Monday, August 23, 2010

Cheese-a-Topia and Then Some!

If cheese makers lived in Hollywood, this week would be the American cheese equivalent of Oscar week. Come Thursday, thousands of people will descend upon the fair city of Seattle for 'Cheese-a-Topia,' this year's American Cheese Society Conference! Held in a different city each year, the ACS conference is a chance for cheese makers, cheese sellers, and cheese lovers of all walks of life to get together, chew some curds, and make some cheesy mischief! To learn more about this year's festivities, tune in to Episode 33 of 'Cutting the Curd', where I interview Sasha Davies and Kurt Dammeier, the cheesy forces of nature behind ACS in Seattle.

The grand finale of the annual conference comes in the form of a cheese competiton, where thousands (literally, thousands) of cheeses vie for the coveted title of 'Best in Show'. This week at Saxelby's, we're paying our respects to some delicious past winners! Come in to the shop this week for a single, double, or triple dip of ACS winners and get 15% off!

Wabash Cannonball | ACS Best of Show 1995
Capriole Dairy (pasteurized goats' milk, IN)
Diminutive spheres of fresh goat curd dusted with vegetable ash and aged to wrinkly-rinded perfection. Toss these cannonballs onto the battlefield of the dinner table and watch the sparks fly! The bright, creamy, lemony interior is the perfect foil for summer fare or a dairy-delicious dessert. Tomatoes and greens, or honey and fruit can all cozy up to these light and vivacious bombs of goat goodness!

Pleasant Ridge Reserve | ACS Best of Show 2001 and 2005
Uplands Cheese Company (raw cows' milk, WI)
It's no wonder a cheesehead's cheese would be the only two time winner of the 'Best in Show' honors at the ACS! Pleasant Ridge is a superb specimen of fromage, modeled after the famed mountain cheeses of France and Switzerland. Our wheels have been aged close to one year, and taste of grass, earth, cherries, and caramel. A perennial favorite of, well, just about everybody!

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar | ACS Best of Show 2006
Cabot Creamery & the Cellars at Jasper Hill (pasteurized cows' milk, VT)
This ain't your garden variety Cabot cheddar! Made from the milk of a single herd, these 35 pound behemoths are shipped up to the Cellars at Jasper Hill at just three days of age, where they are bandaged, larded, and put out to age in the cellars. A team of brawny Vermont dudes turns hundreds of these cheeses each and every day, ensuring that the cheeses mature to rustic, nutty, butterscotchy perfection.


In other cheesy news, did you hear about our Day A-Whey to Washington County? There are a precious few spots left, so if you haven't called to make your reservation, don't delay!

A Day A-Whey to Washington County!
Saturday, September 11th to Sunday September 12th
Tour Five Cheese Farms, Harvest Festival & Dinner, and Overnight Stay at the Rice Mansion Inn

consider bardwell silo

After a summer hiatus, Saxelby Cheesemongers is ready to hit the road again and take you on a dairy-licious journey to Washington County for their annual cheese tour! This Day A-Whey really packs a wallop; we'll visit 5 farms in 2 days, hit up a Harvest festival and dinner, stay at a gorgeous historic Inn, and whisk you back to the city by Sunday evening. Sit back, relax, and let us do the driving. All you have to bring is your love of cheese!

Saturday Itinerary: Arrival at Rice Mansion Inn, followed by catered picnic lunch. Farm tours at Argyle Cheese Farmer, Homestead Artisans, and Sweet Spring Farm. Local 'Farm to Fork' dinner at the Salem Harvest Festival. Overnight stay at the Rice Mansion Inn in Cambridge, NY

Sunday Itinerary: Farm tours and cheese tastings at Three Corner Field Farm and Consider Bardwell Farm. Picnic lunch at Consider Bardwell Farm.

Single Rate $300
Double Rate $250
Groups of 3-4 $225

To make a reservation, call Saxelby Cheesemongers at 212-228-8204. Reservations for this Day A-Whey are extremely limited, so reserve early! Ticket price includes transportation, hotel room, all meals, entrance to the Harvest Festival and dinner, and farm tours.


And last but not least.. This week on Cutting the Curd: The State of Cheese in Virginia! I chatted with Helen Feete of Meadow Creek Dairy about old-time music, flat foot dancing, and stinky cheese in Grayson County. Tune in and dork out!

'Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Day A-Whey to Washington County, LES Cheese Crawl, and the 'State of Cheese' in Georgia

This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers

This week at Saxelby Cheesemongers is bustling! Who says there's nothing doing in NYC in August? We've packed our dairy docket to the gills with cheesy happenings, so read on and see what strikes your fancy. Book your spot on an overnight Day A-Whey farm trip, meet one of Jasper Hill Farm's most talented cheese makers, or tune in to our latest 'State of Cheese' episode of Cutting the Curd! There's a whole lot of shaking going on...
A Day A-Whey: Washington County Cheese Tour
5 Farm Tours, Harvest Festival & Dinner
Saturday, September 11th to Sunday, September 12th
VERY limited availability, so call and reserve today!

consider bardwell siloAfter a couple months' hiatus, Saxelby Cheesemongers is ready to hit the road again and take you on a dairy-licious journey to Washington County for their annual cheese tour! This Day A-Whey really packs a punch; we'll visit 5 farms in 2 days, hit up a Harvest festival and dinner, stay at a gorgeous historic Inn, and whisk you back to the city by Sunday evening. Sit back, relax, and let us do the driving. All you have to bring is your love of cheese!

Our Day A-Whey begins early Saturday morning. We'll depart from the Essex Market at 8:00 am and head up to the historic Rice Mansion Inn in Cambridge, New York. Guests will drop their things at the hotel, munch some picnic-style lunch, and then head up the road to three of the county's finest farms. We'll visit the Argyle Cheese Farmer, Homestead Artisans at Longview Farm, and Sweet Spring Farm, makers of distinctive and delicious cow and goats' milk cheeses. Each stop includes a farm tour and cheese tasting, so be sure to bring your appetite!

Saturday evening, we'll head to the annual Harvest Festival in Salem for some local green-marketing, dinner, music, and hoopla. The festival features a slew of locally grown foods, homemade delicacies, as well as arts and crafts. At 6:00 pm we'll sit down to Salem's 'Farm to Fork' dinner featuring a range of culinary delights from local farms including Three Corner Field Farm, Sheldon Farm, and Locust Grove Farm. Dinner, music, and dancing (not mandatory!) to the tunes of local musicians will last till 9:00 pm. After the festivities we'll retire to the Rice Mansion Inn for a good night's snooze.

Sunday morning, we'll eat a breakfast fit for a farmer and hit the road early to tour Three Corner Field Farm, a sheep dairy producing a delectable array of fresh and aged cheeses. Cheese maker Karen Weinberg has arranged a special tour of her cheese cave for our group so we can see how her cheeses are matured to perfection! We'll then head across the border to Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont. After touring the farm, we'll be treated to a hearty lunch at the farm cafe. They'll be serving up lots of goodies, from homemade goat chili to their famous 'Pawletties', toasted cheese sandwiches made with Pawlet cheese! We'll be back to the city by 7:00 pm, happy, sated, and with a cooler full of farmstead cheese!

*To make a reservation, call Saxelby Cheesemongers at 212-228-8204. Reservations for this Day A-Whey are extremely limited, so reserve early! Ticket price includes transportation, hotel room, all meals, entrance to the Harvest Festival and dinner, and farm tours.

Single Rate: $300 per person
Double Rate: $250 per person
Groups of 3-4: $225 per person


Make way for the cheese maker! This weekend, Veronica Pedraza, creamery manager at Jasper Hill Farm (and Saxelby alum!) will be coming to town for a myriad of cheesy events. Ever been on a pub crawl? This might be the Lower East Side's first ever cheese crawl... Come on down and put some curds and whey in your weekend, why don'tcha?

Cellars at Jasper Hill Cheese Tasting at Saxelby Cheesemongers
Saturday, August 21st 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Saxelby Cheesemongers, Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street
No reservations necessary, just stop on by!

Join cheese maker Veronica Pedraza for a gastronomic glimpse into the world of Vermont cheese! We'll taste through a range of cheeses from the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm, from farmstead favorites like Moses Sleeper and Bayley Hazen Blue, to cheeses matured in the Cellars like Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Ascutney Mountain from Cobb Hill Farm, and Hartwell from Ploughgate Creamery. We dare you to miss this Vermont-stravaganza!

Cellars at Jasper Hill Cheese & Beer Pairing at Against the Grain
Saturday, August 21st 6:00 to 10:00 pm
620 East 6th Street (between B & C)
For reservations ($30) call 212-420-0002

against the grain tasting

The dairy don't stop as our cheese crawl progresses to Against the Grain, one of the finest craft beer bars this side of the East River. Cheese and beer aficionados Veronica Pedraza and Caitlin Robin are teaming up to concoct four delicious cheese and beer pairings. Beer dork alert! Featured at this tasting will be a never-before-seen in NY keg from Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro Vermont's first craft brewer! Sean Hill, brewer extraodinaire learned his trade in Belgium, and makes some of the finest beers this monger has ever tasted. Be the first to try Greensboro beer and cheese side by side!


And last but not least, for the audio portion of your weekly email, don't forget to tune in to Cutting the Curd! This Sunday was the next installment in our ongiong 'State of Cheese' series. I talked with Jessica Little of Sweet Grass Dairy about milking goats, going back to the family farm, health inspectors, and the state of cheese in Georgia!

'Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!

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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Ploughman's Lunch for Me ...

The ploughman's lunch. 'Tis a little known phenomenon here in the US, but back across the pond in England, this simple but hearty meal is alive and well in pubs and taverns of all shapes and sizes. A traditional ploughman's lunch is nothing more and nothing less than a nice wedge (or two!) of cheese (usually Stilton or Cheddar) an equally fortifying hunk of hearty bread, some 'pickle' (the Brits' charming word for chutney or relish) some minimally invasive fruit or veg, and, of course, a pint.

Upon doing a bit of research about the history of the ploughman's lunch (I was picturing field hands, paused under a tree after a morning of threshing, planting, or plowing, unpacking their wares and chowing down) I discovered that the meal most likely was created by the English Country Cheese Council in the 1960's as a way to try and cajole their countrymen into eating more cheese. Which pretty much popped the bucolic bubble floating around in my imagination. However, no matter what the provenance of the phrase, the meal is a stroke of genius. And, I would wager, a much safer bet gastronomically than some of those other pies and pub concoctions.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a little pub in Oxford tucking into a sturdy ploughman's lunch, and commenced feeling a bit evangelical about it. Though Saxelby Cheesemongers is no pub, upon my return to the States we quickly got to work on our own version of the ploughman's lunch in sandwich form. Saxelby Cheesemongers ploughman's sandwich features Shelburne Farm's two-year cheddar on a Sullivan Street ciabatta, liberally slathered with Sweet Deliverance spicy green tomato chutney. It's a cheese & chutney match made in heaven if we do say so ourselves!

Come on by the shop this week and snarf a hearty ploughman's sandwich! Sadly, we have to serve it minus the pint. But if you're jonesing for the true pub experience, you could always pack it up and hoof it on over to d.b.a on 1st Avenue for a little backyard cheese and beer picnic!

'Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Showdown on the LES, Heaven on the Hudson, and Cheese on the Radio

It may be August, but don't despair! Celebrate the apex of summer with Saxelby Cheesemongers on an excursion to one of New York's hidden natural treasures, and a cheese showdown in a top secret LES location. Plus, listen in to Cutting the Curd to get the skinny on the 'State of Cheese' in California. Read on cheese lovers... there's lots of dairy-filled intrigue headed your way this week.

Saxelby Cheesemongers at Wave Hill Center's Sunset Wednesdays
Wednesday, August 4th 6:30-8:30 pm
For directions and futher information visit

Who knew one of the country's botanical treasures was just a hop, skip, and a train ride away from Manhattan? Wave Hill was built in the 1840's, and welcomed illustrious Americans from Theodore Roosevelt to Mark Twain over its 100 year run as a private household. Now a non-profit dedicated to preserving the beautiful grounds and gardens overlooking the Hudson River, Wave Hill holds a weekly Wednesday evening soiree featuring locally procured goods. This Wednesday eve, we'll be teaming up with Shmaltz Brewery, makers of He'Brew and Coney Island Lager, for a night of noshing on delicious cheese and sipping on cool, refreshing beer. Heaven on the Hudson? Quite possibly!

Cheese Showdown Rematch!
Saxelby & September Wines vs. Formaggio Essex & Slope Cellars
Monday, August 9th 8:00 pm
For reservations ($60) email

The last match went in favor of Formaggio... now it's time for Saxelby Cheesemongers to fight back and prove that the American cheeses can go toe to toe with whatever the continent can throw our way! Join us for six (that's right six!) rounds of hard-hitting deliciousness as Saxelby Cheesemongers and Formaggio Essex duke it out on the dinner table. Each team will pair three different cheeses with three wines to see who's got the moves to make the matches float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. The showdown will be held at a top secret LES location, to be disclosed when you purchase your ticket. Don't miss this epic rematch!

This week on Cutting the Curd, we began our 'State of Cheese' series to see what's doing in the world of dairy across the old US of A. For the next weeks and months, we'll be interviewing cheese experts throughout the country to compile a compendium of American cheese info for our listeners. First up was Peg Smith, founder of Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods, to talk about the state of cheese in the Golden State of California. Stay tuned as we ramble across the country, spinning yarns and talking curds and whey!

'Till next week, eat cheese and be merry!