Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Beauty of Bethmale

Good evening!

For our July promotions, we received another really fun seasonal cheese at our cheese counter that I wanted to feature - Bethmale.

Cheese: Bethmale
Affineur: Hervé Mons
Location: Valley of Bethmale in Pyrenees, France
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

This is another amazing cheese from the caves of Hervé Mons. It is only available during the summer/fall and is quite a treat. I bought a piece from the Santa Rosa store on Yulupa today and when I opened it up, I was met with the slightly funky, barnyard smell typical of washed rinds. The paste is slightly yellow which tells me that the cows were on pasture in the spring when they were milked.

The milk comes from several small, local dairies and when the process of making Bethmale begins, the milk is heated to 86°F, renneted and left for 45 minutes. It is then hand cut and put into a mold with thick cheesecloth. It is first hand pressed, flipped and hand pressed again. A heavy plank is then put on top of the forms overnight to expel more whey. The next morning, the cheese is taken out of the form, the cheesecloth is removed and is salted on one side. The other side will be salted the following day. After this process, the Bethmale is transferred to the maturing caves where it will be aged from 4-8 weeks. It is regularly flipped and washed with a brine solution leading to the pungent, sticky washed rind.

The Hervé Mons team was kind enough to send some little jars of traditional blueberry preserves from the same region as the Bethmale. My oh my, what a treat! 

I did this tasting with my Mom and it maybe took us five minutes to finish all of the cheese. The cheese itself was slightly pungent, but more mushroomy and creamy. I would categorize this cheese as a semi-soft cheese because of its springy paste. So, this means it will melt incredibly well and be a great addition to your cooking. When I put the blueberry preserve over the top, I was completely blown away. The bright, acidic, juicy blueberries with the little bit of sugar along with the earthy, tangy, creamy cheese was an incredibly balanced pairing. The acidity of the blueberries cut the fat in the creamy Bethmale. It was like eating a blueberry cheesecake. Sooooooo incredible.

The Betmale is on sale for the month of July, so be sure to stop by your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter and ask for a sample! I'm sure you're going to love it. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sleeping Beauty from Cascadia Creamery

Happy weekend loyal readers!

I hope your weekend has been treating you well. Today I wanted to talk about a newcomer to my cheese counter - the Sleeping Beauty.

Cheese: Sleeping Beauty
Producer: Cascadia Creamery
Cheesemaker: John Shuman
Location: Trout Lake, WA
Milk: Organic raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

Cascadia Creamery is a family run operation and they have revived a long tradition of artisan cheesemaking in the Trout Lake Valley that started almost 125 years ago. The Trout Lake Valley is an ideal location for cheesemaking because of the rich volcanic soil, lush grazing fields and temperate weather. All of the cheeses they make are 100% organic and raw!

The Sleeping Beauty is a natural rind cheese that is wonderfully smooth and elegant. I particularly loved the texture of the paste - it looked like it would be crumbly and dry, when in fact it was smooth and creamy. The natural rind lends some earthiness to the paste and I imagine this cheese would change depending on the season.

I would recommend eating this cheese with some crisp apples or pears and maybe a yummy cider. I could even see a nice light pilsner or pale ale playing nicely with this cheese. I also found a very decadent recipe for Sleeping Beauty Mac n Cheese on my friend Marcella's blog... check it out!

I hope you all get the chance to try this delicious cheese. Be sure to ask for it (and for a sample) at your local cheese counter! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Spice Up Your 4th!

Good evening everyone! Happy (almost) 4th of July!

When I asked my coworker Lucy what cheese I should feature for 4th of July, she immediately said "Scorpion Cheddar! People can burn their tongues as they burn in the sun". This made me laugh, so I decided to go with her advice.

Meet the current pepper cheddar that is the hottest on the market to date....

Cheese: Scorchin' Scorpion Cheddar
Producer: Henning's Wisconsin Cheese
Cheesemaker: Kerry Henning
Location: Kiel, Wisconsin
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

This cheese is spicy... so spicy that we had to put a sign up warning our customers! I just saw this sign today and I just had to take a picture. I actually wore gloves while I was cutting this cheese and prepping it for this blog post. "This cheese is no joke"!

When you first bite into this cheese, you're lulled by the creamy, cheddar flavor with which we're all so familiar, and then, the heat starts to creep up... I gave a taste to my team members yesterday when we first brought it in and many were fine at first, but every single person was surprised with how spicy the cheddar was. The Scorpion Pepper (a.k.a. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion) has a bit more than 2,000,000 Scoville Units - almost double the spiciness of a Ghost Pepper!!! It's currently listed as the second spiciest pepper in the world.

I took a picture of the inside of the Scorpion Cheddar sticker and the folks at Hennings were nice enough to provide a recipe for some diabolical macaroni and cheese... I haven't tried it myself yet, but it sounds incredible. If you like spicy food, try it!

I would absolutely pair this cheese with a crisp, hoppy double or triple IPA. Try Simtra or Hoparillo from Knee Deep Brewing or Ruination from Stone Brewing. These would all pair very nicely with the Scorpion Cheddar.

We aren't allowed to leave passive samples out for this cheese as it is so spicy, but if you'd like to try it for yourself, ask any of your local Northern California/Reno WFM Cheesemongers and we'd be happy to cut you a sample. I hope everyone has a great 4th!!! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!