Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Post of 2013! The Delicious Alpha Tolman

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

I'm so excited to be wrapping up my day because I know that I have a few fantastic cheeses that I will be eating tonight! One of the cheeses that will most likely be gracing my cheese plate will be the Alpha Tolman, which I had the pleasure of tasting a couple of days ago. It is an absolutely amazing cheese... but I wouldn't expect anything else from the folks at the Cellars at Jasper Hill.


Cheese: Alpha Tolman
Producers: Jasper Hill Creamery
Location: Greensboro, VT
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)


The Alpha Tolman is an Alpine style cheese that is named after Mr. Alpha Tolman who was a dairy farmer in Greensboro, VT (where the creamery is located) who, among other philanthropic acts, built the town library in 1900.

The cheese itself is quite a treat. It is a washed rind cheese, but not super stinky like many of the same cheeses in that family. The natural rind that it develops is more brown and "dusty" as opposed to orange and sticky. By developing this type of rind, the cheese is able to develop an earthy, nutty and buttery flavor that is found in cheeses like Gruyere or Raclette. If you're a fan of these cheeses, you can use the Alpha Tolman in the same way that you would use those cheeses. Think fondue, or melt it over grilled pineapple, pickles or any other savory food of your choice.

I was thoroughly impressed with this cheese and I recommend it for any cheese plate regardless of the season. Most of the stores in the Northern California/Reno region should have this cheese in stock right now and would be a wonderful treat at any New Year's party.

On to 2014! I look forward to continuing to spread the cheese love next year. Thank you for reading and until next time, eat, drink and be happy!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Champagne Cheddar

Happy Holidays everyone!

Today I wanted to talk about a fun cheese that we have in specifically for this time of year. It's a cheese that was a HUGE hit last year and as a result we brought in a lot more for this season... the Champagne Cheddar from Somerdale.

Cheese: Champagne Cheddar
Producers: British cheesemakers associated with Somerdale UK
Location: England
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Vegetarian

This is a cheese that Whole Foods Market partnered with cheesemakers in the UK to create. They have taken a traditional farmhouse cheddar that has been aged for 10 months and then mill it again to break it up and add the Champagne. The addition of the Champagne gives a touch of acidity and a little bit of a citrus tang.

You can see in the picture above that the cheddar is slightly crumbly, but what you can't tell is that it is actually pretty soft for being aged at least 10 months. This is due to the addition of the liquid Champagne. The effervescence of the Champagne adds a whole other element to the texture in that it adds more gas and loosens up the curd. All in all it is a very interesting cheddar... unlike anything I've ever tasted before.

The Champagne cheddar is available exclusively at Whole Foods Market and we have plenty to get us through this holiday season! Make sure you swing by your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter and try a taste! It's an obvious addition to any of your holiday cheese plates! And as you can imagine, nothing pairs nicer with this cheese than some tasty Champagne :).

Happy Holidays to you all! Until next time, eat, drink and be merry!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Petit Vacherin Mont d'Or

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday and that you ate until you could eat no more! I had a wonderful time with my family and was able to spread some cheese love :). This is the cheese plate that I made on Black Friday... Starting from all the way on the left and working clockwise we have: Cantal, Humboldt Fog, Petit Basque, Brillat Savarin, Rogue River Blue, Dancing Fern and Rush Creek right smack in the middle. It was quite a treat!

Now on to an exciting cheese that has recently arrived in just a few stores... The Petit Vacherin Mont d'Or.

Cheese: Petit Vacherin Mont d'Or
Producer: Patrick and Charles Hauser
Location: Le Lieu (Northwestern Switzerland)
Milk: Thermalized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Many of my favorite cheeses emulate the Petit Vacherin Mont d'Or (think Rush Creek, Winnimere or Harbison) and while they come close and are absolutely delicious, the Petit Vacherin Mont d'Or is a cheese on its own. This cheese is only made during the fall and winter months when the cows switch from eating grass to eating hay. The milk used to make this cheese is the same milk that is made to make the classic Gruyeres we know and love.

As it is shipped from Switzerland, it comes in a little wooden box that helps it hold its shape. After carefully removing the box, I was greeted with the funky, grassy, barnyardy smell that is unique to washed rind cheeses. I slowly and carefully cut off the top of this cheese in order to enjoy it in the traditional fashion - dipping into it like a fondue.

I had never tasted this cheese before, so it was a really exciting moment for me. Upon first tasting the cheese, you get a hit of butter followed by grassy, sweet hay flavors. The aftertaste you are left with is earthy and slightly funky. It was divine! As it comes in 12oz rounds, I couldn't eat it all by myself and had a couple of friends enjoy it with me. They were pleasantly surprised at how the smell was pretty pungent but the flavor was mellow and creamy. I served a slightly more robust Pinot Noir with this cheese and the pairing went over fairly well. The wine did not overpower the flavor of the cheese and the particular Pinot I served had a little bit of a smokey flavor that paired wonderfully with the woodsy notes in the cheese.

This cheese is super limited and only available at certain Whole Foods Markets in this area. I bought mine from the Whole Foods in Cupertino. If you see this cheese, make sure you snatch it up! You won't be disappointed. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rush Creek Returns!

Hello everyone!

It's such an exciting time of year.. Not only is it the holidays, but it is Rush Creek time! That's right, Uplands Dairy has released their delicious seasonal cheese and I figured that I would repost my blog post about it from last year... with a few edits of course. :)

*Special Note* If you want to swing by and talk cheese with me, I'm going to be working behind the cheese counter at the Whole Foods Market in Los Altos (4800 El Camino Real) on Thanksgiving (11/28). I'll be there from 7am to 11am so swing on by!

Cheese: Rush Creek
Producer: Andy Hatch at Uplands Dairy
Location: Dodgeville, WI
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Behold the Rush Creek in all of its glory... this is how the cheese itself looks like fresh out of the package. It weighs a little less than one pound, is wrapped in spruce bark and as an added bonus - made with raw milk. When I first unwrapped this cheese I was hit with a very woodsy almost floral scent from the spruce bark. To the touch, this cheese is very soft and I could tell right away that this was going to be quite a treat.

A little background on this cheese... It is inspired by the French Vacherin Mont d'Or which is also wrapped in spruce bark and made with raw milk. Rush Creek Reserve is produced in a similar fashion as the Vacherin because they only use milk from the fall season as this is when their cows are moving from eating in the fresh pastures during the summer to eating hay in the winter time. Due to the nature of grass (very watery compared to hay) the milk that is produced when cows eat mainly grass isn't as rich or dense as the milk produced when the cows eat mainly hay (hay is solid and passes more solids to the milk). Rush Creek Reserve was created to really highlight the richer, creamier, delicious milk of the hay-fed cows.

Now to the tasting... I highly recommend letting this cheese come to room temperature before serving. This ensures that you're able to taste all of the flavors of the cheese as refrigeration often masks subtle flavors. To serve, cut a "lid" off of the cheese (as seen above) and treat it like fondue. As I am a purist, I wanted to try the cheese by itself - so I got myself a spoon and dug in. The first flavors you get are the sweet woodsy notes that you smell right after you open up the cheese as well as a bit of saltiness. Then you get a nice creaminess along with the earthy, barnyard flavors that are seemingly present in all raw milk cheeses. This cheese has a beautifully long finish and the earthy, creamy flavors stay with you long after you've finished your taste.

Enjoy this cheese by dipping bread, pickles (a personal favorite) or fruit into it, or by spooning it over your potatoes or pastas. I personally just need a spoon and I'm in heaven...

Please note that this cheese is only released once a year and in very limited quantity. I know only a few Whole Foods Market cheese counters in Northern California have received or will receive the Rush Creek this season, so be sure to call ahead. If you don't get a chance to buy the cheese at your local Whole Foods Market, don't hesitate to snatch one up anywhere you see it because it won't be around long - and a year is a long time to wait... I hope you all get a chance to taste this cheese at some point, it really is a treat.

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Winter Gouda!

Good day everyone!

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the cooler weather. There's nothing better than getting all bundled up in your favorite jacket with a soft scarf, or is that just me? Haha.

Today I wanted to talk about a fun cheese that we recently got into the stores - the Melkbus 125 Winter Gouda.

Cheese: Melkbus 125 Winter Gouda
Producers: Best Cheese Corp
Location: Holland
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

The Winter Gouda is considered a "Boerenkaas" or a farmhouse gouda that is produced on an individual family farm. The 125 in the name of this cheese is the farm's identifying number which traditionally could be found on all of the milk cans belonging to that farm. In this particular Gouda, fun winter spices are added... there is pepper, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon and cardamom. So tasty! I've honestly never tried a cheese like this before. It is aged for only four months, so the paste is still soft and super lactic, which really allows the winter spices to shine. It's like Christmas in your mouth!

I passed this cheese around at work today and it was a huge hit! I asked everyone what they would do with this cheese and some ideas were to mix it into a fondue, melt it on a sausage sandwich, use it to stuff a chicken or turkey breast, eat it with pears, melt it into an apple galette or just feature it as a fun cheese on their cheese plate. There are myriad ways of using this cheese and I really haven't seen a comparable cheese to this one before. Many holiday beers have some fun spices like the ones in this cheese, so those might be a fun pairing, or perhaps some mulled wine if you're really into the winter spices.

All of the Whole Foods cheese counters in the Northern California region are carrying this cheese right now, so swing on by and ask for a sample. As this is a seasonal cheese it won't be around forever, so don't miss out!

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bucherondin - The cheese that started it all...

Hello loyal readers,

It brings me great pleasure to say that today marks the 1 year "birthday" of Shootin' the Bries! I can't believe a whole year has passed already... it's been quite a fun journey. I figured in this post I would share the cheese that ultimately started me on my cheesy journey. I hope you enjoy and continue to come back for more!

Cheese: Bucherondin
Producers: Sevre and Belle - an agricultural co-op
Location: Loire Valley, France
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Bucherondin was officially the first artisan cheese I had ever tried. In the past I had been a huge Havarti fan and that was what I thought fancy cheese was. During my first year at Whole Foods Market I was working as the Demo Specialist and was asked to demo French Cheeses. I know that I had four cheeses and I honestly can't remember what the other three were. I was so blown away by the flavor of the Bucherondin that it completely shadowed the other cheeses...

Not only was this my first artisan cheese, but it was also my first goat cheese. I loved the flakey, yet smooth texture and the tangy, yet not overpowering flavor of the goat milk. Tasting it now, after 4 years of cheesemonger experience, I would describe it as a mellow, slighty grassy, really clean flavored chevre. It definitely gets a little more intense as it ages, so make sure you sample before you buy. You can see in the picture above that the middle is a bit more white and flaky than the outside ring. This is the way a soft ripened cheese ages as I've mentioned in past posts - from the outside in. The younger the cheese, the larger the chalk white circle in the center. As it ages, it gets more oozy along the outside and the flavors start to be a little more gamey.

Pair a young Bucherondin with a nice, crisp Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. If the Bucherondin is more on the aged side, try pairing it with a yummy Pinot Noir. Most of the Whole Foods cheese counters should carry this, so if you'd like to taste the cheese that made me fall in love with everything cheese, make sure to swing on by and ask for a sample.

I would like to appreciate all of you loyal readers as well as everyone in the Whole Foods Market family who have supported me in this venture. This blog could not be what it is today without all of you.

Until next time, eat, drink and be merry! Salud!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our First Holiday Cheese! Bon Homme Brie

Hello everyone,

That's right, November is right around the corner! And that means it's time to feature some of our holiday cheeses...

The first holiday cheese I want to talk about is our Bon Homme Brie. This is a double crème brie from France that is exclusive to Whole Foods Market. It is the brie that we will be featuring with our "Easy as 1, 2, Brie!" program next month.

Cheese: Bon Homme Brie
Producers: Isigny Ste. Mère - A co-operative of farmers in Normandy, France
Country of Origin: France
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Vegetarian

Bon Homme is French for "jolly fellow", hence the jolly looking man on the front label. Being a double crème, this cheese contains 60% butterfat. Remember that this is the butterfat in the dry matter, and that this cheese has a really high moisture content, so a small serving may not be as fattening as you think! The Bon Homme is made with milk from grass-fed cows who have not been treated with any growth hormones such as RBST. I specifically like the Bon Homme because of the fact that it uses milk from grass fed cows. The grassy, mushroomy notes definitely come through in the cheese.

Now for the cheese itself... when you open up a package of the Bon Homme, you will be hit with a smell of earthy, mushroomy goodness. Depending on the age of the cheese, you might get hints of funk or ammonia. If you're smelling ammonia, remember that this is a natural byproduct of the cheese ripening process. Let the cheese sit out for a few minutes and if the smell of ammonia dissipates, your cheese will taste just fine. If the ammonia smell lingers for longer then this cheese is on the older side and depending on how strong/stinky you like your cheese, you may not like it at this stage.

Cutting into the Bon Homme, you'll notice that it is a little firmer than some bries you may be used to. This is totally normal and I really like the fact that it holds its shape even when it gets to room temperature because it makes for a less messy cheese plate. All that being said, do not assume that this cheese is not buttery and creamy like the softer bries with which you are familiar! The Bon Homme has great flavor - it tastes grassy, mushroomy, earthy, creamy and a little salty all at the same time. I like to eat this cheese on its own, or with some jams or jellies on top... yum!

Part of our "Easy as 1, 2, Brie" program that we'll be kicking off in November will be fig spread and sour cherry spread... two wonderful spreads to put on top or beside the Bon Homme. Carmelized walnuts and Marcona almonds will also be featured in this program.

Be sure to swing by your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter and taste this yummy cheese. I'm sure many of the teams will be sampling this out regularly during the holiday season, but if you don't see it, don't be afraid to ask.

I hope everyone is getting excited for the holidays, because I sure am! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meet Mimolette's Cousin - Pave du Nord

Hello everyone!

Back in December of last year, I wrote a post about Mimolette (http://shootinthebries.blogspot.com/2012/12/mites-and-mimolette.html). Since then, Mimolette has been banned from importation into the U.S. by the FDA. This is quite unfortunate as it is an amazing cheese, but here we are. If you're like me and missing your Mimolette, there is another cheese that is quite similar in flavor and appearance. I'm specifically drawn to these cheeses during the month of October due to the fact that they are bright orange - perfect for Halloween! The cheese I am going to talk about today is the Pave du Nord.

Cheese: Pave du Nord
Affineur: Hervé  Mons
Country of origin: France
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

The folks at the cheese couter at Whole Foods Market in Los Altos got a little creative and put some fun Halloween stickers on the cuts of Pave du Nord. I thought they were really cute, so I had to take a picture...

If you take a close look at the larger piece of cheese underneath these cuts, that is actually a whole brick of Pave du Nord. This cheese gets its name from it's similarity in looks to the classic French cobblestones. Can you see it?

Another similarity that this cheese has to Mimolette is the fact that cheese mites are used in the development of this cheese. You can see that the rind on the cheese pictured above look a little like sand paper. This is due to the fact that there are little tiny bugs eating away at the rind and helping product flavor. You can scrape of some of this rind and if you leave it on the table for a bit, the pile of dust from the rind has a tendency to move... spooky right? As for the bright orange paste, annatto is used as a natural coloring agent.

All that being said, the Pave du Nord is quite a tasty cheese. It is not as firm as the Mimolette, but still takes some muscle to cut into. The paste is really smooth and would definitely be great for melting or broiling. Aroma-wise, this cheese has a nice, nutty aroma that reminds me of Cheddar. It is a little salty at the beginning, but as it warms up in your mouth, you experience the rich, earthy, nuttiness of this cheese. I do think that it has a bit more flavor and personality than the Mimolette due to the fact that raw milk is used.

If you're looking for a fun cheese to put on your Halloween cheese plate, swing on by your local Whole Foods cheese counter and try some! The Pave du Nord is on sale for the month of October, so it's a perfect opportunity to grab a piece.

I hope you all are having a wonderful October so far! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall is here... time for Raclette!!

Hello everyone! 

I must say that I absolutely love the fall... the leaves start to change color (believe me, it does happen, even in California!), the nights get a little longer and a little colder, you can start to wear your turtlenecks and sweaters, etc etc etc. But one of the best things about colder weather is the ooey gooey, warm, melted cheese dishes that are so comforting. Think potatoes au gratin, fondue, casseroles, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and Raclette, which is the cheese I have chosen to talk about today.

Cheese: Raclette
Location: Switzerland and France
Milk: Raw cow's milk (usually)
Rennet: Traditional (animal) or Vegetarian (depending on the producer)


Raclette is derived from the French term "racler", which means to scrape. Traditionally you would see a half wheel of Raclette being put in front of a fire allowing the cheese to start to melt. One would then scrap off the gooey melty bits and eat it! Some folks put it on cornichons or potatoes, I honestly just like to eat it by itself!

This cheese is a washed rind cheese, so there is a touch of funkiness to it. But when it is melted, the milky, nutty, fruity deliciousness shows its true colors. I had some Raclette when I was in Wisconsin and they had melted it over some grilled pineapple. It was divine! 

If you want to experiment with Raclette yourself, there are contraptions that you can buy to help with the melting of the Raclette, or you can do what I do and use an oven safe dish and melt it under the broiler. Make sure you have some salty, acidic snacks to cut through the fat of the Raclette! Cornichons are the perfect companion. There are several yummy Raclette recipes available online. Be sure to check them out this season. 

All of the WFM cheese counters should have some form of Raclette, whether it be Swiss or French. Both styles are tasty, but slightly different. Be sure to ask for a sample to figure out which one you like best. Now go and throw a Raclette party! 

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Grande Truffière from Montchevre

Hello everyone!!

It's getting close to the holidays and we're starting to bring in some fun cheeses! One of said cheeses is the Grande Truffière from Montchevere. We just received our first batch a couple weeks ago and it's tasty stuff!

Cheese: Grande Truffière
Location: Truffles are imported from Provence, France. Cheese is made in Wisconsin.
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

Montchevre makes really solid goat cheeses that are not overly goaty and are super approachable. The Grande Truffière is just another example of one of their stellar goat cheeses. It is a soft ripened, bloomy rind cheese that has flecks of black truffle throughout the paste. To be honest, I am not normally a truffle fan, but the cheesemakers at Montchevre kept it nice and balanced. The truffles are not overpowering and the nice clean, goat flavor is able to shine through and compliment the umami flavor from the truffle.

The cheese itself is very small (5oz), so it will ripen fairly quickly if you let it age for a few days. You can see the cream line right below the rind.. this is where the cheese is starting to ripen and get gooey. I would definitely use this cheese as a "crowd pleaser" cheese on any of my upcoming holiday cheese plates. I'm pretty sure almost everyone who tries it (and likes goat cheese), will enjoy the Grande Truffière.
I would pair a slightly sweet Sauvignon Blanc with the Grande Truffière... you don't want one that's too dry, but you still need a touch of acidity. My go to would be the Brassfield Sauvignon Blanc.
The Grande Truffière will only be available for the next couple of months, so make sure you grab one before they're gone!

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brebirousse d'Argental - Easy for you to say!!

Hello everyone!
I was going through my myriad cheese pictures and realized that I had taken a picture of this cheese, but never blogged about it! Today I'm going to talk about the super yummy Brebirousse d'Argental...

Cheese: Brebirousse d'Argental
Production Location: Lyon, France
Milk: Pasteurized sheep's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Brebirousse literally means "red sheep" which makes sense since it is made of 100% sheep's milk and has a reddish hue. It is a soft ripened cheese (like a Brie, or Humboldt Fog) but has been dusted with b. Linens to encourage the development of the orange-red color.

One thing I have noticed is that people often assume that if the cheese has this orange color, that it is going to be super stinky. While often true, it is not necessarily true in the case of the Brebirousse. This cheese certainly gets stinky when it's been hanging around for too long, but if you get a nice, freshly cut piece, you will be pleasantly surprised by how mild and creamy this cheese is. There are not many soft ripened sheep's milk cheeses out there, so it's always a treat to revel in the fatty, unctuous, meaty flavors of an ooey-gooey sheep's milk cheese.

In researching this cheese I stumbled upon this write up on the and it literally had me laughing out loud, so I thought I would share it with you: http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/06/eat-this-cheese-brebirousse-dargental.html I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

This cheese is not necessarily available at every cheese counter, but if you happen to see it, make sure to snatch a piece. You won't be disappointed.

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chimney Rock - The Fall Seasonal Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery!

Every season Cowgirl Creamery comes out with a new seasonal cheese. For the Fall season, they have the Chimney Rock, which has just recently been released... When I worked behind the cheese counter at the Whole Foods in San Jose, this was one of my team's favorite cheeses.

Cheese: Chimney Rock
Producer: Cowgirl Creamery
Location: Petaluma, CA
Milk: Organic, pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

Now, most of us are very familiar with the Mt Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. Their seasonal cheeses are similar, but with a few important differences. First, the milk used to make Mt Tam comes from the Strauss Family Creamery. The milk used to make all of their seasonal cheeses is organic milk from the Jersey cows of Chileno Valley Jersey Dairy. As many of you know, the Jersey cow is known for having a higher amount of butterfat in their milk, so the paste will be a little more yellow than the paste of the Mt Tam. If you look at the picture below, you can see the two cheeses aging side by side and how their colors differ. The Chimney Rock is on the left, with the Mt Tam to the right.

The other thing that sets the seasonal cheeses apart from the Mt Tam is the fact that they are washed in a sweet white wine and covered in different herbs, spices or in this case mushrooms, depending on the season. The Chimney Rock is covered with dried organic Pioppini and Shiitake mushrooms from Far West Fungi, organic savory from Allstar Organics and black pepper.

Needless to say, this cheese, while super buttery, has a wonderful umami-ness from the mushrooms and savory. In order to fully appreciate the complexity of the flavors in this cheese, you must eat the rind! This is where all of the mushrooms are and where you really get to experience the full flavor. I feel like this cheese is almost meaty because of the richness of the flavor. I would definitely pair this with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon because the cheese has enough flavor to hold it's own and I think the mushrooms and tannins from the wine would play together nicely. :)

Don't miss out on this cheese! It's a perfect addition to any cheese plate whether it be for an upcoming holiday party or the next NFL game... it is available now, so swing on by your local Whole Foods Market and ask for a taste!

As promised, here are a couple more pictures from when I was making cheese at Cowgirl Creamery...

Here I am cutting the curd...

 Ok, the curd comes out of those hoses REALLY fast, that's why I looked so afraid! Haha

Helping put the curd into the forms

Cleaning the cheese vats...

Gotta wash the inside AND the outside

Me wrapping cheese!
As I've said before, I had a blast at Cowgirl Creamery and I'm so thankful to everyone who made it a reality.
And on that note, until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Alta Langa Nerina

Good evening everyone!

Being the cheese dork that I am, I get really excited when I try a cheese that really blows me away and when I decide to blog about it, I see that one of my food idols has already done so! This is the case with the Nerina from Alta Langa. I found in my research that three days ago, Janet Fletcher had already written an article on the Nerina. You can find her much more articulate article here: http://www.sfgate.com/food/cheesecourse/article/Ash-coated-Nerina-tantalizes-the-senses-4793694.php She is one of my idols for a reason, she knows her stuff!

I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to seem like I'm ripping off any information from Janet, but I did want to get you all excited about this cheese because it is currently on special at the Northern California Whole Foods!

Cheese: Nerina
Producer: Agrilanga - a creamery recently inherited by Alta Langa
Location: Piedmont, Italy
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal) rennet

Nerina means "little black one" which is appropriate as this cheese is dusted with vegetable ash. You can see in the picture above that there can be some other mold growth that occurs, but this is totally natural and helps make the cheese even more tasty!

When left to sit, the paste starts to yield a bit and become a bit more ooey-gooey. Like all goat's milk cheeses, the paste is bone white and while it smells a bit gamey, the flavor is more mild than you would expect. The ash helps to cut through some of the acidity, while the mold growth on the outside adds an earthy, grassy, mushroomy flavor to what would otherwise be a pretty intense goat cheese. When these flavors combine, you get a much more approachable and absolutely delicious goat cheese.

Be sure to swing on by your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter and ask for a taste of the Nerina. It's a great addition to any cheese plate and if you're a goat cheese fan, you're bound to love it.

My next post will be about the most recent seasonal cheese that Cowgirl Creamery has just released - Chimney Rock! It's super tasty and I'm really excited to try this year's batch. I also recently received some more pictures of when I was making Mt Tam at Cowgirl Creamery that I will share on that post as well. I hope you all have a fantastic week! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2014 Dates for the Academie Opus Caseus!!

Hello everyone!
Exciting news! The Academie Opus Caseus has announced their class dates for the year of 2014. Take a look at their latest press release... super exciting!

Academie Opus Caseus Announces Course Dates for 2014


St. Haon le Châtel, France – The Academie Opus Caseus, professional development center at the heart of MonS Fromager Affineur, has published its 2014 course schedule for English language programs for 2014.


Applications are now being accepted for all programs on the Academie’s website; course enrollment is limited to 6 participants.


February 10-21

May 5-16

Essential Foundations covers cheese knowledge from milk preparation to fabrication and affinage, through sourcing, merchandising and marketing.  Classroom education is reinforced with practical, hands-on work in cheesemaking and affinage, as well as in the MonS production room practicing receiving and triage, cutting, wrapping, and preparing orders.  Sensory analysis training is a daily focus.  Students visit MonS retail shops and prepare their own case set in our mock cheese shop.



July 14-25

October 6-17

Study the science of cheese ageing from make process to affinage care, including in-depth study of the life cycles of cheese rind flora and how to manage them through affinage techniques and environments.  In addition to classroom sessions, students work with MonS staff in the caves and Tunnel de la Collonge learning the techniques used in aging cheeses of all kinds. Sensory analysis training connects the experience of eating the cheese to the work of bringing it to its full potential through affinage.


MonS Fromager-Affineur is widely recognized in France and internationally as one of the premier affineurs in the world. With a catalogue of up to 250 different artisanal cheeses, MonS presents a unique opportunity to learn from masters with over 50 years' experience. The curricula evolved out of practical, daily experience over decades, in collaboration with top French dairy scientists and researchers. 


The Academie Opus Caseus has been approved as the first ACS CCP™ Authorized Education Center by the American Cheese Society*.

*Certified Cheese Professional™ (CCP™) is a registered trademark of the American Cheese Society® (ACS). ACS has authorized the Academie Opus Caseus as an ACS CCP™ Authorized Education Center based on the Academie’s representation that its course content aligns with the ACS Body of Knowledge and ACS CCP Exam domains. ACS is not responsible for the content of this course. ACS does not warrant or guarantee course content, accuracy of information, effectiveness of test preparation, or individual performance on the ACS CCP Exam.



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For more information, please contact :

Susan Sturman


or by phone at 617 505 6235

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!