Cheese Blog

Featuring French Cheese Plate Saturday & French Muscadet!

He Said... 
A perfect pairing for our Tour de France Cheese plate this Saturday is Andre-Michel Bregeon's Muscadet from France. This lively thirst quencher is a white wine made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes in the western region of the Loire valley. This particular Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine is less like the many ambiguous mass produced Muscadet wines in the region because of the devotion to the grape and the soil from its creator. Michel Bregeon's vineyards are planted on gabbro soil, an old, blue-green, volcanic rock that is a rarity for vineyard soil. This particular soil was formed by magma eruptions under the ocean floor, which lends Michel's Muscadet a rich complexity. The cool climate of the region with cooling winds from the Atlantic Ocean bring a tingley acidity to the wine. The wine also benefits from the special care taken during the wine making process. Michel likes to age his Muscadet on the lees (aging it with the unactive yeast cells) after fermentation. This process creates a fuller and creamer mouthfeel with a sense of effervescence. Muscadet is a perfect hot weather sipper with noticeable minerality and prominent acidity, making it a welcome partner with food or sipping near the pool. We have limited bottles available so come on in and grab one. Enjoy!

She Said... 
We will pretty much use any excuse to eat a French cheese plate but Le Tour de France is a pretty good one.  The tour started last Saturday and will continue until July 27th.  3664 kilometers is a long way and worth some celebration!  That kind of athleticism warrants a plate of 5 French cheeses, Noble Bread, jam, and honey.  This year we are including Brillat Savarin, Ossau Iraty, Gaperon, Comte, and Blue d'Auvergne.  Providing you a variety of flavors, textures, and milk types from a country that has hundreds of cheeses is easy but deciding on which ones to choose can be a challenge.  Here is what we decided;  First up, Brillat-Savarin from Normandy.  It is a cow's milk cheese made with milk that has been enriched with creme fraiche resulting in a triple cream that has a buttery flavor and texture and slight sour tang in the finish.  It is named after the famous gastronomic writer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in the 1930's.  Ossau Iraty is from the French Pyrenees.  It is a firm raw sheep's milk cheese with a lot of character.  It is nutty, buttery, fruity, and a little olivey & herbaly.  Gaperon is a new shop favorite from Auvergne.  It is a buttery cow's milk cheese with garlic and black peppercorns.  Comte is from the Eastern Alpine Region of France.  I most recently heard it described as a female version to Swiss gruyere because it has a less pungent bite and more of a nutty brown butter flavor. Bleu d'Auvergne in South Central France hits the mid-range for blue intensity.  The cow's milk cheese has a creamy texture and subtle herbal flavor because the cow's graze upon wild grasses, herbs, and flowers.  Sounds good right?  Enjoy it here at the shop on Saturday or we can box it up to go. These French cheeses will also make a convenient Bastille Day celebration on Monday! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Crow's Dairy Chevre
-Natural
-Peppercorn 
-Herb 
Gina's Mozzarella 
Brillat Savarin
Chabichou Du Poitou
Gaperon
Ossau Iraty 
Comte 
Blue d'Auvergne
Manchego 12 Months 

 
Wine:
St. Urban Riesling
St. Urban Spatlese 
Alberti 154 Malbec 
Duriguti Cabernet Franc 

Other: 
Crow's Dairy Raw Milk (Now getting deliveries on Tuesdays) 

Noble Bread delivered every Saturday 

Featuring Rancho Gordo Beans & the Summer Issue of Culture!

He Said...
I know a lot of us will be gathering with friends and family for the 4th of July and hopefully that means getting our hands dirty and making some great grub while sipping on whatever quenches your thirst. Cheese is always a good choice but this week I wanted to highlight a great company focusing on heirloom beans. If you think beans are boring let me introduce you to Rancho Gordo out of California. Instead of the pervasive kidney, great northern, or lima beans that fill supermarkets, Rancho Gordo concentrates on bean varieties that until recently have been mostly forgotten. Each variety has its own unique flavor, texture, or both. The possibilities are indeed endless, but I wanted to focus on one particular bean called the Yellow Eye and also share a baked bean recipe that would complement any 4th of July barbecue. These thick little beans soak up flavor (porks best friend) and are great in any stew or baked bean recipe. Here is the recipe for Baked Beans New England Style from the Rancho Gordo cookbook.
Ingredients:
1 pound Yellow Eye Beans, 2 tsp. dry mustard, 1 Tblsp tomato paste, 1 tsp. salt, 1/3 cup dark molasses, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tblsp. maple sugar, 1/2 lb. salt park (optional, scored in several places with sharp knife), 1/2 large yellow onion (thinly sliced), Salt and pepper to taste.
Soak the beans for a few hours before bringing them to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered until beans are starting to soften. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Drain beans while reserving the bean broth. Make sure you have 2 cups of bean broth, if not just add water to reach 2 cups. Whisk together the broth, mustard, tomato paste, salt, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Pour half of beans into a heavy pot with a lid. Top with salt pork (optional) and half of sliced onion. Add remaining beans and top with remaining onion. Pour in the broth, cover, and bake until beans are soft and sauce clings to the beans (5-7 hours). Periodically, check the beans to make sure there is enough liquid and add water if necessary, but not too much. Your house will smell amazing. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!

She Said...
Many of our cheese loving contacts around the country are surprised that our slowest months are in the summer.  For a lot of the world cheese shops are at their busiest because the weather is warm and cheese is  a simple, delicious, satisfying food that doesn't require heating up your kitchen. We get it, if you are in town the idea of going out into the desert heat even if it is to get to your favorite little cheese shop is daunting and most of you have just simply left town.  However, for those of you who just can not live with out cheese I want to feature Culture Magazine's latest Summer issue this week.  We have carried their issues since we have opened and despite the fact that it is not a top seller in our shop, we are huge fans and can't bear not to carry it.  The current is full of recipes that will get you through the summer heat including cheese ice cream.  The recipe for Rosemary Balsamic Parmigiano Ice Cream sounds to good to be true!  The summer issue also includes descriptions of some amazing Southern Italian cheeses that are going right onto my fall ordering wish list, salad recipes that are even enticing to Troy, (who does not normally get excited about salad) and instruction on making your own fresh cheese.  Whether you are headed out of town or staying in, pick up the latest issue of Culture Magazine before planning your next meal! 

The other thing I love about Culture Magazine is their website, case in point, check out this video of adorable goats! 

Featuring Mayu Wine and Bollie's Mollies!

He Said...
When the heat sets in I tend to shy away from loud and boastful red wines and begin to saddle up to some fresh and crisp whites. One of my go to wines this summer is a great white wine from Chile called Mayu. The grape variety, Pedro Ximenez, is surprising. This particular grape is best known for making Pisco, a grape brandy and Sherry in Spain. Here it takes center stage and makes quite an impression. It comes from the Elqui Valley, which is one of the newest wine regions of Chile located at the southern edge of the Atacama Desert. This is Chile's Northernmost commercially viable wine producing region. The area is a beautiful, harsh, dry and rocky region where rainfall averages 2.1 in a year. Vines, however, love to struggle. In this case the will to survive lends the wine a soft and bright character. The winery, Vina Mayu, opened in 2005 and was the 1st winery in the region. The word Mayu is the Incan word for the milky ways "river of stars," easily witnessed during the clear nights of the region. The wine aroma is one slightly floral, with citrus notes that carryover in the taste. with a nice addition of minerality. The lively acids and noticeable minerality play well with the heat making a easy drinking white. Enjoy!  

She Said...
Another raw sheep & goat mixed milk cheese from Pennyroyal Farms is looking lovely in our case this week.  Pennyroyal is located on the Mendocino Coastline along with Navarro Vineyards in California.  We have had great success with their Boont Corners aged tomme cheese.  It was hit at the St. Bernardus beer & cheese pairing that we did at World of Beer Tempe this past Monday and many of our customers have come back for a second and third wedge of it.  Bollie's Mollies is Pennyroyal's younger soft ripened cheese.  They are little rounds made by using a French technique of hand ladling the cheese (moule a la louche).  The result of this technique is a dense silky texture.  The outside of the cheese is ripened with Penicillium which gives it a bloomy white rind that turns baby blue and finally grey as it ages.  The raw mixed milk provides complex range of flavors from grassy, sweet, and tangy.  Bollie's Mollies are excellent with honey and of course the Navarro Chardonnay and Gewurtztraminer that we have on our shelves.  In their case, the saying is true, "what grows together goes together"!    

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Beehive Big John's Cajun Rubbed Cheddar
Boschetto al Tartufo 
Beemster XO 
Gina's Mozzarella 
Mahon
Mizithra
Brie de Nangis
Tete de Moine 

Meat: 
Salumeria Bielese Finnochiona

Prosciutto Creminelli 
Chorizo Cantimpalo 
Spicy Sopressata 

Wine:
Foris Pinot Gris
Elk Cove Pinot Blanc 
Point North Pinot Noir 
Foris Fly-Over Red
Three Pears Pinot Grigio
Grayson Zinfandel 
The Ned Sauvignon Blanc
Castillo Perelada Pescadora Rosa
Bere Rosa 
Dektown Fallout
Carlos Bosso Malbec 
Beckman Rose 

Other: 
Maille Cornichons 
Unbound Pickling 
-Bacon Pickle
-Bread & Butter Pickle  
Rustic Bakery Olive Oil & Sel Gris Crackers 

Noble Bread available every Saturday!  

Featuring Asher Blue Cheese & Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon!

He Said...
With so many great bacons out there I thought it would be fun to feature a new bacon on a rotating basis. Starting this month all of you bacon enthusiasts can join me on a year long bacon odyssey. I am hopping that we can all taste and learn together about what it means to enjoy REAL bacon. First up is the perfect all-around crowd pleaser, Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon from Wisconsin. The Nueske family can trace their roots in Wisconsin to Wilhelm and Wilhelmina Nueske who came to Wisconsin from Prussia in 1882. They brought with them their old-world recipes for smoked meats that the family later used to start their meat business in 1933. The company is still family owned and operated. Exceptional bacon starts with exceptional hogs and Nueske has these. They use hogs that have been crossed with a old breed of pig called Pietrain, which they love because of the lean-to-fat ratio. The hogs are raised on family farms where they are treated humanely. The pork is wet cured in a brine solution before it is hung for a day or so to dry and then smoked using real wood for 24 hours (tip, if a bacon is labeled applewood it may never see real smoke just apple flavorings). The resulting bacon is meaty, slightly sweet, mellow, with a noticeable but soft smokiness. It is a bacon that can complement any dish and is what I like to call "easy eating". Krista and I had the pleasure of hearing Tanya and her father Robert Nueske talk about their wonderful porky delights and they mentioned that one of their favorite ways to enjoy their bacon is by making "Wittenberg Splits". This is where you take a jumbo hot dog slice it down the middle but leave it connected. Place some sharp cheddar and a sliced dill pickle in the middle of the hot dog before wrapping it with bacon. Secure it with toothpicks cook it up and enjoy. I will have to try this decadent delight soon. This bacon would be great for Father's Day breakfast. Enjoy!

She Said...
Need a new blue to sprinkle over your summer salad or burger?  We have a blue cheese beauty from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville Georgia.  We have carried some of Sweet Grass Dairy's other cheeses, Thomasville Tomme and Green Hill, but this is the first time we have had their Asher Blue.  What I love about Sweet Grass Dairy is their focus on quality milk.  They originally started cheesemaking because they felt like their high quality fluid milk was getting lost in the milk cooperatives they sold to and cheese was a way to showcase their quality milk.  What makes their milk so great?  To name a few reasons, their cows graze on pasture and are treated with respect.  They uses sustainable practices like rotational grazing and their animals are hormone free and treated with antibiotics only when sick which is very rare.  Asher Blue is a raw milk cheese that is hand pierced and aged 60 days.  It is one of the few natural rinded blues made in the United States (another one being Bay Blue from Point Reyes which we also just re-stocked!).  Asher blue has complex flavors ranging from meaty, grassy, sweet, earthy, and of course a little spicy.  The creamy texture serves as a glue to balance all of the flavors out.  It's one of those cheeses that every bite tastes a little different from the last and a must try for blue cheese fans.  I personally never tire of blue cheese on a tart apple with a drizzle of honey which is what I am going to do with Asher Blue later today!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Crow's Dairy Chevre
Bollie's Mollies
Boont Corners Reserve
Bay Blue
Barely Buzzed
Wagon Wheel
Mt. Tam 
Saint Angel 
Cashel Blue
Gina's Burrata 
Beemster XO

Meat: 
Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon


Wine:
Phillipe Zink Pinot Blanc 

Other: 
Reclaimed Wood Wine Racks!
The Girl & The Fig Black Mission Fig Jam
Pistol Whipped Pastry 
-Mini Cheesecakes
-Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies 
-Peanut Butter Gluten Free Cookies
Fentiman's Ginger Beer
Dr. Brown's Cherry Soda

Noble Bread available every Saturday!  

Highlights from Camp Bacon & New Zimbro Cheese!

He Said...
I have to admit I was not one of those kids that had great experiences at summer camp. The Michigan humidity, mosquitoes, and hay fever brought stained t-shirts, itchy arms, and a pocketful of used and shredded Kleenex. This past weekend, however, was an exception to my summer camp norm. It was Zingerman's Camp BACON (yes a real thing). For the fifth year Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, MI put on a unparalleled pork party of bacon. Krista and I joined other porcine enthusiasts to learn, rejoice in, and of course eat bacon. This years event involved talks with some outstanding bacon and salami makers, poets, food marketers, Australian specialty grocery owners, and bacon soap makers to mention a few. At all times bacon was sizzling and to be fair I consumed way more bacon then I thought possible. The only thing more impressive then the amount of bacon served, however, was the quality. So, what makes quality bacon. Like with most things it begins with quality ingredients. As the old saying goes "garbage in, garbage out" implies if you start with lean, flavorless, factory raised pigs then the flavor will be left wanting. There are some tricks, however, that mass produced bacon companies can do to hide defects in their bacon. The first sign of an industrial made bacon is that they love to pump the bacon full of water in order to keep the per-pound cost down. In fact, that tremendous sizzle one associates with bacon is the result of all that water leaving the bacon. A sure sign of this coverup is when the piece of bacon you start with reduces dramatically in size when cooked. Moreover, in order to add taste to a tasteless product they love to add copious amounts of salt. Try eating a few slices of industrial bacon and not succumbing to tremendous thirst. Another sign of mass produced pork is how they add smoke taste to their bacon. Unlike traditional high-quality bacon makers that actually burn real wood to create their smoke flavor the large meat corporations love to forgo actual smoke in favor of liquid smoke. This saves them time and money but unfortunately lacks deep rich smoke flavor. This is a few examples of the differences between industrial bacon and small-batch producers but their are others.  More bacon fun facts to come but for now enjoy your bacon! Hoping in the next few weeks we will have some new bacon in the shop for you to try!  Until then, we have Tender Belly's Cherrywood Smoked and Petit Jean Pepper Bacon.  

She Said...
A new Cheese arrival from Portugal seemed like the best choice to feature this week because we are pouring two Spanish red wines that pair wonderfully with this cheese at tomorrow nights wine tasting. Zimbro is a thistle rennet raw sheep's milk cheese made in small batches by Casa Lusa which is located in "Serra da Estrela" Northern Portugal.  For most cheeses, at least to my taste buds, I cannot detect the flavor of rennet unless it is a Thistle Rennet cheese.  Rennet is the crucial ingredient that separates the curds from the whey in cheesemaking.  It most commonly comes from traditional animal enzymes or microbial rennet made in a lab.  In Portugal and Spain it is more common to see Thistle rennet which gives cheese a slight sour flavor that can sometimes cross over to bitter. It works especially well with sheep's milk cheeses because it adds a contrasting flavor to the high butterfat, sweet, and nutty sheep's milk.  Zimbro is about 4" round and has a firm rind with a soft cream paste. It has a range of complex flavors from 
fruity, herbal, sour, and grassy.  You can stack it onto bread or crackers with a dab of jam or honey for the perfect treat.  If you care about awards, it was a finalists in Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation in 2013.  If you go by taste, you must come in and try Zimbro this week! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Honey Bee Goat Cheese
Ewephoria Gouda
Natural Smoked Gouda 
Crow's Dairy
-Peppercorn Chevre
-Natural Chevre
Asher Blue
Zimbro
Brie De Nangis 
Kunik 

Meat: 
Jamon Serrano 


Wine:
Arona Sauvignon Blanc
Ranga Ranga Sauvignon Blanc
GR-174 Priorat
Cune Crianza 
Dos Cabezas Pink 

Other: 
Treat Chocolate Truffles

Noble Bread available every Saturday!  

Tomato Tapas Jam & Da Morgada Sardines!

He Said...
Summer is here, which means rose wine, saison-style beer, and fresh cheeses. It also always triggers in me an intense appetite for seafood. More specifically seafood that has been preserved. I love the particular type of flavor that comes from maturing seafood in cans. It changes the flavor profile of the food in a way that no other method can duplicate. This week I am concentrating on DaMorgada Portuguese Sardines. They are caught off the coast of Portugal and are commonly recognized as some of the sweetest and most succulent of sardines in the world. They are caught, cleaned by hand, quickly cooked and canned within hours of harvesting. The process involves manual cleaning and very careful handling, followed by the traditional cooking in a grill oven before being canned. Only extra virgin or pure olive oil is used in the different sauces. These little oily delights are chock-full of protein, vitamins, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.  
I love them straight from the can but sometimes it is fun to change it up. Here is a tasty and easy recipe for a sardine sandwich. I also love them on toast with some avocado, salt, and olive oil. Enjoy!

Click here for a Sardine Sandwich Recipe from Saveur Magazine!

She Said...
We have recently replenished our stock of Jams from Three Little Figs of Portland.  They specialize in preserving produce using old school techniques. They hand cut all of their locally sourced organically grown produce and cook each small batch in copper pots.  Their Tomato Tapas jam is a mix of tomato, smokey cumin, and spicy pimenton inspired by Catalan tapas jams.  It is of course great with Spanish cheese like Mahon and Manchego but can also make an amazing addition to a sandwich, see Three Little Figs' own recipe here.  
Tomato Tapas Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich Recipe. 
We also carry the Cabernet Cracked Pepper Jam and Peach Prosecco Bellini Jam.  Try it out! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Beemster XO 
Carr Valley Marisa 
Saint Angel 
Berber's Cheddar 
Crow's Dairy Chevre
Gina's Burrata 

Meat: 
Salumeria Bielese Spicy Sopressata
Chorizo Cantimpalo 

Beer:  

-Picobrouwerij Alvinne Morpheus Wild Undressed
-The Wild Beer Co. Iduna Cru Saison Style with Apple Juice 

Wine:
Dos Cabezas Pink 
Bisol Crede Prosecco
Vera Vinho Verde 
Bellstar Prosecco
Bieler Pere et Fils Rose 
St. Urbans Riesling
Franco Serra Barolo 
Fattoria Bere Rosa 
Bwise Wisdom
Trios Proprietary Red 

Other: 
Divina Cornichons
Three Little Figs
-Peach Prosecco Jam 
-Tomato Tapas Jam (pictured above)
Marcona Almonds
Dr. Browns Diet Black Cherry Soda
Dr. Browns Cream Soda 
Gus Orange Soda 

Saturday Noble Bread will be resuming June 14th! 

Carmody Cheese & Jolly Pumpkin Beer

He Said...
I was ruminating about the upcoming holiday and what I would enjoy imbibing in. Many beers and wines came to mind before I settled on a brewery that is hands down one of my favorites. The brewery is Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales from my home state of Michigan. I admit that I am biased but I truly believe this is one great American brewery. Owner Ron Jeffries started to work professionally in the craft beer world in 1995 when the American craft scene was in its infancy. In the summer of 2004 he opened Jolly Pumpkin. I will try and answer the first question many people have when I say that Yes they do have a pumpkin beer but no that is not what they are known for. They specialize in unique, funky, thirst quenchers that pair well with food, especially cheese. Their beers are created using open fermentation, matured in oak casks, and bottle conditioned. All of this brings a deep complexity to the beers. We currently have a few different ones in stock, including their limited release iO Saison brewed with rose hips, rose petals, and hibiscus. This is the beer I will be pouring for friends this holiday weekend. Enjoy!

She Said...
Liz and I were doing important "research" yesterday for a beer and cheese pairing event coming up at World of Beer mid June and one of the cheeses we tried stayed in my thoughts.  It's is a simple cheese without a lot of wow factor compared to our more high drama blues and raw milk alpine cheeses but I think it's worthy of placement on your cheese board.  Here is why, Carmody is from family owned and operated Bellwether farms in Petaluma, California.  They make sheep and cow's milk cheeses that are focused on the cheese being an expression of good quality milk.  For Carmody, they use high butterfat Jersey cow milk.  The cheese is aged 6 months and has a fresh buttery flavor with a sweet caramel hint in the finish.  Carmody is one of the most versatile cheeses in our case right now.  It can melt into any recipe and rivals any Italian table cheese.  The yellow colored paste appeals to even the most timid cheese eater even the kiddos. It pairs well with most beverages because it doesn't disappear or overpower.  The curdy texture is a perfect space for a little jam and crackers.  Bring it to your pool party this weekend for everyone to enjoy! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Mt. Tam
Capricorns
Redwood Hill Crottin
Red Hawk
Gina's Burrata  
Carmody
Monte Enebro

Meat: 
Country Pate with Black Pepper
Olli Salami Molisana

Beer:  

Jolly Pumpkin Saison
Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza
New Belgium La Folie Sour Brown Ale 

Wine:
Rimbert Mas Au Schist
The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 
Phillipe Zink Pinot Blanc 
San Lorenzo Blanco 
San Lorenzo Rosso 

Other: 
Rustic Bakery Crackers 
Good Faith Farms Organic
-Kalamata Olives 
-Sevillano Garlic & Oregano Olives
-Sevillano Moroccan Spice Olives

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!

Coming Up, Sangria & Spanish Cheese Saturday!

He Said...
In keeping with the theme of culinary Spain I wanted to take a moment to celebrate Serrano Ham. Serrano Ham translates to "mountian ham" reflecting the tradition of curing these hams in higher altitudes in order to take advantage of those nice cool drying breezes that were so beneficial to dry cured ham before the control of refrigeration. The Spanish treat their pork seriously, they are not only the largest producer of air-dried hams but the greatest consumer as well. Some figures that I have seen state the Spanish consume 2 times the amount of cured ham then their Italian counterparts. The eating of pork and their religion helped define the Spanish as a people during the period of history where the Moors ruled the Iberian peninsula. The Serrano Ham is the everyday ham of the Spanish created from a breed of Iberico and White pig and makes up 90% of cured ham production in Spain. How should one enjoy Serrano Ham? Anyway one would like. We often eat it simply on its own or as part of a sandwich. You can also wrap it around shrimp before grilling or stuff chicken breasts with it. It makes great tapas wrapped around figs or as part of brushetta. Enjoy!

She Said...
Back by popular demand, Sangria and Spanish Cheese Saturday is here again!  Sangria is an excellent pairing for almost all cheeses.  It has two things that cheese loves, fruit and bubbles!   Our Sangria is not too sweet nor made from a mix, which is also a bonus.  On our Spanish cheese plate this year we have brought back all of our favorites.  The first, Monte Enebro from Avila, Spain.  It is a goat's milk cheese ripened with the same penicillium roqueforti mold used for the famous French Blue Roquefort cheese. This technique creates a unique goat's milk cheese with a lemony and acidic flavor that has a strong finish.  Next up we have the buttery and sharp Mahon from Menorca, Spain.  Mahon is essentially a cow's milk Manchego and though a tad less complex, you find you cannot stop eating it.  The third cheese is Smokey Idiazabal which is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Navarra, Spain.  It has a nutty flavor with a subtle meaty smokey finish reminiscent of the days when Shepherds stored their cheeses in chimneys for safe keeping.  When thinking of Spanish cheese we must include an intense blue like Cabrales.  Cabrales is from Asturias, Spain.  It is made from Goat, Sheep, and Cow's milk and is full of spicy blue mold.  The last cheese will have to remain a mystery.  We are not sure if the cheese originally intended will pass customs today but don't worry we have a back up plan just in case it does not.  The Spanish Cheese plate comes with quince paste, marcona almonds, and bread.  Come celebrate our warm weather with refreshing Sangria and satisfying Spanish Cheese this Saturday! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Seascape
Humboldt Fog 
Saint Angel 
Barber's Cheddar
Manchego 

Meat: 
La Quercia Tamworth Prosciutto 
Smoking Goose - 
Dodge City
Gin & Juice 
Saucisson Rouge 

Beer:  

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour
Breckenridge IPA
Great Divide Hercules 

Wine:
San Lorenzo Blanco 
San Lorenzo Rosso 
Peirano Estate Chardonnay
Ca'Dei Zago Prosecco 
Peter Franus Sauvignon Blanc
Zarpara - 
Sauvignon Blanc
Origin
Sangiovese 
Zinfandel 

Other: 
Belinda's Pickles 
Askinosie Chocolate 
Effie's Oatcakes 
Wedge & Bottle Insulated Wine & Cheese Tote Bags 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Featuring Ritual Chocolate and Cremont Cheese!

She Said...
I wanted to pick a small cheese this week in honor of Mother's Day!  Like most mom's today the originators of the little French goat's milk Crottin style cheeses were extremely efficient at multi-tasking.  In the beginning these cheeses were made exclusively by women who did all of the cooking, cleaning, child rearing, goat raising, goat milking, and cheese-making tasks.  Because they had to fit it into a busy schedule the cheeses had to be small and manageable and also age quickly.  The cheeses are so loved that they have stood the test of time and are made all over the world.  Vermont Butter & Cheese Company makes these small scale French inspired cheeses marvelously well.  We just got in a case of their Cremont (named for "Cream of Vermont").  Cremont is a mix of cow's milk, goat's milk, and Vermont cream.  It has that wrinkled geotrichum rind that eludes to a fresh tangy cheese and because it is a double cream it has a silky texture and nutty flavor.  It is wonderful paired with local Made by Bees Honey or Fig Jam and a great gift for hard working multi-tasking Mom! 

He Said...
Usually I leave the proselytizing of sweets to Krista but after peeking at her column this week and seeing she is featuring cheese I thought I would change things up and present a chocolate company that I love. We have slowly added some unbelievable chocolates to our shop, making sure that we fully believe that the chocolates we bring in are some of the best we have ever tasted. Our newest addition is Ritual Chocolate out of Denver, Colorado. Ritual Chocolate is a small batch chocolate company specializing in single-origin chocolates. This means that instead of depending on uniformity from their bars they source their beans from different locations and then coax the unique flavors that exist from these beans growing in their own environment. In other words, different beans from different geographical areas will taste different. You can imagine why we are obsessed with this because we are so interested in cheese, wine, charcuterie, and coffee for the same reasons. The best things have a tendency to taste where they come from. Many companies over-roast their beans to get a more consistent product but sacrifice flavor. In fact, there are large coffee and chocolate corporations that have made successful business models based just on that. There are many reasons that make Ritual Chocolate unique but one of the big ones is that they roast their beans at low temperatures for long periods of time in order to bring that quality of flavor to the surface. We currently carry 3 of their origin chocolates. The tannins in the chocolates make them great with wine and  a little secret is that chocolate and cheese go great together. We have a bunch of samples out so come in for a taste. Enjoy!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Asiago Pressato
Idiazabel Smoked
Saint Angel 
Beemster XO
Midnight Moon
Cremont
Tarentaise
Lamb Chopper
Mt. Tam 
Brie de Nangis
Mt. Vikos Halloumi
Mahon
Monteenebro 
Tomme de Savoie 

Meat: 
Salumeria Bielese 
-Finnochiona
-Petit Jesu
-Sopressata
Salchicon de Vic 
Chorizo Cantimpalo
Fra'Mani Salami Toscano
Creminelli Prosciutto
Boquerones 

Beer:  


Wine:
Tooth & Nail 
-The Posessor
-The Fragrant Snare
-The Stand
Force of Nature Tempranillo 
Bieler Pere Et Fils
Sand Reckoner Rose
Purato Nero d'Avola
Grayson Zinfandel 
The Ned Sauvignon Blanc
Phillipe Zinc Pinot Blanc
Pali Alphabets Pinot Noir
Fattoria Viticcio Bere Rosso
Castillo Perelada Pescador Rose
Saint-Hillaire
Boci Dolci 
Navarro Gewurtztraminer
Trios

Other: 
Quince Paste 
Dandelion Chocolate
-Mantuano Venezuela
-Papua New Guinea
-Butuo Liberia
Ritual Chocolate
-Madagascar 
-Costa Rica
-Beliez
Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Featuring Pepper Bacon & Kuntener Cheese!

He Said...
Pepper Bacon from Arkansas! Seeewwwwwweeeeeee! I have to give a  big pig squeal out to Petit Jean Meats for their rich, meaty, and spicy Arkansas Peppered Bacon. The company traces its roots to Felix Schlisser who in 1922 immigrated from Germany to Arkansas. Soon after he opened a small meat market. From then on the company has been family owned and run and is in fact the only privately owned processor of red meats left in Arkansas.  The reason for their longevity is their quality. The bacon is cured in a wet brine of salt, sugar, and spices for 4-5 days then smoked for 18 hours with real hickory (not liquid smoke often used by large production companies). From there it is rubbed with brown sugar and cracked black pepper. Wow! This stuff is addictive. Most weeks, this is my meat of choice. Placing it aside vegetables or over pasta. I am a pepper freak and I love the spiciness it lends to everything. Recently I cooked up some eggs and bacon on our salt block and I can't stop thinking about it. You will need 2 strips of bacon for every 2 eggs. place the 2 eggs in a ramekin or small bowl.  Heat the salt block according to instructions. Once the salt block is at correct temperature (you should only be able to hold your hand over it for 1-2 seconds) start cooking the bacon. Lay the bacon in pairs parallel to one another. Once one side of the bacon is done flip. At this point you can slowly pour the eggs directly onto the bacon, controlling the eggs with a spatula so they do not get away from you. Once the egg whites are set it is time to feast. The bacon and eggs have a fire cooked taste that only comes from the grill and salt block. Enjoy!

She Said...
First of all I want to say THANK YOU!  3 Years of Wedge & Bottle has meant so much to Troy and I and we could not have done it without our fantastic customers. Some of you we see every week, every month, and even every year but all of you are needed to keep things going in the right direction.  A very special cheese I would like to feature this week is Kuntener.  It arrived last week from the Swiss Affinuer Rolf Beeler via Great Ciao.  It embraces a lot of the awesome qualities that come out when preserving good milk.  It is rich, creamy, meaty, grassy, and stinky.  As it ages the texture goes from soft and bouncy to gooey and runny. The recipe for Kuntener is the same as French Reblochon which is not exported to the United States because of the 60 day aging of raw milk laws.  I still must share the lore that Reblochon came about in the Middle Ages in order to escape taxes.  Back then milk was used to pay tax, so if the farmers did not fully milk their cows when the tax officers were there to take their share, the farmers would use the late milking to make cheese unbeknownst to the tax man.  The bonus was that the milk from late in the day was extra rich and made an extremely rich cheese.  We ordered three wheels of Kuntener so come in and try it every few weeks to get a sense of the different stages and see which stage you like the best.  I like them all!  

Featuring Sand Reckoner Wines & Gaperon Cheese!

He Said...
We are excited to have one of our favorite Arizona wineries, Sand Reckoner, share their wines with all of us this Friday night. From the very first sip of their wines I knew they were something very special. The owners, Rob and Sarah Hammelman, began their winery in the Wilcox area in 2010. Sarah got exposure in the wine trade at Two River's Winery in Colorado. Rob worked at Callaghan Vineyards in Arizona before getting his Oenology Degree in South Australia. From their he became the Winemaker at Two River's Winery where he and Sarah met. Next stop for the wine duo was working at a winery in France. This would have a significant influence on their winemaking style in the emphasis on terrior and having the wine represent where it comes from (climate, soil, vine age, etc). Along with his own wines Rob now is the Head Winemaker at the Aridus Wine Company where he facilitates the creation of wine for several other Arizona wineries. If you know and love Sand Reckoner you need no prompting, but for those of you who believe that great wine is not being made here in Arizona I encourage you to come and taste for yourself. Their 2011 Malvasia was recommended by the the San Francisco Chronicle while their 2010 #7 wine received 89 points in the Wine Spectator. In other words, they are nationally recognized winemakers and are helping put Arizona wines on the map. Come and join us as we explore some of the best Arizona wines between 5-7pm this Friday night. Enjoy!

She Said...
Cheese with stuff in them generally get a bad reputation from serious cheese fans.  The reason being that the wonderful subtle nuances of the cheese itself can sometimes be lost when other fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices are added.  I tend to agree most of the time but there are many flavored cheeses that have a magical balance between ingredients added and the cheese itself. Gaperon from the Auvergne region in France is one of these cheeses.  Gaperon is a semi-soft cow's milk cheese shaped like a dome.  It was originally made with buttermilk which is leftover when making butter.  Buttermilk is lower in fat so perhaps for more flavor local pepper and pink garlic were added.  Dairy was so important in this area that traditionally your family's wealth was shown by how many Gaperons were hung in your kitchen.  Rumor has it that young soldiers coming home from battle would choose their wives based on how many Gaperons were hanging in her home.  Gaperon is aged just four weeks and has a creamy buttery flavor that contrasts well with the strong flavors from the pepper and garlic.  It is best enjoyed with a full-bodied red like a Cotes du Rhone.  I haven't tried to melt it into a pasta or gratin dish yet but I imagine it would be fantastic!  Cheese usually gets eaten before making it to a recipe in our home.  It is featured on our cheese plate this week so come in and try it! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Kuntener Reblochon
Crow's Dairy 
-Natural Chevre
-Butter Pecan Chevre
Beemster XO 
Tarentaise
Mt. Tam
Smokey Blue 
Midnight Moon

Meat: 
Pepper Bacon 
Salumeria Bielese 
-Finnochiona 
-Spicy Sopressata
La Espanola Salchicon de Vic 
Chorizo Cantimpalo

Beer:  

Bell's Wheat Love 
Logsdon Cerasus 
Breckenridge IPA

Wine:
Sand Reckoner
-Malvasia Bianca 
-2
-7
-Rose 
Caduceus Lei Li Rose 
Copain Tous Ensembles Pinot Noir
Rapido Pinot Grigio
Peirano Estate Chardonnay
3 Wine Co Old Vines Zinfandel 

Other: 
Made By Bees 
-AZ Wildflower Honey
-Orange Blossom Honey
-Spring Clover Honey
-Mesquite Honey 
-Honey Sticks 
Wedge & Bottle T-Shirts 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Featuring Ortiz Tuna Belly and La Tur Cheese!

He Said...
We have another yummy morsel from the sea making an appearance at the shop this week. It is Ortiz Ventresca Tuna in Olive oil. This is not you grandma's tuna. Unless of course your grandma was a fisherman off the coast of Northwest Spain, in which case it is exactly the same! This is tuna belly, which in sushi terms is called Toro. They are individually line caught, hand fillet at sea, and immediately preserved in Spanish Olive Oil. The resulting Tuna belly is luscious, creamy, buttery, and addictive. Just pop the can and dig right in or mix it with some herbs, red vinegar, olives, roasted red pepper, tomato, onion, and capers for the pan bagnat supreme sandwich. Pair that with a Rose wine and that is a perfect summer treat. Enjoy!  

She Said...
We have a lot of beautiful creamy little cheeses in for Spring.  One of my favorites that was re-stocked this morning is La Tur.  La Tur is from Bosia in northern Italy.  It is made from 3 milks (cow, goat, & sheep).  Originally the mixing of milk was done out of necessity by making the most of every last drop of milk.  Today it has become a signature taste of the Piedmont region in Italy.  Each cheese is aged for 15 days and is so delicate that it is wrapped in a cupcake wrapper.  The wrinkly outer rind contains a rich ice cream textured cheese inside.  The flavors are a little tangy and milky with floral and grassy aromas. It pairs wonderfully with an Italian Moscato because of the complimentary honey and floral notes. Grab some of our new Roots & Branches herb crackers and you have a tasty picnic!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Gaperon La Meme 
Garmy Gaperon
Langres
Kunik
La Tur
Fiore di Capra-
-Peach Almond Torte
-Cranberry Walnut Torte
-Smoked Paprika Chevre
-Chive Chevre
Saint Angel
Barber's Cheddar
Gina's Mozzarella
Beemster XO
Humboldt Fog
Wensleydale with Mango & Ginger

Meat: 
Tender Belly Bacon
Ortiz Ventresca Tuna
Fabrique Delices Country Pate
Prosciutto Creminelli 

Beer:  

Great Divide Nomad Pilsner
New Belgium Carolina Rye
New Belgium Gruit

Wine:
Rodolfo Torontes 
Three Pears Pinot Grigio
The Llama Malbec
Tomasi Ripasso Valpulicella
Beckman Cuvee Le Bec 
Bwise Wisdom
San Lorenzo Rosso 
The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 
St.Urbans-Hof Spatlese
Urban Riesling Mosel 

Other: 
Fiore Di Capra -
-Goat's Milk Caramels
Pistol Whipped Pastry - 
-Mini Cheesecakes
-S'mores Kits
Good Faith Farm Olives
Rustic Bakery Sel Gris Crackers

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Spanish Blue Cheese and Boquerones with Portuguese Sardines!

He Said...
Sardines and anchovies are in the house! As the weather turns warm (hot) there is something satisfyingly cooling about little fishes. It must be their bright, fresh, and tangy flavors that make them so attractive for summer. One of our all time favorites is Boquerones Anchovies from Spain.  If you normally stir clear of anchovies these little guys might change your mind. Unlike many grocery store anchovies these are not overly fishy or salty. They are fresh and light packaged in salt brine, vinegar, and sunflower oil. They come from the Bay of Biscay between Northern Spain and France. They are great eaten with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, wrapped around olives, or anywhere you want to punch up an appetizer. One of my favorite dishes is to place these little guys on crusty bread drizzled with olive oil, chopped roasted red pepper, chopped garlic, and parsley. This is actually a great summer time dinner. Next up are some Portuguese Sardines. These are packaged within hours of being caught off the coast of Portugal and canned simply with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt. They are sweet and succulent and an excellent source of Omega 3. Sardines are great with pasta by giving the dish a little salty boost but my favorite way to enjoy them is in a sandwich. In fact, Alton Brown of Food Channel fame has a terrific avocado and sardine sandwich that is thrilling. Basically mixing the sardines with a little bit of chopped parsley, vinegar, lemon zest, black pepper, and topping it with avocado and a splash of lemon. Filling, tasty, and good for you. Perfect summer nosh. Enjoy!

She Said...
Walking our dog around the neighborhood this past week has made it clear that our neighbors are desperately trying to fit in as much grilling as possible before it gets to be full blown summer temperatures.  The aromas of burgers and steaks always make me think of blue cheese.  Who can resist a blue cheese burger or steak and blue cheese salad?  We have two Spanish blues in our case that would definitely enrich your experience.  Cabrales which is from the Northern Asturias region in Spain is known for its classic intense spicy bite.  The milk comes from a mixed herd of cows, sheep, and goat.  It is aged in the damp, mold-rich caves of the Picos de Europa mountains.  For being so blue it still manages to have a creamy finish that will melt right onto your burger or steak.  Valedon is another mixed milk blue cheese from northern Spain in the Castilla-Leon region.  It is made from cow and goat's milk.  This is a much milder blue than Cabrales but that doesn't make it at all boring.  The complexity in this cheese comes from being wrapped with sycamore leaves in addition to cave aging, which give it an earthy tobacco flavor.  I recommend both with a cold and refreshing cider like the JK Scrumpys. When it gets to hot to cook out, these Spanish blues make a great addition to a cheese plate with a touch of honey.  No cooking required! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Gina's Burrata 
Red Hawk
Mt. Tam
Up in Smoke
Capricorns
Cave Aged Marisa
Teleme
Grayson
Wabash Cannonball
Roquefort

Meat: 
Fra'Mani Salami Toscano
Cantimpalo
Salchicon de Vic 

Beer:  

Funkworks Tropic King

Wine:

Caduceus Naga
Caduceus Le Li Rose
Caduceus Sancha
Merkin Chupacabra Blanca 
Merkin Shinola
Sand Reckoner Rose
Page Springs Mule's Mistake
Grand Canyon The Traveler White 
Scarpetta Brut Rose 
Peirano Estate Chardonnay
GR-174 Priorat 
Grayson Zinfandel
Field Recordings Fiction Red 
Force of Nature Tempranillo 
Force of Nature Cabernet
Fleur Chardonnay
Fleur Pinot Noir 


Other: 
Divina Garlic Stuffed Olives


Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Pennyroyal Farms Cheese & More from Smoking Goose!

He Said...
I wrote about our friends over at Smoking Goose Meatery and their Culatello last week. That, however, was not all the piggy goodness that we received from them. The first thing I would like to geek out about is their Saucisson Rouge. This salami is where they hide some of those sweet and savory pig bits like the heart and liver. They use pasture raised pork shoulder combined with pig heart, liver and red wine to make a full-flavored salami. This particular salami does a fantastic job satisfying the primitive part of our brains that crave these heartier parts of the pig that burst with flavor. I commonly enjoy it for lunch simply with some mustard and cornichon pickles. Also, new from Smoking Goose are their fully cooked sausages. We have their Andouille and their Merguez. The Andouille sausage is cajun inspired and contains a balance of pork, oregano, sweet onion, chiles, mace, and allspice wrapped lovingly in natural casing and lightly smoked over pecan wood. The Merguez sausage in North African inspired and consists of 100% grass fed lamb, blended with  pork back fat and spices. This sausage bursts with flavor and the lamb pops in the mouth with a little bit of heat. We have very little quantities of these so if you are interested let me know . The Merguez sausages come in 12oz packages for 16.59 and the Andouille comes in 16oz packages for 14.62. A rare treat indeed. Enjoy!

She Said...
Sometimes things just work out.  Along with our delivery of Navarro Wines for our wine tasting this Friday we also received our first shipment of Pennyroyal cheese!  Both are from the Anderson Valley appellation in California.  How fitting to have new cheese arrivals from the same place as the two white wines we are featuring at our wine tasting this friday.  
Navarro Vineyards is located along the Mendocino coast and to avoid some of the pitfalls of monoculture they diversified with animal husbandry and Pennyroyal Farm was born.  Pennyroyal Farms raises a small herd of sheep and goats.  They have a small but high tech cheesemaking operation where all of the love and care shown to the animals is translated to tasty cheese.  They make a few fresh and blue cheeses but our favorite right now is their Boont Corners.  It is a raw mixed milk Tomme style cheese that is aged for 2 months.  Flavors are nutty and tangy with all of the subtle grassy and earthy flavors that come from a natural rinded raw milk cheese.  The bonus is that they also offer aged versions.  We have the vintage which is aged 4-6 months in our shop as well.  The texture of the vintage is firmer and perfect for shaving thin layers over any summer salad or pasta.  Both are wonderful with the Navarro wines, duh, but they are also good with light & fruity red wines.  Come in and try it!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Crow's Dairy Butter Pecan Chevre
Crow's Dairy Natural Feta
Pennyroyal Boont Corners Tomme
Pennyroyal Boont Corners Vintage
Barber's Cheddar
Gina's Burrata
Cashel Blue
Saint Angel 
Midnight Moon
Wensleydale with Mango & Ginger
Brie de Nangis
La Tur
Beemster Wasabi

Meat: 
Artichoke Pate
Olli Salami Wild Boar

Beer:  

Hr. Frederiksen Vaesel Brunch
Panil Raphael
JK Scrumpy's Summer Solstice 

Wine:

Eric Montintin Sancerre 
Dektown Fallout
Decktown Ceratina 
Navarro Chardonnay
Peter Franus Sauvignon Blanc
Trios
Bwise Wisdom
Cune Crianza

Other Goodies:
Treat Chocolate Truffles 
Fallot Dijon Mustard 
Belinda's Pickles
Tracy Dempsey Bacon Brittle
Roots & Branches Crackers-
-Herb Garden
-Black Pepper
-Sesame Seed 
Effie's Oatcakes
Hagensborg 
-Milk Chocolate Bars
-Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
-Caramel and Milk Chocolate Piglet Mini Bars


Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Ossabaw Culatello and Up in Smoke!

He Said...

From our shipment from our friends at Smoking Goose Meatery I present to you Culatello made from the Ossabaw pig. Until very recently the only way to see an Ossabaw pig was on Ossabaw Island, which is a barrier island 10 miles off the coast of Georgia. They were direct ancestors of the Iberico pigs from Spain, being left behind by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Since then they have evolved to live on the island. In 1978 Ossabaw Island was donated by the owner to the State of Georgia as a heritage preserve. However, the decision was made by the Department of Natural Resources to eliminate the islands pig population. The Ossabaw breed of pig was at Critical Conservation Status. In other words they were very close to being eliminated altogether. Fortunately, pig breeders on the mainland recognized the benefits of keeping this particular breed of pig in existence and have been breeding a small amount of these dense hair pigs. Some of the evolutionary aspects of these pigs are that they are small, can survive off of brackish water, excellent foragers, and relative to their size have up to 5 times the fat of most other pigs. Moreover, they have what can be referred to as the "Thrifty Gene." This gene enables the pig to gain weight and fat quickly during times of abundance. This is the result of their food supplies natural ebb and flow on the island. What this means is that the Ossabaw pig is amazing as a pasture raised animal foraging on grasses and acorns resulting in a high amount of marbled ruby red meat. Flavor! Smoking Goose takes advantage of the natural curing quality of this pork  by rubbing each culatello with sea salt, black pepper, mustard seed, and white wine. For over a month they massage the meat on a daily basis before aging in for a least 8 months. Yeah, it's that good. Thank you Smoking Goose and thank you Ossabaw pig. Enjoy!

She Said...

A customer request reminded me of a wonderful little cheese that I had tasted during my Portland trip before opening Wedge & Bottle but haven't yet brought it in the shop.  Up in Smoke is from Rivers Edge Chevre.  All of the milk comes from cheesemaker Pat Morford's family farm, Three Ring Farm located in Oregon's Central Coast.  They have a small herd of 60 happy Alpine goats that browse on pasture and woodland.  This is why their milk is so rich and delicious and perfect for cheesemaking.  All of their cheeses have a delicate look with an abundance of flavor.  Up in Smoke is no exception.  It is a fresh goat cheese round wrapped in Maple and vine leaves.  Both the cheese and leaves are smoked and the leaves are spritzed with bourbon.  The rich milky tangy cheese coats your tongue and then brings in a delicate earthy smokey flavor.  It is beautiful on a cheese plate but also nice crumbled over spring salads.  Come and try it! 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 

Coupole 

Barber's Cheddar

Saint Angel 

Manchego Gran Valle 

Mt. Tam 

Humboldt Fog 

Rivers Edge Up in Smoke

Nancy's Camembert 

Grand Cru Gruyere

Asiago Pressato 

Crottin 

 

Meat: 

Smoking Goose:

-Cold Smoked Elk Terrine 

-Culatello Ossabaw

-Gin & Juice Salami 

-Dodge City Salami 

-Saucisson Rouge 

-Delaware Fireballs 

Fra Mani Salami Toscano

Jamon Serrano

Salchicon De Vic

SB Sopressata

SB Spicy Sopressata  

 

Beer:  

Anchorage Rondy Brew

Anchorage Between the Stave

Funkworks Saison

Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Bell's Oberon

The Bruery Sour in the Rye

Avery Collaboration not Litigation

 

Wine:

Scarpetta Pinot Grigio

Caduceus Anubis

The Prisoner

Deusa Nai Albarino 

Phillipe Zinck Pinot Blanc

Boci Dolci 

Carlos Bosso Malbec 

 

Other Goodies:

Poco Dolce 

-Burnt Caramel Tiles

Peppadew Stuffable Peppers

Mama Lil's Sweet Peppers

 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Bolzano Meat is back in stock and Beemster Graskaas is here for Spring!

He Said...

First off, if you have not checked out the link to the happy cow video in Krista's "She Said" column I highly recommend you do. It always puts a smile on my face to see happy cows. I also wanted to let everyone know that we have Bolzano Artisan Meats back in stock! Bolzano is a small salami producer out of Milwaukee. In fact, they are the first to bring back the art of slow curing to that great city. Bolzano is the brainchild of Scott and Christin Buer, a husband and wife team. Their salami is amazing for a few reasons. The first being patience, traditional air cured salami takes time, and the fact that they source high quality pork. Bolzano uses a blend of 3 breeds of heirloom pigs, Berkshire, Red Wattle, and Hereford. These pigs have been dismissed during the current rise of industrial pig farming because they have traits that are better apt to pasture then to commercial pen confinement. Unlike the majority of pork in our country, which is tasteless, lean, and dry these breeds have the much needed fat and natural deep pork flavor that is needed to create great cured meat. Moreover, they are Certified Humane so the pigs are being treated with care and respect. We are excited to carry 3 of their salamis. First is their Pig Red, which is their unseasoned salami. All the amazing fruity, armoatic, and savory notes from this salami is attributable to the pork itself! This is a prime example of what pork can and should taste like. Next, is their Pamplona Runner, which is their spanish style chorizo created with the addition of sweet smoked paprika. Lastly, we have their Pitzotl. This salami is inspired by Central and South America and includes 2 kinds of chilies and cocoa giving it a mexican chocolate or mole flavor. We are proud to be the excluive purvevor of Bolzano Artisan Meats here in Arizona. Enjoy!

 

She Said...

New in the case this week, Beemster Graskaas.  Beemster XO remains one of our most popular cheeses and usually I am hesitant to order other forms of Beemster because our customers seem to always prefer the 26 month aged XO version the best.  Since I am in the mood for spring cheeses I couldn't pass up the 28lb wheel of Beemster Graskaas.  Graskaas is a Gouda made only once a year when the cow's burst through the barn doors to graze on spring pasture after a long winter.  Just the first couple of milkings are used for Graskaas.  The resulting texture is creamy and velvety with a sweet grassy flavor.  Beemster cheese comes from a co-op in the Netherlands where master cheese makers follow traditional secret recipes handed down through generations.  The milk comes from an area that was converted from marshes and bogs to pasture in 1612.  This unique area is what gives Beemster cows such delicious nutrient rich pasture that they convert into wonderful milk.  If you haven't guessed, our whole Wedge & Bottle philosophy is that good food and drink begins with the best ingredients.  Beemster cheeses are a great fit.  Click here for a visual on these extremely happy cows! I really cannot watch it enough!  Come taste Graskaas this weekend!  

 

This Just In 

Cheeses: 

Beemster Graskaas

Beemster XO

Crow's Dairy Natural Chevre 

Gina's Burrata

Fiore di Capra Cheese 

 

Beer:  

Mikkeler Walk on Water

Flo Cuvee Saint Antoine

Mikeller Spontanpeach

Epic Armageddon IPA

The Bruery Mischief

Crispin Brownslane

Great Divide Lasso 

 

Wine:

Volver Tempranillo 

Honor Vera Garnacha

Ca'del Re Moscato di Asti

La Salita Sangiovese 

Chacewater 

-Cabernet Sauvignon

-Malbec

-Syrah

-Rose

-Chardonnay

Grayson Zinfandel 

Saint Hilaire

Philippe Zinck Pinot Blanc

Fabre Montmaya Rose 

Pali Alphabets Pinot Noir 

Sercial Madeira

Bieler Et Fils Rose 

Rapido Pinot Grigio 

 

Other Goodies:

Poco Dolce 

-Aztec Chile Tiles

-Peanut Butter Bunnies

-16 Piece assorted box 

Crow's Dairy Goat's Milk Caramels 

Belinda's Pickles 

Glutino Table Crackers

Fiore di Capra Caramels 

 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Cheese & Beer!

He Said...

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day and our annual Irish Cheese Plate I wanted to feature a couple of Irish and Scottish beers that can be a tasty diversion from the usual Irish beer choices. It is not easy to find craft beers from Ireland once you get past the large exported brands. Porterhouse Brewery, however, makes the search and resulting beer worthwhile. Porterhouse Brewery opened in Dublin's Temple Bar area in 1996. It is touted as Irelands first brew pub and Irelands largest independent Irish Brewery. We managed to bring in their Plain Porter and their Brain Blasta. Don't let the name fool you, their Plain Porter is anything but boring and trivial. It won a Gold Metal twice in the Brewing Industry International Awards Competition. It has a velvety mouthfeel with just a touch of hop bitterness  giving it great drinkability and ease in food pairing. Their Brain Blasta is categorized as a Strong Ale and is deeply copper toned with rich malt sweetness and a balanced hop backbone that finishes dry with some great hop spice. Honorable mentions this St. Paddy's day comes in the form of 2 Scottish beers that are some of the best beers I have recently enjoyed. Scotland's Black Isle Brewery's Export Scotch Ale utilizes new world hops and their own fruity house yeast to create a scotch ale full of character and complexity. Also from Black Isle is their Oatmeal Stout with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and a creamy and full mouthfeel. Black Isle Brewery is an unique organic brewery that grows its own organic barely to be used in their beer. In fact, they have their own brewery cow that feasts on the spent grain and in return produces rich cream. I hope that cream lives a long fermented life as cheese. Enjoy!

She Said...

The Irish Cheeses are here!  This year our Saint Patrick's Day Cheese plate includes Irish Soda Bread made by Pistol Whipped Pastry, Imperial Stout Jam, and 5 cheeses.  The first cheese is Daru from Cooleeney Farms in Tipperary.  Daru is a cow's milk natural rind cheese.  It is much firmer than a brie but has a lot of similar buttery mushroomy flavors.  The second cheese is Ardrahan from County Cork.  It is a brine washed cheese with a soft curdy paste and pungent aroma.  The flavors are smokey and meaty.  Next is Coolea, a farmhouse Gouda also from Cork.  The texture is like a typical aged Gouda but with a little sharpness.  Coolea has a firm dense paste with complex nutty and sweet flavors.  The fourth cheese is Cahill's Porter from Limerick.  It is a semi-firm cow's milk cheese with the addition of Porter beer.  The beer creates a beautiful mosaic effect between each curd.  Our last cheese is Cashel Blue from the Grubb family farm in Tipperary.  Cashel Blue is a rich and super creamy blue with medium blue cheese spice.  Everything will be prepped and ready for pick up this Saturday and Sunday but if you wish to celebrate Saint Patty's day early, we would love to plate it up for you to enjoy with some beer in the shop this weekend! Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 

Winnermere

Wagon Wheel 

Sole Gran Queso

Taleggio

Grayson 

 

Beer:  

Peche 'n Brett

North Coast Old Stock Ale  

 

Wine:

Sand Reckoner Malvasia

Caduceus Merkin- Chupacabra Blanca

Scarpetta Barbera 

Durigutti Bonarda 

Boci Dolci Sweet Kiss

Saint-Hillaire 

Peirano Chardonnay

Fabre Montmaya Rose

Field Recordings - Fiction Red 

 

Other Goodies:

Raincoast Crisp - Gluten Free Crackers

Mitica Caramelized Walnuts 

Askinosie Chocolate 

Slate Cheese Boards 

 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Creminelli Prosciutto and Crottin from the Loire Valley!

He Said...

We are excited to introduce Creminelli Prosciutto to our Charcuterie selection. The Creminelli family from Italy has been making cured meats for generations. The current head of the salami making Creminelli family, Cristiano Creminelli, began his leadership role in Creminelli Fine Meats here in the United States in 2007. Cristiano, who has been creating fermented meat goodness since adolescence has made Creminelli recognized as one of the best cured meat producers in the United States. Their Prosciutto is all natural, humanely raised with no antibiotics using heritage breeds of pig, and aged for a minimum of 10 months. The prosciutto is velvety and sweet with salt that is noticeable but balanced. Prosciutto is great for a cheese & charcuterie board but also as a sandwich (we combine it with asiago cheese and fig jam) wrapped around grilled vegetables like asparagus or fruit like melon. It can also be sliced and combined with pasta for a meaty salty jolt. You can find some small Creminelli Salami in some specialty shops around the valley but it is rare to have their prosciutto available sliced to order. Enjoy!  

She Said...

We didn't get very much cool weather this year but I think it is safe to say our Spring warm weather is here to stay.  Perhaps since I grew up in Michigan, the change of seasons (though less dramatic in Arizona) is always a time of anticipated change of colors and flavors.  In regards to cheese, I find that I want less melty Alpine cheese and start to crave fresh tangy cheeses.  The case of Crottin de Champcol from the Loire Valley in France definitely makes me think of Spring. I tend to associate anything from the Loire Valley as perfect for warm weather ever since I learned that this is where the French Royalty would spend their summers.  When you see a cheese labeled Crottin you can expect a small cylinder of aged goat cheese about 2 inches around.  Crottin are creamy and soft when young and hard enough to grate as they get older.  The flavor can range from tart and tangy to all out goaty.  Our Crottin are from Berry in the tiny village of Champcol and they are somewhere in the middle right now in regards to texture and flaver which is how I most enjoy them.  They are perfect to serve with salad, fruit, or honey for dessert.  They are very pretty despite the fact that they are named for their shape (horse dung) and look wonderful on a cheese plate.  Traditionally enjoyed with wine from the Loire region, Rose and Sancerre.  We have some wonderful Sauvignon Blanc in the shop right now that would be a perfect pairing.  So have a picnic and enjoy some Crottin!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 

Beemster XO

Gina's Burrata

Cashel Blue

Daru

Flory's Truckle

Ardrahan

Gubbeen 

Coolea 

Mt. Tam

Red Hawk 

 

Meat: 

Fra'Mani Salami Toscano

Bolzano

-Pig Red

-Pamplona Runner

-Pitsol 

 

Wine:

Pillsbury

-Wild Child White

-Wild Child Red

-Roan Red

-Diva 

Boci Dolci Sweet Kiss

Groundworks Grenache Blanc

3 Wine Co Albarino 

Carlos Bosso Malbec 

Durigutti Bonarda 

Philippe Zinck Pinot Blanc

Fattoria Viticcio Bere Red 

Enrico Prosecco 

 

Other Goodies:

Pistol Whipped Pastry

-Graham Crackers

-Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

-Salted Caramels

-Mini Cheesecakes 

John's Premium Tonic Syrup 

 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Lot's of Wine Events this Weekend!

He Said...

I am super excited to announce that this Saturday we will have the opportunity to sample out some amazing wines and oils for free! I had the privilege to taste these myself a few weeks back and between Krista and I it was a no-brainer that we should bring these in to share with our friends. Jay from Empty Glass will be here with two of the winemakers, Uros Rojac and Emil Tauzherhe, who he works with in Eastern Europe to sample out wine, answer all your questions, and geek out with us over great organic wines. It is a great chance to try native grape varietals from Slovenia that are becoming more popular in the United States. The wine region we will be exploring lies just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and shares the benefits of climate and terrain as their Italian cousins. We will also be sampling pumpkin oils from a small family run business out of Croatia. Jay will let you know about the myriad of health benefits associated with these pumpkin oils and great uses for them but I can honestly say that after tasting them a few bottles will be coming home with me. It's not every day we get to host European winemakers in our shop, we hope you can brave what might be a very rainy Saturday to enjoy this wonderful experience. See you Saturday. Enjoy!

She Said...

And the oscar goes to...CHEESE!  Troy and I have watched more nominated films this year than ever before.  We have made quite a tradition of filling out a ballot sheet with our winning picks and the more films we see the more fun it is to see who wins.  Even more fun, our tradition of Cheese and Champagne while we watch in our pajamas.  This year we thought we would share our tradition with our customers.  For $74, we will pack up a round of Mt. Tam, Champagne Delamotte, Rustic Bakery Crackers, and Dandelion Chocolate.  Mt. Tam is from Cowgirl Creamery in California.  It is our most popular triple cream soft-ripened cow's milk cheese. The buttery flavors and creamy texture pair perfectly with Champagne Delamotte, which is from one of the oldest producers in France.  It is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir and has an elegant creamy texture with citrus, white blossom, and lemon zest aromas and flavors.  With such a creamy cheese, a delivery device is sometimes needed.  Our favorite Cracker is the Rustic Bakery Olive Oil and Sel Gris Flatbread cracker.  The Dandelion Chocolate bar is included to add some star power. Dandelion Chocolate from San Francisco specializes in bean to bar dark chocolate made in small batches with only cocoa beans and cane sugar.  Their carefully wrapped bars in gold and cream paper are really something special.  Enjoy the Oscars!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 

Ossau Iraty

Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill 

Beemster Classic 

Boschetto al Tartufo 

Vermont Farmstead Alehouse Cheddar

Red Dragon

Natural Smoked Gouda

Brillat Savarin 

St. Marcellen

Crottin de Champcol

 

Meat: 

Tender Belly Cherry Smoked Bacon 

La Espanola Salchicon de Vic 

Salumeria Bielese Finnocchiona 

 

Beer: 

Bell's Two Hearted Ale 

Great Divide Collette 

Black Isle Oatmeal Stout

Black Isle Scotch 

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast 

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour 

 

Wine:

Sean Minor Rose 

Mayu Pedro Ximenez 

Domaine Des Braves Beaujolais 

Malabaila di Canale Nebbiolo 

Grayson Zinfandel 

Caduceus Naga

Caduceus Anubis

Sand Reckoner "7" Syrah 

Purato Nero d'Avola 

Lioco Indica 

 

Other Goodies:

Beatnik Pickled Beets 

French Quarter Pickled Green Beans

Rosemary Raincoast Crisp Crackers 

Rustic Bakery Crackers 

 

Noble Bread sold every Saturday!  

Beer Week Cheese Pairings!

He Said...
We are super excited that beer week is finally here! In order to participate in the celebration we are offering 20% off mix-and-match 6 packs for retail and $1.00 off beers to be enjoyed in our shop. Moreover, we are honored to team up with the fantastic people at Papago Brewing where they will be pouring 5 of Avery Brewery's Cellared Series with 5 of our cheeses. The event is at Papago Brewing and I will be there representing Wedge & Bottle. I can not wait to try these beers and I know there is a limited amount of space at this event so if you are interested contact Papago Brewing. In the "She Said" column Krista mentioned Red Hawk and Saint Angel, and I wanted to mention another great beer cheese called Westcombe Cheddar. We don't always carry this cheddar so we are excited to be offering it now. It is a Raw cows milk clothbound cheddar from Somerset, England. The really geeky thing about this cheese is that they use 3 different cultures to make the cheese and rotate them daily. What this means is that each batch tastes different. In a world where homogeneity is king this is pretty impressive. The best, however, is the mustardy horseradish finish you get with this cheese. It's a perfect cheese for some of your stronger beers. This will be one of the cheeses featured at the Papago event or come on in for a taste. Enjoy!

She Said...
Arizona Beer Week is here!  With all of that beer there is nothing better than a wedge of cheese to go with it!  I thought I would feature 3 of our most versatile cheeses for beer pairing this week.  Fenacho from Tumalo Farms in Oregon is a goat's milk Gouda studded with fenugreek seeds.  It has a nutty caramel flavor that makes an especially great compliment to malty toasty beers but we have enjoyed trying it with heavier stouts and lighter wheat beers where it has worked equally well.  Saint Angel is a Triple Cream from France that tastes like butter with a nice lactic tang.  The bubbles from any beer whisk away the creamy cheese and the texture dances on your tongue. This cheese is even better when paired with a crisp highly carbonated pilsner.  Saint Angel is also wonderful with a chocolate or coffee flavored stout because the flavors contrast so well.  The third cheese I want to mention is Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery in California.  Red Hawk is a triple cream that is washed with a brine solution that gives it a meaty rich flavor and a little bit of stink!  Any of the washed rind cheeses are usually complimentary with beer but Red Hawk's extra creamy texture makes it a more forgiving match.  It is especially nice with a sour style of beer for a complimentary funky on funky pairing.  Hope you include cheese in your beer week festivities and don't miss Troy's Avery Beer and Wedge & Bottle Cheese pairing event at Papago Brewing on Thursday night!

This Just In 

Cheeses: 
Gina's Burrata 
Saint Angel 
Cahill's Whiskey 
Cahill's Porter 
Carr Valley Mobay
Barber's Cheddar 
Beehive Big John's Cajun Rubbed Cheddar 
Rogue Smokey Blue 
Crow's Dairy
-Butter Pecan Chevre
-Herb Chevre 
-Natural Feta 
-Peppercorn Feta 

Meat: 
Fra'Mani Salami Toscano
Tender Belly Cherry Smoked Bacon 


Beer: 
Porterhouse Plain Porter
Porterhouse Broan Blaster 


Wine:
The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 
The Ned Pinot Gris 
Phillipe Zink Pinot Blanc 
Fabre Montmaya Malbec Rose 
Pali Alphabets Pinot Noir 
Fattoria Viticcio Bere Red Blend 
Alberto 154 Malbec 
Dektown Celllars Fallout 
3 Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel 
Peirano Estate Chardonnay 
Zarpara Origen Red 
Zarpara Lozano Red 

Other Goodies:
3 Little Figs Tomato Tapas Jam 
3 Little Figs Cabernet Cracked Peppers
Fentiman's Ginger Beer 
Gus Orange Soda 
Dr. Brown's Died Cream Soda 
Dandelion Chocolate 
-Mantuano, Venezuela 70% 
-Maya Mountain, Belieze 70%
-Papua New Guinea 70%
Mitica Marcona Almonds 
Raincoast Crisp Original Crackers 
Belinda's Pickles 


Noble Bread sold every Saturday!