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 saxelbycheese.com 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 saxelbycheese.com

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