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SEPTEMBER, 2010

 



Chèvre à Cerisier

I've written about Banon Chèvre before, but here's an unusual variation. Chèvre à Cerisier. It's a similar goat cheese, but rather than being wrapped in chestnut leaves,  it's wrapped in cherry leaves.


This comes from Madame Hisada, an affineur originally from Tokyo. She now lives in Paris where she runs one of her four stores. Cherry leaves are traditionally used in Japanese deserts, but not cheese. Indeed, cheese is not all that common in the traditional Japanese diet.

So how is the cheese? Excellent, and it really does taste of cherry!

If you get a chance, do visit her store and check out the futuristic cheese cooler. Press a button and voilà, the top rises to expose your selection. The Jetsons never had it this good.




posted by KRASK  September 23, 2010 16:59  Monday Cheese  comments (0)



MAY, 2010

 Jac'Kriek



Jac'Kriek

The latest Monday cheese comes from artisan affineur Jacquy Cange. So what's an affineur do? They take soft, young cheese and ripen them over time. They don't make the cheese, they finish it. Often times they'll wash the rind in different ways, changing and improving the taste. This ripening process is perhaps the most crucial step in making good cheese.

What makes Jac'Kriek special is that it is washed in Cantillon Kriek Lambic beer, a specialty of Brussels. The beer itself is very sour and dry, with a distinct cherry taste. While the beer isn't for everyone, it works brilliantly with the cheese. You can definitely taste the flavors in it.

The cheese is very pungent, with a moist and sticky rind. As I cut the cheese in half my fellow turophile proclaimed, "it even sounds stinky". Once you get past the aroma, and perhaps removing a bit of the rind, you'll find a delicious tasting cheese.

Unfortunately Jac'Kriek was a one-off, made for a cheese tasting held at the Cantillon Brewery. Not to fear though, as Jacquy Cange has several other beer and wine washed cheeses as well as cheese with mushrooms, herbs, and fruit. Check them out at his site at http://www.jacquycange.be/.



posted by KRASK  May 10, 2010 14:01  Monday Cheese  comments (2)



JANUARY, 2010

 Suau de Clua



Catala CheesemongerWelcome back to the Monday Cheese series. Honestly, with my posting history it should probably be called the Monthly Cheese series.

On a trip to Barcelona I visited La Seu Formatgeria, a cheesemonger specializing in Spanish farmhouse cheese. I was hoping to find Cabrales, a blue cheese famed for its spiciness. They didn't have any, so I bought several other varieties instead.

The next day I ran across a small outdoor market where a farmer was selling a goat cheese from Formatge del Montsec called Suau de Clua. He had two types, a young and an aged. Having already bought a fair amount of cheese and limited luggage space, I opted for for just one young cheese. Usually I like to speak with the cheesemonger and learn a bit about them and their cheese. Unfortunately, my knowledge of Spanish and the Catala language is limited to just a few phrases, so the conversation was rather short.

I brought the cheese back home where it sat in the fridge for several days. I really didn't expect much. After all, I had purchased several other cheeses at La Seu Formatgeria and I really wanted to try them first.

The cheese has a fascinating history. High in the hills of the La Serra del Montsec mountain range lies the tiny village of Clua de Meià. After being abandoned for many years, it was re-inhabited by a small group of people in the 1970's. There they became self sufficient, living off the land and away from the big cities. In America they would be called hippies. Over time, buildings were renovated, a good water supply was installed, and electricity and telephone services were added.

After some trial and error with raising livestock, rabbits, chickens, and pigs, it was the goat that could survive the rugged terrain of the mountains. With the goat's milk they made cheese, and a delicious one at that. It's off white, creamy, and fairly mild. If I had realized how delicious this cheese was, I would have bought more of it as well as the aged version, leaving the other cheeses in Barcelona. Yes, it's that good.

Precious little information is available on the th
e net, and none of it in English. I found this video (http://www.tv3.cat/videos/236508607) which has an interview with the very same person selling the cheese at the market. If anyone knows Catala, please contact me. I'd love to learn what he says!



posted by KRASK  January 28, 2010 13:01  Monday Cheese  comments (2)



FEBRUARY, 2009

 



Banon ChèvreBanon Chèvre cheese has been made for a long time. Dating back to ancient Rome, it is said that emperor Antoninus Pius died in 161BC from eating too much of it. He must have really liked the cheese.

Besides its ability to kill, what makes this cheese so special? It's basically an unpasteurized goat's milk cheese from the Provence region of France. What's distinct about it is the method by which it's matured. The soft curd is molded into a ladle, then wrapped in green chestnut leaves that have been soaked in eau de vie, a clear fruit brandy. The 100 gram cheese are then tied with raffia.

When young, the cheese is supposed to be chalky and taste sour. It's best to buy it after it has aged some, which you can tell by the color of the leaves. Dark green or brown is best. The cheese we tried was from Fromagerie de Banon and was very soft and creamy with a slight nutty taste. It was very tasty, but I doubt one could eat enough to be fatal. It would make a pretty good last meal though.



posted by KRASK  February 23, 2009 16:26  Monday Cheese  comments (1)



JANUARY, 2009

 Grevenbroecker



Grevenbroecker

Belgium may not be well known for its cheese, but they have a vast, rich history in l'art de la fabrication du fromage. They produce over 300 different varieties, as many as the French. But why don't they have the same notoriety? Most of the cheeses are made by small family farms and not exported outside the country. But how small is small?

My latest discovery is a cheese that comes from Catharinadal Kaasmakerij, a 100 cow dairy farm in the province of Limburg, in the north part of Belgium. There, brothers Bert and Peter along with other family members manage a 20 hectare grass and clover pasture and cheese making facilities. They make, sell, and distribute all their products from this farm.

As with all of Catharinadal's cheeses, Grevenbroecker (Achelse Blue) is made of unpasteurized cow's milk. It's a deliciously soft and buttery cheese with a slightly sharp blue taste. What makes this blue different is that the cheese isn't pierced to allow the mold (Penicillium Roqueforti) to enter. Rather, the mold is introduced to the individual curds, then pressed together. This is what gives the cheese its distinct marble-like appearance. Though the marbling isn't so apparent in this photo, Grevenbroecker is one of the most beautiful looking cheeses I've seen.

Catharinadal is open for tours and best of all, cheese making workshops! This is something I'll hopefully be writing about soon.


posted by KRASK  January 19, 2009 7:56  Monday Cheese  comments (0)




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