Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 905 : My newest cheese crush

I recently discovered a fabulous new cheese from Pholia Farm in Oregon. Their farm had been on my radar for a while as I knew not only were they a sustainable operation, completely powered by hydro-electric and solar systems but that they were also one of a few goat dairies that raises Nigerian Dwarf goats.

Covered Bridge, named after the local Wimer Covered Bridge which perished in 2005 and was rebuilt in 2008, is a firm raw goat's milk cheese aged for approximately three months.

What makes it crushable and crave-able?

Wild River's Nut Brown Ale is added to the curd during the process of production so that this becomes a washed curd cheese not a washed rind cheese. Moist yet dense, bright, milky, tangy, and grassy yet rustic, nutty, earthy, it is a true delight on the palate.

Image courtesy of

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 904 : Fall's Bounty

The other day a good friend and I were talking about what vegetables we have to look forward to come Fall after the bounty of summer produce dwindles and my mind went immediately to my absolute favorite Fall vegetable -- brussel sprouts! So tonight I thought why not roast some fresh brussels, perfect with a glass of Cotes du Rhone on this grey dreary Friday.

What goes into this simple preparation?

Brussel Sprouts - 1 cup, halved
1/2 Shallot
Sea Salt
Crushed Red Pepper
Grated Scharfe Maxx - This Alpine style aged firm Swiss cow's milk cheese is washed with an herbal brine solution creating an awesomely nutty herbaceous rustic and tangy cheese. Perfectly warming and robust with your brussel sprouts.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next up chop up a half of a shallot and brussels. Combine herbs, EVOO and brussels into a baking dish. Place in the oven for eight to ten minutes, or just until the brussels get to be golden brown. Pull out and grate a nice generous amount of Scharfe Maxx cheese over the top. Place back in the oven for another five to six minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.


Have a lovely Friday evening

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 903 : Sixpoint Collabeeration

Although you all have had the opportunity to read some of the in-depth postings I've done thus far focusing on Sixpoint Brews - I wanted to draw your attention today to my contribution to Sixpoint's Open Mic series - a creative and forum for beer, food, fun, and other fabulous things...

If you're looking for a beer and cheese pairing overview of the Sixpoint core brews, this is exactly where to turn and feel free to apply the concepts to other beers if you don't have access to the world of Sixpoint.

Here's to beer and cheese being the most fabulous of fermented friends!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 902 : Break Fast Cheeses

In honor of Yom Kippur and the Day of Atonement in the Jewish religion, I thought I would share with you my dear Fromagical readers the cheeses I chose for the break fast event I'm attending. This year I decided to go with three of my favorite and very approachable American artisanal cheeses representing New York, Vermont and California.

From New York, I went with Nettle Meadow's Kunik.. This triple cream is a unique combination of 75% goat's milk and 25% cow's milk cream. Kunik's blend of the classic bright, grassy, chalky notes of a goat's milk cheese and the round, buttery, milky unctuous decadence of a cow's milk cheese is just perfection. Perfection with a glass of bubbles, this is a great way to celebrate a round, decadent, and unique new year.

From Vermont, I went with Consider Bardwell's Pawlet. Inspired by an Italian toma style cheese, this aged raw Jersey cow's milk cheese is a delight. Creamy and bright yet rustic and earthy -- this is one delectable yet approachable and dynamic cheese. It will bring a smile to your face. Great with a medium bodied red wine or even a beer, this a great way to ring a new year of happiness!

And lastly from California, Point Reyes Blue. An aged raw cow's milk blue that is spicy, salty, and piquant yet grassy, bright, milky and round. Enjoy this with something sweet to ring in a new year full of sweet and spice and everything nice. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 901 : Great right now

Are you looking for a cheese that is just absolutely excellent right now? Well then head to Murray's and ask for the Testun di Capra!

Testun di Capra is a washed rind goat's milk cheese hailing from Piedmonte. A large format cheese that is aged for anywhere between four months and two years, it is absolutely perfect with a glass of Channing Daughters Rosso Fresco. The 2008 Rosso Fresco is composed of 58% merlot, 28% Syrah, 10% Petit Verdot and 4% Dornfelder grapes. Tangy, bright, grassy, citrusy, milky and briny, yet fabulously earthy with a nice farmsteady kick this cheese is perfect with the medium bodied, earthy and slightly spicy yet jammy red fruit notes of this silky smooth North Fork red blend.

A perfect early Fall pairing!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 900 : The perfect thing for Fall!

Happy First day of Fall!

Boy have I got the perfect Fall item for you!

Vermont Creamery has come out with a sea salt and maple cultured butter. Perfect for putting on pancakes, baking muffins with, lathering on toast, you name it, this sweet yet salty and fabulously creamy butter just totally wows! Think of baking an apple pie with that, how wonderful would that be?

A treat of Vermont proportions! It is definitely worth indulging in this new release!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 899 : A break from our Fall into Beer, for a Cider Pairing

Fall is the perfect time for hard cider and living in New York City, there are plenty of options for fabulous local hard ciders -- light and refreshing yet crisp and satisfying. There's something absolutely perfect about a frosty frothy pint of cider as the days get shorter, the leaves start falling off the trees, and the autumnal light glows.

One of my favorite Northeast ciders is Farnum Hill's Farmhouse hailing from Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, New Hampshire, right near my alma mater. Farnum Hill grows a mixture of American, English, an French apples and crafts seven different varieties of ciders, both sparkling and still. Their Farmhouse is reminiscent of classic English and Irish but crisp with less of a lingering sweetness. Pale golden in color with a fabulous bubbly effervescence -- Farmhouse balances a rustic earthy tartness with a round bright clean fruity sweetness. It has a bit tannic biting side to it which allows for a dynamic depth of flavor profile.

Image courtesy of

With our Farmhouse Cider, how about some of Vermont Farmstead's BrickHaus Tilsit? This washed curd cow's milk cheese from my friends in Windsor, Vermont is the perfect pairing partner if you ask me. Smooth, round and buttery with a nice bright sweetness to it with hints of grassy citrus. Enjoy your cider with some nibbles of BrickHaus Tilsit, roasted walnuts and some baugette! The perfect early Fall pairing!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 898 : Fall into Beer Pairing Number 5 : The Crisp and Oldwick Shepherd

What if you were to imagine a backstory for your favorite beer just like the way you create stories about strangers on the street? Who would that beer be and what sort of life would it have? Who would its best cheese friend be and where would you want it to live? 

So let’s let our imagination run wild for Sixpoint’s The Crisp – their German Pilsner style lager.

Let me introduce myself -- I’m incredibly smooth, light and flirty with nice herbal, earthy, grassy, and floral notes. I’ve got a bready malty side that goes hand in hand with my orange citrus nuances and a slight bitterness. I’m Crisp like my name, an easy drinking lager with a refreshing bent, perfect on a steamy summer day at the beach. My alcohol content is pretty low – clocking in at 5.4% ABV.

Who is my best cheese friend? 

Hailing from Valley Shepherd Creamery in New Jersey is Oldwick Shepherd -- a firm cave aged sheep’s milk cheese inspired by the Basque great, Ossau-Iraty. Oldwick stands alone though! Nutty and buttery yet slightly sweet, grassy and earthy, this is a bright sheep’s milk snacking cheese infused with our local Northeast terroir. Great with the crisp, refreshing qualities of our beer – they find their counterpart in each other. The earthy and grassy notes of both the beer and the cheese play off of one another and function in perfect harmony, just what you want in a best friend! The buttery, round, nuttiness of the cheese allows for the delicate nuances of the beer to be on display and not be overwhelmed as other cheese partners might. 

Now that you know my best friend, you probably want to know why Oldwick Shepherd is my best friend and what other friends I might have?

When pairing with a pilsner you want to have a bright, slightly sweet, grassy, and round cheese that does not overwhelm the delicate nuances and flavor bouquet of the beer. Pilsners tend to have a light, crisp, refreshing yet faintly bitter finish which when paired with a cheese like Oldwick Shepherd will shine.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 897 : Fall into Beer Pairing Number 4 : Sweet Action and Moonlight Chaource

Happy New Year to all of my Jewish readers out there! Here's to a wonderful year full of good times and good laughs, success and happiness, and everything you hope for. Today we will be continuing with our Fall for Beer series featuring another Sixpoint Brew -- Sweet Action.

Sweet Action is Sixpoint’s most popular brew and is the most fabulous mash-up of cream ale, wheat beer, hefeweizen, and pale ale notes. On certain days you might taste more cream ale flavors, other days more wheat forward notes or maybe the sweet floral nuances of a hefeweizen or the finish of a satisfying slug of pale ale. The best part about Sweet Action is that it is always different – the mark of tried and true homebrew. Sweet malty vanilla notes meet their match with the orange-y, floral, citrus hoppiness and overall crisp, refreshing finish in a somewhat light to medium bodied beer.

So what to pair with it?

Think light to medium bodied cheeses with a bright milky roundness. Bloomy rinded cheeses that are creamy and decadent with the most fabulous coat your mouth sort of flavor are a nice counterpart to Sweet Action. I strongly recommend The Amazing Real Live's Moonlight Chaource. Modeled on the classic Loire Valley goat, St Maure, this bloomy rinded aged goat’s milk log is chalky, tangy, grassy, citrusy and fabulously milky. The tangy goaty-ness of the cheese will find its perfect counterpart in the creamy sweetness of the beer -- a perfect bright pairing!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 896 : Fall into Beer Pairing Number 3 - Bengali Tiger & Ewe's Blue or Grafton

There’s something fantastically mysterious and uniquely dynamic about IPA’s – they are infused with the romantic notions and nuances of far off lands. Developed in the 18th century in Britain solely for export to India due to the supposed sustained beer quality and even improvement in flavor profile from the trans-oceanic journey.  Without getting too wrapped up in the story of the British Empire, the East Indies Trading Company and a world of tall ships and colonies, let me just say that in the 18th century when refrigeration was not available, the only manner in which to maintain the taste and quality of a beer was from increased alcohol content and a higher concentration of hops. Hence why the flavor profile in IPAs is big, bold, bitter and beautiful.

Bengali Tiger, Sixpoint’s IPA style ale is such a beer – full of floral hoppiness, hints of caramel maltiness, with a nice citrusy yet sweet bite. Sure there’s that classic spiced bitterness with a nice earthy, pine-y rustic finish as well. A beautiful autumnal orange in color with a nice thick creamy head and a wonderful lacing on the sides of your glass. Light yet flavorful with an excellent hoppy dynamism – this is a beer that allows your mind to wander to far off worlds of magic carpet rides and fantasies. Majestic and striking, like its namesake.

Quite the story and style of beer for a cheese to measure up here! But what I think is most fun about pairing with IPAs is the fact that it is the perfect example of big flavors necessitating big flavors – no opposites attracting here. If one chooses a dainty, young, fresh cheese to go with an IPA, it simply will be lost in the bold brassiness of the beer. Think spicy blue cheeses or sharp aged cheeses or spice infused cheeses or even stinky washed rind fellows that will be nice and salty with a round rich piquance that will be able to tango with your IPA’s flavor profile.

My favorite local blue cheese that I think works wonders with Bengali Tiger is Old Chatham Shepherding Company’s Ewe’s Blue. Crafted in the Hudson Valley, this sheep’s milk blue is made in the traditional Roquefort style. It is big, bold, rustic, earthy, and spicy with a nice moist creamy roundness and a lovely bright citrusy sweet finish. The piquant notes in the cheese will complement the floral hoppiness of the beer and the creamy roundness of the blue will find its counterpart in the caramel malty notes and brassy bitterness of the brew. The earthy and rustic notes of each will create the most wonderful balance of big and in your face flavors, just what you are looking for in an IPA and cheese pairing.

Not in the mood for a blue, why not try Grafton Village 3 year aged cheddar with your Bengali Tiger? Hailing from the great cheesemaking of Vermont, this raw cow’s milk cheddar is bold with a dynamic flavor profile and that classically fabulous cheddar bite. The creaminess of the cheese will find its complement in the crisp bitterness of the beer and the honest round milkiness will find its counterpart in the earthy, rustic floral hoppiness in the most wonderful of manners.

Bengali Tiger and other IPA’s are an excellent cheese pairing partner because there is such a versatility in terms of pairing options. So here’s to the big and bold flavors of the Bengali Tiger!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 895 : Fall into Beer Pairing # 2 : Righteous Rye & Hot Pepper WindsorDale

Here's to our second pairing from our Fall into Beer Tasting - just the perfect combination of fermented fellows that awakens your senses!

Our beer today is Sixpoint's Righteous Rye hailing from Red Hook, Brooklyn. Spicy to the core, the Righteous Ale is a rye pale ale clocking in at 6.40% ABV. Grassy, rustic and earthy yet spicy, peppery, and warming, this deep copper hued beer is perfection for a late Fall day. Medium to full bodied, it warms you from the inside out.

So what to pair with it?

Think spice! My favorite pairing partner is Vermont Farmstead’s Hot Pepper Windsordale. This honest and milky raw cow’s milk cheese is infused with the most fantastic blend of jalapenos and chilis giving it a nice awakening kick of aromatic piquant notes. Spice goes with spice in this pairing designed to delight and stimulate your senses! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 894 : Fall for Beer - TeaHive and Rogue Chocolate Stout

As part of a more comprehensive tasting earlier this week kicking off Fromagical's Fall for Beer - we tasted through a series of different beer and cheese pairings -- the best of fermented friends! Over the course of the next few days - we will look at each pairing in depth.

Going kind of backwards here, I wanted to start with the Rogue's Chocolate Stout and Beehive Cheese's TeaHive. Definitely an out of the box sort of pairing that I think worked wonders!

Rogue Chocolate Stout hails from Newport, Oregon and the creative team behind Rogue Ales. An American Stout clocking in at 6.0% ABV, this is one deep, dark, brooding and fantastic beer. Almost as black as night in color with a petite tan head and slight lacing. It is absolutely all rich chocolate on the nose, with slight hints of malty notes and gentle wafts of hops. And what of the taste? Roasty toasty barley, malty moments are present with an overarching milk and dark chocolate taste with hints of cocoa powder and a nice slightly bitter finish which cuts through the round chocolate notes. Overall -- this is one smooth, delish, dynamic, and delightful chocolate stout.

And what of its spectacular pairing partner?

TeaHive hails from Beehive Cheese in Uintah, Utah. Beehive Cheese was started by two brothers in law who decided to trade in their suits, offices and conference rooms for pastures, milking parlors, and aging cellars. Boy was that the right decision if you ask me, Beehive Cheese makes some of the most unique American artisanal cheeses. TeaHive is one of their newer releases and is an aged raw cow's milk cheese that has been hand rubbed with black tea leaves and bergamot oil infusing the most fabulous bouquet of flavor nuances into this round and creamy cheese. Aromatic, herbaceous, relaxing, and comforting with hints of orange blossoms and an earthy sweet smokiness just delights on the palate.

When enjoyed together the chocolaty notes of the beer will find their counterpart in the rustic black tea orange blossom notes of the cheese. The faint bitterness of the beer will function in perfect harmony with the buttery round creaminess of the cheese. Both the beer and the cheese are big and bold and aromatic in the most fabulous sorts of ways and enjoying them together will coax out their unique flavor nuances to create an interesting and unique pairing just in the way that each is so unusual.

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