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Archive for the ‘Travelogues’ Category

Landaff CreameryFellow 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…)

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Farm sign at the Burgat's Alpage homeThe evening light was fading as we ascended the mountain up to the Burgats’ alpage home outside of Manigod. With every turn that the car made, the views got even more splendid. Darkening clouds provided a sense of atmosphere and the cool air was deliciously fresh. Pulling up to the Burgats’ farmhouse, the sun was just about to disappear and the warm, yellow glow from inside their home was a welcome sight. (more…)

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Emily recently traveled to Genova to learn how to glacée candied fruits and chestnuts with the Romanengo family. 

Pietro Romanengo fu StefanoI carefully fished the candied chestnut out of the pot of hot sugar syrup, watching its outer layer become glossy with white icing. Marcello leaned in to inspect my work.

“Bella,” he said. “Bella.”

I appreciated the encouragement. Marcello, who works for the Genovese confectioner Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano, has been making marrons glacés for 30 years. I had been in Italy learning this craft for just over a day—not even a blip when you consider that Romanengo has been in business for 230 years! (more…)

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Uplands' Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Edelweiss' Gouda & EmmentalerIn the first week of November, I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the Second Annual Wisconsin Cheese Festival. Retailers and cheesemakers from across the state massed at Monona Terrace, a convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, perched on the edge of Lake Monona.

There were all sorts of tours, tastings and seminars on offer and it was hard to choose between them all but, in the end, I chose three. The first was a panel discussion entitled “The Art of Grass-based Cheeses.” Panelists included: Mike Gingrich from Uplands Cheese, Bert Paris of Edelweiss Graziers Co-Op and Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery. We tasted through several cheese flights, including, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Edelweiss Gouda and Emmentaler. We also tried two wonderful buttercream frostings (made with butter from grass-fed cows) and learned about rotational grazing methods. (more…)

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En route to ArboisDavid, Mary and I arrived in Geneva early on a crisp October morning and, after collecting our rental car, set off for the town of Arbois, crossing the border from Switzerland into France. It was a beautiful ride along steep, sinuous mountain roads. (more…)

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Ameixas d'Elvas plumsWhen is a plum not a plum? When it is a sugarplum or a plum pudding! Judging by the names of these traditional British Christmas treats, one would think that both include some quantity of plum. Not true! For centuries, the term ‘sugarplum’ has referred to any type of dried fruit, made into a small, vaguely plum-shaped sweet. During Victorian times, these sugary candies sometimes contained raisins or currants which were called plums.

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Scenes in India

Staff members here at Formaggio Kitchen regularly travel the world to seek out the unique products that we carry. While our trips have tended to focus on Europe, my colleague Tim and I recently had the opportunity to travel to India (a first for both of us!).  We were able to make the trip thanks largely to a small business grant from British Airways that gave us 10 round-trip tickets for use this year.

The primary motivation for our trip was to visit tea country. Initially, we looked into visiting the region of Assam – flat and plains-like, it is well-known for its tea. However, eventually we decided to explore the region of Darjeeling – mountainous, cool and verdant, it is nestled in the skinny part of India that sits between Nepal and Bangladesh. (more…)

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The call time was 6 a.m., but our first guests — just as excited as we were — were standing outside our door at 5:40.

Gradually, the rest of our sleepy customers arrived, picked up their coffee and croissants, and by 6:30, all 32 of us were on the road, headed for high adventure in the Green Mountain State. Our destination was the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, a gathering of about 50 local cheesemakers, 30 breweries and wineries, and a host of other food artisans making everything from mustard to nougat. The event, in its second year, was held last Sunday at the breathtakingly lovely Shelburne Farms estate outside of Burlington, and this year we organized a bus to bring our customers to the festival — a first-of-its-kind trip for Formaggio Kitchen.

The Shelburne Farms estate sits on Lake Champlain.

The Shelburne Farms estate sits on Lake Champlain.

We personally knew many of the cheesemakers at the festival and were excited not only to see them, but also to introduce them to our customers. (more…)

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Membrillo, quince paste, cotognata, marmeladaIf you love cheese, you’ve likely come across the sweet, tangy condiment called membrillo. Membrillo is the Spanish word for the quince fruit and is commonly used to refer to the sweet quince paste also known as cotognata in Italian and marmelada in Portuguese. Even though recipes vary, quince and sugar — cooked to a thick consistency, molded and cooled — are the primary ingredients. The resulting quince paste is a traditional accompaniment to many cheeses including the famous Manchego.

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Pigs drinking whey at Jasper Hill FarmOn a recent trip to Jasper Hill Farm, I had the distinct pleasure not only of tasting many delicious cheeses made and aged here in New England, but also of getting acquainted with some inhabitants of the farm who happen to be just as fond of dairy products — or by-products as the case may be — as I am.

The farm has acquired its group of piglets for the season, and man, do they love whey!

Farms producing milk and making cheese from it inherently find themselves with loads of whey, the liquid that separates out from the milk when cheese curds are formed. There are some great uses for this tangy liquid — in some cases, you can use it to make traditional ricotta and other cheeses. Or you can use it in the kitchen in place of water in breads, sauces and stews. Or you can just drink it straight, as it’s filled with protein, vitamins and minerals. You can really only consume so much whey though, and inevitably you can’t keep up with production. So the question becomes: what to do with the rest? (more…)

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