Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brief Tangent on Yogurt

It may not be cheese, but it's close, since it too is curdled milk. (Well, not quite curdled, but close.) I picked this up in Athens, Ohio, where I was visiting friends, for my long car ride home. I already knew about this dairy company, but I hadn't seen the ginger yogurt before. It was great. It wasn't too sweet, which is something I don't like in yogurt, and it had lots of little pieces of ginger down at the bottom. (I ate it while driving, so I didn't manage to stir it up very thoroughly, so I ended with lots of ginger towards the end.) It is made by the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, which also makes some very nice cheeses that I'll be posting about sooner or later. I'm hoping to make a field trip to their farm sometime this summer.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Vermont Brie from Blythedale Farm, Vermont

I bought this cheese a while back, but then worried that maybe it wasn't quite ready to eat, so I saved it for my trip to Athens, Ohio. I finally arrived here on Thursday night, after about 11 hours on the road, so by then the cheese, which had been safely wrapped up in a towel at the bottom of my lunch bag, was definitely good to go. I had pretty low blood sugar by then, so I didn't think as clearly as I might have before taking it from its very nice container, so I don't have a picture of in its unwrapped state - oh well. It was nice and runny once unwrapped, and very creamy and tasty, with just a bit of tangy bite. It has a very tender and thin rind, which I appreciate, as much as I'm happy to eat rind. It is from the Blythedale Farm in Vermont. Real French Brie cannot be had in the States, given that it is made with raw (i.e., unpastuerized) milk and aged less than 60 days, which means that the FDA, in their ultimate uptightness, will not let it pass our borders. But this is very good, although it is made with pastuerized milk, and it is far superior to any of the factory made cheeses called "brie" that you can buy at your local grocery store. I bought this at the Hannaford's grocery store in New Hartford, NY.

Great Old Cheese Sign in Bolivar, Ohio

I stopped to get something to eat and stretch my legs on my way to Athens, Ohio to visit friends when I spotted this sign in Bolivar, Ohio (about 49 miles north of Cambridge): I can only imagine what kind of cheese this company made. There are a lot of Amish in central Ohio, so this may have been some sort of centralized cheese factory? I googled it, to no avail. Great old sign, though!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Cheddarvision Link

I do not now remember how I found out about this link to a wheel of cheddar in England aging in real time, but here it is. The time lapse version on youtube, which you can link to from the link I've just provided, is also worth watching. You get to see the cheese get 'ironed', which is when a small sample of the cheese is removed with a pipe-like tool to see how it is coming along. Worth the visit!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Nice Enough Little Goat Bocconcini from Italy

I found this little cheese at the Wegman's in Ithaca, on the same day that I bought the Mimolette that I posted about before. And when I say little, I mean it - the whole thing sat quite easily in the palm of my hand. (My limited knowledge of the Italian language makes me think that it translates to "little something".) To be perfectly honest, its diminutiveness and charming packaging was definitively part of its appeal to me! It is made of goat's milk in Italy. It had a tender and thin rind (the outer layer of a cheese), with a paste similar to that of an unripe brie or camembert. The flavor was gently goaty, and subtle enough to make me not sure that it was ripe when I ate it. Perhaps I should have found it a cool spot in my basement and let it sit for a few days. (All of this is somewhat inconsistent with Wikipedia's article on bocconcini. So perhaps what I bought is not really traditional???)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My favorite cheese - Mimolette

So, for a couple of months now I've been working on learning cheese. I've read a couple of books (more on that in later posts), but more importantly I've started buying and eating good cheese and paying close attention to how it really tastes, and what I like. Now I'm starting a blog as a way, more than anything else, to keep track of these experiences. The idea, more or less, is to become a cheese "snob". (Is it bad to be a snob? Not necessarily, I don't think.) For this first post I'm going to talk about what is pretty quickly becoming my favorite cheese, Mimolette: I really like this cheese. When I go somewhere like Wegman's, the only grocery store remotely near me where I can buy top end cheeses, to buy cheeses new to me, I end up getting a little piece of this too. It is very firm, being a pressed and aged cheese, with a slightly sweet, deep, nutty, and richly flavored paste. ('Paste' is the cheese term for the inner of a cheese, the part you actually eat, to be distinguished from the 'rind' which you can eat, though most people don't.) It is made from pasteurized cow's milk and comes in a largish round ball, from which your local cheese purveyor will cut a wedge. It is French. The piece you see here is the third piece I've bought and eaten. The first piece was from Wegman's in Syracuse, the second was from a little shop near Notting Hill in London, and the third was from Wegman's in Ithaca(that's the one you see here, bought yesterday). The first and third pieces were a very deep orange, but the second was paler and not nearly as tasty. So I am assuming that it gets darker and richer with age, like so many good cheeses. If you want to know a little more about Mimolette, go here.