Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Franklin's Teleme - Shootin' the Bries' 100th Post!!!

Hello everyone!

It excites me to tell you all that this official is the 100th post of Shootin' the Bries. What a ride it has been! Looking over the past posts, I'm very proud to see how much information I was able to provide regarding many of your favorite cheeses. Please feel free to email me at if you ever have a specific request and I'll look into blogging about that particular cheese!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to quickly tell you about a new venture I am pursuing. As a side project, I have started a small cheese catering/consulting company called, you guessed it, Shootin' the Bries, LLC. I can build cheese platters, do beverage parties and even be a guest speaker/hostess at your next cheese party. If you'd like to check out the services I have to offer, please check out I'm super excited about the opportunity to share my love of cheese with even more people!

For my 100th post, I thought it would be fun to feature a local cheese that many hold near and dear to their heart - Franklin's Teleme.

Cheese: Franklin's Teleme (original and washed)
Producer: Franklin Peluso at Mid Coast Cheese Company
Location: Los Banos, CA
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

The Teleme was discovered accidentally in the 1900s when a Greek cheesemaker in Pleasanton was trying to make Feta. Instead of the firm, crumbly feta, the cheesemaker was left with the soft, oozy goodness of the Teleme that is all so familiar.

Rice flour is used to dust the outside of the original Teleme and then the cheese is allowed to age for about two weeks. During this time, the rind firms up leaving the interior slightly spongy. Over time the interior becomes softer and softer... I left the cheese out for about 20 minutes before serving and if you look above, the original Teleme was oozing off of the plate. Delightful!

The flavor of the original Teleme is very mild with a little lemon-like acidity. Very similar to a Taleggio without the washed rind. You really can taste the quality of the milk used in this cheese as it is not aged for very long and the flavors you are getting are mostly from the milk itself. Many people like to use the Teleme on polenta, risotto or even pizza! It's a fantastic, versatile cheese that almost everyone will enjoy.

Now, Mid Coast Cheese Company recently (within the last year or so) introduced a washed rind version of the Teleme. My oh my, what a delectable experience. This is even closer to a Taleggio than the original is. The aroma is pungent but the flavor is still pretty mild, just with a bit more character. When the cheese is first made, it spends a few hours in a salt brine and then is aged for about a month while being continuously washed with a brine solution.

The end result is incredible. I really couldn't get enough of this cheese. Doing a side by side tasting was especially interesting because you could see the flavors of the milk in the original Teleme develop into really interesting nuanced flavors in the washed rind version. Personally I prefer the washed rind Teleme, but I'm a sucker for stinky cheeses....

As for pairings, I would have a nice Viognier with the original Teleme or a crisp Belgian Pale with the washed rind version. Both are FANTASTIC cooking cheeses that melt almost instantly and add a creamy deliciousness to any dish you are serving.

That's all for now, thank you for being such loyal readers! Cheers to 100 posts and many more to come. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

p.s. Photo cred goes to my girlfriend Lynn who stepped in a took some nice pictures before the cheeses oozed completely off of the plate! Thank you honey!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Abbaye de Belloc

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend thus far. Today I wanted to write about one of my go-to cheeses. This cheese is one that is always satisfying and I'm never disappointed when it is featured on one of my platters. Allow me to introduce, the Abbaye de Belloc...

Cheese: Abbaye de Belloc
Producer: The Benedictine monks at the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Belloc
Location: Western Pyrenees, Aquitaine, France
Milk: Pasteurized sheep's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

The Abbaye de Belloc recipe is based on the recipe of another well-known sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrenees... the Ossau Iraty. Like the Ossau Iraty, the sheep's milk flavor is nutty and caramel-y. The monks step it up a notch by rubbing the outsides of the wheels with sweet paprika which is then covered by brown and grey molds as it ages. The Abbaye de Belloc is aged anywhere from 4 months to 10 months and maintains the magnificent flavor throughout that whole time. I personally like it aged closer to 10 months, but I'm not picky!

While I'm perfectly content to eat the Abbaye de Belloc by itself, today I decided to add some Genoa salami to the mix. The creamy, dense texture of the cheese pairs nicely with the paper thin slices of salami. Add a nice Belgian Dubbel or Trippel to the mix and you've got yourself a party!

The Abbaye de Belloc may not be available at every Whole Foods Market cheese counter, but if you do see it, be sure to ask for a sample!

That is all for now my friends. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Le Chimay à la Bière

Hello loyal readers!

I apologize for the brief absence. I've been on vacation and completely out of reach of technology. I must say it was quite refreshing!

Today I'd like to write about one of the first beer washed rind cheeses that I ever tried, Le Chimay à la Bière.


Cheese: Le Chimay à la Bière
Producer: The monks at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont
Location: Close to the town of Chimay in Belgium
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

In the late 1800s, the monks at this Abbey decided to establish a dairy as well as a brewery to help fund the monks' livelihood. You may recognize the name Chimay as being a brand of beer (and they are some delicious beers at that), but the monks also made cheese! Many of the cheeses are washed with the water from nearby springs, but this particular cheese is washed with the Chimay beer the monks make.

The texture of the cheese is soft and supple, with the aroma of hops and hay. It definitely has a pungent odor, but the flavor is actually quite mellow (as is the case with most washed rind cheeses). While I was tasting this cheese, I was enjoying a nice wheat beer which actually paired quite nicely with the cheese.

This is a cheese that you want to buy freshly cut and get it out of the plastic wrapping as soon as you can. The Chimay à la Bière is a bit fragile once cut and will get funky very quickly, so be sure to enjoy it right away.

I'm also super excited to say that we'll be featuring another Chimay cheese that is completely new to me during the month of June, so be sure to stop by a NorCal Whole Foods Market cheese counter and try it!

I hope you all had a great Mother's Day! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!