Monday, June 28, 2010

What Do Cheese and Fireworks Have in Common?

What do cheese and fireworks have in common? It's a riddle for the ages. Though cheese is not generally explosive (an internet search for exploding cheese turned up little more than a contemporary art piece by Ed Ruscha, a roadside shop in Wisconsin specializing in both cheese and fireworks, and a scary-looking brand of Pringles) they certainly both liven up the end of a lazy summer barbeque! Thankfully, you don't need any special training or permits to unleash a cheese plate this July 4th for your backyard festivities... Saxelby Cheesemongers has put together the perfect Independence Day cheese selection that is explosive just where it needs to be... your tastebuds. This Fourth of July weekend, let somebody else man the pyrotechnics station. You and yours can sit back, relax, and relish the veritable flavor explosion of fine farmstead cheese! Order online at and have your cheese shipped straight to your door in time for the weekend festivities!

Oh Say Can You See (Cheese)?!
Fourth of July American Farmstead Cheese Selection

3 Cheese Selection ($45)
5 Cheese Selection ($75)

Our three cheese selection features hearty half-pound hunks:

Hartwell, a gooey, mushroomy, and buttery round of pasteurized cows' milk cheese from Ploughgate Creamery.

Magic Mountain
, a nutty, salty, citrusy seasonal raw milk cheese made from a blend of sheep and cows' milk at Woodcock Farm.

Bayley Hazen Blue, a raw cows' milk blue from Jasper Hill Farm that is rich, fudgy and chocolatey to boot!

If you're feeling uber-cheesy, up the ante to a five cheese selection and get your goat on! In addition to the cheeses above, you'll receive:

Marbarella, a tangy, pasteurized goats' milk cheese layered with vegetable ash from Lazy Lady Farm.

Goat Tomme, a wedge of minerally, grassy, and earthy raw milk cheese from Twig Farm.


And as always, it's time for our weekly rundown of Cutting the Curd, our delightful dairy dispatch on the Heritage Radio Network! Just in time for Independence Day, I got a chance to chat and chew the cheesy fat with Sasha Davies and Kurt Dammeier, the forces of nature behind this year's American Cheese Society Conference in Seattle, aptly named Cheeseatopia. Listen in and learn all about America's cheesiest annual gathering! You thought your family reunion took that prize?? Think again!

Monday, June 14, 2010

For a Cheesy Guy on His Special Day...

From dads to djs to fellow mongers and cheese enthusiasts, this week's cheesy newsletter has a little something for everyone. Not sure what to get your dad for Father's Day? Check out our Father's Day cheese selection, sure to please the dude who's got everything. And don't miss this week's 'Cutting the Curd' update, where we cover NYC's upcoming Cheesemonger Invitational!

Saxelby Cheesemongers Father's Day Selection
$45 plus shipping (includes three half-pound wedges of cheese)
To place your order, click here

It's been proven again and again throughout the ages... Dads are cheesy! And that's why we love them. This Father's Day, why beat around the bush? Show your love a with a cheesy little care package that both he and his tummy are sure to relish! Saxelby Cheesemongers' Father's Day Selection includes three hearty half-pound chunks of cheese that are dad tested and dad approved: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, a stout, grassy and caramelly cheddar from the Green Mountain State, Maple Smoked Gouda a creamy smokey delight that plays games with your senses (is it bacon, or is it cheese?!) and Bayley Hazen Blue, a strong, salty, fudgy blue that's sure to lead to some late night trips to the fridge. For a cheesy guy on his special day, nothing says I love you like a bit of farmstead fromage!

When ordering online, be sure to specify what day you'd like us to ship! Just make a note in the comments field when checking out, and we'll ship your order whenever you please.

Want the scoop on NYC's upcoming Cheesemonger Invitational?! This first-of-its-kind event slated to take place Saturday, June 26th was the topic of this week's episode of Cutting the Curd. I interviewed Adam Moskowitz, president of Larkin (home of said competition) and freestyler cheese poet. Mr. Moskowitz waxed poetic on the business of cheese importation, and on the inspiration behind his multi-event, curds and whey throwdown featuring the finest cheese shops in America! Want to know who'll win the title of Dapper Wrapper? Or who can craft the best Sign of the Times? Listen in and get all the info! And just in case you needed another excuse to attend, after the competition, partygoers will be treated to the musical stylings of two of the best monger/djs in the biz, Carlos Souffront and Jayski Love. This ain't your average cheeseball party...

'Till next week, send your dad some cheese, and be merry!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Cheese Is Good For You!

One of my favorite things about my job is nailing a cheese recommendation. A customer will sally up to the counter and ask for advice, saying they want this, that, or the other thing for a party or lunchtime nosh. As a seasoned monger, I begin my mental detective work, trying to match adjectives with the myriad of cheese flavors in the case. I scrutinize, pass over, pick and choose until I think I've got the right one. Then I'll slice off a wedge and pass it over the counter to see if it passes gustatory muster with the taste buds on the other side. The most satisfying moment of mongerdom is watching that slow, unyielding grin spread across the customer's face if I do in fact nail it, and share in their little cheese 'Eureka!' moment.

Those smiles speak volumes. I mean, how many foods are able to evoke that kind of reaction in us? I'm the first one to profess my love of brussels sprouts, but I would doubt very highly that I break out into a veg-eating grin upon popping one in my mouth. We always knew that cheese is good for you, but this week, we're ready to dig in and tell you why. For anyone who's been looking for a reason to induldge and eat a slice of rich, savory cheese, read on!

Cheese has sustained people across the globe for millennia in a dizzying array of climates, geographies, and cultural food traditions. In talking to Max McCalman, author of 'Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a MaƮtre Fromager' yesterday on Cutting the Curd he got into the nitty gritty of why cheese, one of our most primordial foods, is a friend and not a foe on the nutritional (and even the psychological!) front.

Did you know that cheese contains lots of beneficial vitamins and minerals as well as 'good' fats and cholesterol? Cheese is chock full of calcium and protein, and contains high levels of both A and B vitamins. In his book, Max points out that if you were to consume a 3.5 oz piece of cheese (a pretty hearty little hunk!) you'd be getting twice the protein and about one quarter the cholesterol found in two eggs. The fats found in cheese that make it so satiating and delicious actually work in our favor, allowing our bodies to absorb all those vitamins and helping to metabolize fats from other foods as well. In other words, a little piece of cheese gives you a lot of nutritional bang for your buck, and will certainly keep that hungry, rumbling tummy feeling at bay for much longer than most snacks.

As for the psychological effects, Max asserts that the amino acid tyrosine, which is found in cheese is absorbed into our bloodstreams to the benefit of our brains. When we eat cheese, we also ingest and break down casein, the most prolific protein in cheese. Part of the casein is converted to casomorphin (yes, in the same family as morphine) to produce a 'feel good' effect that probably contributes to that indulgent 'oh, let's just chill out on the couch for a bit and slice off a few more chunks' phenomenon.

As the old saying goes... 'Everything in moderation... including moderation.' But seriously, a modest chunk of real, farmstead cheese is a tasty, and very nutritious element to add to your daily repertoire. If you eat just a little bit of the good stuff, it'll leave you satisfied, happy, and healthy. As for the casomorphin, maybe we're on to something... I can see the headline now: Doctors Prescribe Cheese For Just About Everything!

If after reading this you feel like you might be in need of some cheese therapy, come on over to Louis 649 tomorrow evening, Tuesday June 8th, from 7:00 to 8:30 and enjoy a selection of five of Saxelby Cheesemongers' finest seasonal cheeses and a selection of delicious wines!

Cheese and Wine at Louis 649
Tuesday, June 8th 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Louis 649
649 E. 9th St. (between Ave B & C)

RSVP by clicking here or calling 212-673-1190

Till next week, eat cheese, and be merry!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ricotta Rundown!

Now that summer is officially here, we can't think of a better cheese to have in your fridge than ricotta! Light, fluffy, sweet, milky, dense, creamy, whatever style you prefer, Saxelby Cheesemongers has some ricotta with your name on it. Ricotta is the perfect summer cheese, practically a meal in itself, and versatile as a chameleon when it comes to sweet and savory preparations. Check out what we've got stocked in our fridge over at the Essex Market, and be sure to come by for a taste (or two... or three!) We've also included some culinary inspirations from our own kitchen as well as those that you've shared with us to get the old imagination churning.

Salvatore Brooklyn Ricotta (plain or smokey!)
pasteurized cows' milk. Brooklyn, NY

Like I even need to write about this. Salvatore Brooklyn has so many impassioned fans, we're hard pressed (no cheesy pun intended) to keep it in stock. The plain ricotta is thick, dense, and spreadable with a zesty, lemony zip that cuts through all that butterfatty goodness of Hudson Valley Fresh milk. The smokey (if you haven't tried it, shame on you!) is just like a toasted marshmallow. Something about this sweet, roasty-toasty cheese brings up nostalgia like no other. There is a rich, hearty, caramelized quality to this cheese that'll leave your heart 'round the campfire singing kumbaya.

What do I do with it?

Bathe in it. Just kidding! (though we have been tempted to do so...)
Salvatore Brooklyn is the ideal crostini topper. Schmear on top of toasted bread, then drizzle with a savory combination of olive oil and sea salt, fresh herbs, or any kind of veggies from fresh asparagus to roasted red peppers. Drop a dollop of the smokey on top of pasta for a mouth-watering treat, or use it to stuff dates sprinkled with a few crystals of sea salt for an amazing and unexpected dessert! OR, for a breakfast that would make Elvis roll over in his grave, use it to stuff french toast.

Alleva Ricotta
pasteurized cows' milk. Schenectady, NY

The oldest cheese shop in America should know a thing or two about delicious whole milk ricotta! Bob Alleva and his forebears have been supplying the city with amazing Italian dairy for over 100 years, and their ricotta is the epitome of light, sweet, milky curds. Made the old fashioned way, in big tin cans with holes punched on the sides to allow some of the whey to drain out as the cheese makes its journey down to Manhattan. This classic can find a way onto your table be it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

What do I do with it?

You know the old saying 'Don't mess with perfection?' We'll have to check with Wikipedia, but it may or may not have been written in reference to this ricotta... Alleva's ricotta is the perfect blank canvas, ideal for cooking with or simply eating with a spoon. My favorite preparation for this ricotta is this: top with fresh fruit or your favorite preserves, e basta cosi! It also makes a mean lasagna, should you need a bit more sustenance!

Vermont Shepherd Ricotta Lana
pasteurized sheeps' milk. Putney, VT

Named after little Lana, cheese maker David Major's youngest daughter, who just couldn't get enough of this cheese as a baby! Sheeps' milk ricotta is closer to a true Italian ricotta, which is made from whey left over from cheese making, and has a more dry and springy texture. The milk of the flock at Vermont Shepherd is so dense and rich that the ricotta made from it is toothsome and sumptuous, ready for just about anything you gastronomes can throw its way!

What do I do with it?

Eat it plain. Trust us. It's that good. Or, drizzle with honey and a touch of sea salt, and put out a big ol' bowl for breakfast or dessert! Use it to make gnudi, those delightful little gnocchi crafted from dense ricotta cheese, or plop a dollop atop a salad of just about anything the Greenmarket has on offer. For something more exotic, try roasted beets, orange slices, toasted pistachios and a lovin' spoonful of Ricotta Lana!

And, if you want to know more about Salvatore Ricotta, tune in to the most recent episode of Cutting the Curd, where I interview cheese makers Betsy and Rachel Devine about their Italian adventures in curds and whey!

'Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!