2015/04/01

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton

Stilton is without a doubt, one of the best known British cheeses. It is produced in two varieties: the Blue Stilton, a semi-firm, pressed, blue vein cheese with rich complex flavours and a piquant finish; and the lesser-known White Stilton cheese which is a milder, semi-soft cheese.

Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton paste

Blue Stilton has been granted the status of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the European Commission. To receive the PDO status, a product must be made traditionally and entirely manufactured (prepared, processed and produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties. To be called "Blue Stilton", it can only be made in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Milk used in the making must be local cow milk, which is pasteurised before use. The Blue Stilton must never be pressed and must be made in the traditional cylindrical shape with its own natural rind or coat. The delicate blue veins radiating from the centre is Stilton’s typical characteristic. A true "Blue Stilton" which is aged for a minimum of 9 weeks, must have a "taste profile typical of Stilton" with its distinct tangy flavour from the use of the fungi Penicillium roqueforti and its creamy crumbly texture.

Thomas Hoe Stevenson

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton considered by many as the "Authentic" Stilton, is produced by Long Clawson Dairy . This Aged Blue Stilton is named after Thomas Hoe Stevenson, who was one of the original cheesemakers at the dairy. Long Clawson Dairy was founded in 1911 when 12 farmers from the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire, formed a co-operative to produce Stilton Cheese in the village of Long Clawson.

Stiltons en affinage

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton is still traditionally produced, perfectly aged and hand-selected in order to ensure the finest quality. These wheels are aged for a minimum of 15 weeks. The longer affinage allows the Stevenson Stilton to develop a more balanced, less aggressive, mellow flavor with a smooth creamy texture and tastes a lot less salty than other blue cheeses.

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton

Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton is a pasteurised cow-milk, semi-firm cheese with a natural greyish tan coloured rind and a creamy-buttery-yellow coloured paste with greenish blue veins radiating from its centre. It has a smooth creamy buttery texture, with a well-rounded flavour that is clean and earthy. Stevenson Stilton is a versatile cheese; it is a perfect addition to any cheese plate, an excellent ingredient in a variety of dishes (from salads, soups and main courses) or as a dessert served with figs or dates, walnuts, biscuits and breads. The full flavour of Stevenson Aged Blue Stilton pairs nicely with more full flavoured wines it is a perfect match for ports or desert wines or try it with a Shiraz.

Long Clawson Dairy has progressed in the past 100 years. Today, milk is supplied by 43 local farms, all from within the Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas. These farms range in size, producing between 350,000 to over 4 million litres of milk per year. Long Clawson Dairy is one of the six dairies in England that is licenced to produce Blue Stilton. Although best known for their Blue Stilton, they also produce a number of other delicious English cheeses and cheese products, such as Blue Shropshire, Aged Red Leicestershire and a range of sweet & savoury cheese blends.


2015/03/12

Beemster X-O-

Beemster X-O- is a very-firm, pasteurised cow-milk cheese with a wonderful caramel sweetness. Beemster X-O- cheese which is made in Holland is actually an eXtra-Old Gouda that has been aged for around 3 years.

Beemster X-O- pastuerised cow-milk cheese from Holland

Beemster cheese is produced by a farmers co-op located in the canal lined pastures of the Beemster Polder in the North of Holland.

The Beemster Polder, which is located north of Amsterdam, is a remarkable example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. In 1612, Dutch engineers using a system of dykes and windmills, drained the marshes and bogs of the Beemster Polder and converted the wet lands into pastures. The Beemster Polder is the oldest and most renowned of the polders in The Netherlands and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cows grazing among tulips in Beemster Polder in Holland

The unique blue coloured clay soil found in the Beemster Polder is rich in nutrients and minerals. This terroir yields grasses that are thicker and longer than others areas and grass that is more fertile, giving the milk produced on this land an especially sweet and creamy quality. The farmers of the Beemster Polder are aware of the value of their fertile land and to this day they use no pesticides on any of the pastures within the Beemster polder.

Beemster Polder bicycle tours

It is important that the quality of the milk is of the highest standard to make Beemster cheese. This standard is provided by continuously testing the milk as it arrives at the dairy from the individual farms. Cheese-making then begins with the so called ‘curdling’ of the milk. This is done by adding rennet to the milk and to allow the proteins and fat components found in the milk to coagulate. After the milk is curdled, some of the whey is drained and water is added to wash the curd. This creates a sweeter cheese and a reduction of lactose. Beemster’s cheese curds are stirred and raked by hand during cheese making. Beemster is the only coop left in Holland which still uses this artisan technique in cheese making. The whey is then completely drained and the curds are placed into molds and then pressed to form into its wheel shape. Then the wheels are placed into a brine bath that starts the aging process from within the cheese. The cheese wheels are then removed from the brine and dried for a few days before they are coated with a yellow wax coating to prevent the cheese from drying out. The wheels are then transported to warehouses where they age on wooden boards where the temperature and humidity is controlled to make ripening conditions ideal. All Beemster cheese wheels are hand turned, inspected, and polished every day for up to 26 months to ensure perfect maturation.

Wheel of Beemster X-O- cheese from Holland

As Beemster cheese wheels age, the textures firmness will change from semi-firm when it is young, to firm when old and very-firm to hard when it is X-O (extra old). A wheel of Beemster X-O- cheese weighs approx. 11.5 kilos (25 lbs) and measures approx. 38 cm (15") in diameter and 10 cm (4") in height.

Deep orange colour paste of Beemster X-O- cheese

Beemster X-O-'s very-firm paste has a rich deep pumpkin orange colour with small white dots, which are formed by the crystallisation of the proteins and minerals during maturation. Beemster X-O has a smooth and creamy taste which develops into a full-bodied, wonderful butterscotch caramel sweetness, with a bit of crunchiness and a strong nutty finish.  

Beemster X-O- pairs nicely with port wines, sherry, as well as sweet whites, such as Riesling. It is a great addition to any cheese platter served with dates, figs and walnuts.

Check out this video on the making of Beemster cheese directly from the Beemster Polder in Netherlands.


2015/02/12

Bonne Bouche

Bonne Bouche is an outstanding goat milk cheese that is perfectly named as it translates to 'tasty mouthful' in French.

Bonne Bouche, winner of many awards since its introduction in 2001, is a soft, fresh-ripened, ash covered, pasteurized goat-milk cheese from Vermont Creamery located in Websterville, Vermont.

Vermont Creamery goat

Bonne Bouche is made with fresh pasteurized goat-milk that is coagulated with vegetarian microbial rennet. After 24 hours, then the curd is carefully hand ladled into molds, then drained and lightly sprinkled with ash. The cheese is then aged for about 10 days, long enough for the rind to start to develop its wrinkly, brain-like creases which is 'Geotrichum', a mold used to neutralize or de-acidify the cheese surface. Each Bonne Bouche is then carefully packaged into its own individual little wooden crate where it can continue to age for 1 to 2 months.

Geotrichum rind of Bonne Bouche

Bonne Bouche is a small disc shaped wheel approximately 7 cm (2.5 in.) in diameter and 2 cm (3/4 in.) in height, weighing around 120 grams (4 oz.). What is striking about Bonne Bouche at first glance is its distinctive soft charcoal-grey wrinkled rind. It has a mild pungent aroma with hints of hay and wet caves. The rich and creamy white coloured paste has a sweet lemony mild flavour with hints of mushrooms and pepper. Bonne Bouche is characteristic of a true chèvre; it becomes softer and more piquant as it ages.

Bonne Bouche goat-milk cheese from Vermont Creamery

Bonne Bouche pairs nicely with dark chocolate and a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio or a California Riesling.

Vermont Creamery (formerly known as Vermont Butter and Cheese Company) was created in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. Today with a staff of more than 40, the creamery produces a variety of fresh and aged dairy products. For the Creamery's goat-milk products, goats' milk is sourced from a network of approximately 20 family goat farms who provide milk that have met the highest standards of purity.  Vermont Creamery produces fresh goat cheese, goat milk feta, fresh Crottin as well as other lovely chèvres like Bonne Bouche; Coupole, Bijou and the mixed-milk Cremont.

Vermont Creamery products

For Vermont Creamery’s cows-milk products; crème fraîche, cultured butter, mascarpone, and quark the cows-milk is sourced from Vermont’s St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.

2015/01/15

Curé-Hébert

Curé-Hébert is an award-winning, raw cow-milk, semi-soft, washed rind, farmstead cheese from Québec's Lac-St-Jean area.

Stéphane Tremblay of Fromagerie L'Autre Versant with Ayrshire cows

Curé-Hébert cheese is produced by Fromagerie L'Autre Versant owned and operated by husband and wife team Stéphane Tremblay and Chantale Lalancette. This young couple are the 6th generation of Tremblay's who have been farming on this heritage farm located in Hébertville, Québec.

Curé-Hébert cheese is named after the priest Nicolas Hébert-Tolentin, who founded Hébertville in 1849 where their own ancestors had come to establish themselves.

Curé-Hébert cheese label

Curé-Hébert cheese is made from the milk of the farm's own herd of Ayrshire cows. Curé-Hébert has an orange-brownish coloured washed-rind that is partially covered with a fine white duvet dusting. The soft velvety paste has a light yellow hue the colour of creamed butter and is slightly dotted with small holes and a texture that is unctuous, creamy and melts in the mouth.  Curé-Hébert has a sweet aroma of butter, cream and mushroom with sweet notes of honey or caramel. Curé-Hébert which is matured for a minimum of 60 days offers flavours that will vary from mild to more pronounced depending on its degree of maturity. Curé-Hébert tastes of butter, cream, mushrooms with lingering notes of roasted nuts and seeds.

Curé-Hébert cheese

Curé-Hébert cheese pairs nicely with a fruity medium bodied red wine such as Gamay from France or an Australian Grenache. Curé-Hébert is lovely with a Québec ice cider or a tawny port from Portugal.

The Fromagerie L'Autre Versant also offers fresh non-homogenized whole cows-milk, plus they produce fresh cheese curds, cheddar and two other farmstead cheeses made with raw cow-milk; Le Cru du Canton a firm pressed-paste cheese and Le Tremblay a lovely small soft-paste mixed-rind cheese.

Fromagerie L'Autre Versant is one of a dozen or so cheese producers still making raw-milk cheeses in Quebec today.



2014/12/30

Detectorists

Detectorists


Detectorists, is a quirky British comedy-drama TV series about two friends who share this passion for metal detecting.

Written, directed and co-starring Mackenzie Crook (who played the detestable Gareth Keenan in The Office) now playing the character of Andy. Along with his wise-cracking friend Lance, excellently played by Toby Jones (Marvellous, Infamous) the two spend their days plodding through fields, hoping to find their fortune with a couple of metal detectors.

Through the six episodes series you are introduced to an amusing cast of characters who are also drawn to this curious hobby. Detectorists, is well written with clever humour and enjoyably charming.

Here is a short preview of Episode One that ran on BBC Four.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/detectorists

2014/11/28

BellaVitano

BellaVitano is an award winning, firm, pasteurised cow-milk cheese produced by Sartori Cheese located in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

BellaVitano cheese

BellaVitano is an Italian style cheese that combines the rich and creamy flavour of cheddar cheese with the tasty, fruity, nutty flavour and the gritty texture of parmesan.

Sartori Cheese is a fourth-generation family owned and operated company that's been in operation since 1939. Sartori Cheese produces various Italian style cheese; from a classic Parmesan, Fontina, Asiago, Romano and their award-winning line of Sartori Reserve Bellavitano cheeses.

Sartori Cheese

The Sartori Reserve BellaVitano artisan cheeses include a spellbinding lineup of BellaVitano cheeses that have been skillfully combined with various flavours. Sartori's Master Cheesemakers have perfectly combined a diversified selection of rich, fruity, Old World flavors with the original texture, creamy with the crystalline crunch of the BellaVitano.

The award-winning line of Sartori Reserve BellaVitano artisan cheeses includes; Balsamic BellaVitano, Black Pepper BellaVitano, Chai BellaVitano, Espresso BellaVitano, BellaVitano Gold, Merlot BellaVitano, Raspberry BellaVitano and their latest limited edition addition, the Cognac BellaVitano. 

Regardless of whether you prefer the spiciness of Chai, the berry and plum notes of Merlot, the tart Raspberry ale, fresh roasted Espresso, BellaVitano is a cheese that pleases everybody.

BellaVitano pairs well with Chardonnay, Merlot or Pinot Noir wines.



2014/11/07

Le Chèvre Noir

Le Chèvre Noir

Le Chèvre Noir is an excellent pasteurized goat-milk cheddar that was created by cheesemaker Louise Lefebvre in 1988 for Fromagerie Tournevent in Chesterville, Quebec. It was introduced to the market as an aged cheddar in 1989. Fromagerie Tournevant, a goat dairy was started in 1976 by Lucie Chartier and René Marceau. The Fromagerie Tournevent has been operated under Damafro for the past several years; they in turn have recently been acquired by the Agropur cooperative.

Le Chèvre Noir goat-milk cheddar

What distinguishes this cheddar Le Chèvre Noir at first glance is the beautiful snow-white colour of its paste that is emphasized by the contrast of its outer black wax coating. It has a firm and crumbly texture just like real aged cheddar with its crunchy protein crystals. Chevre Noir has a sharp taste with a bit of tang, but it is balanced out by the creamy texture of the cheese. Chevre Noir reveals many flavours; butter, nuts and a wonderful lingering finish of caramel with a pinch of salt.

Le Chèvre Noir is produced in different size formats and also available in different stages of aging from 1, 2 or 3 years. My favourite version of Chèvre Noir has been aged for 3 years; I find it has just that extra little bit of zing.

Like all aged cheddars, Chevre Noir should be served rather cool. Long exposure to dry air causes its fat to evacuate to the edges. Le Chèvre Noir is ideal served with fruits and nuts accompanied with a full-bodied white, a rich red wine, a Port or premium beer.


2014/10/16

Le 1608

Le 1608 is a cooked, pressed paste, surface ripened, semi-firm cheese made with thermized cow milk produced by La Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec. Le 1608 was launched in 2008 in honour of Quebec City's 400th anniversary; hence the name 1608, the year Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City. 

 Le 1608

Le 1608 is made exclusively with the milk of the "Canadienne" cow. This breed of cow is unique to Canada; it owes its origin to bovine imported from France between 1608 and 1660. The natural and ongoing inbreeding led to a new breed of cow called the "Canadienne", the only dairy breed developed in North America. Unfortunately, during the 20th century this breed of cow was gradually replaced by the Holstein. Of the estimated 500,000 head herd in 1900, less than 500 of the "Canadienne" cow remain today.

Canadienne breed of cows

Le 1608 is fabricated in a large 8 kg (17.5 lbs.) wheel, measuring about 35 cm (14 in) in diameter and (3.5 in.) in height and aged for 2 to 6 months. 1608 has a strong barnyard aroma; it has a slightly sticky pinkish-orange coloured rind with a yellowish coloured paste. The milk from the Canadienne cow has higher butterfat content, resulting to the yellow colour in the paste. 1608 has a smooth and creamy melt-in-the-mouth texture with a pleasant fruity, buttery flavour with lingering hints of apples and nuts. 1608 is a great choice for grilled-cheese, raclette and fondue since it melts very well. 1608 pairs well with a fruity medium bodied white wine or rosé or try it with a Québec sparkling cider.

Laiterie Charlevoix

The Laiterie Charlevoix was founded in 1948 by Stanislas Labbé and Elmina Fortin in Baie-St-Paul. For many years the Laiterie Charlevoix was almost exclusively devoted to the production of cheddar cheese. But the new generation of the Labbé family; brothers Jean, Paul, Bruno and Dominique have added some fine award winning cheese to the Laiterie Charlevoix's repertoire; Le Fleurmier (a soft bloomy rind), L'Origine de Charlevoix (a soft washed-rind 'Reblochon' type cheese), L'Hercule de Charlevoix (a firm cooked paste aged cheese) and Le 1608.

Le 1608 and L'Origine de Charlevoix cheese produced at the Laiterie de Charlevoix as well as the Tomme des Demoiselles and Pied de Vent produced by the Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent in the Magdalen Islands, are the only four cheeses currently being made with 100% from the milk of the "Canadienne" breed of cow. These four cheeses will soon be the first to receive an AS (Appellation de Spécificité) which is a Designation of Specificity issued by Quebec's CARTV (Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants).


2014/09/18

Beaufort d'Alpage

Haute-Savoie production area of Beaufort cheese
Beaufort d'Alpage is an alpine cheese from the Rhone-Alps region of France. The production area of the Beaufort covers the high mountains of Savoie in the three valleys Beaufortain / Val d'Arly, Tarentaise and Maurienne.
Tarine and Abondance cows
Beaufort is a very large cooked pressed firm cheese made exclusively with the raw milk of Tarine also called Tarentaise and Abondance breed of cows. These cows are agile and strong and perfectly suited for the rough terrain of the high pastures.

There are three different types of Beaufort; Beaufort, Beaufort d’été (which is a summer Beaufort) and Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage. Beaufort d'Alpage is only a small part of the summer production (about 10,000 wheels). Beaufort d'Alpage must be manufactured using traditional methods, in a mountain chalet that is 1,500 meters minimum above sea level and with the milk of a single herd of cattle. The AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) specifications impose an annual production limit of 5000 liters of milk per cow or a daily production of 16 liters. Keep in mind it takes about 500 litres (130 gallons) of milk to make a Beaufort of 45 kg (99 lb).

Wheels of Beaufort cheese
To make Beaufort, the milk is heated and then the curd is pressed into a beech-wood hoop mold which gives the cheese its distinctive concave shape on the side (heel) of the wheel. A large wheel of Beaufort can measure up to 76 cm (30 in) in diameter and 16 cm (6.3 in) in height. The wheels are aged for a minimum of 5 months to upwards of 12 months in a mountain cellar that maintains a high humidity and cool temperature.

Beaufort cheese
Beaufort d'Alpage is without a doubt one of the finest firm cheeses in the world. It has a wonderful aroma of milk, butter, flowers and honey. A young Beaufort will have a mild, fruity taste while an aged Beaufort has a stronger aroma and more complex flavours that linger on the palate.  The paste of a winter Beaufort has a pale whitish colour while the summer versions have a more yellow paste due to the cows munching on the alpine flowers. The chlorophyll from the grass and carotene from the alpine flowers give the summer cheeses its beautiful colour and grassy and flowery aromas. Beaufort is richer and creamier than other mountain cheeses.

An excellent way to serve Beaufort is with smoked salmon. It pairs nicely with a Chablis or a white Burgundy wine. Beaufort melts well and is a great choice for a cheese fondue. You must try the exquisite Fondue Savoyarde; made with equal parts of 3 cheeses from the Savoie region; Beaufort, Abondance and Tomme de Savoie.


2014/09/04

Taliah

Taliah is a beautiful English-style, cloth-bound cheddar, aged for one year, made from unpasteurized sheep-milk, produced in the Centre-du-Québec region.

The name Taliah comes from the Hebrew origin meaning female lamb.

Taliah - Sheep-milk cheddar

Taliah has a lovely golden butterscotch coloured firm paste with a rustic crystalline texture and a light musty cave smell. Taliah has a natural rind that is covered with cheesecloth. Unlike most cheddars, Taliah has a nutty flavour with a caramel sweetness, not too salty and a lingering robust flavour that is perfectly balanced.

Taliah's complex flavours go perfectly with those ripe crunchy fall apples. It pairs wonderfully with a sparkling cider, brown ale, an oaked Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Taliah cheddar freshly made 
Taliah cloth-bound cheddar aging

The full bodied complex flavours you receive with cloth-bound cheddar is one of the reasons cheesemakers are returning to this old-school method.  The cloth that is applied on the exterior of the wheel allows the cheese to breathe and promotes microbe germination that provides those wonderful flavours to disperse into the cheese. Block cheddars that are either waxed or plastic sealed give a sharper saltier bite unlike the rich complex flavours of cloth-bound cheddars.

Taliah was conceived by Valérie Brousseau and Alastair Mackenzie of Saint-Christophe-d'Arthabaska, which is located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. They run a farm with pure-bred East-Friesian sheep which provides the milk for the cheese. All their animals; sheep, beef, pork, rabbit, duck and chicken are fed only prime quality food, free of antibiotics, hormones and chemicals. 

East Friesian sheep

They have established a partnership with cheese-maker Olivier Ducharme at Fromagerie Du Charme to produce their cheese. They are currently working together on a Stilton-style blue cheese which should be available soon.


Check out these two cloth-bound cheddars also made here in Canada; The Lindsay Bandaged GoatCheddar and the Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.