Blogs

Meet the Curd Nerd - Jim Wallace

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Jim Wallace teaches the advanced cheesemaking workshops offered by New England Cheesemaking Supply. We spoke with him recently about his love of cheese and cheese making.

CN: Tell us a little bit about your background.
JW: It has been a long road traveling in many directions (sometimes simultaneous .. sound familiar?). I began in pre-med but wound up teaching environmental biology which led to 25+ years of photographing and selling fine print photographs from wild places (www.loganandwallace.com) .. during this time I became fascinated by the traditional aspect of beer and brewing the old ways and began visiting brewers in the UK and Belgium and we all know what they eat with their beer.

Dairy Products and Phlegm

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Yesterday I went for the first time ever to an acupuncturist. I highly recommend going to one if you ever want to feel what it's like to be a just-pressed blue cheese. One of the ailments I wanted him to address was chronic sinus infections. The first question he asked when I mentioned that was, "Do you eat a lot of dairy?" How does a curd nerd who writes a cheese blog answer a question like that? Honestly, it turns out...

The return of the forums!

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I have been a member of the Artisan Cheesemakers Yahoo Group for a while now, and I just received the following email in my inbox:

From today, January 1, 2007, Artisan_Cheesemakers list will be on permanent hiatus. Messages will no longer be posted, and new members will not be added, but the Archives will remain open for the moment, while I figure out if there's any way (or reason) to save them.

This decision is final. Please don't write me. All good things come to an end, and its always best to move on when they do. Best wishes to those who followed me through this adventure. Good luck to all with your cheesemaking,
Julia Farmer
Listowner

I've always felt that this was one of more informative, active mailing lists out there, and it's a shame that it's gone. In response, though, we are bringing back the discussion forums to Curdnerds.com. These bulletin boards were up (in a somewhat different form) when we first launched the site, but we took them down due to lack of interest. However, now that the Artisan Cheesemakers list is gone, we thought maybe there would be a place for forums like this. Obviously forums are different than a mailing list, but our hunch is that most people prefer checking discussions online rather than getting a slew of emails in their inbox every day.

So, please go check out the forums, post a topic or two, and definitely let us know if you have any problems, questions or suggestions!

CheddarVision

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West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers, an association of small British cheddar producers whose ranks include some of the best in the world, has announced one of the greatest website ideas ever. Beginning January 1, 2007, visitors to Cheddarvision.tv will be treated to a live webcam of an actively aging West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. Since these cheeses are aged for one year, the cheese will be ready to eat on January 1, 2008!

Now I know what you're going to say: watching a cheese age is quite a soporific endeavor. In fact, the West Country Cheesemakers acknowledge this very notion in their press release: "Some might say this is the most boring website of 2007, but our cheese is worth waiting for so it’s better than watching paint dry...just.”

New Cabot OU Kosher Cheese

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Cabot Cheese, legendary Vermont cheese makers, have announced a new line of OU-certified Kosher cheeses, just in time for Chanukkah. Previously, Cabot's cheeses were certified kosher by the Tablet K agency, one which many observant Jews believe to offer an inadequate seal. OU, by contrast, is accepted on a much wider scale, and so this offering from Cabot should delight many kosher consumers. See the

A Cheese Plate for the Yuletide Season

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A selection of cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont
A colleague asked me recently to help him design a cheese plate for his company's holiday party, based on the wines he had already picked out. I suggested the following:

Sparkling:

  • NV Roederer Estate Sparkling Wine, Brut/ Anderson
    Valley

This would be fantastic with a lush triple-crème like Brillat-Savarin or Pierre Robert. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it! It will also be a hit at the party, people simply love triple-crèmes (just don't let them get a cholesterol test afterwards).

Think Outside the Bug

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This post isn't about cheese specifically, but does cover important issues facing the dairy industry. Please forgive a slightly off-topic rant for an increasingly urgent message.

News broke on Sunday that 11 people, the youngest being a one year-old infant, had caught the E. coli bug from eating at Taco Bell restaurants in three different counties in New Jersey. Today, reports are revising that number to as many as 50 cases, spread over three states.

Les From' Girls sont de retour

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Just about a year ago, we mentioned a calendar being released by Fromages de Terroirs, a French non-profit devoted to regional cheese, that would feature every month a different scantily-clad woman posing with an equally scantily-clad block of cheese. Well, the 2007 edition has been released, with some fresh, umm, faces in the mix.

From the press release:

Misses Estelle Livarot, Adeline Camembert, Adèle Pont l’Évêque, Bérénice Brie de Meaux, Barbara Munster, Apolline du Crottin de Chavignol, Emma de la Tomme de Savoie, Éléonore de Mont d’Or, Eva Morbier are joined by three new young faces making their first appearance in the 2007 calendar: Clara Chaource, Solène de Selles-sur-Cher and Elsa de la Fourme d’Ambert.

The calendar is available for purchase now on the the Fromages de Terroirs website. The cost is 15€ and all profits will go to help promote awareness of the organization.

Crème Fraîche: Heavy Cream Redux


Recycling.

This is something that we, as people trapped in a culture that is treading water creatively speaking, are all too familiar with.

The coolest cars on the road look like heavily Photoshopped versions of cars from decades ago when people had style. The best movie I saw this year was a dark re-tread of a cheesy cop-drama I loved as a pre-pubescent kid. My current favorite bands all sound like the distilled essence of bands from the last 30 I already loved. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the End of the American Century.

As depressing as recycling can be when used as a metaphor for the death of western civilization as a viable narrative it can be really fucking useful around the house when you need to do something with left over supplies from a truly Roman-vomitorium-style feed.

The Hervé Way

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Maybe it's the bright colors, or the lofty ceilings, or perhaps it's the baroque selection of fantastic cheeses. Whatever it is, there's something about the Murray's store on Bleecker Street that evokes for me all the excitement and grandeur of the opera. And like any good opera house, Murray's even has a President's Box, ensconced in a small loft in the rear of the store. I refer of course to the cozy, low-ceilinged room where Murray's holds their Cheese Course Classes, seminars on all things cheese from basic tasting techniques, to beverage pairings, to explorations of geography and terroir. Where else would one want to be to savor some poignant arias sung by the world's greatest cheeses?

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