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 ( 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!