Then you’ll love this movie. Or as Neal’s Yard Dairy calls it, a “film.” (You like that? The word “FILM” do it for ya?)
But in actuality, this is a really beautiful short movie about where some of the most famous British cheeses come from. Farm to market. Shot on 16mm film (Seriously, do you have a boner yet? Put down your copy of Rilke, take off your beret, and just watch the movie already) it took 2 years to make and really is a great visual for the cheese making process.
It came out a while ago, but I’m just discovering it now. Behind the times. But cheese is pretty much always in style so who cares. Enjoy lovies!
Have you been outside recently!? It’s pretty perfect outside in the great borough of Brooklyn these days. Breezy, sunny, full of good vibes, and usually over caffeinated! Yesssss. So what did I decide to do when it’s 75 and sunny outside?
Go to the Farmer’s Market and buy seasonal produce to create a fresh, seasonal feast for all my friends and family? No!
Privately read the next installment in the Twilight series by the water so that I can openly weep and think about the lonely life of a vampire while ignoring the smell of garbage and staring at the Manhattan skyline? No way, totally boring!
Think about going on a picnic and decided to sit in a coffee shop and command y’all to go for me?! YESSSSSS.
Totally my life. In France. In the 19th century. Except I'd probably bring my cat along with me...
So today we are putting on our finest cardigans, our coke-bottled glasses, and popping an XR Adderall, because today, Blog-o-sphere, we are going back to Cheese University. Sweet. First stop? Soft serve machine in the dining hall.
Well, not really. But today, I thought I’d gather all of you guys around in a semi-circle of those little desks where the writing surface and the chair is connected (remember those?!) and give you a talkin’ to ’bout the chemical universe behind cheese making. Specifically the world of RENNET. Which is a small galaxy owned by Cher and a group of Swiss cheese makers.
At this point, RENNET is holding me together. Cheese humor!
This guy is so excited about his cheese it hurts. People are a little calmer in Wisconsin, but they never forget the power of a good montage ballad.
This video is a great, brief visual reference for the creation of CHEESE. Which is what this blog is all about. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is also a delicious staple to know and love, and since this brief power presentation was made, the dairy has won lots of other awards. AND this farm came out with another cheese, the Rush Creek Reserve. Which is also totally delicious and badass.
So, get to know Uplands Cheese Company. And their cheeses. And this Youtube clip has totally inspired me to go put on a sweatsuit and run up some stairs, punching and flailing wildly into the air. GO TEAM.
This week’s blog post is all about the four words above. That’s right. Ok, five words. (I said I knew about cheese, not how to count.)
When you think about different types of cheeses, there are certain flavor profiles that are associated with them. A manchego is going to be salty, nutty, and buttery. A Saint-Nectaire is going to be a gray little tomme that tastes like the vegetal nether regions of a mushroom that you found on the slope of a volcano. A comte is going to be nutty with hints of berries and shallots and come in 80 lb. wheels.
But why? Why do these cheeses always taste the same? How do people know what they taste like? It’s not like they just magically taste that way. They are made by human beings with independent thoughts and ideas who believe variety is the spice of life and want things to taste new and exciting! So how come the order of Vacherin Mont D’Or we got in December of 2009 tastes just like the Vacherin Mont D’Or we got in December of 2010? WHY, I ASK YOU? WHY?
I can tell you my, children. So pull up your toadstools and listen. The answer is simple and can be summed up in one word. More like an idea. More like a state of mind and being: Appellation.
…and more blogging. Hooray! It’s 2011! Did you miss us? Did you think we had gotten sucked into a void of cheese curds and customer service and got eaten alive by the boogeyman of Bedford Avenue?! Because we kind of did. And survived to tell the tale. But now that the mayhem of Holiday-geddon 2011 is over, we can resume our friendly and informative blog posts. Great. Super.
So while all you guys were opening presents and wearing bright and shiny Holiday sweaters and spilling egg nog all over yourself, I was here, contemplating cheese. What else? And I realized that I couldn’t stop thinking about one particular cheese we have in the shop. It’s like the QB of the cheese shop team…throwing that pig skin long and far and has perfect aim and is going to take the team to semi-finals and then is going to get a scholarship and go and play college ball…Ok. So maybe I was watching a lot of Friday Night Lights AND thinking about cheese (but seriously, I didn’t think NBC could actually create a show about football that sucked me in so fast…bravo NBC, bravo. And can we talk ’bout Tim Riggins for a second?!? Oh. My God.)
Anyways, I’m going to get to the point here. The cheese I was thinking about was none other than the Essex Street Cheese Marcel Petite 16 month Comte. Yeah, that’s right. The one. The only. The classic. The best. It’s like the perfect holiday cheese. You can use it to cook with, you can use it to snack, and you can cover it in mayo and cream cheese and serve it to your friends and they will LOVE you for it.
Do they still make this? Because I'm putting a case of it in my bomb shelter.
Alright, so maybe my intro isn’t that strong this week. I went straight to the fart jokes before I could even give you guys any warning. Usually I make at least one mention of unicorns and Switzerland before I get to the potty humor. Sorry about that.
But, despite this little blog hiatus (Where did 3 weeks go?!!!? I really have lost all track of time. Ay yi yi. Five words y’all: eggnog, turkey, peppermint bark…eggnog.) the band got back together for one last jam. On the blog. And this week, I wanted to explain the differences between two important catchphrases in the cheeseworld. “Artisan” vs. “Farmstead.” Related? Important? Do I care?
So we’ve tried some different things since mid-summer. We’ve talked about grocery items. We’ve talked about fondue. We’ve talked about designer cats dressed up as apples that are EATING apples. We’ve covered it all. But sometimes, when late early winter is upon us, we realize that we have to get back to our roots. Where did we come from? How did it all begin? Well, if you are a loyal reader of the blog, you’ll know that this all started with a little feature I like to call….CHEESEPINIONS. And we have a lot of cheese right now. I mean…Jesus, it’s kind of overwhelming. (And don’t even get me started on our butter selection. We have so much butter right now it kind of makes me want to run around the store announcing it in an Oprah voice to get people all riled up over it…) So I thought I’d do what I do best: irritate my coworkers long enough for them to tell me about their favorite cheeses of the moment. Precious.
As precious as this baby bobcat?!?!? Well...no. Also, not as delicious.
So today we are going to start by putting on our imagination caps. I’ll wait a minute so you can go retrieve it out of your imagination box.
So fun already.
…Ok. Is your cap jauntily placed on your noggin’? Good. Because right now I’m going to whisk you away to the Swiss Alps. In December. You are a Swiss farmer’s wife. Your name is Hilde, you like gingham and kirsch, and you once had an affair with a man you met at a cafe in town after he bought you a glass of red wine and you couldn’t stop staring at his impressive mustache. Unfortunately December in Switzerland is a snowy time so you don’t have a lot of variety in your gastronomical options, your chubby sister is staying with you for the holidays and a shepherd with strong shoulders but gentle hands showed up at your door step last night when it started to snow. Great. All you have for dinner is some really old cheese, a container of pickles, some Stroopwafels and a hunk of bread that you are pretty sure you baked last August. And everyone is hungry and huddled around a small fireplace in the back of your cabin.
I wanted to blog, but I didn’t really have anything to blog about. Except for this video of a cat dressed up like an apple EATING apples! (There is also a real good video of a similar cat dressed up like a banana split eating a banana! Internet, you ARE my best friend and what would I do without you apart from wither like a salted slug…)
So, here’s what I’m going to tell you blog world. Go to the Farmer’s Market. Buy some apples (because they are totes in season). Come to the shop. And buy two cheeses. I would recommend the delicious sheep camembert style cheese Shushan Snow from the wonderful 3 Corner Field Farm. You could smear this gooey, soft ripened cheese on your apples and have a classic afternoon treat. Then I would probably get a wedge of Vermont Shepherd. Because it is delicious, buttery, and slightly salty. Like the welcome smile of a fat and sassy sheep. Cut a small hunk off that and put it in a baguette, followed by a cleansing nibble of your apple. It would be really good. That’s all I got. A kind of lame suggestion followed by an adorable video (and there are like….tons more of these videos. Don’t worry, you’ll be occupied for a while…) K super.