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Charcutière Julie Grinding Meat

Charcutière Julie

When I first signed on as the charcutière at Formaggio Kitchen, I was excited to work with meat. “What does the position entail?” I asked Ihsan, the shop’s owner. “You’ll be making sausages, curing meat, breaking down whole pigs and rabbits. Stuff like that,” he said. “And pâtés. Lots of pâtés.” That stopped me in my tracks. Sausages, great. Butchery, no problem. How hard can meat curing be? But pâtés? This was another story.

Pâté was mysterious, classic and tricky-sounding. I accepted the position with a bit of apprehension. Now, entering my third holiday season at the shop, pâtés have become one of the items I particularly look forward to making. And we make a lot of them! (more…)

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Blue Cheese and Asparagus Rolls

Blue Cheese and Asparagus Rolls - Crispy asparagus spears rolled in buttery brioche and blue cheese, then baked until golden brown.

As one might easily suspect, cooking at a gourmet retail shop like Formaggio Kitchen is unlike cooking in any other professional kitchen. If you’ve ever been in to visit our cheese caves, you would have walked through our cooking space – blink and you’ll miss it (or fall down the stairs!). A number of amazing things come out of such a small space: Chef Eduardo’s nightly meals are delicious and comforting, Eric’s award-winning BBQ attracts crowds that fill the sidewalk, Julie’s carefully crafted charcuterie is in a league of its own and our sandwiches – weekly paninis, Sunday mini sandwiches and Saturday Reubens – rival those from the best delis around. And, as the Catering Manager, I get to be right in the middle of it all! (more…)

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A Visit to Jasper Hill Farm

TOP ROW (L-R): Cabot airing, Bayley Hazen salting, Bayley Hazen pH graph + rocks under the cheese racks help with moisture control. BOTTOM ROW (L-R): Moses Sleeper in 20% brine, Landaff cheese and Bayley Hazen in its forms.

Some weeks ago, I made an immensely informative and inspiring trip to Jasper Hill Farm and The Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont.

The Jasper Hill enterprise was started by two brothers, Andy and Mateo Kehler. The determination that they have towards revolutionizing and solidifying the cheese-making industry in their state and in this country is unmatched in its political, scientific, and pastoral fervor. As a result, I want to share a bit of what got me so excited! (more…)

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Adam cutting and wrapping Stichelton

Adam cutting and wrapping Stichelton

The premise of the Formaggio Kitchen Cheese of the Month Club is pretty simple – each month, I pick a selection of cheeses to mail out to club members across the country. At the heart of the program is our love of sharing our favorite cheeses with customers passionate enough to sign up for our regular deliveries.  For most, this means three different cheeses per month and for Connoisseur Club members, it’s four cheeses and a pairing condiment.

Although the Cheese Club is a lot of work, I get to be a bit of a hero each month – I send a personalized collection of our finest cheeses to every member!

Mid-month, I get together with Kurt, our lead cheese buyer, to pick the club cheeses. First and foremost, we pick cheeses that are showing their best at that particular moment. We also consider seasonality and we aim to have a nice diversity of flavor, milk type and texture. (more…)

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There was a bit of initial confusion.  What would we call “the new space?”

Until recently, “the new space” was how we referred to our new warehouse and classroom facility in West Cambridge.  Several names were bandied about in the shop, including FKO (in longform – Formaggio Kitchen Online), Formaggio Kitchen Mail Order, even Le Nouvel Espace, in keeping with our European roots.  Eventually, however, FKA (Formaggio Kitchen Annex) or, as staff have come to style it, simply “The Annex,” won out.

Staff gathering at the Formaggio Kitchen Annex

Staff gathering at “The Annex” (before it’s all set up!)

The Annex will accommodate our growing demand for classes and events, and allow us to further develop our mail order business. (more…)

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Our kitchen takes great pride in the quality of their ingredients. Whether it is grass-fed hanger steaks, locally-grown heirloom tomatoes for a late summer chilled soup or organic Baldo rice from Lombardy in a rich risotto, we strive to let the beauty of each ingredient shine through. This pride is especially evident in our housemade pâtés, rillettes, bacon, pancetta and other cured and prepared meats. Our charcutière, Julie starts with whole cuts of pork, chicken, duck and rabbit and transforms them into small works of art displayed in our meat case.

Formaggio Kitchen Housemade Charcuterie
Julie sources local, humanely-raised and in some cases, grass-fed meat for each of her creations. Pâtés are seasoned with a variety of ingredients including mushrooms, orange zest, pistachios, and golden raisins while cured meats such as bacon, guanciale and pancetta have simple herb and salt rubs that keep the meat’s flavor in the forefront. Julie also makes a variety of fresh sausages with ingredients that vary throughout the year. (more…)

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Cheese plate (left to right): Colston Bassett Stilton, dried Turkish figs, Roquefort Vieux Berger, Carlisle wildflower honey, Manchego Añejo, Marcona almonds and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cheese plate (left to right): Colston Bassett Stilton, dried Turkish figs, Roquefort Vieux Berger, Carlisle wildflower honey, Manchego Añejo, Marcona almonds and Parmigiano-Reggiano

We love teaching our customers about cheese. We love teaching them about wine. About jams and honeys. About our charcuterie. Really, about any kind of food! As a result, it seemed like a no-brainer for us to begin offering tasting classes on Sundays (and occasionally on Wednesday and Saturday nights), giving our customers a more in-depth look at how cheese is made and who is making it.

Thrilled by the positive feedback we had from folks who were keen to learn more about cheese and about food in general, we have been steadily expanding our course offerings. In addition to the ever-popular Cheese 101, we now have a vast array of classes focusing on topics such as Piedmontese wines, American beers, pizza-making or barbecuing! After folks take Cheese 101, they often return for more specialized cheese classes, such as the one we had on Alpine cheeses or one that focused predominantly on blue cheeses. (more…)

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