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Archive for the ‘France’ Category

This week we’re highlighting one of our favorite French liqueurs, the inky black currant flavored Crème de Cassis de Dijon. These sweet little bottles of crème de cassis are made in Burgundy by Briottet, a company run by the Briottet family in the town of Dijon since 1836.

Briottet Crème de CassisBriottet makes their crème de cassis with only “Noir de Bourgogne” black currants. The word “crème” signifies that the liqueur is made from macerated, real fruit rather than flavorings and, the addition of the name Dijon means that the currants (“cassis”) used were grown only in the commune of Dijon. These currants are picked quickly at their peak ripeness and are immediately immersed in alcohol where they macerate for 3 months. Sugar is then added to balance out the tart flavor of the currants – it also makes the liqueur syrupy. Upon completion, crème de cassis has about the same alcohol content as port. (more…)

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Julie with cleaned Piment d'Espelette peppers

With cleaned Piment d’Espelette peppers

About this time last year, while traveling through the Pyrenees mountains, Valerie, Ihsan and I stopped for a few days to pay a visit to the small farm that produces one of our favorite products: Piment d’Espelette AOC. Piment d’Espelette (translation: peppers from Espelette) are bright red peppers grown in the town of Espelette and 9 surrounding communes. These peppers have a delicate, sweet-fruity flavor and a medium spiciness, a little milder than your average jalapeño. They’re most often sold dried, whole or pulverized into a flaky powder. (more…)

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Sainte-Maure Belgique

Sainte-Maure Belgique

There are a few things one learns pretty quickly as a cheesemonger. Among them are that brebis generally come from the Pyrenées and small-format goat cheeses are closely associated with the Loire Valley. Of course, there are exceptions but, as general rules, these guidelines have served me pretty well. (more…)

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Persillé de Tignes

It’s sad to say, but farmstead cheeses are disappearing in France. As the cheese buyer for Formaggio Kitchen, I do what I can to make sure this does not happen. This is why I feel compelled to highlight the last remaining producer of Persillé de Tignes and to share my love of this cheese. (more…)

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Farm sign at the Burgat's Alpage homeThe evening light was fading as we ascended the mountain up to the Burgats’ alpage home outside of Manigod. With every turn that the car made, the views got even more splendid. Darkening clouds provided a sense of atmosphere and the cool air was deliciously fresh. Pulling up to the Burgats’ farmhouse, the sun was just about to disappear and the warm, yellow glow from inside their home was a welcome sight. (more…)

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Comté aging at Fromageries Marcel PetiteThis has been a good year for cheese at Formaggio Kitchen. We were lucky enough to visit several producers — both old friends and new acquaintances — who are sending us some incredible cheeses. Throughout the holidays, as family and friends come to town, or as you pack for a trip of your own, be sure to have a good selection of cheese on hand for simple snacking or to create an elegant cheese course. For help finding just the right cheese, here are a few highlights from our recent trips. (more…)

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Marcel Petite Comté samplerComté is an alpine cheese produced in the Jura mountain range of France. After our first opportunity to taste this great cheese with French affineur Marcel Petite, we brought in not one, but three ages of Comté so we could demonstrate the remarkable flavor development that occurs over time. Since that fateful first visit, we’ve gone on to establish the most complete collection of Marcel Petite Comté in the country, with cheeses ranging in age from 8 months to 36 months. (more…)

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En route to ArboisDavid, Mary and I arrived in Geneva early on a crisp October morning and, after collecting our rental car, set off for the town of Arbois, crossing the border from Switzerland into France. It was a beautiful ride along steep, sinuous mountain roads. (more…)

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Mosse MoussamoussettesOn a recent trip to New York, I was lucky enough to share a bottle of this lovely little Loire Valley wine with Brooke and Ayse from the Formaggio Kitchen Essex shop. I was immediately won over by its fruity aroma and delicate frothy fizz. Since this is a wine not normally brought into Massachusetts, I had to special order it from New York and our two cases just arrived today!

Made by Agnès et René Mosse on their 13ha farm in Anjou, this méthode ancestral* sparkler is made with organically farmed Gamay, Grolleau Gris and Grolleau Noir grapes from 25-30 year old vines. (more…)

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Three Roqueforts: Vieux Berger (top left), Gabriel Coulet (bottom left) and Carles (right)

Three Roqueforts: Vieux Berger (top left), Gabriel Coulet (bottom left) and Carles (right)

We carry a number of AOC cheeses here at Formaggio KitchenÉpoisses, Langres, Comté and Fourme d’Ambert, to name a few.  As a result (and not surprisingly), one of the questions that we often field on the cheese counter is what the term AOC actually tells us about a given cheese.

AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (translating to: Controlled Name of Origin) and is a designation of process and provenance that is used in France. There are equivalents of the AOC program in other countries – in Italy it is called DOC (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata) or DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta)*, in Spain it is called DO (Denominacion de Origen) and, in the EU as a whole, the designation is PDO** (Protected Designation of Origin). (more…)

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