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Archive for the ‘Food History’ Category

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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Fourme d'Ambert

Fourme d'Ambert

History was my major in college and, when I read about cheeses, it is the history behind them that particularly fascinates me. For example, I love being able to imagine folks in the 9th century enjoying Fourme d’Ambert when I sample out that classic, French blue cheese to customers in the shop.

Some cheeses have changed quite a lot over time. Saint-Marcellin is a prime example. Originally this was a goats’ milk cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves. As the centuries passed, however, production shifted to favor cows’ milk and, today, the cheese is pretty much known as a cows’ milk cheese. As well, Saint-Marcellin is rarely leaf-wrapped these days; it is sold in small crocks (which, when no longer holding cheese, I like to use for all sorts of things from laundry quarters to paper clips!). (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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Rhubarb

In April, I walked into the bakery and saw rhubarb piled high on the work bench, waiting to be added to a strawberry-rhubarb crisp. At the time, the weather had turned spring-like but we were still several weeks away from our own local rhubarb season. Still, that first sight of rhubarb was a lovely indicator that warm weather was on its way.  This week, our produce manager, Julio, told me that we have just started getting in local rhubarb to the shop!

Rhubarb reminds me of home – my mom makes a fantastic strawberry-rhubarb pie and, as a baker myself, the bellwether rhubarb sets my mind racing with ideas for what will soon be a profusion of fruits to choose from for crisps, breads or crostatas… (more…)

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