Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 802 : Edible Manhattan's Good Dairy at Openhouse Gallery

Good Dairy at Openhouse Gallery was an event I was super looking forward to and one that I publicized on the blog because the idea of promoting local cheeses, milks, butters, ice creams, spirits, wines, and beers is right up Fromagical's alley. A celebration of all things local!

Walking in to Openhouse Gallery a little after 6pm, I was pleased to see that there was a nice crowd of people -- not overcrowded yet -- a mixture of industry people, NYC foodies, randoms, and more.

What was nice was that at the majority of the tables they had prepared little tasting plates so that you could really taste through their offerings. This was not the case across the board but at many places it was.

The first table I saw was VBC -- Vermont Butter and Cheese -- who are one of my favorite Vermont based creameries. They had their award winning line of Cremont, Bijou, Bonne Bouche, Coupole, Chevre and their cultured butter on display with tasting plates set up of each. I'm somewhat partial to their cheeses with Coupole probably being my favorite.

Next to VBC was Saxelby Cheesemongers' table with a huge heaping mound of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. Saxelby as many of you know is a big proponent of American artisanal cheeses and although I love Cabot Clothbound, I think it would have been nice to have a selection of their favorite springtime cheeses but I guess they went with a tried and true standby which for a crowded tasting was probably the ideal way to go.

Following Saxelby was Brooklyn Gin with a summery riff on a carbonated Collins cocktail, light on the botanicals, full on the flavor, and with plenty of sparkle.

On the other side of the first space was Nancy's Cultured Dairy and Soy with by far the best cottage cheese I have had in a very long time. There were samples of the Greek yogurt as well which did not wow in the way the cottage cheese did.

Next to them was New Jersey's own Valley Shepherd creamery with a tasting plate of sheep's milk yogurt, a crostini of sheep's milk ricotta topped with honey and lastly a morsel of Melter Skelter, an aged raw Jersey cow's milk snacking cheese. I adore Valley Shepherd's line of aged sheep and cow's milk cheeses and would have liked to see more of those however the young fresh cheeses are quite seasonal.

Moving down the stairs to the main room there was Wolffer wines and Kelso beer along with an Organic Valley yogurt stand complete with granola and chopped fruits. Next to the Organic Valley stand was a Whole Foods table featuring their four cheese bread topped with chive butter -- springy and seasonal.
I did find it unusual that Whole Foods was present at a tasting of this nature as you don't tend to see them at smaller local tastings but they are big supporters of local products so I reckon it makes sense.

Also in this room was the Vanderbilt, a Brooklyn based restaurant that was serving Chocolate Pudding Pops topped with sea salt -- all decadence and richness here! There was also A Chocolate Room table serving Fresh Mint Chip Ice Cream from Rockhedge Herb Farms with 72% Belgian Chocolate chunks.

Also in the main room was Stinky Brooklyn with a display of English Farmhouse cheeses and a grilled cheese that unfortunately underwhelmed. However they were the only table to do a grilled cheese which was a nice refreshing change from the other room temperature tastes. Their cheese selection was fantastic.

Next to Stinky Brooklyn was Murray's Cheese - impossible to do a local cheese event without them there! What did they have on display? Salva Cremasco, Caromont Farm's Bloomsbury and Blanc Bleu Tambour -- all from their line of cave aged cheeses sliced and on display to taste. They also had a Currant Custard and  Cherry Tree tonic from White Cow Dairy. A great selection of firm, barnyardy cheeses with a bright citrusy springtime punch.

Moving into the last room with by far my favorite morsel of the evening served by Lucy's Whey which was a baguette crostini topped with Keeley's Cheese Company's washed rind stinker, Across the Pond and two little morsels of pickle. Simple yet elegant, flavorful yet refined, bold and wonderful.

Also in the back room was Momofuko Milk Bar's Cornflake Chocolate chip cookies and cereal milk. Disclaimer - I am not a big milk fan but wow Momofuko's milk tasted exactly like the remnants of cereal -- spot on job guys! Warming and comforting and a definite throwback to simpler days.

Moving on to Orwasher's Bakery and then Five Acre Farms with a selection of their locally produced milks and hand churned butter. Last stop in the back room was Hudson Whiskey's milk punch.

Overall an awesome event showcasing local dairy, wine, beer, spirits and more. A great way for people to become familiar with farmers and cheesemakers! Here's to many more fun local tastings to come!

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