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…)
Archive for the ‘Producer Profile’ Category
Posted in Farms & Gardens, Produce, Producer Profile, United States, tagged barley, eating locally, eggs, farm, farms, flour, food, grains, hops, local farms, locavore, Maine farms, Massachusetts farms, organic, Produce, Red Fire Farm, Rockville Market Farm, sod, Sparrow Arc Farm, sustainable, Vermont farms, wheatberries on August 6, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Posted in Beverages, Italy, Producer Profile, Wine, tagged Chianti, Chianti Colli Senesi, food, Giovanna Tiezzi, Italy, organic, Pacina, Sangiovese, Stefano Borsa, terroir, Wine, winemakers, yeasts on July 26, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Recently, we were thrilled to welcome Giovanna Tiezzi and Stefano Borsa to our shop. Giovanna and Stefano are the dedicated growers behind Pacina wine and they stopped by our Cambridge shop on a rare visit to the United States to taste out their ’07 Chianti Colli Senesi and speak to folks about what distinguishes them from other viticoltori in their region.
Where is Pacina?
Located about twenty-five minutes east of Siena in the Chianti district of Colli Senesi, Pacina is an old convent, dating to circa 900AD. The land where the convent is located is rich in wine history insofar as Pāca was the Etruscan god of the grape harvest, the equivalent of the Roman god, Bacchus, or the Greek god, Dionysius. For centuries, wine has been made in this region.
Flash forward to 2011: Pacina serves as a home to Giovanna Tiezzi and Stefano Borsa, along with their children, Maria and Carlo. Giovanna took over the estate that was bought by her great-grandparents. Today, she and Stefano cultivate a wide range of produce – from cereals, to fruit, to vegetables, to extra virgin olive oil. Giovanna and Stefano are, however, probably best known for their wine. As with everything they produce, it is organic. (more…)
Posted in Beverages, Pairings, Producer Profile, Recipes, Wine, tagged Blanc, cocktails, Comté, Drink, Dry, El Brioso, France, gin, John Gertsen, Manhattans, martini, martinis, Morbier, Pompier Highball, Rouge, Tome des Bauges, Tomme de Savoie, vermouth, Vermouth Cassis, Vermouth de Chambéry, Wine, wormwood on July 14, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Summer is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with the newest addition to our little family of wines from the Savoie: Dolin Vermouths.
Dolin has been making vermouth in Chambéry, France since 1821. Vermouth de Chambéry is actually the only AOC for vermouth in France, and Dolin is the last remaining independent Vermouth de Chambéry producer. Dolin starts with a light base white wine (no more than 10% alcohol) and then fortifies with sugar and infuses it with dozens of the local Alpine plants that grow in the hills above Chambéry. (more…)
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…)
Posted in Beer, Beverages, Germany, Pairings, Producer Profile, tagged 1809, Beer, Berliner Weisse, bottle conditioned, Chällerhocker, Doemens, Dr. Fritz Briem, German beer, Germany, Grut Bier, historical beer, Napoleon, top fermented, Twig Farm Old Goat, Weihenstephan & Doemens on May 26, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
At the moment, we have in stock two unusual beers crafted by Dr. Fritz Briem of Doemens. Doemens is a food academy and learning center based in Gräfelfing, Germany, just west of Munich. They offer a wide variety of in-depth courses for food professionals, including ones about brewing beer. (more…)
After an exhilarating five days of intensive tasting in and just outside of Verona at VinItaly, VinNatur, and Vino Vino Vino, my palate has been reinvigorated and my “wine speak” in Italian has once again been thoroughly challenged and expanded.
VinItaly is Verona’s infamous wine expo that brings together over 4,000 producers in a cluster of twelve bustling, cavernous convention halls. Conversely, VinNatur and Vino Vino Vino are smaller, organic tastings that are held in historic sites outside of the city and exhibit less than 150 producers. I tasted recent vintages of some of my already established favorites and made some new discoveries along the way. (more…)
When Valerie, Ihsan and I visited the Ameztoi Winery in October of last year, rosé season was months away. Now a cool but sunny April has arrived and with it has come our first shipment of Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado*.
Ameztoi is one among a cluster of wineries perched high in the hills of the Getaria province of Spain, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. On a clear day, you can see the city of San Sebastián from Ameztoi’s vineyards.
Ignacio Ameztoi is a 7th generation winemaker. He and his enormous German Shepherd gave us a personal tour of the family winery – a pretty building completely surrounded by grapevines with a stunning view of the Atlantic. Ameztoi’s vines are quite old, many 150 years or older. (more…)
Peak Organic, based on Portland, ME is a relatively young brewery, having started operations in the ’90s. Jon Cadoux, the brewer behind the company, began with the goal of developing something tasty while striving at the same time for sustainability. Even in the early days, he tried to source as many of his ingredients from local, organic farmers as possible. Today, the company’s commitment to producing organic beers remains the same. In 2009, they helped Maine farmers grow the first harvest of commercial hops in that state since the 1860s. This harvest was organic.
Peak Organic focuses on doing “contemporary takes on traditional styles of beer.” Right now, I can’t get enough of their Simcoe Spring Ale. The Simcoe hop is a particular strain grown by the Maine farmers mentioned above. Simcoe hops are amazingly piney and have a dark sweetness like sap honey. Peak Organic has captured the essence of this hop perfectly. Their Simcoe Spring Ale is deep enough and dark enough to be a belly warmer for the first chilly days of early Spring but it really shines on those optimistic 50 degree days when you might think about sitting out on the back porch in the afternoon with a beer and a book.
Among the many hats he wears, Eric Meyer is the Beer Buyer, Grill Master and a cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.
My first introduction to Gouda was the industrial variety that the Dutch ship all over the world: beige-ish, wrapped in red paraffin and fairly pliant. Traveling in Greece when I was sixteen, we bought Gouda, salami and fresh bread almost every day, making a quick sandwich for lunch. I thought those sandwiches were delicious – I think part of it was the fact that I was generally ravenous when lunch time came around – but, part of it was also the mild creaminess of the cheese paired with the salami.
The Dutch produce large volumes of cheese and about 75% of it is shipped overseas. Although they aren’t quite the largest cheese-producing nation, because they export such a large percentage of their production, the Dutch are the world’s largest exporters of cheese. And, 60% of the cheese the Dutch produce is Gouda. Gouda and Edam are produced in essentially the same way but the fat content of their milks differ – Gouda is made with whole milk and Edam with partially skimmed milk. For both of these cheeses, a necessary part of the cheesemaking process is “washing” the curds. (more…)
Fellow monger, Erin, and I drove up to the Cellars at Jasper Hill before the holidays. The object of our journey: to pick up 40 wheels of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, 20 wheels of Landaff cheese and a number of other Jasper Hill cheeses: Constant Bliss, Weybridge, Hartwell, Oma, Winnimere and Caspian. En route, we stopped to visit with the makers of Landaff cheese, Doug and Deb Erb in Landaff, New Hampshire. (more…)