5 Cheeses that Love Champagne

moet-70566_640It’s that time of year again! Break out the bubbles, chocolate hearts, and turn up the romance. Here are some of our favorite cheese and Champagne pairings you will totally fall in love with.

Love at Mast assortment_love_at_mast_2015

We get very young wheels of Champlain Valley Triple Creme and add Mast Brother’s chocolate both inside and out before it grows its fluffy white rind. We’ve been developing and aging these guys for several years now (check out the video of how we make them here) and with the help of the Mast Brother’s, we’ve developed a cheese you can really toast to!

Cremont – Vermont Creamery

This tangy and sweet mixed-milk cheese is one of the most luscious little buttons out there. Made in Vermont by one of our all-time favorite cheesemakers, these wheels are crafted with love. While primarily made of goat’s milk, the addition of a touch of cream makes this cheese so creamy, the effervescence of Champagne is the perfect pairing.

Moses Sleeper – Jasper Hill

Yolky, slightly mushroomy and unbelievably spreadable, this Vermont Bloomy Rind is ready to be slathered all over some crusty bread, and begs to be enjoyed with something bubbly. If you’re not so big on Champagne, or just in the mood to change things up, hard cider is also a mind-blowing pairing.

Hudson Flower

00000008828_cavemaster-hudson-flowerThis cheese starts its life as Kinderhook Creek, but when we are finished with it, the transformation is hard to miss. Rolled in local herbs and hops flowers, these sheep milk wheels are then aged in our Natural Rind cave for several weeks. The end result is a deeply herbaceous flavor bomb is elevated with a crisp, citrusy bubbly.

Humboldt Fog – Cyprus Grove 

California sparkling wine has meet its match with this go-to Cali goat’s milk cheese. Humboldt Fog has become synonymous with artisan American cheesemaking, and is at the top of the list for cheese aficionados and novices alike! Uncork some bubbles to bring out this cheese’s minerality.

How Stinky Cheeses Get Their Funk

greenswardWe aren’t afraid to say it: we love the stinky stuff. The stinkier the better! But, how does a cheese get it’s funk? Well Matt Spiegler from Cheese Notes, one of the best cheese blogs out there, gives us the run-down on how these stinkers are made in this month’s Edible Brooklyn.

Matt brings up one of the most important factors in making a stinky cheese, the washing of the curd in booze. This is what gives this family of cheese its name — Washed Rind. Wheels of cheese are washed in many different styles of alcohol, ranging from beer and wine, to even absinthe and cider. While this does not necessarily impart the flavor profile of the booze, it does have some interesting effects on the rind of a cheese. It introduces a new set of bacteria and yeasts. As Matt explains:

The best known are the Brevibacterium linens, which impart red and orange hues and distinctive aromas — meaty, wet grass, broth, barnyard, even “gym sock” — to prized washed-rind cheeses like nose-searing Époisses or funky, custardy Taleggio. But not all washed rind cheeses are “stinky”; some range toward fruity, floral, pleasantly sour and yeasty; others might not even read as “washed” at first taste, so subtle is the influence.

Matt calls out some of his all-time favorite American washed rinds, and Murray’s was lucky enough to get a shout-out for our Cavemaster Reserve Greensward (pictured above)! This cheese starts its life as Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm, but comes to us very young, where we bathe it in booze and develop its orange rind. Matt describes Greensward as “rich, milky and meaty, with bacon and caramelized onion notes and a distinctly woodsy infusion from its time in the bark belt.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The Real Deal with Nacho Cheeze

DCIM100MEDIAWe’ve all been there, standing in line at a Yankee’s game, shelling out $36 for 3.5 ounces of beer, when hunger pangs strike. You look around and assess your options. Emulsified pork-in-a-tube that’s been wading in tepid water since the summer of  `87. No thanks, I’ll pass.

Then it hits you: nachos! Boom, everything is good again. Your mouth waters as the concession stand worker pumps that sweet, sweet yellow nectar all over the tortilla chips. (If I could create a GIF of those magical 13 seconds, and have it eternally loop in my head, I would happily trade away my first born.)

But there’s that nagging question, the one we do everything we can to avoid: “Is that stuff REALLY cheese?” As quick is the thought appears, it’s deflected and stored in that special little corner of our brain that houses all of our poor food choice decisions. But the truth is, that nacho sauce that’s pumped out of a tub, or the stuff that comes spewing out of aerosol cans is cheese in the same sense that margarine is butter.

The mythological story (courtesy of Bloomberg) of nachos is a fellow down in Mexico named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya needed to feed some American tourists. He reached for a wheel of Wisconsin cheddar, grated it on top of some tortillas, and plopped on some jalapenos. Today, many of the commercial available nacho cheese dips, spreads, and  goos might be flavored with cheddar, but contain such lovely emulsifying, hydrogenating, and stabilizing ingredients like modified tapioca starch, maltodextrin, and sodium stearoyl (YUM!). And while the FDA has many classifications of cheese manufactured in the United States, “nacho” seems to be left off the list. This means that nacho cheese can really be whatever you want it to be, and food companies can slap the word “nacho” on any old cheese flavored product they feel like. It’s marketing, y’all!

So now, approaching Super Bowl Sunday, we’re offering a recipe (adapted from The Foodie Affair) for some high-brow nachos for game day. Because while the goopy yellow “cheeze” has a soft spot in our hearts, we’re real cheese people, thankyouverymuch.

Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add onion and sauté until fragrant and soft. Add garlic and blend into onions.
  2. Add flour to the onion mixture, stirring for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Add milk and begin adding cheese one cup at a time. Stir until melted and warm (approximately 5 minutes).

Cheese, Beer, and the Super Bowl: Murray’s Guide to Doing it Right

beer!

By John David Ryan, Field Merchandiser and Beer Connoisseur Extraordinaire 

It’s that time of year: Super Bowl season! We’re all talking about things like: what are Russell Wilson’s chances of leading his team to a repeat victory? What will we serve for game day snacks? Who will have the best commercials? Will the halftime show be as terrible as it always is? And what kind of Uggs will Tom Brady be wearing at the post-game press conference? These are important details—I must know!

 Cheddar & IPA

If you’re like the rest of the cool kids, then you probably drink IPAs and talk about how much you appreciate a fresh, hoppy beer with intense notes of citrus and pine. But seriously: it’s hard to beat a well-made India Pale Ale. Known for starting the American craft beer craze, these West Coast originals aren’t necessarily a beginner-friendly beer, but are probably the most widely enjoyed ale. And they’re made for pairing. Try one with a clothbound cheddar. The crumbly, acidic cheese holds its own against the bitter beer.

Beer suggestions: Ithaca Flower Power, Ballast Point Sculpin, Dogfish Head 60 Minute

Gouda & Stout

Gouda is that fun friend who we all want to show up to our party because they make it so much better. Plus, Gouda comes lots of different ways: creamy, smoked, aged, with caraway seeds, etc. I prefer an aged gouda. It’s full of crystals! Delicious, crunchy tyrosine crystals (that’s an amino acid), which typically form within cheeses that have been aged over a year. It’ll be drier, with hints of caramel, salt and butterscotch. For that reason, you need some sweetness to balance it out. Go with a big stout—something with a lot of roasty, chocolate flavors. (Don’t be afraid to add some honey to the equation if you like it really sweet.) Think of it as a boozy chocolate sea salt caramel truffle—your party guests will be amazed.

 Beer Suggestions: Alesmith Speedway, North Coast Old Rasputin, Evil Twin I Love You With My Stout

Brie & Belgian Pale Ale

It’s hard not to love a double or triple crème brie. The decadent, buttery paste just melts in your mouth. But you need something with bubbles to help cleanse your palate of all of that goodness. Traditionally, you’d pop open a bottle of champagne—but who brings Moet & Chandon to a football party? Grab a Belgian pale or golden ale—something with a cork and cage on top like champagne. It lets you know that it’s been bottle fermented and will give you lots of bubbles, which is exactly what you want with a creamy cheese like this.

Beer Suggestions: Brooklyn Local 1, Ommegang BPA, Brassiere d’Achouffe La Chouffe

Blue & Barleywine

Blue cheese can be intimidating. Heck: its got blue mold throughout the paste. But it becomes a magical food when you properly pair it. For starters, get a younger, creamier blue like Cambozola Black Label or Chiriboga or even Stilton. Then crack open a barleywine—a big ale with a ton of malty sweetness. You’ll taste toffee, dark fruits, molasses and caramel—but watch out! Because of the amount of grain used in making a barleywine, they’re typically higher in alcohol. So if Uncle Larry has a foul mouth and gets loud after a few brews, maybe steer him away from this one.

Beer Suggestions: Central Waters Kosmyk Charlie’s Y2K, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Stone Old Guardian

Alpine & Brown

When I think of paradise, it often involves a herd of cows with bells on their necks, lush pastures, snow-capped mountains, and a smelly shepherd with one of those long, curved sticks…or a beach in the Caribbean. I mean, they’ve got fruity drinks with umbrellas there, but they don’t have Alpine cheeses. Most Alpines are still made by traditional methods and are regulated to insure they are of the highest quality. But when I want a fantastic nutty Alpine cheese, I dream of Comte. I reach for Gruyere. I covet a pound of Appenzeller…and something to wash it down with it. For that, you’ll need a brown ale. Just like Alpine cheeses, brown ales are slightly sweet, nutty, and thoroughly enjoyable by everyone. They are an easy pairing that everyone at your party will love. Then too, if you have leftovers, you can always whip up some fondue!

 Beer Suggestions: Anchor Brekle’s Brown, Bells Best Brown, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog

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