One of the most memorable trips my wife, Valerie, and I have taken in pursuit of new cheeses was in 1993. We traveled to Castelmagno, home to the famous Italian cheese of the same name. Located on the very northwest fringes of Italy, Castelmagno is a small commune or municipality, consisting of several hamlets. We were invited to visit the region by our friend and mentor, Matteo Ascheri. The hamlet we visited had only one albergo (inn) and a total population of 56. Eleven of those inhabitants made Castelmagno. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘food’
Here are some posts and articles related to food and drink worth a read from various sources on the web:
- The Truth on Olive Oil Health - a post from Tom Mueller about Dr. Mary Flynn and her work to “…start separating the wheat from the chaff in olive oil health, by building a canon of solid scientific information, and debugging a number of widespread olive oil misconceptions.”
- How to Eat a Porcupine - not only one of the best post titles but a beautifully written travelogue about the emotional progression of eating bushmeat in a foreign land. (more…)
Posted in Breads, Crackers & Snacks, Food History, France, Producer Profile, tagged Apollonia Poilâne, bread, food, Ibu Poilâne, Lionel Poilâne, pain au levain, Pain Poilâne, Pierre Poilâne, Poilâne bread on March 29, 2013 | 7 Comments »
If you love good bread, chances are you will be familiar with the name Poilâne. We started working with Lionel Poilâne in the mid-90s, flying his bread in each week to supply a small, but growing group of customers who had developed a taste for his dense and flavorful bread while traveling abroad. Since the ”Ici Pain Poilâne” sign went up in our shop, the demand for this famed French bread has steadily increased. (more…)
At this time of year, customers often pop into the shop looking for cocoa – whether for baking a dense chocolate torte or for a warming cup of hot cocoa after hours of shoveling. There are a few different type of cocoa available and we thought it would be helpful to shed a bit of light on the differences.
What is cocoa?
Cocoa is the result of processing raw cacao seeds into what is called cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. Cocoa mass is made up of roughly equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. When you buy a chocolate bar it often has a percentage figure on it. If, for example, the label indicates 75%, that means the bar is made up of 75% cocoa mass and unless other ingredients are mixed in, 25% sugar. If you’ve ever had a taste of 100% cocoa mass, you know how important the sugar is to counterbalance the natural acidity and tannic quality of the pure cocoa. In some cases, a bit of extra cocoa butter may be added to give the chocolate a smoother textural dimension – a greater melt-in-your-mouth quality. (more…)
Posted in Candy & Confections, Desserts, Produce, Producer Profile, Recipes, tagged Bill Zaiser, blood orange, candied blood orange peel, candied fruit peel, citrus, food, Linda Zaiser, Moro blood oranges, preserving, Rancho del Sol, recipe on March 12, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Last Wednesday morning, as we received our weekly delivery of California produce, the wind was picking up and the clouds were grey and churning – a sure sign of snow on the way. As we hurriedly brought in the fresh greens, jewel-like lemons and first-of-the-season strawberries, the juxtaposition between the impending New England storm and spring produce from California was increasingly apparent. Unpacking a box of Moro blood oranges from Rancho del Sol, I was immediately hit with a rich, balsamic fragrance that was only matched in richness by the oranges’ bright ruby appearance. Having yet to preserve any of this season’s citrus fruit, I immediately decided to snap up a pound to juice and candy. (more…)
Posted in Cheese, Cheesemaking, Food Science, tagged cardoon thistle, Cheese, chymosin, coagulation, curds, fermentation-produced chymosin, food, microbial rennet, pepsin, rennet, vegetable rennet, vegetarian rennet, whey on February 4, 2013 | 1 Comment »
If, as Clifton Fadiman once said, “cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality”, then rennet could be considered the springboard of cheesemaking. Stripped down to its most basic processes, the first steps of cheesemaking involve taking warm milk, adding a starter culture (to convert the lactose in the milk to lactic acid) and adding rennet. The lactic acid begins coagulating the milk in a slow process that yields a delicate curd and some cheeses are still made using this method as the sole form of coagulation. Most cheeses, however, also employ rennet to separate the curds from the whey, speeding up the process and leading to a firmer, more elastic curd. (more…)
Some of our customers may have noticed a new fresh goat milk cheese in our cases. Carolyn Hillman, our go-to fresh chèvre producer for many years, is taking a hiatus from production for the next year or so. While heartbroken about this absence, I am thrilled to be able to support another grande dame of Massachusetts cheesemaking – Susan Sellew of Rawson Brook Farm. Susan is entering her 30th year of production! (more…)
Posted in About Us, Cheese, Christmas, Gift Giving, Gifts & Wares, Grains, Rice, Flours & Beans, Hanukkah, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, Holiday, Jams & Preserves, Meats & Charcuterie, Olive Oil & Specialty Oils, Pasta, Staff Profiles, Wine, tagged Arraya, Bleu des Basques, Comté, food, food gifts, gift ideas, Ihsan Gurdal, rillettes, robiola, Sainte-Maure Belgique, Saveur du Maquis, Vacherin Mont d'Or, Valerie Gurdal on December 12, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Ihsan and Valerie own and run the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores. As is true of any folks passionate about their jobs, work intertwines throughout all aspects of their lives. Their travels – frequent and far-flung – are largely dictated by the food producers they want to meet or to revisit, by rumors of new and exciting foodstuffs and/or food conferences such as “Cheese,” the biennial Slow Food festival held in Bra, Italy. Their larder and wine cellar are stocked with favorite items they have imported or new items they are testing out. Even when on holiday, they are in direct communication with all three stores, coordinating deliveries from Europe and generally checking to make sure everything is on track. (more…)
Posted in About Us, Christmas, Gift Giving, Gifts & Wares, Hanukkah, Recipes, Salads & Sides, Staff Profiles, tagged Comté Grand Cru, Dario Pozzolo, EH Chocolatier, food, Gruyère Vieux, Jean-Marie Cornille, La Vecchia Dispensa, macarons, Marcel Petite, Melata di Bosco del Roero, Mothais Feuille, olive oil, Raphaël, recipe, Robiola di Capra in Fico, San Giacomo on December 9, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Many of you may be familiar with Tyler as part of the two-man team behind our BBQ grill this past summer. Some of you may also know him as an instructor in our classroom where he teaches classes such as “Cheese 101″ or “Brave the Caves.” Not many though, will be familiar with his behind-the-scenes role as Cave Manager. On a weekly basis, Tyler maintains the cheeses in our caves – flipping them, rubbing them down to get rid of excess mold or cheese mites and patching cracks as needed (among many other tasks). This is no mean feat when you are handling 80-100lb. wheels of Comté, Gouda, Gruyère, cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano! (more…)
Posted in About Us, Christmas, Gift Giving, Gifts & Wares, Hanukkah, Holiday, Staff Profiles, tagged Arraya, Cheese, chicken liver mousse, Christmas, Fieschi, food, Goat Tomme, jam, Jean-Marie Cornille, Mostarda di Cremona, olive oil, Pâté Forestier, Pio Tosini prosciutto, Rush Creek Reserve, Stilton, Twig Farm on December 4, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Many of you may know Tripp as the jolly presence behind our BBQ grill this past summer. Others may be familiar with his stellar work on the cheese counter and in developing our domestic cheese program.
Tripp grew up in apple country – namely, Harvard, MA. He crossed the country to attend the University of Montana and, returning to New England after college, Tripp’s passion for food (particularly cheese) and his curiosity to learn more about food production brought him to Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge. (more…)