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.
If winter is Gruyère season, and early summer is Camembert season, then this month is certainly award-show season. Every year it seems March is burdened with yet another Sunday night extravaganza. But beyond all the glitz and glamour, we all still have to eat. So, following in the footsteps of the SAG awards, and the NAACP Image Awards, oh and of course that other famous awards show, Time Out New York has opened up voting for the 2007 Eat Out Awards, celebrating the food & beverage scene in this great city.
So why am I writing about this on a cheese blog? Because there's a category for Best Cheese Shop, of course!
Fondue is great--it is one of my favorite ways to consume melted cheese (next to pizza maybe). It's also one of those things that's fairly easy to reproduce at home, even though the equipment required is bulky and inflexible. When my wife and I got married, we of course received the obligatory fondue set as a present (thank goodness we only were given one set). And when she asked what the %*$# we should do with it, I answered, "Use it!"
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?
I'm quite sure there are many stinky things in Brooklyn, the Gowanus Canal being perhaps the paradigmatic example. But just a stone's throw away from that cursed body of water, you can find some stinky items that actually make us happy. I'm talking about cheese of course!
Stinky Bklyn opened about six months ago and carries over 125 varieties of cheese, as well as a nice selection of high quality charcuterie, breads, chocolate, preserves, and even produce, all tucked in to a cozy and charming retail space at 261 Smith St. in Carroll Gardens. They even have
Today we present the first installment of what we hope will be an ongoing series of interviews with cheese mongers, cheese makers, cheese bloggers and other curd nerds from around the world. In this inaugural episode of "Meet the Curd Nerd," we talk to Anne Saxelby, who opened her eponymous cheese counter, Saxelby Cheesemongers, in May of this year. Located on New York's Lower East Side in the Essex Street Market, Saxelby Cheese focuses on American artisanal cheeses and other dairy products.
CN: What's your background and how did you come to open up your own store?
AS: Well, I went from being an art student at NYU to a cheesemonger at Murray's. When I graduated from college, I got a job working at Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut, but they didn't need me to start until the following fall. So, for the summer I got a job behind the cheese counter to try and learn more about my favorite food! From there, it kind of snowballed... I loved working at Murray's and
I've always balked at going to those cheese classes offered around town, mainly because of the price. Both Murray's and Artisanal offer classes in New York City, but seats run from $50 to $75 per class. For that much money I could a) buy a lot of cheese for myself, as well as a book that could explain them to me; or b) go to a really nice restaurant and order a cheese course. Could a two hour class on cheese really be worth all that?
Last night I finally got a chance to attend one of these classes, thanks to the generous folks at Artisanal. They invited me and several other bloggers and food journalists to their Cheese & Wine 101 class, taught by Maître Fromager and noted author Max McCalman. Some of the other bloggers in attendance were Danyelle from Restaurant Girl, Joe from Foodie NYC, Jane from The Food Section and Regina Schrambling from Gastropoda.
The evening started out with a tour of the cheese caves at the Artisanal Cheese Center, which opened in
I recently heard about an interesting site for multimedia-loving Curd Nerds. It's called TurnHere.com, and it features short films about unique places throughout the world, including the best places to shop, hang-out, and especially eat! Here are some links to films that feature must-see destinations for Curd Nerds like us:
I also found a nice little film about the neighborhood in Brooklyn where I live.