Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 830 : New Cheese Discovery - Bossa

Location : Weston, Missouri. Green Dirt Farm to be specific.

Located in the Missouri River Valley, Green Dirt Farm is a big believer in community based farming practices providing the community with an opportunity to know where their cheeses and yogurts come from -- decreasing the distance your food has to travel between production and consumption. Green Dirt Farm strictly produces products with sheep's milk -- four aged cheeses, yogurt, fresh cheeses, and lamb.

My new cheese discovery is their Bossa cheese -- one of the only sheep's milk washed rind cheeses crafted in the US. Aged for approximately two months, this little briny roundelle has the classic washed rind orange-y hued exterior and a bright white ivory interior. Stinky, pungent, meaty, grassy and barnyardy yet creamy and alive, this cheese is definitely not for the faint of heart but boy is it amazing! Enjoy it with a nice Hefeweisen, I guarantee it will be a flavorful delight!

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 829 : My favorite warm weather salad

Summer certainly came upon us fast and furious here in NYC - the heat and humidity are hitting us with full force and in honor of that I thought I would suggest one of my favorite fabulously bright summer salads to enjoy to help break through the weather!

Simple to prepare and delish, I guarantee it is perfect for days like today!

What goes into it?

Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Grilled Peaches
Pine Nuts
Sea Salt
Crushed red pepper
A few basil leaves

The most time consuming part of assembling the salad is your grilled peaches which are pretty simple -- slice the peaches toss with some EVOO and chives and place on a stovetop grill for a few minutes to get a nice char on either side. While you're cooking your peaches toss together some arugula, pine nuts, and some chopped basil. Top with one ball of fresh burrata. Once the peaches are done spread them around your burrata and drizzle some EVOO and aged balsamic vinegar over the top, finish it off with some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a dollop of crushed red pepper for a nice spicy kick.

Enjoy with a glass of crisp mineral forward white wine such a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Here's to summer in the city folks.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 828 : A whirlwind of a weekend- a little less cheese and a little more reflection

Gosh this weekend flew by in a flurry of events celebrating two of my closest friends' marriage -- a bridal shower, a bachelorette, a reception and a post reception brunch all in the span of a few short days. Each event was completely distinct and truly was catered to the lives and passions of my two dear friends - a celebration of them. People came from near and far to be together and the outpouring of love and support for these two fabulous people was omnipresent. It surely made me stop and think about how lucky I am to have them in my life and in turn how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family on a daily basis. So on this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you not only to take the time to pay remembrance to those who have fallen while serving our country but also to pay thanks to those who make your life brighter and more special on a daily basis.

So thank you to all my friends and family for your constant love and support and congratulations once again to my friends on their marriage.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a return to things cheese-y and Fromagical's recommendations for what cheeses are best for cookouts and outdoor picnics!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 827: In honor of National Wine Day

Did you know that May 25th was National Wine Day?

What better way to ring in the holiday weekend than with a glass of wine in honor of National Wine Day and some cheese? I cannot think of anything better!

So in honor of the long weekend and National Wine Day - let's propose a Red, White, and Blue TGIF pairing!

Wine : Channing Daughters Rosati di Cabernet Sauvignon - Mudd Vineyard : Hailing from some of Long Island's oldest vines (1975), this medium bodied rose is full of earthy, herbaceous, fruity and floral notes with faint hints of red berries. It definitely packs a punch but doesn't weigh you down -- fanciful and fun, this is the ultimate summer time barbecue wine! In my mind, there is nothing that says summer more than a nice chilled glass of rose wine so this is the perfect choice for your Memorial Day weekend TGIF pairing.

Image courtesy of

Cheese : Rogue River Creamery's Smokey Blue - Following in our smoked footsteps of yesterday, the Smokey Blue was the first blue cheese that was ever smoked. Cold smoked for sixteen hours over Pacific Northwest hazelnut shells, this blue cheese is piquant and spicy yet round and creamy with caramelly, hazelnutty, earthy, rustic, and smokey notes. There's something about this marriage of flavors that just screams summertime to me. The jammy, fruity, floral characteristics of the wine will find their counterpart in the nutty, smokey notes of the cheese. An excellently summery TGIF pairing if you ask me!

 Image courtesy of

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 826 : On the Road Again

It's that time of year again or well the calendar says it is despite the weather in New York disagreeing -- the beginning of summertime! Memorial Day weekend for me marks the beginning of summertime -- lazy sunny afternoons spent by the pool with a book, barbecues and cookouts galore, beach campfires at sunset, road trips, and plenty of time spent outdoors. It's time to rediscover your youth, let your inhibitions go and have fun!

What best way to ring in the season than with some Rivers Edge Up in Smoke Chèvre? This Oregonian is all about summertime fun! Young roundelles of pasteurized goat's milk are twice smoked to impart the perfect mixture of bright, citrusy, chalky, tangy, goaty goodness and that smoky, rustic, woodsy, campfire goodness.

You might be wondering how is it twice smoked? Before the cheese is wrapped in the local maple leaves, the leaves themselves are smoked and then once wrapped, the cheese and maple leaves are smoked again to impart this fabulous flavor profile.

What to drink with it?

I recommend a bright and light white wine!

So go out and get yourself a roundelle at Murray's and a bottle of white wine and let's get this summer started my friends!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 825 : On my doorstep...

I came home this evening to find a package of Vermont cheese-y goodness courtesy of Vermont Creamery in celebration of springtime! Three fresh logs of goat's milk cheese - one plain chevre, one pepper chevre, and one herb chevre accompanied with dried apricots and Castleton Rutland Rye Crackers.

What a treat! And a perfect way to brighten this grey muggy day!

Why fresh chevre right now?

Because these fresh logs of creamy, milky, lactic, citrusy, chalky goodness are the perfect ode to springtime! I personally love to enjoy them either with a nice glass of bubbles, perhaps a Prosecco or Blanc de Blancs even a glass of crisp, mineral forward white wine would be nice.

Either way the clean bright flavors of this young goat's milk cheese are destined to bring a smile to your face.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 824 : Breaking Cheese News - 320 million dollars of cheese destroyed!


Sunday there was an earthquake that occured in Northern Italy in the region where Grana Padano and Parmesan are crafted and aged. The 6.0 earthquake damaged warehouses, cave aging cellars and more! The earthquake caused the 90 pound wheels of cheese to topple and roll away...

Check out some pics here:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 823 : Cheeses of France Pop-Up Coverage

Friday evening I had the pleasure of attending the Cheeses of France press preview pop-up -- a great opportunity to check out the exciting all day long pop-up that was open to the public yesterday at 159 Bleecker. 

Why have a Cheeses of France pop-up you might inquire?

To introduce one to the fantastic Cheeses of France, educate them on how to prepare a variety of dishes utilizing these cheeses and basically to draw attention to the fabulous and fantastic cheeses crafted in France. 

So what did you have the pleasure of experiencing at the pop-up?

You could check out cheese art done by Krai -- a cheese sculptor -- carving designs out of large wheels of Comte and Mimolette - intricate patterns etched into cheesy paste.

Once you finished watching the creations of Krai, why not go catch a cooking demonstration done by Ash Fulk, a former Top Chef contestant and currently Chef de Cuisine at Hill Country -- while we were there we had the pleasure of catching his three cheese mac n' cheese preparation. 

Or otherwise you could sample some fantastic French cheeses - ranging from Mimolette to Comte to Brie to Fromage D'Affinois and more! Apart from just cheese samples, they had a variety of small plates hors d'oeuvres you could try as well which were billed as American classic creations with a French twist.

Overall a fabulous way to introduce the novice to the world of French cheese or reintroduce the avid connoisseur to cheeses they might have forgotten about and don't forget the ability to buy lots of cheeses at wholesale price.

Here's to a successful event for Cheeses of France and many more to come - last I heard they had over 1700 people attend the tasting open to the public!

Day 822: Playing a bit of catch up - Big and Bold Pairing to Knock your socks off...

It's been a packed thirty-six hours and I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and catch up on my Fromagical musings but I am here now.

Friday I thought that it would be lovely to propose a knock your socks off TGIF pairing and even though its Sunday morning, the pairing suggestion here can be applied whenever you feel the desire!

The goal with today's pairing is "Big and bold."

Beer : Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA - Amber-reddish in color, notes of pine-y, floral, sweet hops on the nose. Malty, bread-y and warming at first sip, this medium bodied beer finishes with a nice bright bitterness. A great local IPA for those of you IPA fans out there.

Cheese : Twin Maple Farms' Hudson Red - Raw Jersey Cow's Milk washed rind semi-soft cheese-y goodness slightly aged to perfection. Classic washed rind bright orange hues on the exterior with a nice ivory interior -- creamy and tangy with a toasty, meaty, stinky pungence. The bitterness of the beer will find its counterpart in the creamy tangy-ness of the beer -- showing that big and bold can find its home hand-in-hand with big and bold flavors.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 821 : A Veritably Springy Dip

Didn't today's weather make you want to be outside and soaking up the sun enjoying a glass of rose? I know it surely made me want to! So in honor of the gorgeous weather and it being officially rose drinking season, I thought I'd suggest a bright green dip perfect with some crispy toasted morsels of Ciabatta bread.

Fromagical's Greentime Springtime Dip

1/2 lb of Salvatore Brooklyn Ricotta
4-5 Steamed Asparagus - diced
1/4 - 1/6 fennel bulb - diced
1/2 cup of fresh basil
1 garlic clove
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
1/3 cup of Parmesan
1/3 cup of roasted salted almonds (to thicken your dip)
Drop of Lemon

Once your asparagus is cooked and all of the veggies are chopped - toss everything in the food processor and melange till all of the ingredients have melded together into an aromatic, flavorful, vegetal and delish dip perfect for a day like this!

Enjoy the sunshine my friends!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 820 : My new local cheese crush

Painted Goat Farm - of Everything Bagel cheese fame from the New Amsterdam Market a few weeks back has reappeared on my radar. Why you might be wondering?

Because of their fantastic pasteurized goat's milk bloomy rinded log of chalky, milky, citrusy, bright goodness -- Cinderella. Aged for just eight weeks, this ash ripened chevre is to die for -- the perfect mixture of creamy and tangy all rolled into one. Small production, local and just delish - don't miss out on snagging one of these babies and serving it with a glass of something bubbly and fantastic!

Image courtesy of

Day 819 : A rainy day lunch at Il Buco

Walking into Il Buco on Bond Street out of the pouring rain yesterday, one felt immediately transported to a rustic Italian farmhouse. Opened in 1994 as an "off the beaten track antique store," it was soon transformed into a small plates Italian and Spanish influenced joint. Now in 2012, they have an extensive Italian inspired menu along with offering for sale artisanal olive oils, vinegars, spices, and salts.

So what did we have today for lunch?

We split their Cavolonero salad composed of Tuscan Black Kale, a garlic-anchovy-lemon vinaigrette, filone croutons, and Reggiano. Light, flavorful, rustic and comforting. It was the perfect melange of aromatic, herbaceousness balanced out with a creamy, nutty and tangy finish. 

I then had their crudo of North Carolina Bar Jack coated in poppy seeds with Sorrento lemon oil, shaved radishes, and espellette pepper. A different take on a crudo preparation done excellently -- bursting with brightness and with a dynamic depth of flavor.

Overall a lovely lunch with great company in a lively yet relaxed atmosphere.
Worth the trip back for dinner!

Il Buco
47 Bond Street

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 818 : What to eat right now!

Do you order from FreshDirect here in NYC? 

If so, you should order one of their Jacquin Chevrot rounds right now! On sale from $13.99 to $10.99, the cheese is aged to perfection currently.

A soft ripened goat's milk cheese from the Loire Valley, this pasteurized aged cheese is the perfect springtime cheese! Chalky and milky with a bright citrusy grassy tang, excellent with a glass of Sancerre.

I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Image courtesy of

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 817 : Scaffolding was our friend - Landbrot Bakery

Located on the corner of 7th avenue South and Charles Street under a pretty intense scaffolding setup is an awesome German bakery bar called Landbrot, derived from the German word meaning 'country bread.' Sleek and sexy yet rustic and homey -- this corner bakery has only been open for six weeks and when word of their excellent and affordable Austrian wine selection, German micro-brew focus and their outstanding home baked breads, pretzels and more gets out, I am sure it will be packed. But last night we were easily able to walk in and get a table.

Being an avid lover of Austrian wines I was thrilled to see such a nice selection of whites and reds that I knew and loved, I went with a crisp glass of Gruner. We decided to split their cheese bret which for $12 was one of the best deals in the city for a cheese plate! Unfortunately they were out of one of their cheeses but they most certainly made up for it with the other two -- Black Label Cambozola and Bavarian Rougette. Served with radishes, cornichons, horseradish, and radish and apfel butter along with a basket of homebaked bread, this was more than enough for four of us to share.

Black Label Cambozola is a German creation combining Camembert and Gorgonzola to create a creamy round cheese with light blue notes. The Black Label differs from others because it has grey mold on the rind as well dialing up the punch slightly. Perfect with Landbrot's homemade whole wheat walnut raisin bread and some of the apfel radish butter.

Bavarian Rougette is a washed rind triple cream cow's milk cheese that just melts in your mouth -- semi soft and malleable, this is a spreadable cheese. Rustic and barnyardy with that classic washed rind stink and a round, buttery finish-- it truly has a uniquely dynamic flavor profile. Spread on a piece of homemade white bread with a cornichon or two, an excellent pairing!

Apart from the cheeses, what else did we have?

We decided since they were known for their pretzels, we had to try their cheese brezeln -- a homemade pretzel baked with gouda cheese -- just the right amount of salty, creamy, carby greatness here.

Then we split an open faced smoked salmon sandwich topped with garden radishes, green apple, fresh dill and horseradish spread on German Rye. Aromatic, herbaceous and flavorful -- light yet decadent and delish! Others at the table had their black forest ham, smoked Gouda, pear, and German mustard sandwich on ciabatta bread that they enjoyed.

What a find! True to its German roots, Landbrot is definitely a welcome addition to the West Village dining scene. I look forward to returning very soon and checking out their other location on the LES.


West Village location - 137 7th Avenue South, NYC 10014
LES location - 185 Orchard Street, NYC 10002

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 816 : Event Alert - Cheeses of France Pop-up NEXT Saturday

Do you adore Epoisses? Have a special place in your heart for Roquefort? Can't live without your daily fix of Morbier? If you are a French cheese lover then you need to not miss the Cheeses of France pop up next Saturday May 19th happening at 159 Bleecker Street from 11am to 7pm.

What will you find at 159 Bleecker next Saturday you might be wondering?

Plenty of samples of French cheeses and a variety of American classics prepared with French cheeses by Top Chef alum contestant Ash Fulk. I guarantee it will be a great way to spend your afternoon!

Want to learn more about the event and French cheeses in general -- check out their site : 

Image courtesy of

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 815 : Cheese Chat - Peter Mohn of Vermont Farmstead

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter Mohn, the VP of Sales for Vermont Farmstead to get to learn more about him, the cheeses and Vermont Farmstead as a company on the whole. It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with someone who loves his craft and his company so much -- what an inspiration!

Peter has been in the cheese world for over four decades -- starting as a cheesemonger at Darien's Cheese Shop in 1970 then working with ANCO foods, a cheese importer and distributor. In 1988, Peter began working with a small artisanal cheesemaker in Massachusetts who crafted a cheese known as Craigston Camembert. It was here where Peter first really catapulted himself and the creamery to the national stage and it did not stop with Craigston, Peter went on to Grafton Village Cheese Company in 1991. At Grafton, Peter put them on the national map -- helping win multiple awards for their cheddars and spring-boarding them from a small local cheesemaking operation to one that was really on the national map! In 2009, Peter retired from Grafton, thinking that his days would be spent relaxing. Boy was he mistaken!

In 2010 - Peter joined the Vermont Farmstead family and the rest from there my friends is history.

What makes Vermont Farmstead different you might want to know?

Well many things my friends!

They are trying to take farmstead cheese and bring it to the masses -- bringing Vermont to the nooks and crannies of the US.

Within the past year, they have gone from the first community owned creamery with deep-seeded roots in Woodstock, Vermont to an award wining cheesemaking operation on the national radar. How have they done that in under a year you might wonder as it tends to take most creameries years?

Thankfully for Vermont Farmstead they did not have to build their own facilities -- they took over a  water buffalo focused dairy farm that was originally designed by a fellow who adored water buffalo mozzarella and who wanted to craft his own cheese. Vermont Farmstead took over the facilities in 2010 after they had changed hands a few times in the process. Vermont Farmstead was the right choice -- why?

Well they have been able in their young existence been able to bridge the gap between tradition and innovation and in their years moving forward their goal is to take farmstead cheese to the masses! Stay tuned for further in depth blogs on each of their cheeses...Through Fromagical and your support, lets help them reach their goal!

There's plenty more to come from them and I'm excited to be witness and be a part of it!

Here's to their future!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 814 : Breakfast for Dinner for One

Are you one of those people that just adores breakfast for dinner? Then you're like me - there's something so comforting and satisfying about having an omelet or pancakes or waffles or perhaps oatmeal for dinner. So this evening after what has seemed like relentless rain, grey, icky weather I decided to opt for comfort for dinner -- breakfast of course!

What went into tonight's omelet?

Egg whites
English Peas
Coach Farm's Extra Aged Goat's Cheese Grating Cheese Log (Coach Farm's extra aged goat's milk cheese that is grate-able and perfect for that bright citrusy tangy bent in your omelet)

Simple and bright, it is the perfect meal on a grey evening of this sort!

Saute the chopped up asparagus, english peas, broccolini, chives, and scallions with some EVOO, cooking white wine, sel de la guerande, and thyme. Cook over low heat for approximately eight to ten minutes.

Meanwhile crack three egg whites into a bowl with some sel de la guerande, black pepper, thyme, and a drop of crushed red pepper. Whip till the eggs are fluffy. Pour into an already warm skillet over low heat. Once the egg whites go opaque grate some of your aged Coach Farm goat's milk cheese over the top to let it melt into the eggs. Cook for another three to four minutes and then top your eggs with your green veggie melange, cook for another few minutes and top with a little bit more goat's milk cheese and a sprinkling of sel de la guerande, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Place on a plate and enjoy with a glass of Pinot Gris!

Here's to better weather and brighter summery days in the near future!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 813 : Txikifest 2012

Txikifest is the annual celebration for this year's vintage of Txakoli hosted by Txikito, the excellent tapas restaurant in Chelsea. This year's festival promised all the new releases of Txakoli and a wonderful selection of small bites from restaurants citywide with a few institutions traveling from further distances. Each of their bites was to be inspired by Basque street food staples and outdoor markets. A portion of the proceeds of this year's event went to the Department of Neonatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

What's Txakoli (pronounced Chacoli) you might be wondering?

It is a slightly sparkling very dry white wine with low alcohol content produced in the Basque region of Spain. Traditionally served as an aperitif, it is refreshing and bright! The proper way to serve it is to pour it from about a foot or so above the glass so as to give the wine the opportunity to aerate before it makes it into your glass.

The festival yesterday was held in the alley behind Txikito, right behind 9th avenue between 24th and 25th streets. With about twelve different food stations and multiple different bars serving different types of Txakoli it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

So what were the highlights in terms of food?

Pearl Oyster Company had an amazing Scallop Chowder with Pernod and thyme -- luscious and creamy with a nice fishy aromatic herbaceous bent. Perfect with a glass of mineral forward, high acidity Txakoli!

Also pretty fabulous was El Quinto Pino's toasted noodle paella with a shellfish melange and a spicy aioli -- classic street food noodles dressed up and on display specifically for yesterday's event. Great with a fuller bodied Txakoli to balance out the spicy fishiness of the noodles.

The post unusual pairing I found but perhaps the most successful was from the Raleigh, North Carolina based AC restaurant group (Poole's, Beasly's Chicken + Honey, and Chucks) who were serving Dill and thyme infused deviled eggs that were topped with a fried oyster. Decadent, rich, luscious and over the top in just the right sort of way, this was the perfect bite to accompany a glass of our light bubbly Txakoli.

The Hurricane Club had a fabulous shrimp with broken chili sauce and crispy taro small bite that combined the classic flavor profile that become pretty apparent to me was ideal for pairing with Txakoli -- 

1. Aromatic and herbaceous
2. Rich, round, and luscious
3. Fried or sauteed 

The Txakoli will cut right through the fried richness and will find its pairing partner in the aromatic herbaceous-ness of the dishes. So next time I plan to serve Txakoli at home, I will have to make a dish that falls under those flavor profiles! And why not plan a fun Txakoli event -- pretty unknown to most people here, it is a perfect spring and summer drink and you can  !

Overall such a fun way to spend an afternoon, I look forward to next year's Txikifest! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 812 : New Cheese Discovery at the New Amsterdam Market

Today I ventured for the first time this season to the New Amsterdam Market down near the South Street Seaport. The New Amsterdam Market is inspired by the Public Market concept -- a very prevalent institution in the New York of yesteryear geared towards bringing people together over the shared love and necessity for food. New Amsterdam has worked to bring back the tradition of supporting your local small purveyors who source and craft regional produce and make it available for purchase in the confines of the New Amsterdam Market's stalls. It's all about getting to know your butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, vegetable growers and more -- the people that produce the food we eat on a daily basis.

Today's market was teaming with local purveyors selling their produce -- coffee, sweets, cheeses, breads, meats, vegetables, ciders, and more. What did I discover you might be wondering?

The most exciting discovery today was Painted Goat Farm's new cheese -- Everything Bagel infused firm goat's milk cheese. Yes you heard me correctly, this is a young firm goat's milk cheese that has been rubbed in the same spice mixture that coats your traditional everything bagel. You've got the young fresh tang of the goat's milk cheese with the classic flavor profile of the spices that create the everything bagel we all know and love. What a simple but innovative concept! Definitely blew me away!

Overall I know no matter when I go to the New Amsterdam Market, I will find something fabulous, new and local and this time I surely wasn't disappointed. I look forward to my next trip and my next discovery! 

New Amsterdam Market
Located @ the site of the Old Fulton Fish Market (South Street between Beekman & Peck Slip)
11am - 4pm Sundays

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 811 : McCall Wines

Our last and final vineyard stop on our North Fork weekend was McCall wines - a family owned and run winery growing Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes and raising beef cattle. Russ McCall has been in the food and wine business for his entire life starting out in retail and moving to wholesale and then to production and distribution, McCall made their first vintage in 2007 and it has just gone up from there.

What I love about their philosophy and their wines is it isn't about producing a huge range of wines and spreading themselves too thin -- this is about perfecting their craft in terms of their Pinot Noir and Merlot production. It sure does take some gumption to focus in such a directed manner especially with their emphasis on Pinot Noir production on the North Fork, not a challenge many of the North Fork winemakers tackle. So kudos to McCall! And well it sure does help their Pinot Noir is fantastic! Their 2009 Pinot Noir was luscious and velvety with nice dark cherry, red berry, and woodsy notes and a depth of flavor profile that left you with a  lovely finish -- a truly beautiful Pinot. However their 2007 Reserve Pinot totally hit it out of the ballpark, this was wine for a celebration! Elegant and smooth -- this wine balanced its earthy, floral, fruity and rustic notes in perfect harmony, what a treat!

In terms of their Merlot - they currently have a 2008, that's bright and round with dark berry and oak notes. Great for a summertime BBQ, this was an easy drinking approachable wine that would bring a smile to anyone's face. Their 2007 Merlot however is just smashingly fantastic -- plum and dark red fruit notes with a rustic earthy spicy roundness, this is a gorgeous Merlot that can tango with the best French Merlot.

Apart from their Pinot and Merlot, they make one Bordeaux Blend style red that is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Petite Verdot. Named Ben's Blend in honor of their late winery manager this is a smooth and luscious red wine. They also craft an easy drinking beach summertime Pinot Noir Rose.

Overall, McCall Wines produces excellent wines with a warm and inviting barn tasting room. It was a treat for us to be able to sit down and talk to Russ McCall, unusual that one gets to chat with the winery's owner but that is in essence what McCall is about -- personal attention, small production, excelling at that production, keeping local and being proud of their product, whether it is their wines or their cattle.

McCall Wines
22600 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY

Starting tomorrow we will be going back to our normal format - I hope you have enjoyed Fromagical's North Fork focused week.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 810 : Sparkling Pointe

Sparkling Pointe is the North Fork's sparkling centric winery - they strictly focus on bubbles and considering that I am a big bubbles fan, I was excited to visit and get a tour of the fantastic facilities. Their current building opened to the public in 2009 and their first on premise harvest was just two years ago but walking into the space with its austere and elegant grand room, you would not think it had only been open for two years. The space has this exciting buzz about it -- a good energy that's for sure.

After having been to the Champagne region of France last summer it was nice to see the difference in scale, production, and methods of a sparkling centric winery here in the US. Sparkling Pointe's facilities were much more intimate in a small production sort of manner but that certainly didn't compromise the taste profile of their bubbles at all.

Currently they produce six distinct sparkling wines -- their flagship Brut, Topaz Imperial (a light hued rose sparkling wine), Carnaval (slightly sweet sparkling wine), a Blanc de Blancs, a Blanc de Noir, and a Brut Seduction (their more aged premium brut). Each with a very distinct profile, my two favorites were the Brut Seduction and the Blanc de Noir. The Brut Seduction is aged for eight years before disgorgement giving it nice nutty and yeasty notes with a bright crispness and a lovely floral bouquet. A sophisticated sparkling wine with a dynamic flavor profile designed to delight. The Blanc de Noirs, a special for their wine club this month and not necessarily fully available to the general public was outstanding! Thank you to Leo for letting us taste it. 54% Pinot Meunier grapes and 46 % Pinot Noir grapes, this was elegance and refinement in a bottle.

Overall an excellent visit to a unique winery that is doing great things. I look forward to seeing where they go as they grow, develop, and expand.

Sparkling Pointe
39750 County Road 48
Southold NY

Day 809 : North Fork Dairy Farms - Catapano Dairy Farm and Goodale Farms

Catapano Dairy Farm

Located in Peconic, this small family run goat dairy is right smack dab in the middle of wine country and what better place to be? Surrounded by vineyards and farms and restaurants specializing in locavore cuisine, they truly are in their element.

Catapano produces a wide variety of young goat's milk chevres, an excellent young goat gouda, feta, ricotta, yogurt, and a line of goat milk soaps.

Walking on to their property, you were overcome with the sense of love and care that the dairy has about all of their cheeses and their operation which at three full time employees is small but they craft some outstanding goat's milk cheeses. Each of their chevres was imbued with the local terroir -- fresh, tangy, milky, citrusy, and grassy. Ernest and young, these chevres would be perfect with a glass of local Sauvignon Blanc from One Woman Vineyards.

Which was my favorite?

Definitely the Honey Lavender chevre along with the young goat gouda. The chevre was aromatic and flavorful, tangy yet slightly sweet, crisp yet milky and round. The young goat gouda was bright and grassy with a nice lactic tangy finish. The best fresh local chevre I have had in a long time -- a true example of the difference in flavor profile when you as the consumer cut down on the distance traveled between the farm and your plate.

Goodale Farms

Moving westward back slightly towards New York City, located in the town of Aquebogue is Goodale Farms, the only Long Island dairy to sell fresh goat and cow's milk. Apart from fresh milk, Goodale produces a variety of young fresh cheeses as well that are for sale in their farm stand with vegetables, local preserves and more!

I always find it amazing walking into a farm stand where there is no one present besides a sign that says please leave cash in the envelope here for the products you purchase. Maybe it's from living in Manhattan that I am always pleasantly surprised when people instill such a sense of trust in others. It is refreshing! Needless to say there was no present at Goodale Farms.

What did we try?

Well maybe it was because the name was so pop-y but we decided we had to try their "BoCappy," a fresh young goat and cow's milk cheese with a thick ricotta like consistency. Lemony yet milky, approachable yet with a nice refined depth, this is the perfect marriage between a classic young goat's milk cheese and a young cow's milk cheese.

Overall each of the dairy farms was outstanding -- excellent examples of American artisanal cheesemaking deeply rooted in the local community and each stimulating the local agricultural economy as well. Both are worth a visit when you are out on the North Fork.

Catapano Dairy Farm
33705 North Road, Peconic, NY

Goodale Farms 
268 Main Road, Riverhead, NY

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 808 : A bit of a break from our North Fork trip, to break the fabulous news....

Our rumoring has turned out to be true! Murray's will go brick and mortar and has brought in the brilliant force behind Casselulla in Hell's Kitchen, Tia Keenan, to be their Director of Food Service and to be at the helm of the new wine and cheese bar! How exciting is that!?

Definitely the biggest event in the Manhattan cheese world right now! 

Stay tuned as we get closer to opening for more details but get pumped up right now!!

Murray's wine and cheese bar will be opening at 264 Bleecker in the coming months!

Day 807 : North Fork Recap Part Four : Dining : The North Fork Table and Inn / Jedediah Hawkins / Love Lane Kitchen

Moving right along in our North Fork tour and updates, I thought I would combine our three main dining experiences into one blog post with a quick summary of each.

The North Fork Table and Inn was the restaurant that everyone who I mentioned I was going to the North Fork told me I had to go to. One of the best restaurants in the region with a focus on local, sustainable, and seasonal American cuisine, it was calling my name. However for the more casual folk, you could stop into their lunch truck open from 11:30am to 3:30pm Thursday to Monday with "simply good food, from a truck." So stop in we did! I had their local grilled cheese topped with local greens on multi grain bread which was out of this world - simple yet flavorful, warming and comforting -- it hit the spot! Also recommended are their lobster roll which was packed full of fresh lobster meat and delish and their North Fork Berkshire style pulled pork roll. They hit it out of the park with each sandwich! If you are looking for something quick and easy on the go, then there is no better place to stop.

But if you are looking for something a little more gussied up, why not go to the Jedediah Hawkins Inn's subterranean speakeasy for a meal? Sexy and dimly lit, this cavernous like space was an excellent throwback to a different era and to boot, this past weekend was North Fork restaurant week so you could enjoy a three course pre-fixe for $25. Local, artisanal cuisine executed well in a fantastic surroundings. Even if you aren't eating there, it is worth going for a drink in their speakeasy, I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Where to go for breakfast the next morning?
Well Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck of course!

The local neighborhoody kitchen with excellent breakfast and lunch selections -- go for the fabulous omelets and oatmeal or perhaps some lemon ricotta pancakes. Simple straightforward homecooked cuisine in a comfortable and friendly environment.

There are plenty of other North Fork dining destinations to frequent but we were all pretty pleased with the ones we had the opportunity to visit!

North Fork Table and Inn - 57225 Main Road, Southold, NY
Jedediah Hawkins Inn / Luce and Hawkins restaurant - 400 South Jamesport Avenue, Jamesport, NY 
Love Lane Kitchen - 240 Love Lane, Mattituck, NY

Day 806 : In and around Greenport - North Fork Part Three

Continuing eastward, we reached our furthest point on the North Fork, the town of Greenport. Originally we had discussed having dinner there and exploring some of the cute dining options like the Frisky Oyster and North Fork Oyster Company but we decided to make it an afternoon trip so no one had to do too much driving after dinner.

So what were the Greenport highlights you might wonder?

How about Greenport Harbor Brewing Company?

Greenport is the brainchild of two college buddies who followed their dream of starting a small brewery crafting excellent beers. Strictly local, each beer is brewed with love and care and is completely unique. Their tasting room is a casual sunlight room with plenty of friendly knowledgeable staff and an excellent deal for their patrons. For an $8 glass you can taste through the entire selection of beers and these were quite liberal tastes. My favorite of the beers we tried was their Havre Rouge. Havre Rouge is a Belgian Pale Ale with a nice reddish hue -- full of malty notes but dry and slightly bitter, nothing overly sweet here. Perfect with a nice aged sheep's milk cheese.

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Where to next?

How about the new local olive oil and vinegar shop, Vines and Branches? Located at the end of Main Street in Greenport, this little shop had an extensive selection of artisanal olive oils, vinegars, preserves, and more. Any cooks' paradise full of interesting and unique flavor profiles in olive oils, vinegars, and more. I walked out with a bottle of Wild Mushroom and Sage olive oil along with a bottle that was a strawberry basil balsamic and EVOO combination. Definitely worth a visit when you are in Greenport, they are doing great things!

Vines & Branches
477 Main Street
Greenport, NY 11944

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 805 : North Fork Recap Part Two : The Old Field

Next stop was the Old Field, a family owned vineyard also located in Southold boasting the only mother / daughter vineyard / winery team on the North Fork. The vineyard and land have been in the family for close to a century and the current generation working on the land is the fifth generation to do so. Steeped in the region's tradition, there are references to "The Old Field" dating back to Native American farming in the mid 1600s.

2012 is their thirty-eighth year of wine growing and production with a focus on sustainable agricultural practices. They currently produce two whites, both of the Chardonnay variety, a Pinot Noir rose, a Blanc de Noirs, a straight forward Pinot Noir, a Cab Franc and three Merlots.

My favorite of their wines was their Cab Franc which was smooth, luscious, and round with a nice full red berry mouthfeel. A complete surprise for a Cab Franc from the North Fork and a welcome one at that!

What was also completely refreshing about the Old Field was that it truly was a small production, family owned vineyard. There was no fuss  here -- it was all about the love of the land and the wines that they create. No big shiny tasting room, just a small barn set off the beaten track a bit but just the sort of winery I enjoy visiting.

The Old Field
59600 Main Road
Southold, NY 11971

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