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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Mozzarella di Bufala DOP

One of my favorite summertime meals is mozzarella di bufala or burrata sliced and layered with a sweet heirloom tomato.  That said, I must also plead guilty to eschewing the tomato and eating the cheese straight up with just a sprinkle of sea salt. I love my fresh cheeses and none more so than a good mozzarella di bufala or burrata, both classic pasta filata cheeses.

What are pasta filata cheeses you might ask? They are cheeses where the curds have been spun, stretched or pulled – filata literally translates to “spun” and pasta refers to the curds, or what will be the ‘paste’ of the cheese. This method of cheese production has its roots in the Middle East – cheeses in this style can be found in both Israel (e.g. Gilad) and Cyprus (e.g. Halloumi) – and flourished in Italy. (more…)

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Sweet Basil

A couple of years ago, on one of my many visits home, I bought a cheapie pot of basil at the supermarket. That pot of basil still sits on the window sill in the kitchen at my parents’ house and my mother plucks leaves from it when she makes a Caprese salad or needs some fresh seasoning. It doesn’t look too pretty now – it’s rather tall and skinny with a stick that helps to keep it upright – but it continues to be a fragrant and delicious addition to family meals. (more…)

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Stichelton and Colston Bassett Stilton

Stichelton (left) and Colston Bassett Stilton (right)

Stilton is one of the most well-known blue cheeses in the world — up there with Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Cabrales. As possibly the most traditional English cheese, Stilton is often called the “King of English cheeses” and sometimes (and more controversially!) the “King of Blues.”

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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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On the cheese platter: a raw milk, blue cheese - Stichelton

On the cheese platter: a raw milk, blue cheese – Stichelton

A common question we get on the cheese counter is about how to put together a cheese plate, be it for a cocktail party or as a dinner course. There aren’t any rules per se – after all, it really comes down to what you will enjoy eating!  That said, when customers ask, we generally offer the following recommendations:

- It’s usually nice to include at least one cheese from each of the three major milk categories: cow, sheep and goat.

- Similarly, we like to include a variety of textures. For example, one might choose something smooth and spreadable (think Camembert, Brie or a chèvre), something semi-soft (for example, Vendéen Bichonne or Ardrahan) and something on the firmer side (ComtéCalcagno or a Boerenkaas).

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Dorset cheese from Consider BardwellThis is one of the most common questions that I and, I suspect, my fellow cheesemongers field on a daily basis.  It is a good question to ask because how you store your cheese can profoundly affect both its flavor and longevity. (more…)

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Lo Brusc Acacia honey

When putting together cheese plates for our classes, we pair a condiment with each cheese flight.

Floriano Turco honey: Melata di Bosco

Not only is it fun for folks to try new things together but the ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ phenomenon certainly comes into play when pairing cheeses with condiments. Classic go-tos for cheeses are honey, jam and membrillo (quince paste).  We also have a range of mostardas from Italy that provide a wonderfully spicy/fruity compliment to some of our stronger cheeses.  The rule of thumb (as with wine pairings) is generally to match strength to strength. (more…)

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