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Thanksgiving Cheese 2014

Our top Thanksgiving cheese picks for 2014: Shelburne 2 Year Cheddar, Verano, Bayley Hazen Blue, and Sage Farm’s fresh goat cheese

One of our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving is with a round up of some of New England’s best cheeses. While we love the fruits of Europe’s great cheese-making traditions, Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to reflect on and celebrate American cheese makers, and our country’s own tradition of beautiful cheeses of all milk types and textures. This year, our Cambridge store’s domestic cheese buyer Tripp, along with the rest of the cheese team, have brought together four of our favorite Vermont cheeses for a perfect addition to the holiday table!

Shelburne Farms 2 Year Cheddar

Founded in 1886 as a model agricultural estate, Shelburne Farms sits on the edge of Lake Champlain in Shelburne Vermont, just fifteen minutes south of Burlington. In addition to their successful dairy, vegetable, and sustainable forestry programs, Shelburne Farms also runs an nonprofit dedicated to conservation education, and in 2001 it was named a National Historic Landmark. Their Vermont farmhouse cheddar is made solely with raw milk from their herd of grass-fed Brown Swiss cows, and comes in a variety of ages. Our favorite is this two-year old cheddar, which has a delightful crumbly texture and turns creamy on the palate.

Verano

One of the the original New England artisan cheesemakers, David Major raises sheep with his wife and family in Westminster Vermont. They model their sheep’s milk cheeses after aged mountain cheeses of the Pyrénées, and Verano in particular has caught the attention of cheese lovers on both sides of the Atlantic. Verano, which means “summer” in Spanish, is made with their herd’s summer milk. The sheep’s summer diet of wild herbs and grasses gives their milk, and resulting cheese, extra herbaceous notes in it’s earthy sweetness. This cheese is wonderful with classic pairings, like the cherry jam from staff-favorite Boutique Arraya. It also pairs wonderfully with more seasonal tart treats like Wood’s Cider Jelly!

Bayley Hazen Blue

Recently crowned the “best unpasteurized cheese in the world” at the 2014 World Cheese Awards in England, Bayley Hazen Blue regularly features as another Formaggio Kitchen staff favorite. The creamy, crumbly texture of Bayley Hazen Blue is an immediate stand-out among blue-veined cheeses, with flavors of sweet grass and peppery spice. The Ayrshire cow’s milk provides a nutty, pleasantly farmy foundation for this complex cheese. Jasper Hill Farm in far north Greensboro Vermont makes phenomenal cheeses using milk from their small herd of Ayrshire cows. They also run an expansive, top-notch aging facility used by many of the state’s other producers including the much-loved Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.

Sage Farm

Molly and Katie Pindell have been making cheese in Stowe Vermont since 2008. Together with their small herd of registered Alpine goats, they produce some of our favorite fresh goat cheeses made in Vermont. Styled after the French classic Valencay, Sterling is dusted with ash and aged for just two weeks, and it’s smooth texture yields a rich, tart flavor. Madonna is denser, but still creamy, with a brighter, lemony flavor that pairs beautifully with New England honey.

 

All four cheeses are available together online as part of our Thanksgiving Cheese Bundle, paired with Vermont’s own Castleton Crackers and Wood’s Cider Jelly.

For more Thanksgiving cheese ideas, check out our 2012 Thanksgiving Cheese Board, and our 2011 picks for celebrating America-the-melting-pot with international cheeses!

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Get ready for Thanksgiving turkey!

Get ready for Thanksgiving turkey!

As a young girl my family would travel every year to share Thanksgiving dinner with family. I remember singing “Over the river and through the woods…” ad nauseam at least one of those trips. I grew more and more excited as the car crossed the Connecticut River, then through the mountain forests; the Appalachian Mountains. I knew with each landmark I was that much closer to seeing my cousins and the feast they would have prepared. Images of the giant bird, dripping with juicy gravy, made me anxious to arrive.

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I Clivi in Corno di Rosazzo

I Clivi in Corno di Rosazzo

This year, we decided to let each of our wine buyers choose their number one pick for a Thanksgiving wine. Here we have an Italian bubbly from Gemma, an off-dry German white from Julie, and a French red from Jessica. Happy sipping and have a safe and delicious holiday! (more…)

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Thanksgiving Wine and CheeseAs tradition goes, Pinot Noir or Beaujolais are typically served with turkey and its many accompaniments. That said, it’s not always so easy to predict what will appear at the Thanksgiving feast, whether it’s Aunt Liz’s sweet potatoes with marshmallows, Uncle Mike’s maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, or Zia Della’s baked ziti. Such varied cuisine calls for Zelig-like wines. They must accommodate the potential for sweet, salty, savory, and bitter all in the same bite and therefore require plenty of freshness and acidity with the ability to cleanse the palate. However, they must also show enough ripeness to work with sweetness.

The following are a few selections that meet the above criteria and will drink well alongside your Thanksgiving dinner. A discount of 10% will be offered on six or twelve bottles of these featured wines. (more…)

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Thanksgiving Cheese Spread

We love Thanksgiving. It may mean a variety of things to a variety of people but there are many common threads – turkey, family, friends, cranberries, football, a full stomach and, in many cases, an afternoon nap or walk. This year, we checked in with our domestic cheese buyer, Tripp, who has put together a wonderful Thanksgiving cheese board, incorporating a cross-section of milk types and textures. He draws on some old favorites but also includes a couple of newer cheeses that we think are destined to become classics in their own right! (more…)

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Formaggio Kitchen Wine ShelvesWondering what to serve with your Thanksgiving meal? Leave it to Formaggio Kitchen’s wine buyers to handle those details for you! South End Wine Buyer, Julie Cappellano, and Cambridge Wine Buyer, Gemma Iannoni, have chosen three delicious wines that will save you the time and effort:

Molière ’11 Beaujolas Nouveau (Burgundy, France)

There aren’t many producers out there that go to the lengths that Bruno and Isabelle of Domaine des Côtes de la Molière do – they make biodynamic Beaujolais Nouveau without added sulfites! (more…)

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Isabelle and Bruno Perraud's Beaujolais Nouveau

In the Beaujolais region of Burgundy the third Thursday of November marks the release of the young wine that is made from indigenous Gamay grape. The infamous Beaujolais Nouveau is made by carbonic maceration, a way of fermenting the juice while it is still inside the grape by placing whole bunches of grapes in a closed vat. As the grapes on the bottom of the vat are crushed under the weight of the grapes above they burst and begin to ferment, releasing carbon dioxide that starts the fermentation process in the other grapes. This fermentation takes only four to five days, and produces a soft, fruity wine with little to no tannins. (more…)

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