Articles which have caught our attention in the blogosphere
You’d probably think it was strange if we suggested eating cake and cheese together. However, blogger Patrick McGuigan reveals how sweet foods can compliment savoury foods. Around the table, with the help of cheesemonger and baker friends, he chooses the best combinations of these two foods, such as Pecorino and lemon drizzle cake, goat’s cheese and brownies, and Roquefort and fruit cake. Tempted?
American blogger, Tenya Darlington, a.k.a ’Madame Fromage’, gives us her advice for making the most out of our visits to our local cheesemonger. She encourages us to ask questions, try out new cheeses (beginning with little portions), to take risks... and even to keep a little notebook to keep note of the names of the cheese you try. Who knows what cheeses you could discover in following her advice!
When you buy your cheese, do you ask yourself where it came from, how it was made, or what ingredients it contains? The blogger of the ‘British Cheese Emporium’ asked himself the same questions and decided to make more of an effort in finding out about the cheese that he purchases. He wants to know everything from start to finish, including if the cows graze outside, the date of production, the ingredients, and who produced it. For him, correct and detailed labeling is essential if we want to be 100% sure about what we are eating.
After giving up his job in the business world, Philip Walton began making cheese. However, this city dweller, who loves living in London, wasn’t prepared to move to the middle of the countryside to do so. So, he converted an industrial estate in Tottenham into a ‘micro-dairy’, much like a micro-brewery. Walton produces artisan cheeses with milk from a single farmer in Sussex. Aware of the fact that exterior conditions can have an effect on the milk, he recalls, ‘I need to be re-educate people to know that I’m not going to be making the exact same cheese again and again. I’ve got to sell that unpredictability’. This urban farmer has got his cake and eaten it!
This year at the Sydney Royal Dairy Awards in Australia, artisan cheesemakers went head to head with cheeses sold at Aldi supermarkets. The German company won 49 medals and consequently some small-scale producers decided to make their opinions heard about the results. The awards have become a parody of themselves if what they’re taking is big, industrial products and putting them in the same category as hand-made, artisan products,’’ says producer Michael McNamara. ‘’’It doesn’t help farmers and it doesn’t help create a vital, small producer industry in agriculture out there.”
Lots of different factors determine how the rind of a cheese will develop. Take the case of Jowett Cheese, for example, cheese producer who has just set up a dairy in Warwickshire, England. He had to make some important decisions, including which planks of wood to use for affinage, the temperature of the cave, the general environment of the atmosphere in the cave, how to look after the cheeses…. David Jowett decided to seek the help of affineur Paccard from Haute-Savoie, and is using the same spruce planks as them for affinage. Now, we must wait and see if this will change how the cheeses develop.
Willow Yamauchi, Canadian blogger, highlights the harmful effects that shipping and travelling can have on cheese, and encourages readers instead to try local specialities. She showcases the cheeses of Wayne and Denise Harris, who have adapted French cheesemaking traditions to their farm, near the Thompson Mountain Range in British Colombia. Their cheese Alpindon, pays homage to Beaufort d’alpage,. They use milk from a single herd of cows, they use no pesticides, GMOs, or chemical fertilizer on the land and produce their own feed for the cows. Their daughter, Nadia, who also works at the farm, states ‘by using raw milk that is alive and vibrant with the unique flora and fauna of our farm and pastures, we are able to create a cheese that is a concentrated expression of the farm and land that we love’.
Traditional English cheese can evoke images of golden-yellow Cheddar or blue-veined Stilton. However, after a study taken on dairy texts at the British Library, evidence could suggest otherwise. At the middle of the 18th century, big changes took place in cheese production in Great Britain. The transition between the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution witnessed an increasing population that demanded more efficient food production methods at a time when advances in science and engineering could fulfill theses needs. Paul Thomas writes about his finds on production from over the years, in order to more easily explain the evolution of cheese in the United Kingdom. Maybe traditional English cheese isn’t as traditional as we think!
Guiseppe Viterale, owner of Ornella Trattoria restaurant, serves a traditional Sardinian cheese named Casu Marzu. And the secret ingredient is… ? Live maggots! Until recently, it was illegal to produce this cheese due to the health risks it posed but now after being declared a traditional Italian food product in 2005, certain producers are trying to make it in a controlled environment. It’s made like Pecorino with ewe’s milk, then a hole is made at the top so that the flies can get in and lay their eggs. The eggs then become larvae that decompose the fat in the cheese, which is what gives it its creamy texture. This blog tells the story of young Amercian, Anna, in search of this distinctive cheese.
Traditionally, we pair wine with cheese. For example, our site suggests pairing a Sancerre with Saint-nectaire, or a Jurançon with Roquefort. But why not try pairing a mild cheddar with brown ale or a fresh goat’s cheese with a Hefeweizen? Certain cheeses share similar flavours, like nuttiness or hints of caramel. This American blog explores the ‘underated and delightful combination’ of beer and cheese.
In traditional cheesemaking, animal rennet is used to coagulate the milk, meaning that many cheeses can’t be eaten by vegetarians. Luckily, alternatives have been found, including vegetable rennet, microbial rennet and chymosin. Throughout history, other substitutes have been used, such as carrageen moss and even black snails! In the end, whatever rennet is used, it’s worth noting that it can change the texture and flavour of the cheese in question. Read the article to found out more.
Italian cheesemakers are convinced that good cheese starts with what the cows eat. Read here about cows which graze in the Italian Alps.
This article discusses how cheesemongers describe their cheese from eloquent poetry to downright prolixity!
One raw milk farmer has found his place in the spotlight, with the announcement of the documentary about his farm being shown at the Sundance Film Festival.
The brown Norwegian cheese, Brunost, was in the news this week, after a lorry full caught fire in a road tunnel. This blog explains what it is and who makes the raw milk variety.
When PDO regulations meant that Stilton could only be made from unpasteurised milk, some crafty producers decided to fight back.
Buffalo farmer from Italy now living in Florida was caught in the law for making raw milk cheeses, in a state where it is only legal to sell raw milk products as pet food.