Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 954 : Anchor Brewing Company

Location: San Francisco, CA

Anchor Brewing Company – America’s first craft brewery with its roots dating back to the 19th century and the California gold rush -- steeped in San Francisco’s history and West Coast brewing traditions. Steam, inspired by and originating from the 19th century nickname for West Coast beer brewed without ice. Meaning that whilst the beer was fermenting overnight without the help of ice, it was carried to rooftops to remain cool in the foggy nighttime hours. Nowadays, steam is a trademark of Anchor brewing and its place in brewing history is felt throughout all of Anchor’s beers.

So where did Anchor get its start?

In the hands of German brewer, Gottlieb Brekle, who in 1871 bought an old beer and billiards saloon that in the next quarter century would be the birthplace of Anchor Brewing helmed by two other German brewers, Ernst Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel.  Over the course of the early and mid 20th century, Anchor Brewing changed ownership and moved a handful of times, shutting down shop of course for the Prohibition years; and finally in 1971, a century after Brekle founded the company, began bottling its first and namesake beer – Anchor Steam Beer. By 1975, Anchor was brewing its original beer, Anchor Porter, Liberty Ale, Old Foghorn, Barleywine Ale, and its first annual Christmas Ale. 1977 saw the brewery move to its current home on Mariposa Street. Throughout the late 1970s, 80s, and into the early 90s, Anchor Steam grew and developed and it was in 1993, that Anchor was the first brewery to have its own distillery in house. Nowadays in 2012, or well almost 2013, Anchor crafts over ten distinct brews.

Curious as to what they are and what cheeses might go with them? Fromagical has a first hand report of the beers and their flavor profiles to share with you all my dear readers.  

Lets start with Anchor Summer, the first American style wheat beer brewed in modern times, more specifically, 1984. Crisp, hoppy, light, cool, and slightly citrusy. This is an American style Wheat Beer. Perfect with a morsel of Edgwick Farm’s Moodina – firm goat’s milk feta that is bright, citrusy, lactic, chalky and milky. The brightness of the cheese will find its complement in the bright hoppiness of the beer.

Next up, Marks Mild, an amber ale that is full of caramel and chocolatey notes, light in color but heavier in weight and only available on tap, not in the bottles so don’t go looking for this beer in your local corner store. But if you find it, definitely have a pint. Looking for a match in terms of caramelly, nutty flavors for Marks Mild? How about a nice morsel of aged Parmesan? This classic Italian cheese’s caramelly, nutty, butterscotch notes will be the perfect match in terms of weight and flavor nuances for the beer.

Onto our third beer and the classic original Anchor Steam! Hoppy and light, full of orange and citrusy notes, flavorful and dynamic, this is one easy drinking beer. Perfect with a morsel of Vermont Creamery’s Coupole. This natural rinded aged goat’s milk cheese is dense and chalky yet light and grassy, full of bright citrusy notes and a milky lactic tang. The light fancifulness of the beer will cut through the cheese’s density and give way to the perfect late Spring, early Summer pairing.

Next up – Liberty Ale first brewed in 1975 to celebrate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s ride. Liberty Ale started a craft beer revolution. Why you might wonder? Because it was the first modern American IPA brewed since the Prohibition, single and dry-hopped. Spicy and bitter yet hoppy and balanced – Liberty Ale begs for a fantastically creamy, somewhat stinky and briny washed rind cheese. How about Dorset hailing from Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont? This is a semi-soft, aged raw Jersey cow’s milk cheese that has been washed in brine during its aging process. Dense and cakey, yet earthy and rustic with that classic washed rind stink but a nice brightness. The crisp spicy bitterness of the beer will complement the full flavor profile of the cheese in a perfect pairing.

Moving along to Brekle’s Brown, named after the founder of Anchor Brewing and their newest beer. Inspired by the all malt brown ales of Anchor’s past, this single hop brown ale is coppery rust brown in color with a dynamic coffee chocolatey depth but yet with a crisp yet slight bitter citrusy finish. How about a morsel of Tarentaise crafted by both Thistle Hill and Spring Brook Farms in Vermont. Modeled on the French alpine style cheese, Abondance, this aged cow’s milk cheese is one of my favorites. Warming and round, yet buttery and caramelly, this smooth roasty toasty cheese will match the dynamic depth of the brew in the most excellent of ways.

Next up, Anchor’s Porter! Thick, deep, dark, chocolatey, round, rustic, full of toffee and coffee notes and warming sweetness with a fantastically creamy head. My favorite porter pairing is with Beehive Cheese’s Barely Buzzed. This Utah creation is a superstar award winning cow's milk cheese that has been rubbed with crushed lavender and coffee grounds during its aging process. It is creamy, nutty, lightly smoky and buttery yet aromatic and truly flavorful! An excellent big boys pairing!

Moving along to the Old Foghorn – an English style barleywine ale brewed in San Francisco named after the city’s classic fog.  This is one powerful brew that is bursting with flavor -- earthy and rustic, yet bitter and full of warming spices, this is a perfect after dinner brew. In honor of this being an after dinner brew, well then you must have a blue cheese with it, right? How about Rogue River Blue? Raw Cow's milk blue cheese hailing from Oregon that is aged for approximately one year wrapped in grape leaves soaked in pear eau de vie. Dense and creamy, yet packing a fantastic punch with a smooth and spicy side and an earthy, spicy, vegetal, rustic sweetness. The perfect end of evening pairing!

Humming Ale is big and bold, bright and effervescent, with light hints of citrus, crafted in a similar manner as the Liberty Ale. And what of its name? It is in fact named after the strong effervescent ales found mentioned throughout English literature. And what of its cheese partner? How about Twin Maple Farm's Hudson Red hailing from Ghent, NY. A raw cow's milk washed rind cheese aged for between two and four months with a semi-soft consistency. Buttery and milky with a fabulous roundness on the interior and an earthy, rustic, funky, meaty richness from the washed rind on the exterior. 

There are a few other beers brewed by Anchor that unfortunately were not included in the tasting but this post and selection gives you all a good idea of the breadth and depth of the superstar San Francisco brewery. Anchor is where it all started – the first craft brewery, the first IPA, the first Summer Beer and more. It is a treat to experience these brews that truly changed how we drink beer in America.

Day 953 : New Year's Eve Cheeses

Gosh I cannot quite believe that it is the end of 2012, this year has zoomed by! There was Thailand in February, Vermont in July, Majorca, London, and the Loire Valley in August, the Marine Corps Marathon in October and plenty of other amazing experiences. 'Twas definitely a full year of success, laughter, adventures, good times and more.

To toast goodbye to 2012 and ring in 2013 with the pop of a champagne cork and a touch of fabulous decadence, Fromagical would like to recommend a selection of three of my favorite special occasion cheeses! Each of which will go excellently with the requisite

On New Year's Eve, you must have something infused with truffles to go with that fabulous sequined cocktail dress you have on and that flute of champagne in your hand. With the bubbly toasty exuberance of the Champagne, you need a morsel of California's own Truffle Tremor of course! Bloomy rinded, soft ripened, aged goat's milk cheese infused with morsels of black truffles throughout the paste. Delicate yet dynamic, milky and lactic yet rustic and earthy, with a pillowy cakey mushroomy mouthfeel and an overall brightness, this is the perfect pairing for your glass of bubbles.

Up next....

Did you know that in Italy they believe red under garments to be a symbol of good luck in the New Year? In honor of this belief my second choice is Crocodile Tear crafted by Capriole Farms in Greenville, Indiana. An aged goat's milk pear or cone shaped teardrop that has been dusted with paprika during its aging process. Tangy, chalky, citrusy and milky with a rustic, spicy, aromatic bent, this little morsel is just the cat's meow with a glass of bubbles.

And lastly...

In Eastern cultures, circular and round food items are meant to symbolize good luck and full happiness so of course one should enjoy a morsel of the round wheel of Ewe's Blue crafted by Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in Old Chatham, New York. Crafted in the traditional Roquefort style, this aged sheep's milk blue is spicy and piquant yet round and creamy -- the perfect melange of flavors to kick off the new year!

Fromagical wishes you all the best for 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 952 : L'Apicio

Located in the old Bowery Wine Company's space is executive chef, Gabe Thompson's, and beverage director, Joe Campanale's, first venture out of the West Village. Named after L'Apicio Moderno, the 18th century cookbook where the use of tomato sauce paired with pasta first appeared, this modern Italian joint pays homage to the 21st century interpretation of such cuisine by the guys behind dell'anima, L'Artusi, and Anfora.

Unlike their other restaurants that boast smaller, more intimate spaces, L'Apicio can accomodate up to 180 diners at a time. But at no time, does it feel like a big box, overwhelmingly large space. Sleek yet rustic, it is lively with a warm and inviting feel. Whether you are seated at the bar, one of the high top tables in the bar space or at a table / booth in one of the main dining areas, you will no doubt be able to enjoy the selection of cocktails and beers along with the extensive wine list with an Italian focus of course, but with a wide selection of American and other wines as well. And what of the food?

Modern Italian with a creative flair. The menu features a range of salads, appetizers, pastas, polentas, mains and contorni. There's homemade ricotta, which is a must along a nice cheese selection featuring a melange of American and Italian offerings.

So what to have?

The Escarole Salad with Pecorino-Buttermilk dressing, almonds and cucumber is delightful with a nice balance of creamy roundness, nutty crunch, and light vegetal notes from the greens. Other highlights in terms of the salad selections include the Watercress salad with carrots, cumin yogurt, and pistachios. This rustic and earthy salad bursts with flavor -- the sweetness of the carrots, the tang and spice of the cumin yogurt, the bright pepperiness of the watercress and the sweet nuttiness of the pistachios is an excellent beginning to the meal. Feel like going with a more traditional salad pairing then have the Bosc Pear, with radicchio, blue cheese, and hazelnuts.

Not in the salad mood to start your meal then have the charred octopus with fregola and lemon, hold the  pepperoni for me. As most of my Fromagical readers know - my eyes light up and gravitate to octopus and brussels sprouts on a menu and this dish truly allows the flavor of the charred octopus to shine.

Moving away from the salads and starters to the heartier selections on the menu -- the selection of Polenta alla Spianatora is a must. Whether it is topped with roasted mushrooms, shrimp, braised short ribs or pork meatballs, Thompson surely knows what he is doing with this classic Italian cornmeal dish.

If pasta is what you're in the mood for then definitely order the Mezzaluna with cauliflower, capers and pinenuts. These half moon pillows of rustic cheesy goodness are the perfect balance of briny brightness from the capers and warm earthy nuttiness from the pinenuts. They just melt in your mouth.

The contorni highlight the season's vegetable bounty -- whether its Delicata squash or sunchokes or brussels sprouts, each is prepared simply in the hopes of highlighting the true flavors of the vegetable.

Overall, L'Apicio is a big step for Thompson and Campanale, not just out of the West Village but in terms of restaurant scale. It's a fun and lively spot that is quintessentially downtown with a lovely wine and cocktail list and an inventive Modern Italian menu.

13 East 1st street

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 951 : Last Weekend of 2012 Cheese Crush

What to do for the last weekend of 2012?

Why not go spend it in East Hampton with one of my closest friends for a weekend of relaxing, movies, cooking, red wine, around a fabulous fireplace?

Of course I had to bring cheese for this wonderful weekend, right?

Standing in front of the Murray's Cheese counter in Grand Central the other day, I decided it was time to get some thing different -- something rustic and earthy, warming and round, nutty and spicy.

How about Moringhello di Bufala?

A Buffalo milk cheese sporting a natural rind that has been basket aged for between two and four months crafted by the Gritti Brothers at Quarttro Portoni farm in the Lombardia region of Italy. A bright, citrusy, lactic tang goes hand in hand with an earthy, musty, rustic, round, moist density and a semi-firm consistency. The great thing about this cheese is that it is full of flavor and has a fantastically dynamic character but is still light and not too rich. Great paired with dried figs to bring out the round, earthy, sweetness of the cheese. In terms of wine, I would enjoy it with a medium bodied Italian red that is fruit forward with a nice earthy side to it.

The perfect cheese for a winter-time weekend in the country!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 950 : Vacation Day Cheeses

I feel fortunate to have the pleasure of having the week between Christmas and New Year's off, it is one of my favorite times to have a staycation in Manhattan -- see friends; catch those movies and museum shows that I never seem to have the time to see; relax and read; and most of all take advantage of all of the wonderful pleasures the city I call home has to offer!

How often do you get to enjoy seeing a movie at 11am on a weekday or sit and chat over a glass of wine and cheese with a close friend in the middle of the afternoon? It sure is a treat!

If you're having a staycation, then I surely recommend stopping by Avoce in the Time Warner Center for a selection of their cheeses. At $19 for five different Italian cheeses with individual compote pairings, it is an excellent deal and surely don't forget the complimentary ricotta and homemade foccacia that comes along with.

Of the cheeses currently available - I recommend having the following five cheeses :

Sottocenere - Hailing from Veneto, this cow's milk cheese is infused with black truffles and aged on its exterior with nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, licorice, cloves and fennel. Paired with a grappa raisin puree. The cheese is elegant and sleek, rustic and earthy yet round and flavorful -- a holiday treat!

Gorgonzola Dolce - The classically fantastic Italian cow's milk blue that is both approachable, luscious, and round yet spicy and dynamic. Appeals to the blue cheese lover and novice all at once. This was served with honeycomb to add a naturally earthy sweetness to the blue.

Asiago d'allevo - Aged Italian cow's milk cheese - we all know it, we all love it. Quite the versatile sort! Paired with a green olive tapenade to bring out the vegetal rustic characteristics of the cheese.

La Tur - One of my all time favorite Italian creamsters composed of a mixture of goat, sheep, and cow's milk, this is decadence in a morsel. Round and unctuous, this cheese begs a glass of bubbles to go along with it. Served with homemade pistachio brittle to provide a crunch and texture to the milky cheesy paste.

Pecorino Oro Antico - Aged sheep's milk cheese with a deep nutty, caramelly, butterscotchy bent and an all around fabulous winter feel. Great with a glass of red wine! This was paired with homemade Pinoli Butter to accentuate the nuttiness of the cheese.

Overall the perfect place of an afternoon staycation glass of wine and cheese!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 949 : Merry Christmas!

Fromagical would like to take this moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. No matter what religion you practice, the holidays are about being with close friends and family, taking the time out of your normal routine to enjoy a good laugh, a nice glass of wine, a homecooked meal, and just quality time. In honor of the holidays, please take a moment to tell your close friend, relative, mother, father, grandmother, you name it, how much they mean to you and how special it is that you have had the pleasure of spending the holidays with them.

So thank you to all my dear readers for all of your support from near and far.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 948 : Christmas Eve Cheeses

In honor of Christmas Eve and the fabulous gathering of friends and family this afternoon, Fromagical supplied a selection of special and seasonal cheeses. What were they you might be wondering?

Cheese number one was Torus, the superstar cheese that I wrote about in my last blog. This combination / collaboration with Vermont Butter & Cheese and Murray's is the most uniquely creamy, unctuous, chalky, citrusy, bright, mushroomy, rustic round cheese. A holiday celebration in a morsel!

Cheese number two was Little Big Apple infused with black truffles. Murray's cheese takes a Champlain Valley triple cream roundelle and infuses the center with black truffles here. What you get is fabulously sensual creamy milky cheesy paste paired with the rustic earthiness of the truffles. This is a black tie cheese that goes perfectly with that celebratory glass of bubbles you are enjoying on this holiday.

Cheese number three was Cocoa Cardona, which was featured on day 944 and is found at Beecher's Cheese. A firm aged goat's milk cheese that is rubbed with cocoa powder in the course of its aging process. The result? A rustic and earthy yet sweet and flavorful cheese that is the perfect balance of chocolaty cheesy goodness. Crisp, tangy, citrusy and classically goaty paste is paired with the most unique cocoa exterior.

The final cheese, cheese number four was Barden Blue, Consider Bardwell's newest release. Think cheddary paste combined with a classic blue cheese spicy piquance. Firm and biting, yet crumbly and flavorful. This is the sort of cheese that is absolutely perfect with your after dinner drinks, port perhaps?

Overall a selection of truly special cheeses for this truly special day.

Fromagical wishes you all a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 947 : Torus

Introducing Torus, created by Adeline Druart of Vermont Butter and Cheese specifically for Murray's Cheese.

This donut or otherwise known as couronne (crown) shaped disk of aged goat's milk cheese has arrived just in time for the holidays! Named after the geometric term for the ring shape of the cheese, Torus surely wows -- a unique partnership between one of my favorite Vermont creameries and one of the major cheese shops in New York. Vermont Butter and Cheese crafts this geotrichum rinded pasteurized goat's milk donut that is then aged in the cellars at Murray's for anywhere between two and four weeks.

Dense, creamy, unctuous with a mushroomy, rustic, earthiness and the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness, Torus does not disappoint. The rind has the most fabulous texture that just melts in your mouth and coats every crevice, enjoy with a nice glass of Cava this holiday season.

Nothing says holiday hostess gift better than a cheese in the shape of a donut crafted by the brilliant minds behind Murray's Cheese and Vermont Butter and Cheese.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 946 : Announcing a new exciting partnership!

Just recently announced - Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company has purchased Castleton Crackers forming an awesome Vermont-y food partnership. This is the first time that a cheese company has partnered with a crackers company to collaborate on cheese and crackers and on the advancement of small production Vermont food businesses.

How exciting to see this interdisciplinary foodie partnership -- who knows where it will lead, but all I know is that it surely will be someplace absolutely totally and completely fabulous!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 945 : Brunch at Jacob's Pickles

The Upper West Side is not want of brunch spots that's for sure -- there's your classic diners, your upscale dining experiences, the neighborhoody joints, the new places that are trying to stand out from the crowd, you name it, you can find it on the Upper West.

One of my favorite new-ish places in the neighborhood is Jacob's Pickles. Named after the owner, Jacob, and inspired by Southern cuisine but with locally sourced ingredients and an extensive beer selection, house cured pickles and homemade biscuits, it is a warm and inviting spot with a rustic feel. 

The brunch menu is a mixture of Southern classics, biscuit sandwiches, egg based dishes and much more.

We of course had to start with a selection of pickles : sweet & spicy carrots, sour green tomatoes, thyme jalapenos, and their sweet and sour pickles. Looking for a wake-me-up on a Sunday morning, definitely have a jalapeno -- it is guaranteed to make your eyes water and stimulate your senses. In the mood for something less in your face, their homemade sweet and sour pickles were to die for -- fresh, crunchy and flavorful -- these will bring a smile to any pickle lover out there.

But what of their non-brine orientated options?

I had their Veggie-Cheese Omelette with egg whites of course. The omelette was composed of mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes and aged Vermont Cheddar. Traditionally served with home fries, I instead had their mixed green salad. The omelette was delish -- not heavy handed as you can sometimes find in traditional brunch cuisine, each vegetable was allowed to sing and the cheese added the perfect creamy touch. You could truly taste the rustic meaty qualities of the mushrooms and the vegetal herbaceousness of the asparagus and the spinach along with the bright juiciness of the tomatoes.  A great start to a rainy Sunday morning.

A welcome addition to the dining options of the Upper West Side -- welcoming and friendly with reliably satisfying food and drink. But know if you are going for brunch, go before Noon if you want to avoid the wait. 

Jacob's Pickles
509 Amsterdam Ave

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 944 : Great right now at Beechers

Beecher's -- Seattle Implant, Flatiron based.
Excellent selection of American artisanal cheeses and one of the only places in NYC that one can see cheese being made.

Looking for cheeses that are good right now?
Or perhaps a Christmas present?

Then I strongly recommend Carr Valley Cheese's Cocoa Cardona hailing from La Valle, Wisconsin.

This firm aged goat's milk cheese is rubbed with cocoa powder during its aging process lending a deep rustic brown to the exterior of this cheese and a truly unique flavor profile. Tangy and spicy yet somewhat sweet and earthy, the cocoa powder provides a distinctive dynamism to this crisp, bright, milky, citrusy, goaty paste.

Nothing says the holiday season like a winter white cheese lusciously wrapped in tender cocoa powder.

Found at Beecher's now.
Great for a night in with a glass of red or bubbles or as a gift for the hostess of that fabulous Holiday party you are about to attend or as a stocking stuffer for that family member who just adores cheese.

900 Broadway

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 943 : Bright Greens for a Bright Day

Inspired by the Tuscan Kale Salad at Boulud Sud that I had the pleasure of enjoying this weekend, I decided tonight we should feature a rustic warm kale salad recipe.

I like to use Satur Farms mixed kale as a base for this recipe as I like the difference in kale textures and I think it adds a nice flavor dynamism to our salad. So what else goes into our salad?

Roasted Butternut or Kabocha Squash
Roasted Almonds - sliced
Roasted Carrots
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Smoked Paprika
Vermont Farmstead's Governor's Cheddar - featured on day 928, this is a 1 - 2 year old cheddar that has been crafted in the traditional style. Round, dense, and buttery, yet with caramel butterscotchy nuances and a sweet, floral grassy and rustic finish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cube butternut squash and carrots. Toss with EVOO, a garlic clove, sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile toss your kale with EVOO, sea salt, a slight drizzle of lemon, your sliced almonds, a dash of smoked paprika for a spicy aromatic kick, and a diced shallot over low heat in a saute pan. Cook the kale for just a few minutes as you want it to maintain a nice crunch. Combine the roasted veggies with your kale and top with a drizzle of lemon and EVOO. Of course some sea salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika as well. Finish off with a nice amount of crumbled Governor's Cheddar.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 942 : Seasonal Sips

Do your eyes light up with a glass of bubbles? Mine sure do! And the good news is that 'tis the season for bubbles! Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, Sparkling Shiraz, Lambrusco, you name it, the bubbles selection is endless.

There's something particularly festive I find about Lambrusco -- maybe its the mixture of the bubbles and the color and the flavor, it's just perfect in my mind for the holiday season whether its at that big bash or enjoyed with good friends in the comfort of your own home, it will dress up any evening.

Lambrusco traditionally hails from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and is both a grape and a frizzante red wine. Traditionally crafted in a charmat process -- when the second fermentation happens in a pressurized tank. Light, bright, and fruity, yet crisp and dry with a nice acidity, this festive red bubbly does a dynamic dance on your palate.  Looking for a good Lambrusco that will delight? Try Carafoli Lambrusco Tocca, found at 67 Wine & Spirits.

So what sort of cheese to enjoy with our red bubbles?

This is a pairing that's all about terroir my friends -- local wines and local cheeses that have an excellent harmony based on the region in which they are from.

How about the local cheese from the Emilia Romagna region -- Parmesan.

This beloved cheese's nutty, butterscotchy notes will go hand in hand with the bright red fruity notes of the bubbles. The acidity of the wine will cut right through the dense depth of the cheese to create the perfect holiday festive wine and cheese marriage!

Day 941 : Lunch at A Voce Columbus

This weekend was a blur of holiday parties full of good cheer, good drinks, good friends, good food, and of course good cheese! But in the process, we fell a little behind in our cheese musings and for that my dear friends, I am sorry.

It's catch up time!!

Lets rewind the clocks back to Saturday afternoon and lunch at AVoce Columbus Circle. Located at the other end of the third floor corridor of the Time Warner Center as my other local favorite, Landmarc. Elegant and sleek with a warm inviting atmosphere, this rustic yet elevated, inventive Italian restaurant looks out onto Central Park and currently the Public Art Fund's Discovering Columbus exhibition.

The room was a-buzz with holiday cheer on Saturday -- friends enjoying a late brunch; families enjoying a little midday nibble; those in from out of town trying this well regarded restaurant; couples in the holiday mood toasting the season and many others.

We started with their complimentary homemade whipped ricotta topped with olive oil, chili, sea salt, and parsley served with homemade foccacia. Fresh, creamy, and delish, this is such a nice interpretation of the classic bread and butter or bread and olive oil to start off the meal.

I had their funghi al forno dish -- a beautifully composed plate of roasted trumpet royal mushrooms, fonduta, mache, and roasted hazelnuts. Rustic yet refined, flavorful yet simple and perfectly seasonal. Great with the glass of Nero D'Avola I was enjoying.

We of course had to split their brussels sprouts contorni served with chili, lemon, and shaved pecorino. Warm and comforting yet with a dynamic bright depth and very well balanced.

Overall - a delish meal with stunning views of Central Park in a cozy yet sophisticated environment. It is always a pleasure to visit A Voce Columbus.

A Voce Columbus
Time Warner Center
3rd Floor

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 940 : Great right now

The other evening I stopped into Murray's in Grand Central Terminal and was looking for a nice firm local Alpine inspired cheese  -- there's something about the temperatures dropping and my desire for red wine, rustic nutty cheeses and cozy fireplaces increasing. Of course my eyes gravitated first off to the Tarentaise, one of my all time favorites. The raw Jersey cow's milk cheese crafted by both Thistle Hill and Spring Brook Farm's just screams warmth and comfort to me with its nutty, buttery, butterscotchy, caramelly and rustic notes. Nope, it was time for something different, there's always Pleasant Ridge Reserve, another one of my favorites, this Wisconsin native is modeled on the classic European great, Beaufort, but completely its own. Ohh maybe I wanted Spring Brook Farm's Reading, the first American crafted Raclette style cheese. Yes! That was it!

If you rewind the clocks to warmer temperatures and this past summer's trip to Vermont, I had the pleasure of visiting Spring Brook in Reading, Vermont. Spring Brook Farm is a functioning dairy farm along with being an educational center stimulating the farm and environmental knowledge base for inner city children nationwide. 

Reading is one of two cheeses Spring Brook makes. Newish to the market place, having only been produced for the past three years, it a sweet and buttery raw cow's milk cheese aged for at least three months. Semi-soft, pliable and melting with a round honest flavor profile full of grassy, rustic notes, it is all around comforting and fabulous on a chilly December day like today. Enjoy it with a nice local Cab Franc red from the North Fork.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 939 : Cheese Plate at Vitae

Remember back, not that long ago, to the beginning of November when I visited Vitae for a birthday lunch? Well if not, feel free to visit Post #926.

Great at this time of year if you're looking for a reliable restaurant removed from the hussel and bussel of the 5th avenue Christmas Windows and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! 

Their cheese selection changes almost daily just as any good restaurant's should!

Tonight their cheese selection featured :

Cremeux de Bourgogne - an absolutely fabulously unctuous triple cream bloomy rinded pasteurized cow's milk cheese hailing from Burgundy. Sweet and smooth, yet milky and round, mushroomy and honest. This screams please enjoy me with a glass of Champagne.

Hoja Santa - Hailing from Texas, this pasteurized goat's milk cheese is aged in the local herbaceous leaf of its namesake, Hoja Santa. Aromatic, herbaceous, citrusy, tangy and all around stunning -- it is not for the faint of heart, this little guy packs a punch in the most dynamic of ways. Think a bright white wine with this litte fellow.

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar - This aged cow's milk clothbound Cheddar is a partnership between the Cellars at Jasper Hill and Cabot. Nutty, caramelly, rustic, and barnyardy, this would go excellently with a seasonal brew.

Cashel Blue -- Cashel Blue is a pasteurized semi soft cow's milk blue that is traditionally aged for anywhere between two and four months. It is classically spicy and piquant but with a milky creamy finish -- this my friends is blue cheese done well! 

Overall a lovely and broad ranging selection of cheeses served with housemade quince compote and caramelized pecans.

A perfect accompaniment to a cocktail on an early December Eve.

4 East 46th Street

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 938 : Kickstart your way to making Cheese

Hear of Kickstarter?

Of course you have I imagine -- the crowd funding website for creative and unique projects -- it has revolutionized the manner in which entrepreneurs seek out funds.

Seen on Kickstarter this past weekend is a project after Fromagical's heart -- "Make Cheese Inc." 

This Kickstarter project funds the production and creation of fantastic cheesemaking kits, bringing you closer to your cheese, decreasing the commute from production to plate.

You can donate as little as $10 but still have the pleasure of receiving a cheesemaking kit and being involved in this awesome cheesy business!

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