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: 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: 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 Ch√Ętel, 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.



* * * * *


For more information, please contact :

Susan Sturman

or by phone at 617 505 6235

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!