We knew it would be a fast trip, and the time spent waiting for our flight in the Newark airport did not make it any easier. Switzerland was calling and we could not have been any more prepared (and less ready) for what we were going to experience.
We landed in Geneva and made haste to the Jura region of France for a brief stop at Marcel Petite’s famed aging rooms at Fort Sant Antoine. As always, visiting Claude and the crew to taste and pick our wheels of Comté was a resounding success. The Comté offered to us was as spectacular as ever and we were introduced to new fruitières* with all new flavor profiles. This means in a few months, our customers will also be introduced to these new flavors. Exciting, but I digress…
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Posted in Cheese, France, Switzerland, Travelogues | Tagged Cheese, Comté, food, Fort Saint Antoine, Fromageries Marcel Petite, Gruyère Alpage, Gruyere, Marcel Petite, Switzerland | 2 Comments »
In celebration of Independence Day weekend, we’re featuring one delicious American wine. The Farmers Jane project is run by friends and wine lovers Angela and Faith in southern California. This tasty white is made from grapes purchased from a Santa Ynez valley vineyard belonging to the Native American Chamush tribe. In this vineyard Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Roussane grow together, and the grapes are harvested, pressed and fermented all together at the same time, old-school style. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fourth of July, United States, Wine | Tagged Farmers Jane, Grenache Blanc, Independence Day, Marsanne, Roussane, white wine, Wine | 1 Comment »
I’ve always eaten whatever I want, from ants to Uni, and all the more mainstream foods too. I grew up in a family famous for massive plates of steaming pasta and the ubiquitous bowl of warm bread to sop up the sauce my mom made. I’ve loved beer and wine equally as an adult; but more recently, beer was my focus as local craft brewers began popping up and producing amazing brews both traditional and far out.
However, over the past few years, I’ve had some digestive challenges that have forced me to change what I eat and drink. Based on elimination diets, I’ve learned my body has difficulty processing gluten, among other things. After several months of attempting to remove gluten from my diet, I feel great empathy for anyone who must remove one or more food categories from their diet.
No pasta, no bread, no beer, no crackers, no cakes, no cookies, no cannoli. Yes there are substitutes and some are very good, but corn or rice pasta doesn’t come close to traditional durum wheat pasta. Bread is one of the biggest challenges. Sometimes all I want is a slice of good levain toasted up and slathered with great butter… not gonna happen. Similarly, all I want is a cold glass of beer. Continue Reading »
Posted in Beer | Tagged Alchemist Brewery, Beer, Brasseurs Sans Gluten, Celia Saison, Element Brewing, gluten, gluten free, Glutenberg’s American Pale Ale, Ipswich Brewery, Plasma Sake IPA | Leave a Comment »
Walking into Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Exotic products, tight corners and packed shelves can lead to missed goodies and overlooked treats. This holds true in the bakery, too. Right now, we have four different baking syrups and, at first glance, you might wonder why you would buy one over another? Curious myself, I did a bit of research and in this post, I share what I gleaned. I’m going to breakdown each syrup into its profile, process, and when to use it, so that you can decide with confidence about what to choose for your next baking venture. Continue Reading »
Posted in Bakery, Bakery Supplies, Buyer's Guides | Tagged baking, cane syrup, golden syrup, Lyle's, molasses, Muddy Pond, sorghum, Steen's, syrup, syrups | Leave a Comment »
Reuilly is a wine growing appellation in the eastern Loire Valley, not far from Sancerre. The three main grapes grown there are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and a tiny amount of Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio). Pinot Gris is a sub-clone of Pinot Noir that has a very pale, blueish-grey skin. Much of the soil in Reuilly consists of Kimmeridgian marl, a type of limestone perfect for the production of aromatic, delicate wines.
Domaine de Reuilly is a 17 hectare organic estate in the heart of this commune. Denis Jamain’s grandfather first planted vines here in 1935, when he also purchased a small parcel in the local forest. Denis has been managing the estate since 1990 and has the luck of being able to select oak trees from his grandfather’s forest to be made into barrels for aging his own wines! Continue Reading »
Posted in France, Wine | Tagged jamain, Loire Valley, pinot gris, reuilly, rosé, summer, Wine | Leave a Comment »
Pot stickers, shumai, mandu, momos, pierogi, tortelli, ravioli, even tamales – dumplings come in lots of different shapes and sizes, all of them delicious. That’s why I was so excited this spring when we hosted Karen Akunowicz, executive chef at Myers + Chang, to talk about the art of crafting the perfect dumpling here in the Formaggio Kitchen classroom. Continue Reading »
Posted in Classes | Tagged classes, dumplings, food education, Karen Akunowicz, mandu, momos, Myers + Chang, pierogi, pot stickers, ravioli, shumai, tamales, tortelli | Leave a Comment »
Last fall, I had the opportunity to travel to the Jura with Ihsan and Valerie, owners of the Formaggio Kitchen shops, and visit Fromageries Marcel Petite, affineur (or ager) of Comté cheese.
All cheesemongers on our counters hear a tremendous amount about Fort Saint Antoine where Marcel Petite ages their finest wheels – it is a storied and highly respected place for us – where Philippe Goux, General Manager, and Claude Querry, Chef de Cave, bring wheels of this extraordinary mountain cheese to its full potential. Here are a few photos from my first visit – a very special experience for me as a cheesemonger and cheese lover. (please click on one of the photos to open the slideshow)
Entrance to the Fort – Few moments have impressed me as much as when I saw the entrance to the Fort. Unidentifiable from the other side of the peak, the structure, and the history of this facility is amazing – having heard so much about it, to be there myself was an extraordinary feeling.
Looking Up – The caves at the Fort are vast and beautiful. This cave is one of many and by far the largest.
Mark the Spot – A variety of symbols and initials are found on the Comté rinds. Each time a sample is taken from a wheel, a memo is left in its place. Though these symbols serve a purpose, they are also artful both in appearance, and in the movements the men take to scratch them into the rinds.
Claude’s Art – It is difficult to recall a time when I have seen someone so intensely focused on the specific moment he or she is in. Claude, the Chef de Cave at the Fort is so intense and passionate about his job, it is astounding. Here, he smells his core sample before tasting it, and then passing it around for us to try and discuss.
Mutual Respect – Seeing Ihsan and Valerie interact with their lifelong friends and colleagues made me truly appreciate the grand nature of what we do here at Formaggio Kitchen. The men and women we interacted with throughout the course of our trip absolutely adored Ihsan and Valerie. The mutual respect found in these relationships, particularly in the Jura, is wonderfully endearing, humbling, and also empowering.
Inside the Fort – A more cavernous aging room. Each room has a different humidity level and temperature to maximize the flavor of each cheese.
Remnants of Soldiers – I am unsure how anyone ever found these writing, as the hallway was pitch black, but these are the scribblings of soldiers who lived here well before the cheeses did.
The Business of Wine – Business does not happen unless there is wine! Here, we discuss our order over exquisite wines Philippe, General Manager of Marcel Petite, and Ihsan’s dear friend, has chosen for us.
Fleurie – Philippe and his wife, Christine, welcomed us, as they have so many mongers before us, into their home for a beautiful meal and wonderful conversation about Comté, France, wine and their dog Fleurie!
Meredith Rottersmann is the General Manager and Classroom Coordinator at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.
Posted in Cheese, France, Travelogues | Tagged Cheese, Claude Querry, Comté, Fromageries Marcel Petite, Ihsan Gurdal, Jura, Philippe Goux, Valerie Gurdal | 2 Comments »