Thursday, January 21, 2016

My New Year's Resolution? Eat More Triple Crèmes!

Happy New Year everyone,

I hope everyone's Holiday season was exceptional! Mine was fantastic. Lots of family time and super busy/fun days at work.

To help kick off the New Year, I had a Brie/Camembert tasting party for one of my Shootin' the Bries Meetups ( It was quite a success! This was the lineup:

We started with the plate in front and worked left to right - Delice de Bourgogne, Brie de Nangis and Le Petit. I wanted to feature all cow's milk bries for the first plate and show how different cheeses of the same style and milk can taste. The Delice de Bourgogne was very buttery, the Brie de Nangis had a bit more earthiness and the Le Petit had a little more funk.

The second plate was the "non-cow's milk" plate... from left to right - Fromage d'Affinois Brebis, Fromage d'Affinois Florette and Camembert di Bufala. The Brebis was 100% sheep's milk and was a little on the ripe side, so it had the nuttyness attributed to sheep's milk, but a little more bite than a younger piece would have. The Florette was 100% goat's milk, super mild and definitely an "intro" goat's milk cheese. Not tangy or gamey at all. And the Camembert di Bufala made of 100% Water Buffalo milk was a crowd favorite with it's approachable lactic flavors with a hint of mushroom. Our 17 month old guest Lucia loved the Camembert di Bufala!

And the last plate from left to right - Marin French Camembert and Hervé Mons Camembert. It was a fun contrast to try Camemberts right after trying several Bries to see the difference in flavor. Because cream isn't added to Camembert, you get a heartier, fuller tasting cheese with a little funk. The Marin French Camembert was quite a bit milder than the Hervé Mons Camembert, but both were incredibly tasty.

Now that I've gotten bit by the "bloomy rind bug" once again, I decided to feature a triple crème in my post today...

Cheese: Saint Angel
Producer: Fromagerie Guilloteau
Region: Côtes du Rhône, France
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Yum yum yummy! I've always known that the Saint Angel and other Fromage d'Affinois cheeses from Fromagerie Guilloteau sold like hot cakes, but now I know why! After doing a little research, I found out about their "ultra-filtration" process they use in producing these cheeses. They actually remove a percentage of the water from the milk creating a more concentrated solution. They then add heavy cream to this thicker milk to reach a fat percentage of 75%. No wonder almost everybody I know loves this cheese!

The Saint Angel definitely falls into the "buttery" brie category. The rind is very thin and does not pass on much bitterness. If you let the Saint Angel ripen a bit, you'll get an ooey gooey cheese that will spill out once cut. The one that I cut open today was a little on the young side, but still creamy and delicious.

One of my favorite things to do for a special treat is to take a hunk of the Saint Angel and pour some Amarena cherries in heavy syrup over the top. It's pure bliss! Throw some sparkling wine and some fresh berries with it and you've got yourself a Valentine's Day treat sure to impress your cheese loving Valentine. On that note, I will leave you salivating... until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!! Celebrate with Caciocavallo Tartufo

Merry Christmas loyal readers!

It's hard to believe that this is the fourth holiday season I have shared with you all. Quite a lot has happened since November of 2012, when I first started this blog. I'd like to thank you all for your support and encouragement over the years. I am pleased to say that my ACS Certified Cheese Professional status was renewed this year for another three years! I hope to see this blog continue to grow and see my business flourish as well as I continue to spread the love of cheese. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Now, enough mushy stuff... on to the cheese!

I decided to feature a fun cheese that we received at the cheese counter this month that just seems to scream HOLIDAYS - the Caciocavallo Tartufo.

Cheese: Caciocavallo Tartufo
Region: Basilicata, Southern Italy
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

A fun fact I learned in researching this cheese is that Caciocavallo means "cheese on horseback", and it gets its name from how it is aged. The cheese is tied at the top (see the first picture above with the rope) and then dangled over a wooden board to drain and age. It is aged for 4-6 months in caves and is exposed to air and microbes at all angles, allowing it to develop a sharp, tangy, spicy flavor. I love how the Murray's website describes this cheese: " mozzarella on steroids or provolone with better manners..." ( 

The thing that makes this particular Caciocavallo so special, is the addition of the black truffles. I am normally not a fan of truffle cheeses because oftentimes, too much truffle oil is added. Not the case for this cheese. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought the truffle added a decadent flavor, not an overbearing one. I recently paired the Presto Prosecco with this cheese and it paired beautifully. 

Be sure to swing by your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter and get some of this tasty cheese while you can. It's only available for a limited time and it is well worth a taste. 

Until next time... eat, drink and be happy! From my family to yours - MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tomme Fleur Verte

Well, it's been about a month since I blogged about a cheese I am excited about, so I figured I should probably do so today...

Today I want to talk about an old favorite that is usually highlighted during the springtime, but is currently on promotion at all of the Whole Foods Market cheese counters in Northern California, the Tomme Fleur Verte.

Cheese: Tomme Fleur Verte
Producer: Le Chèvrefeuille, S.A.
Location: Perigord, France
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

The name "Fleur Verte" means "green flower" and it is in reference to how the whole wheel of Tomme Fleur Verte is presented. It is a wheel with scalloped edges (like a flower) that is completely covered in dried herbs (green) and pink peppercorns. The herbs are mainly thyme, tarragon and savory. The picture shown above showcases the chalk white paste with the dried green herbs around the outside.

You will notice that I did not describe the outside edge of the Fleur Verte as a "rind". This is because the Fleur Verte is a rindless cheese that is only aged for four days before being wrapped for shipment. It is a very moist, flavorful cheese that is not over the top in the goat "barnyard" flavor because it is so young. The herbs along the outside are completely edible and add a nice touch to the creamy paste. They are the main reason why I featured this fresh goat cheese during the winter because the herbs just seem to fit during the holiday season. Many folks talk about gooey, melty cheeses or hearty cheddar or funky blues during the colder months, so I wanted to feature something a little different. 

I must admit that this was how much work station was right when I sat down to write this blog, but now that I'm wrapping up, the cheese is almost completely gone. It's so unbelievably tasty! When pairing a wine with this cheese, I would be sure to pick a wine that will play nicely with the cheese's acidity. My first instinct would be to pair a California Sauvignon Blanc with the Fleur Verte because they tend to have less of a mineral flavor and more of a fruit forward flavor which would balance out the tang of the Fleur Verte quite nicely. 

This cheese is available year round at our cheese counters at Whole Foods Market, so if you're not in a fresh goat cheese mood this month, be sure to get a taste when the weather warms up again. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Petit Suisse - with fruit!

Hello everyone,

I hope your November is going swimmingly. I have been on a big yogurt kick recently and discovered that we have a fresh cheese available in the cheese department at Whole Foods Market in Los Altos that is very comparable to yogurt - Petite Suisse.

The picture quality isn't the best, but this is what the product looks like. We do not have the plain version, just the version with fruit added (strawberry, peach and raspberry respectively).

Cheese: Petit Suisse
Producer: Maîtres Laitiers du Cotentin Cooperative
Location: Normandy, France
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: None

This cheese is along the same lines of other fresh cheeses like Fromage Blanc and in this case, cream is added to up the fat content. This creates a wonderfully tasty, unctuous and filling treat. I tried to serve the Petit Suisse like this article ( recommended, but the cheese was a little too soft and ended up like this:

Regardless, it is a fantastic treat. It was first made in Normandy in 1850 when a Swiss employee at a dairy of Auvilliers near Beauvais suggested adding cream to the cured to enrich the flavor of the cheese. Petit Suisse was the result and it contains at least a 40% fat content. Many customers who are mothers like to give these to their kids because they have a slightly higher calorie content, but are still palatable to young children.

I like to indulge in the Petit Suisse because it's a nice little snack that holds me over until my next meal. If you're a fan of yogurt and want to try something a little different, swing by Whole Foods Market in Los Altos and try these little gems!

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Robiola Sapore di Bosco

Good evening!

As I was strolling by the cheese counter last week, I noticed that the "Robiola Sapore di Bosco" was on sale as a featured cheese. When I looked at the cheese, it was not at all what I was expecting to see with a name like "robiola". I'm used to the soft ripened, lovely mixed milk cheeses that we get from Piedmont. But the Robiola Sapore di Bosco is a whole different animal...

Cheese: Robiola di Bosco
Cheesemaker/affineur: Ambrogio Arnoldi
Location: Val Taleggio, Lombardy, Italy
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

This cheese is a washed rind cheese that comes in a petite 4" x 4" format. It looks and tastes a lot like Taleggio - another cheese made in Val Taleggio - but much tinier. Because of its size, the flavors of the washed rind are much more pronounced. I also noticed that it was a bit saltier than I was expecting, but that's again due to its size. The paste is nice and springy, but I'm sure with a little age, would get a touch on the runny side. 

This cheese appeared in our stores at the perfect time! As it's Autumn, the pears and apples are available in abundance and they pair with the Robiola Sapore di Bosco so beautifully! It's also very tasty with cider (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). It's a great deal right now (for the month of October) so be sure to swing by your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter and pick up this tasty cheese. 

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Kinsman Ridge from Landaff Creamery

Good evening loyal readers!

After a two month hiatus from my position at Whole Foods Market and the beloved cheese counter, I have returned! I was extremely excited to visit the cheese counter to see what new and yummy cheeses we had on promotion. To my pleasure, I saw that a cheese aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill was on promotion - the Kinsman Ridge from Landaff Creamery!

Cheese: Kinsman Ridge
Cheesemakers: Deb and Doug Erb of Landaff Creamery (aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont)
Location: Landaff, NH
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

The milk used at Landaff Creamery comes from Springvale Farm - the farm founded by Doug's parents, Dr. and Mrs. Frederick A. Erb, DVM and taken over by Doug and Deb Erb in 1989. The veterinary office that Doug's father used to occupy is now the cheese making room for Landaff Creamery! Pretty cool right?

The Kinsman Ridge is inspired by St. Nectaire. It is a semi-soft, tomme-style cheese that has a beautiful natural rind. For some reason, I am really drawn to this particular style of cheese. I love the natural rind cheeses that demonstrate the characteristics of the caves in which they are aged. I smelled an earthy, buttery, musty aroma when I unwrapped the Kinsman Ridge. Upon putting a piece in my mouth, I was blown away with the complexity of this cheese. The paste was springy and smooth, with small eyes throughout. It reminded me of a savory, slightly firmer Taleggio without the as much yeast flavor present. I can see how St. Nectaire influenced the cheesemakers in the creation of this cheese, but I wouldn't say the Kinsman Ridge is nearly as funky as the St. Nectaire can be.

The first thing I thought of when I tried the Kinsman Ridge was that I needed to cook with this cheese. I could just taste how unctuous and lovely a macaroni and cheese or fondue would be if made with this cheese. I would also recommend using this cheese on any of your Oktoberfest cheese plates because it would pair very nicely with the myriad German beers that are being featured now.

Most of the cheese counters at the Whole Foods Markets in Northern California and Reno would have the Kinsman Ridge, so be sure to swing by your local WFM cheese counter and ask for a sample. I absolutely loved this cheese and I'm sure you will too!

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fat Bottom Girl - It Makes the Rocking World Go Round

Hello hello hello!

I have returned alive and well! I am now happily married, nicely rested and ready to get back to work! Upon our return from our honeymoon, my wife (!) and I stopped at our local Whole Foods Market to get groceries and some cheese of course. I was very pleased to see that the cheeses from Bleating Heart Cheese had returned to our cheese counter and was quick to grab a couple pieces.

Today I am going to talk about the Fat Bottom Girl, the flagship cheese from Bleating Heart Cheese, because it is one of my favorites and I can completely relate to the name right now. I am definitely a "fat bottomed girl" after not working out like normal, traveling and eating very decadent foods on our honeymoon.

Cheese: Fat Bottom Girl
Cheesemakers: Seana Doughty and Dave Dalton of Bleating Heart Cheese
Location: Tomales, CA
Milk: Raw sheep's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

I absolutely love the story behind how this cheese got its name. Here's the story from their website:

"The cheese's unique whimsical shape began as an accident when cheesemaker Seana was helping out at friend Marcia Barinaga's dairy. Seana had taken some cheeses out of their forms to be flipped, but then had to run out to get ready for the afternoon milking. Upon returning to the creamery, Seana saw the cheeses had flattened a bit under their own weight and were starting to get an asymmetrical shape with a fat bottom. It was a mistake, but it made her laugh. Seana quickly decided that she actually liked this funny look and continued to develop the process, coming up with the correct timing to achieve the desired fat bottom shape. Seana found herself frequently referring to those yet-to-be-named cheeses as "fat bottom girls," which is a song by Queen that had come up on Seana's iPod while working in the creamery. The name stuck." (

When I first unwrapped the cheese, I was hit with one of my favorite aromas - the musty, funky aroma of a washed rind cheese. It was not overly pungent like Morbier or Raclette, but still had the pleasant "tang" that I so love in washed rind cheeses. The paste is a gorgeous ivory with a little touch of yellow closer to the rind and has a wonderfully smooth consistency with little bits of tyrosine crystals throughout.

The flavor of this fantastic cheese portrays all of the good qualities of working with not only sheep's milk, but raw sheep's milk. When you take the first bite, you are met with the nutty, buttery qualities with which we are familiar from sheep's milk. But then you are transported into the world of the sheep whose milk you are enjoying. Depending on the season, you can taste different nuances of the greenery on which these sheep feasted.

I would absolutely pair this cheese with a nice local honey or a Saison farmhouse style ale. The sweetness of the honey would go wonderfully with the nuttiness of the cheese. The slight funk of the Saison would really play nicely with the touch of funk the Fat Bottom Girl has.

Most of the Whole Foods Market cheese counters in the Northern California region (including Reno) should have these cheese available, so be sure to stop by and ask for a sample. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!