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chefbrendis

Cheese (2005–2008)

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Cheeseheads...there's a nice article in the NYT in the Dining section. Just an FYI. BTW, this weekend is my monthly cheese party. Not a very exciting one - German cheese in honor of National Cheese Month and Oktoberfest. Pics will be posted.

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That is very clever.

I just ordered some Wisconsin cheese that is impossible to find out here.I love brick cheese, both young and aged, so ordered some of both, plus some 6-year-old cheddar.

Also, I am still enjoying the Piave.

I made a pizza with pears, apples and slices of the Piave drizzled with balsamic vinegar.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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That is very clever.

I just ordered some Wisconsin cheese that is impossible to find out here.I love brick cheese, both young and aged, so ordered some of both, plus some 6-year-old cheddar.

Could you give me a link to or phone number for the place where you ordered the brick cheese?

I remember eating brick cheese -- Kraft sliced! -- as a child and haven't seen it in decades. It appears to have since become a strictly regional thing, unavailable beyond Wisconsin now.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I order from a couple of vendors but have been using this one.

Mousehouse Cheesehaus

If you like sharp cheddar, try the 5-year-old. (That is what I ordered, the 6 was a typo in my first post.)

Also the cranberry cheddar is delicious - I melt a slice on a lightly toasted English muffin. So good with tea.

I used to buy a lot from Widmers but when I tried to place an order a few months back I couldn't get to the checkout page and they weren't answering their phone.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Hi, Cheeseheads -

I've been offline for a bit - undergoing a kitchen reno and it is wreaking havoc with life!

Andie -

I was looking thru my files, as I know I used to have a good article about Piave. It is a great Italian cheese. It is a favorite of Ari from Zingermans, so you might be able to find something on their website - www.zingermans.com. Just curious - was the brand name on your Wisc cheeses Widmer? Joe Widmer makes some outstanding cheeses including brick and aged cheds. He is a great guy and wonderful cheesemaker.

gfron - I am totally with you on Crayeuse. It is made in the Alsace, and aged by a wonderful family of affineurs. You are right - "crayeuse" means chalky - this cheese ripens from the outside in, so usually the center is a bit crumbly. Looking at the Girl & the Fig next to it - you must buy from Cheeseworks? Tell us all the name of your store.

In addition to the unbelievable cheese sculpure, I recognize that platter! I have about 3 of those that I use for cheese tastings, and am giving one as a wedding present. It is so cute!

Chufi -

Here is what I could find about Testun, again thanks to the wonderful writings of Ari from Zingermans...one of our best food writers, in my opinion:

"A mountain cheese (from the Piedmont) made from a blend of raw cow's and sheep's milk. Aged for about a year, the name means "hard head" in the Piemontese dialect. Big mouthfeel, long finish, fine flavor that's in the same family as Ig Vella's dry Jack, a young parmigiano, or maybe a good Spanish mahon. Testun is a very good eating cheese, though the Piemontese - traditionally very poor - often used this instead of parm for grating on pasta."

I not only thank you, but am in total agreement w/the people you spoke with regarding 10 yr gouda. I didn't want to appear like a know-it-all, but I do not see how this is possible. Whoever posted that - can y go back to DiBrunos and ask to see the label? Get us a brand name and I can check it out.

Meanwhile...it is the middle of food show season for us in the business. I had the pleasure to exhibit next to the nice people from Vermont Butter & Cheese recently and they shared samples with me of some new aged chevres that they are doing. The Bonne Buche is about as close to a real Selle sur Cher as we are going to get over here. The Bijou is a crottin-type with the crenulated rind. They are packaged in little wooden boxes like the real French deal. Very nice cheeses.

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Hi, Cheeseheads -

I've been offline for a bit - undergoing a kitchen reno and it is wreaking havoc with life!

Andie -

I was looking thru my files, as I know I used to have a good article about Piave.  It is a great Italian cheese.  It is a favorite of Ari from Zingermans, so you might be able to find something on their website - www.zingermans.com.  Just curious - was the brand name on your Wisc cheeses Widmer?  Joe Widmer makes some outstanding cheeses including brick and aged cheds.  He is a great guy and wonderful cheesemaker.

gfron - I am totally with you on Crayeuse.  It is made in the Alsace, and aged by a wonderful family of affineurs.  You are right - "crayeuse" means chalky - this cheese ripens from the outside in, so usually the center is a bit crumbly.  Looking at the Girl & the Fig next to it - you must buy from Cheeseworks?  Tell us all the name of your store.

In addition to the unbelievable cheese sculpure, I recognize that platter!  I have about 3 of those that I use for cheese tastings, and am giving one as a wedding present.  It is so cute!

Chufi -

Here is what I could find about Testun, again thanks to the wonderful writings of Ari from Zingermans...one of our best food writers, in my opinion:

"A mountain cheese (from the Piedmont) made from a blend of raw cow's and sheep's milk.  Aged for about a year, the name means "hard head" in the Piemontese dialect.  Big mouthfeel, long finish, fine flavor that's in the same family as Ig Vella's dry Jack, a young parmigiano, or maybe a good Spanish mahon.  Testun is a very good eating cheese, though the Piemontese - traditionally very poor - often used this instead of parm for grating on pasta."

I not only thank you, but am in total agreement w/the people you spoke with regarding 10 yr gouda.  I didn't want to appear like a know-it-all, but I do not see how this is possible.  Whoever posted that - can y go back to DiBrunos and ask to see the label?  Get us a brand name and I can check it out.

Meanwhile...it is the middle of food show season for us in the business.  I had the pleasure to exhibit next to the nice people from Vermont Butter & Cheese recently and they shared samples with me of some new aged chevres that they are doing.  The Bonne Buche is about as close to a real Selle sur Cher as we are going to get over here.  The Bijou is a crottin-type with the crenulated rind.  They are packaged in little wooden boxes like the real French deal.  Very nice cheeses.

Andie -just reread your post and saw what you said about Widmer's. That is too bad, as their cheeses are excellent.

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Another cheese party down...this was our German party in honor of Oktoberfest and national Cheese Month (In America).

While I wouldn't consider any of these German cheese, all are made in Germany...

First the spread: Smoked salmon, many wursts, pumpernickel, many great desserts

cheesespreadgerman.jpg

Now onto the cheeses. Cambozola. Its a very popular gorgonzola camembert blend. It was cold out tonight so it didn't warm up as much as I would have liked

cambozola.jpg

Then Champignon. Basically a brie-like with mushrooms

champignon.jpg

And finally a Mirabo - brie-like with walnuts.

mirabo1.jpg

mirabo.jpg

Good party. It was Harvest moon, so we had the party outdoors and showed Wallace and Grommit for background lighting.

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I not only thank you, but am in total agreement w/the people you spoke with regarding 10 yr gouda.  I didn't want to appear like a know-it-all, but I do not see how this is possible.  Whoever posted that - can y go back to DiBrunos and ask to see the label?  Get us a brand name and I can check it out.

click here and you'll see they're selling it on line.

here's the cheese in context of other dutch cheeses they sell.

i mean, i'm no gouda expert, but dibruno's is a reputable store so i have no doubt that what they're selling is what they say it is.

the phone number is there on the page i linked--why not give them a call and ask if it bothers you?

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I not only thank you, but am in total agreement w/the people you spoke with regarding 10 yr gouda.  I didn't want to appear like a know-it-all, but I do not see how this is possible.  Whoever posted that - can y go back to DiBrunos and ask to see the label?  Get us a brand name and I can check it out.

click here and you'll see they're selling it on line.

here's the cheese in context of other dutch cheeses they sell.

i mean, i'm no gouda expert, but dibruno's is a reputable store so i have no doubt that what they're selling is what they say it is.

the phone number is there on the page i linked--why not give them a call and ask if it bothers you?

I contacted them (via e-mail). I will report back when I hear from them.

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I agree, mrbigjas, DiBruno's is a very good store. I think the problem lies w/the company supplying them with this product.

I checked with a friend who is a major gouda importer in the US. He says there is no such thing as a 10 yr old gouda and they are being lied to.

Giving the supplier the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are just embellishing and exaggerating to their retail customers like the food folks at DiBruno's.

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I am still in shock! I just returned from a visit to my local Costco. There were some fabulous looking new cheeses that must be available for the holidays. I picked up a piece of Pecorino Romano with truffles that looked fabulous...it was a little over a pound. The signage on the shelf, listed $9.99, so that's what I was expecting to pay. At the checkout, it rang up at $26.93, which surprised me quite a bit! It's my own fault...the $26.93 was clearly marked on the package label, but it was more than I wanted to pay today for a piece of cheese as I had picked up several other nice cheeses.

I told the checker that I was sorry, but I didn't want to take the cheese afterall because I hadn't realized the price. She said it was too late and I'd have to take it to the return counter....after it's rung up they can't reverse it. OK....so I head to the return counter and tell them my sad story...they are fine with it and proceed to give me credit on my Costco American Express card. (Costco has a very liberal return policy).

The clerk is puzzled as to what exactly it is that is such a high price...takes the cheese and starts banging it on the counter. I said something to the effect that they may not want to do that as it might damage the cheese. Then she told me...."it doesn't matter we're just going to throw it away!". I said, "you can't be serious!" and she explained that any food items that are returned are disposed of. I told her that I hadn't even left the building and had come to the return counter immediately after the checkout and she said it didn't matter. I was so horrified at the waste that I had second thoughts about returning it.....but the paperwork had already been done.

Amazing!

Margy

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I agree, mrbigjas, DiBruno's is a very good store.  I think the problem lies w/the company supplying them with this product.

I checked with a friend who is a major gouda importer in the US.  He says there is no such thing as a 10 yr old gouda and they are being lied to. 

Giving the supplier the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are just embellishing and exaggerating to their retail customers like the food folks at DiBruno's.

The DiBruno family has been in the cheese business for over 70 years and I have been buying from them for nearly 30, having tasted, bought and learned from the late Danny. They are not suckers to take being lied or exagerated to, even if some customers may be. Nor are they likely to exaggerate to custimers; I have never known them to be anything but honest and good cheese educators.

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I meant that the supplier may be exaggerating to DiBruno's, not the other way around.

I have no doubt that they are selling this with the best of intentions. I have been in the cheese business for 26 years, and I just find it hard to believe. Just my two cents.

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...

Then she told me...."it doesn't matter we're just going to throw it away!". I said, "you can't be serious!" and she explained that any food items that are returned are disposed of. I told her that I hadn't even left the building and had come to the return counter immediately after the checkout and she said it didn't matter. I was so horrified at the waste that I had second thoughts about returning it.....but the paperwork had already been done.

Amazing!

Margy

So, were you able to convince them to let you take it off their hands? :rolleyes:

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Sorry to get off the aged gouda issue(which I find difficult to believe in a 10 year old gouda),but I was wondering if anyone is going to the slowfood salone del guste next week, I will be working on a stall representing Irish raw milk cheeses and would be happy to see some egulleteers there.

The whole weekend seems fascinating and having not been before I am very excited about the trip,if people cannot make it bear in mind that next year there is the slowfood celebration of Cheese at Bras in Piedmont having been last year I think its worth begging borrowing or stealing for as its a true celebration of cheese in all its forms.

Will get as much info and pics as possible and post when i get back.

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Brian, I am so jealous! I know several people that are going to Terra Madre, but not me. However, I can't complain as I am going to SIAL, the big biannual food show in Paris. One whole pavilion is cheese and dairy products!

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Sorry to get off the aged gouda issue(which I find difficult to believe in a 10 year old gouda)...

FWIW, I stopped in DiBruno's on Chestnut on Thursday.

The "10-year aged gouda" they sell is from Noord Hollander. AFAICT, this cheese is imported to the US by Cheese Land, Inc., of Seattle--the Cheese Land web site address is printed on the Noord Hollander label--but there is no evidence of this cheese's existence on that web site.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Sorry to get off the aged gouda issue(which I find difficult to believe in a 10 year old gouda)...

FWIW, I stopped in DiBruno's on Chestnut on Thursday.

The "10-year aged gouda" they sell is from Noord Hollander. AFAICT, this cheese is imported to the US by Cheese Land, Inc., of Seattle--the Cheese Land web site address is printed on the Noord Hollander label--but there is no evidence of this cheese's existence on that web site.

The plot thickens!

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The raw milk question is complicated - the law, which addresses imported cheeses aged for less than 60 days, has been around as long as I've been in the business - at least 25+ years.  For many years, it was quietly ignored, and many cheeses were brought in under the radar.  It is true that even a few years ago, places like Whole Foods were selling the true, AOC versions of chevres and soft-ripeneds.  Even before 9/11, things were starting to get tightened up, but that led to big changes for importers.  It's just not worth the risk for them anymore.

Let me expand on this point: The law, which is governed by the FDA, relates to *any* cheese (foreign or domestic) that is made with raw milk and aged less than 60 days. AOC Brie de Meaux, for example, is a raw milk cheese that is aged for 45 days. Most goat's milk cheese is aged a very short period of time, typically from as little as 7 days to 45 days.

Before 9/11, cheese came into the U.S. and customs either looked the other way, or they were told the cheese was made with pasteurized milk when it wasn't. After the Bioterrorism Act came into play, however, the process for bringing anything with organic material/contents into the U.S. changed. Now, you have to get pre-authorization from the FDA and U.S. Customs. In order to get this, you have to detail what your product is (in this case, cheese), where it came from, how it's made and where the ingredients came from. This process change is what effectively shut the door on the importation of most fresh raw-milk cheeses from France and everywhere else. The cheeses that are "close" to 60 days, like Brie, can be aged another 15 days and then sent over. So you can still get AOC Brie, if you look real hard. Other cheeses just don't have their special flair if they hold them over too long. Think of a banana that's overripe and you'll have a sense for what I mean.

I would understand our government's concern for our well-being if there was a world-wide problem of cheese-bourne illnesses.  Have you heard of people falling dead all over France from eating raw milk cheeses?  Gee, neither have I.  I have nothing to base this on but conspiracy theory, but I think there must have been some lobbying from big business way back when that convinced legislators that these products were dangerous.  They have been protecting our health, even when presented with facts to the contrary, ever since.

This is not a health issue, it is a money issue. The stated reason has been that there are food-borne illnesses associated with raw milk products, most notably, listeriosis. You can get listeriosis from a piece of cheese made with pasteurized milk, by the way. It just depends on when the infection/bacteria reached the cheese - pre-pasteurization or post. Europeans are not dropping dead from eating cheese. What makes me laugh even more is how pregnant women here avoid raw milk cheese like the plague because they think they (or their unborn baby) will drop dead from it. Meanwhile, you can go to a Bennigan's in Pittsburgh and get some scallions on your nachos that are infected with Hepatitis. The whole premise is laughable.

It is much more difficult and expensive to make cheese with raw milk. In France, you have to test every batch of milk for pathogens before it goes into production. That means you have to dump batches of milk if they don't pass. If you produce cheese using pasteurized milk, you can use 100% of what you take in. This also means you can take in a lower quality product - it all gets smoothed out in the end. Unfortunately, the flavor goes away as well. Try boiling a bottle of your favorite wine before you drink it. You'll see what I mean.

You can tell this is a soapbox issue for me...

Steingarten has a lot to say on this (okay, he always has a lot to say). No one on record has suffered a serious illness in the US from unpasteurized cheese. Period.

You can import any number of other things that will hurt you (in the long run) but not a nice, runny, smelly cheese.

Strangely, on the Canuck side, I found a wonderful little cheese shop in North Van at Park Royal that carried a fantastic selection of French cheeses. When I reminisced about the Tristar, a topped-over goat cheese from Upstate New York that Ihsan Gurdal introduced to me, I found out that you can't import American cheeses into BC!

We live in strange and unpleasant times.

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Sorry to have jumped in like that, so far out of sych with the thread, but all this political interference with cheese just gets my blood churned.

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Sorry to have jumped in like that, so far out of sych with the thread, but all this political interference with cheese just gets my blood churned.

No need to apologize! Lots of us share your outrage!

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Been away in the Uk for three weeks so am just catching up. Lots of interesting things seem to be going on.

Will do some picture posts as we get sorted out, but needless to say we had a good time in the Uk sampling their wonderful cheeses. Got caught up on stilton, a whole range of cheddars, Shropshire blue (we stayed in Shropshite for 2 weeks), Cheshire, wenslydale and a bunch of other favorites.

In addition we sampled English chevre's, brie's and other knock offs of French varieties. Mostly they were pretty good.

I'll do a separate post of some of the new very interesting and delicious cheeses we'd never heard of before.

Great trip, but it's nice to be back home. Bought brie, cabencou, laguiole and St Augur yesterday just to start getting stocked up.

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