Eat Cheese, Drink Summer Beers & Be Merry

By John David Ryan

 

I love beer. I drink it year ‘round. But it’s 90 degrees outside right now. I have a cabinet full of barrel-aged quads and stouts–and most of them will still be there when the leaves start to change. No one’s hammering a Founders KBS or Thirsty Dog Wulver right now. You’re drinking session ales. You’re drinking freshly hopped beer. You’re drinking plenty of pale.

But it’s prime time for cheese, too! Cows and sheep and goats across the world are eating plenty of lush, fresh, green grass. They’re turning it into creamy milk and cheese-makers are producing some of their finest products.

Let’s put the two together.

Go grab some Bijou from Vermont Creamery. Seriously. Do it right now. And while you’re out picking it up, grab a sixer of Bell’s Brewery’s Oberon. It’s the perfect summer wheat beer–not too sweet, not too spicy, and not too heavy. Or, if you want to keep it all in Vermont, maybe try some Otter Creek Fresh Slice. It complements the tangy, metallic flavors in Allison Hooper’s super creamy take on crottin. Bijou is a perfect little button of goat’s milk cheese.

Few things intimidate curd nerds like washed rind cheese. And even the most serious of hop heads can be turned off by a sour beer. Fret not! You can pair the two and simultaneously overcome your fears. Cato Corner Farm washes its Hooligan in brine until it reaches stinky orange perfection. Try it with Westbrook’s Gose or Evil Twin’s Nomader Weisse. The tart, acidic beer helps bring out the creaminess of the cheese.

Everyone loves cheddar. Everyone. If you don’t like cheddar, then you probably don’t like cute kittens, rainbows or laughing babies either. Seriously–what’s not to love about crumbly, intense cheddar? And if you want the best cheddar in the world, you’re probably going to grab Montgomery’s Clothbound English cheddar. And if you are going to pair it with beer, you’re probably going to get an IPA. And if you’re going to get an IPA, you want a hoppy, American beer. And that’s why you’re going to buy some Ithaca Flower Power or Founders’ All Day IPA.

Finally, we come to the easy drinkers. The pale ales. The pilsners. The lagers. Get you some Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale or Stillwater Classique or maybe a Pinkus Ur-Pils. Anyone can love a lighter beer, and they pair beautifully with tome-style cheeses. My current favorite is Margot. This fine Italian cheese is made by 4th generation cheese makers, and it’s washed in BEER! The hint of hops on the outside sets off the flavors of the fudgy interior.

Eat (cheese), drink and be merry.

The Best of Frenemies: Red Wine & Triple Crème Cheese

Consider this a friendly PSA from your favorite cheesemongers: Just say “No!” to Bloomies and red wine!

We know how it is…you just brought home an amazing little creambomb from Murray’s and you want to dig in RIGHT AWAY, just after you pour yourself a bulbous glass of Barolo to sip on while you chow down. STOP. Put down the bottle and slowly step away from the counter. What you were about to do was the equivalent of tap dancing all over a patch of unsuspecting, happy little daisies. Big reds are full of flavor and cream-killing tannins–don’t get us wrong, we love ‘em, but there’s a time and a place, people. Or should we say, a TOMME and a place.  It’s best to pair your bloomies with complementary flavor profiles that won’t shout over their delicate notes. We have some tips to help you through this confusing time.

Delice de Bourgogne - Pasteurized Cow Milk, France

A tribute to small scale industrial French cheese-making, Delice de Bourgogne (Burgundy) is produced by Fromagerie Lincet. The pasteurized triple creme (75% butterfat – booyah) marries full-fat cow milk with fresh cream, producing an unapologetic rich, whipped delight. Unlike many straightforward triple-cremes, this one has a thin, pungent mold rind that imparts straw and mushroom aromas, complementing the buttery yellow, sweet cream interior. Sure it’s from Burgundy (just like the wine), but this is one instance where what grows together does NOT go together. A full-bodied red will decimate all those delicate flavors like a bull stampede through a chandelier factory. Play nice with white wine and bubbles instead!

Serving tip: It makes a dreamy brunch treat when served with fresh berry jam on baguette and a glass of champagne.

La Tur - Pasteurized Sheep, Goat & Cow Milk

Not all bloomies are mild and buttery. La Tur is a great example of a creamy cheese that has rich, full flavors, but that doesn’t mean you should go running to the Barberra aisle at your local wine shop. La Tur is runny and oozing around the perimeter with a moist, cakey, palette-coating paste; its flavor is earthy and full, with a lingering lactic tang. The effect is like ice cream served from a warm scoop: decadent and melting from the outside in. Barolo and other big reds will wash away all that richness without giving it a chance to work its magic on your palate.  And who wants to do a thing like that?

Serving tip: Always a hit at parties, serve this crowd-pleaser with fresh fruit, dried figs and Prosecco. An ideal regional pairing would be a sparkling Asti Spumante- effervescence will whisk away the richness while matching the mild acidity.

Go Big or Go Home: The BFFs

O.K. No need to dump your Barolo down the drain–now’s when we tell you what DOES go with bold reds. Phew!

If you want a soft cheese to serve with your favorite scene-stealing red, go for washed rinds like Epoisses, Hudson Red or C Local. These cheeses are washed in booze or brine as they age, so they grow up learning how to handle their liquor, so to speak. You can also delve into more aged sheep and mixed milk cheeses, which are inherently more intense flavor-wise.

 

 

Podda Classico – Pasteurized Sheep and Cow, Italy

Now were talking! Podda is rich, nutty and salty and strong enough to stand up to everything a Barolo can put out.  Sheep milk is naturally fattier, and as every chef knows, where there’s fat, the flavor isn’t far behind.  The gutsy flavor cuts through the red’s tannins and smooths everything out real nice like.  Podda is a wonderful pasteurized mix of cow and sheep milk  from the glorious island of Sardinia. Aged for almost one year, this cheese has a wonderful sweet, nutty flavor, a crumbly slightly crunchy texture, and a lingering tangy finish.

Ossau-Iraty Vielle – Raw Sheep, France

Ossau is the grand dame of the cheese world and everyone knows how granny likes her liquor.  The nutty, brothy, somewhat fish-saucy notes wafting out of a slice of Ossau pretty much dare red wine to bring it.  Like the Podda, the sheep milk helps mellow out the rough spots so all you get is bright, full flavor. Somebody break out the bottle of Nebbiolo!

Consider the Cheese Curd: A Spotlight On Consider Bardwell Farm

By Lizzie Roller

Three Times the Charm

Consider Stebbins Bardwell originally founded the farm in 1864, and the historic farm is Vermont’s oldest dairy co-op.  Of British decent, the farm made solely young block cheddar, but they made so much of it that direct rail lines had to be built to transport the cheese from the farm.  After the Great Depression, the farm was taken over by the Nelson Family, and was then known as the Nelsonville Cheese Company.  The current owners, Angela Miller and Rust Glover, took over in 2001 and began cheese-making shortly after, in 2004.  They are only the third-ever owners of the farm, and this year marks (concurrently) the farm’s 10th and 150th anniversary!

Playing Both Sides

The land that constitutes Consider Bardwell Farm is situated right on the border between Vermont and New York.  In fact, the section where the animals graze and the hay grows lies on the New York side, while the creamery is situated on the Vermont side, allowing the farm’s allegiance to both states.

Small Beginnings

In the beginning, the farm had just 8 goats.  Fast forward ten years, and they now boast over 120!  Goats are actually the only animals they keep themselves.  In order to make their cow milk cheeses, they partner with two neighboring farms that, combined, milk 40 Jersey cows.  Everyone must meet Consider Bardwell’s very strict guidelines for milk quality and animal care (their pastures are certified organic).  Their cheese production helps support and revitalize the local community, which is a welcome bonus, along with the wheels of great cheese they share with the rest of us.

Attention to Detail

Murray’s & CB’s collaboration: Barden Blue

At the farm and creamery they share the kitchen notion of “Do it nice or do it twice!”  For one, their animals are Animal Welfare Agency approved and graze on meticulously kept native grassland; their cheeses are all made with raw milk and in small batches; uniquely, they use a “mother culture” (similar to that of sourdough bread) to wash the wheels of Manchester, which then rely on ambient cultures native to their caves to achieve maximum ripeness; and finally, Pawlet started off as a natural rind cheese, but after a little experimentation, they discovered they preferred it as a washed rind.  The ten pound wheels are hand-washed three times per week—it increases the workload significantly, but the result is exceptionally delicious.

New Curds on the Block: Cloumage from Shy Brothers Farm

One Cheese. So Many Ways to Enjoy.

Let Us Introduce You to Cloumage®.

 by Shy Brothers Farm

 

Shy Brothers Farm is so excited to be introducing Cloumage® to the customers of Murray’s cheese shops in Kroger’s supermarkets and its NYC stores. Cloumage® is a versatile creamy fresh farmstead cheese, made with our own cow’s milk in scenic, coastal Westport, Massachusetts. Our cows have the luxury of enjoying acres of acres of lush grass seasoned by the sea air. The milk produced by these happy cows produces the unique flavor you’ll experience with Cloumage®. Creamy with a little tang.

 

What’s the best way to enjoy Cloumage®? That’s a difficult question because there are just SO many. Try “as is” with a little fig jam or herbs – it’s a nice way to start and truly enjoy the flavor and texture of the cheese. From there, sky’s the limit. Chefs have been using Cloumage® in both savory and sweet dishes, from pizza and salad toppings to cheesecakes and pies. Pastry chefs have been substituting half the butter in their recipes with Cloumage® with palette pleasing results.

 

Following are a few of our favorite recipes that are perfect for this time of year – Greek Tzatziki (condiment for burgers, chicken, dipping, etc), Cloumage® & Rosemary Stuffed Dates and Spaghetti Squash with Cloumage® Pesto. We’d love to hear how you enjoy Cloumage® and welcome your feedback!

 

For more recipes and to learn more about Shy Brothers Farm and Cloumage®, we invite you to visit our website.

 

 

Greek Tzatziki

 

Ingredients:

½ English cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise & seeds removed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 cup of Cloumage®

juice of ½ lemon

1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

 

Puree cucumber in food processor

Add garlic, Cloumage®, dill and lemon juice and pulse until smooth

Season with salt and pepper to taste

 

Use as a condiment on burgers, with chicken, pork, lamb or as a dip for veggies or chips.

 

 

Cloumage® & Rosemary Stuffed Dates

 

Makes approximately 12 stuffed dates.

 

Ingredients:

12 dates (pits removed)

1/2 cup Cloumage®

1 tsp honey

1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

pinch of smoked paprika

12 walnut pieces

 

Mix Cloumage®, honey, rosemary & paprika in a bowl.

Fill dates with Cloumage mixture.

Top each with a walnut piece

Sprinkle a little more smoked paprika on top.

 

 

Spaghetti Squash with Cloumage® Pesto

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

2 spaghetti squashes (or 1 lb pasta)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup fresh pesto

1 tub of Cloumage® (15 oz)

salt and pepper to taste

peas (optional)

 

For Spaghetti Squash:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and put halves on cookie cheese cut side up

Roast for 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife

Discard seeds and remove “spaghetti” with a fork

 

For Sauce:

Add olive oil to sauté pan over medium heat

Sauté garlic just until you can smell the garlic aroma

Warm pesto in the pan then whisk in Cloumage®

Add salt and pepper to taste

Toss spaghetti squash with sauce and peas and serve