NY Times Book Review: The Atlas of American Cheese

Marian Burros has an article in the Food Section of today's New York Times about Jeffrey Roberts' new book The Atlas of American Cheese. In her words, "Mr. Roberts, himself a walking encyclopedia of American cheeses, may have set out to provide restaurateurs, shops and cheese lovers with an indispensable reference, but in the process he created an exciting new kind of travel guide. His book is a perfect companion volume to books about winery visits, especially for California, Oregon and Washington." Definitely a book every Curd Nerd should own!

Whole Foods Bowery's Fromagerie

Last Friday I finally got a chance to check out the new fromagerie Whole Foods has built in their latest New York City store, located on Houston and Bowery. This ambitious project features a climate-controlled display room as well as proprietary selections from noted French affineur Hervé Mons. But a cripplingly flawed execution largely overshadows their innovative approach and unique selection of cheeses.

Cheese of the Week: Dancing Ewe Farm Ricotta

Dancing Ewe Farm Ricotta, Drizzled With Honey

Granville, NY is a tiny country town nestled in the valley between the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and dotted with historic Victorian homes and rolling, rustic farmlands. It is the home of Dancing Ewe Farm, who make some of the best fresh cow's milk ricotta anywhere. Yes, that's right, cow's milk. Though the name of the farm proclaims otherwise, and though ricotta is sometimes made with sheep's milk, this stuff is pure bovine.

The soft, fluffy curds are shipped fresh in the basket in which they were drained, with an indication on the label as to when the batch was produced. The label on the one I tried on one recent Thursday indicated that it was made two days prior, on Tuesday. Now that is fresh ricotta, my friends. Because of this, the only place you can find this cheese is at Murray's retail counters (it is too difficult to ship). But lest that prevent you from procuring some, let me remind you: this ricotta cheese is some of the best you will ever taste. Curdy, milky, it would be a perfect addition to many pasta dishes, and with some honey drizzled on it (as pictured above), it makes an incredible dessert.

Available for $12.99/lb at Murray's Cheese, retail locations

Ricotta Salata

It's been an ugly week people. Mass murder at home and abroad. Racism. Swarms of bad ideas and without Kurt Vonnegut to make it seem funny somehow.

It's made me get real philosophical about the world and forced me to attempt to come to a separate peace with all of the stupid cruelty that it encompasses. Updated!

We recently upgraded the software that runs, and everything seems to be running smoothly so far there are still some minor kinks to iron out. If you discover any further problems, or you don't like how any of the new stuff works, please contact us!

The Chemistry of Cheese

Check out this post over at the Murray's Cheese blog. It's a nice overview of the different chemical processes that happen during the course of affinage, or aging. If, for instance, you've ever wondered why a ten year Gouda is so different than a young one (and if your idea of quality children's entertainment is Mr. Wizard) then this article is definitely for you.

Whole Foods "Fromagerie"

I wouldn't have guessed it, but Whole Foods is taking New York City by storm. With three stores already firmly established (the lines are insane), three more under development, and one set to open tomorrow on the Bowery in New York's Lower East Side, the Austin, Texas company is poised to have a great impact on the NYC food scene. The Bowery store will be of particular interest to curd nerds everywhere, as it represents the first Whole Foods store to incorporate a full-fledged fromagerie.

Artisanal's New Cheese Blog

The state of the Internet in 2007 is such that nowadays everyone and their cheesemonger has a blog of their own! A little less than a month ago, Artisanal Fromagerie launched "News From The Cheese Caves." So far they're posting pretty regularly, which is nice, and past entries have featured such stories as the World's Largest Fondue, Spanish cheesemaking classes at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, and of course Chef Terrance Brennan's recent nominations for the James Beard Foundation's awards for "Best Chef NYC" and "Outstanding Restaurant" (for Picholine). Congratulations on the nominations, and welcome to the blogosphere!

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Proof positive that there are at least 101 ways to skin a cat. So to speak. This question on Ask Metafilter is a good illustration of that point, as well as a fountain of tasty grilled cheese ideas: "What cheese combination makes the best grilled cheese sandwich?" First of all, it's interesting that the asker wants to know about which combination of cheeses makes the best sandwich. In my opinion if you choose a really good cheese, all you need is one! But more importantly, why are you making me single out the best one?! How does one compare a grilled cheese made with a fantastic aged Comté on rye, with one made with a truffly Taleggio on some rustic Italian bread? Don't make me choose!

Via Serious Eats

Industrialization of AOC Camembert - Passing Fad or Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Associated Press is running a story about a French Camembert producer that wants to switch from using raw milk to using micro-filtered milk. Isigny-Sainte-Mere, one of France's largest producers of AOC Camembert, is asking the National Institute for Origin and Quality to change the rules that govern the cheese.

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