 package softened cream cheese, watercress, and seasonings, mixing until well blended. Spread one slice of bread with Egg Salad; cover with a second slice spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with third slice of bread spread with Ham Salad and remaining slice of bread. Combine remaining softened cream cheese and milk, mixing until well blended. Frost sandwich loaf. (Dear God!!!!!!)

Well, I hope I haven't spoiled anybody's breakfast. Stay tuned for more intermittent dispatches from the world of 1970's process cheese food products!