Historic rainstorms sacked the Pacific Northwest last week, with devastating effects on dairies both large and small. Many were affected, but the Black Sheep Creamery in Adna, Washington, was hit particularly hard. According to the storm damage round-up over at the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, they lost all but 23 of their sheep and their house and barn were flooded with 30 inches of water. In the coming days, the PNW Cheese Project will be posting about fundraising efforts that that are being launched to help those impacted by the storms. We will keep you posted here as well.
UPDATE: Pacific NW Cheese Project has posted a list of fundraising options and events.
UPDATE: Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Seattle has set up a benefit account for Black Sheep Creamery. Details after the jump.
If you are as skeptical as I was before I attended this great class at Artisanal the other day), all I can say is, "Don't knock it till you've tried it." In the end I came away with a new revelation: cheese pairs better with sake than with red wine. It has no tannins to get in the way, and even dry sakes have enough sweetness to balance with the savoriness of cheese. Many sakes also have lush aromatics (I was tasting fennel, apple, banana, rice milk) which, when paired with the right cheeses, can really make for a match made in heaven.
The class featured five different sakes as well as two shochus (a distilled liquor made from rice, japanese sweet potato, barley, brown sugar or buckwheat). According to Artisanal's Max McCalman, who ran the class with sake expert Michael John Simkin and importer George Kao, this was the first time (as far as he knew) that cheeses had ever been officially paired with shochu. More on that later.
Every year at this time Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim organizes the Menu for Hope campaign, a charity event where food bloggers everywhere help to raise money for the UN World Food Programme. Last year's effort raised a whopping $60,925.12 for the charity, which is dedicated to feeding the world's hungry.
Food bloggers from around the world are offering prizes to be granted via an online raffle. Each $10 donation gives you one virtual raffle ticket, to be allocated towards any prize of your choosing (and there are many). For our part, Curdnerds.com has teamed up with Artisanal Premium Cheese to offer one lucky raffle winner a $100 gift certificate toward purchases at ArtisanalCheese.com. To enter right away for this incredible prize, go to the FirstGiving donation site The prize code is UE20). For more details, keep reading...
$100 Gift Certificate for Artisanal Premium Cheese
What sets Artisanal Premium Cheese apart is the art of affinage -- an ancient practice by which passionate cheese professionals complete the cheese maker's labor of love, patiently nurturing each cheese to optimal ripeness and peak flavor. Founded by Chef Terrance Brennan, who revolutionized cheese appreciation in the United States at his New York City restaurants Picholine and Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro, Artisanal Premium Cheese makes the world's finest cheeses available nationwide as never before. The gift certificate may be used online at ArtisanalCheese.com towards the purchase of any of their products, including cheeses, cheese gift baskets, and cheese accessories. Residents of and visitors to the New York area can even use it to purchase tickets to cheese classes and tastings. Once again, to enter go to the FirstGiving donation site and use prize code UE20
Ed Janus, radio Journalist and Wisconsin resident for over 35 years, has created a wonderful site filled with audio conversations and slideshows that profile a group of dairy farmers and cheesemakers from America's Dairyland. Some of the best and most influential American cheesemakers are profiled, such as Sam and Sid Cook of the award winning Carr Valley Cheese, Mike Gingrich, maker of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and the Crave Brothers, whose Farmstead Fresh Mozzarella is absolutely heavenly.
Via Cheese Underground.
Wedginald, the British Farmstead Cheddar whose year-long aging process has been mercilessly broadcast 24/7 on Cheddarvision.tv, is being auctioned off for charity on Ebay. As of today, Wedginald has been maturing for almost 11 months, and according to the Cheddarvision website will be ready to eat "before Christmas." The current high bid is £520, which comes to almost $1100 with the U.S. dollar as weak as it is. Expensive, yes, but can you really put a price on history? All proceeds will be donated to BBC Children in Need.