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The Lost Abbey - Inferno Ale - LabelFounded in 2006, Port Brewing is a young company. However, in the few years since opening business, they have established an impressive reputation.

Founder, Tomme Arthur, is from San Diego and is particularly known for his Belgian-style beers. Arthur got hooked on beer in college – and not just in the usual kind of way. His roommate and his roommate’s father had traveled in Europe (including Belgium) and, in turn, they introduced him to a whole world of different beer styles and traditions. Subsequently, he became so enamored with the beverage and the world of brewing that in 1996, at the age of 23, he took a job at a start-up San Diego brewery. That brewery quickly folded due to poor management but, by his own account, Arthur was exposed to some pretty tasty beer-making in the process. It was only several years later that he opened up a brewery of his own and, eventually, he took over a brewing facility from Stone Brewing Company in San Marcos, CA. This is the company’s current base of operations and where Arthur began making both American ales and the Belgian-inspired Lost Abbey beers. (more…)

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Hulled Barley - Four Star Farms

Hulled Barley – Four Star Farms

From the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates, to the coast of the Mediterranean and down into Egypt stretches the Fertile Crescent. Aptly known as the “cradle of civilization,” this land bore witness to many of the earliest human settlements. Historians have documented the development of basic architecture, tools, weapons, agriculture and a reliance upon the foods grown in cultivated fields to as far back as 9,000 B.C.E. Cereals, grasses and grains were among the first crops to be harvested and prepared, usually by grinding them into meal and cooking them over a fire. Grains were also ground into flour for bread, or fermented and brewed into beer. (more…)

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Winnimere - Jasper HillLast year, I visited the Cellars at Jasper Hill and had the opportunity to participate in the Winnimere cheesemaking process. It was a very educational experience as there are some interesting new developments going on at Jasper Hill. I thought I would share a little about the cheesemaking process, as well as give a sneak peek into a couple of new cheeses:

Flocculation

Flocculation is a test conducted with a rounded knife. The knife is put into the renneted milk. When the milk starts to curdle and grab onto the knife, an experienced cheesemaker is able to determine the exact time to cut the curd. (more…)

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We are excited to announce that Julie’s Rabbit Pâté was a winner in the ‘Charcuterie’ category at the 2012 Good Food Awards and was recently featured in a Bon Appétit magazine article entitled, “America’s Best Charcuterie.”

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Rabbit Pâté

Rabbit Pâté

Choosing a favorite pâté is a little like selecting a favorite child. Each has its own attributes and unique characteristics that differentiate it from its siblings. That said, our house-made Rabbit Pâté would be a strong contender for the top of my “favorites” list. Wrapped in rose-hued Prosciutto di Parma and encased in amber-colored Madeira aspic, this pâté is our most intricate and, in my opinion, visually appealing.

One of my favorite things about cooking at Formaggio Kitchen is the wealth of wonderful ingredients at our fingertips. Working here as a chef is like being a kid in a lollipop factory. It is as much a treat to cook as it is to eat here, and often the ingredients that we get to use in our recipes add up to more than the sum of their parts. Such is the case of the Rabbit Pâté. (more…)

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Elaine and Catharine of EH Chocolatier

L-R: Catharine and Elaine of EH Chocolatier

Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney never meant to become chocolatiers. In fact, they first met over a wedding cake. A mutual friend was getting married and enlisted them to bake her cake – something new to both of them. Judging by their continuing partnership, the cake was a success, a challenge that got them started making sweets of their own. (more…)

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Erin and Rosa Shaping Mozzarella

Erin (left) and Rosa (right) Shaping Mozzarella

It’s a rare day on the cheese counter that we mongers don’t dip into our bucket of fresh mozzarella from the Mozzarella House at least a couple of times. This small operation in Everett supplies Formaggio Kitchen with most of its fresh cow’s milk mozzarella and burrata. My fellow cheesemonger, Jess, and I recently dropped in for a visit to their cheese room. While we never pass on a chance to match faces, places, and processes to our products, we had an additional motive behind this visit to Mozzarella House. Jess, who’s worked as a cheesemaker in France and Washington, is teaching a series of cheesemaking classes in February. Our time with the pros at Mozzarella House gave her a chance to refine the mozzarella technique she’ll use in the course. Mozzarella House owner, Giuseppe, was kind enough to let us have a look around the facility, as well as share some background on their process. (more…)

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Mast Brothers SignSince opening in Brooklyn a few years ago, Mast Brothers Chocolate has been making a big name for itself. Founding brothers, Rick and Michael Mast, create flavorful bean-to-bar chocolate with imagination and enthusiasm at every step. They import some of the finest single origin cacao from around the world. Recently, they realized a long-held dream of importing some of their beans by sailboat, direct from the Dominican Republic to New York. (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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Peeper Ale

The Maine Beer Co. is based out of Portland and is a very young company. It was started by two brothers, David and Daniel Kleban, who began their brewing career experimenting in a garage. Their goal: to make something they would be happy drinking themselves. (more…)

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Rockville Market Farm - Harvesting

Harvesting at Rockville Market Farm*

The cheese counter at Formaggio Kitchen is pasted with articles, vintage cheese labels, stickers, helpful tips and lovely old pictures from our early days in business. All are interesting to peruse, but one sticker in particular always resonates with me as I pass it daily – a small, hardly noticeable, green sticker right at the entrance to the counter. It reads, “No Farms, No Food.” This statement may seem obvious, but in a time where triple-washed, packaged, pre-cut and peeled vegetables are the norm, it is difficult to remember that everything we eat was grown by farmers in wide spaces, deep in the dirt. By maintaining close relationships with the farmers that produce our food, the gap from field to consumer is ultimately closed and enormous benefits are immediately apparent. Not only is it now possible to know the exact date of harvest, but we can discuss the pest management techniques used on the farm, inquire about the diet of livestock and poultry, and even know the farmer’s most recommended crop of the week. With this in mind, Formaggio Kitchen aims to be an equally transparent connection between our customers and farmers. We are happy to talk at length about the practices of each farm and alert customers as to when we receive produce from each grower. Recommending the perfect fruit or vegetable comes naturally when we are so highly tuned into what is happening on the fields! In that spirit, here is an in-depth look at some of our favorite farms and growers in the New England area. (more…)

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