For a lover of words, leafing through an heirloom seed catalog is almost as delicious as eating the fruits and vegetables pictured on each page. The poetry of heirloom seeds is unabashed, starting with names such as Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, Moon and Stars watermelon, Rouge Vif d’Etamps squash, Yellow Dent corn and a personal favorite, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. Nomenclature aside, heirloom crops possess a long, distinguished past. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
Posted in Classes, Education, Food History, Grains, Rice, Flours & Beans, United States, tagged ancient grains, barley, cereals, cooking, Emmer, farro, food, Four Star Farms, grains, grasses, hulled barley, maize, Maria Speck, pearled barley, protein, spelt, wheat on February 7, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
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…)
Champagne. Cheese. Cake. Caviar. So many goodies start with the letter “C” – and many of them are quite luxurious foodstuffs. Caviar is one of the most luxurious of all. At the extreme, caviar has been packaged in solid gold tins and sold at secret auction to the highest bidder. (more…)
Posted in Cheese, Cheesemaking, Education, Italy, Travelogues, tagged casaro, Cheese, cheesemakers, cheesemaking, Cravero, curds, DOP, food, Italy, parm, Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta, whey on November 26, 2011 | 2 Comments »
On a recent trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to visit a co-op that makes Parmigiano Reggiano. It was a first for me – I have witnessed the cheesemaking process before and have even tried my hand at making chèvre but I had never before observed the making of a hard, aged cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. (more…)
Posted in Education, Farms & Gardens, Food History, Produce, Producer Profile, tagged Ananas Reinette, apples, Black Gilliflower, Duchess of Oldenburg, Esopus Spitzenburg, heirloom, heirloom apples, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Lady Apple, Roxbury Russet, Scott Farm, Sheep’s Nose, Zeke Goodband on October 6, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Crisp autumnal air. The sweet smell of leaves. Dashes of yellows and oranges and reds and browns. A quintessential New England fall. And nothing says fall to me like apples and apple picking.
As a child, roaming the orchards, climbing up the ladder to pick the fruit, and biting into a juicy red McIntosh was what thrilled me. Now that I’m a bit older, I still love to pick apples but, as a produce buyer here at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, what really gets my motor going is the sheer variety of apples available today.
There are, of course, the old standbys like Granny Smith and Galas. The New England staples like Cortlands and Macouns. And, with the help of seed savers and the grace of a handful of dedicated growers, like Zeke Goodband of Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont, there are heirloom apples. The names themselves are reason to cheer: Ananas Reinette, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Duchess of Oldenburg. (more…)
Posted in Cheese, Education, Food History, Italy, tagged blue cheese, Cheese, food, Gorgonzola, Gorgonzola a due paste, Gorgonzola antico, Gorgonzola del nonno, Gorgonzola Dolce, Gorgonzola Piccante, PDO, Penicillium gorgonzola, Protected Designation of Origin, Roquefort, Stracchino, transhumance on September 28, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Lombardy is a region in the northernmost part of Italy, sitting on the country’s Alpine border with Switzerland. The terrain is varied, ranging from plains in the southern part, to the Alpine heights of the Valtellina in the north. Lakes stretch out along the countryside and rivers criss-cross the verdant landscape. Lombardy is a part of Italy that is home to many well-known cheeses: Taleggio, Mascarpone, Provolone, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola. If you were to follow the Po River, heading west out of Lombardy, you would arrive in the Piedmont, another rich cheese-making region. The town of Bra, home to possibly the most widely respected cheese festival in the world, is situated in this part of Italy. Like their neighbors in Lombardy, cheesemakers of the Piedmont make Taleggio and Gorgonzola. Among the many cheeses in their canon, are other familiar names like Raschera, Robiola di Roccaverano and Castelmagno. (more…)
Posted in Buyer's Guides, Education, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, tagged Alaea, Dario Cecchini, fleur de sel, food, Guérande, Ile de Ré, Le Paludier, Maldon, Murray River, Noirmoutier-en-l‘Île, Profumo del Chianti, salt, sel, sel gris, sodium chloride on April 8, 2011 | 3 Comments »
In my first installment on the subject of salt, I touched on why this mineral is an important component of our diet and why it has played such a critical role in human history. Now, with access to salt in abundance, we have the luxury of focusing not just on sourcing it but on distinguishing between and even augmenting different varieties.
Here at the shop, we have many kinds of salt, sourced from all over the world. It can be daunting to try to choose between the lot of them so, when Formaggio Kitchen‘s owner, Ihsan, recently opened a number of them for a class, I jumped at the opportunity to do a little tasting across varieties and types, hitting many of the ones I had never tried before. Here are the results of my research and some of my tasting notes for others who might be interested in exploring the wide variety of salts that are now available to us: (more…)
Posted in Buyer's Guides, Education, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, tagged curing, fleur de sel, food, Mark Kurlansky, preserving, salt, sea salt, sel, sel gris, Shirley Corriher, sodium chloride, table salt on March 8, 2011 | 14 Comments »
Most folks know that salt is somehow critical to human survival. However, it wasn’t until reading Mark Kurlansky’s book, Salt, that I became aware of just how integral this substance is to the healthy functioning of our bodies and, consequently, the major role it has played in human affairs throughout much of recorded history. As far as our bodies are concerned, the average adult human contains just over a half pound of salt or, as Kurlansky calculates, roughly 3 or 4 salt shakers. However, in the natural course of things, we lose this salt and must take action to replenish it. (more…)
Posted in Cheese, Education, FAQs, Food History, Pairings, tagged Brie, Brillat-Savarin, camembert, Champagne, Cheese, Cremont, Délice de Bourgogne, double cream, double-crème, food, Le Magnum, Parmigiano Reggiano, Petit Suisse, triple cream, triple-crème on February 10, 2011 | 7 Comments »
The terms “double-crème” and “triple-crème” are bandied about a lot in cheese shops. While most folks have a general idea of what they mean in terms of texture (creamy, spreadable!) and flavor (buttery, lactic!) for a cheese, these terms actually have very specific meanings. (more…)
For New England bakers, the time of year has come when pumpkin makes its appearance on the menu. These goodies are invariably accompanied by crisp, autumn days, clear blue skies and beautiful fall foliage.
I recently learned that canned pumpkin in the supermarket is not a reduced form of jack o’ lanterns. What you get in those cans is a type of squash, just not the one we cut up and decorate for Halloween.
In the US, about 80 percent of the canned pumpkin market is held by Libby’s and they use something called the Dickinson pumpkin, which is paler and a bit more oblong than jack o’ lantern pumpkins. (more…)