Buying Time

20150814_cheese_details_ii_03_lg_600pxWhen most of us see a piece of moldy fruit on the countertop, or a piece of cheese gone to seed in the crisper, or glimpse a bit of half-blue bread in the breadbox, we’re instinctively annoyed, let down that our food has gotten away from us and started keeping company with wild, fuzzy, multihued molds. We live in a microbe-phobic world, with expiration dates and best by dates and sell by dates and use by dates slapped upon just about every edible product we come into contact with. The clock is ticking on every bit of food we buy – onwards towards a moldy fate! However, we cheese folk like to take a kindlier view towards the molds and yeasts and all the other little un-seeable forces that have the power to alter our food for the better (through fermentation) or for the worse (just plain old spoiled).

Wintertime is the doldrums for most food production (cheese included) in this part of the world, and it seems apropos to think about time, and its relationship to the food that we eat.  The days are short, the produce at the farmer’s markets is scarce, the air outside is cold. The shelves at the supermarket are full; however, that is a relatively recent convenience bestowed upon us by the many scientific and technological and political forces that make up our postmodern food-scape. These are the same forces that gave birth to the bevy of sell by dates, use by dates, and best by dates that now crowd themselves onto every package-able surface of every packaged food product.

The art of fermentation is certainly one of man’s greatest achievements – nutritional, gustatory, and otherwise. Fermentation allows humans to harness the passage of time and, with the help of friendly microbes, use it to their advantage rather than battling against it. Through fermentation the farmer (or chef or home cook) can transform fresh, highly perishable foodstuffs into delicious, living, stable products that can be eaten over the course of the year. It is the stockpiling of sunshine and all the nutrients that go along with it. Fermentation is at its base a manipulation of spoilage. It is intentional, controlled rot, and it has yielded some of the best and most interesting foods in the canon of gastronomy: cheese, pickles, bread, beer, and wine, to name a few.

photo-jan-07-2-04-28-pmBack in the day, winter meals were rife with preserved and fermented foods. Foods in jars and earthenware pots with the most basic of labels – perhaps what was inside and the day that it was made. People ate the preserved bounty of the summer months when there was little else to eat. They put in the time when the harvest was plentiful, and reaped the rewards come winter.

For our cheesy purposes, we’ll now turn our attention towards milk. Dealing with fresh, fluid milk is perhaps one of agriculture’s greatest battles against time. To begin, the frequency of the cows’ milking is a function of nature and time. Cows (or goats or sheep) on most dairy farms are milked twice daily – once in the early morning and again in the evening – the milking schedule is like bookends to each day. Were the farmers to wait any longer between milkings, the animals would become quite uncomfortable, and would also begin to produce less milk, as their bodies produce only as much as is required of them… i.e. taken out of them, be it by farmer or by calf.

As soon as the milk leaves the udder, the clock is ticking… There are natural microbial forces present within the milk itself and from the environment (the cows’ udders themselves, the air in the barn) working to gobble up the lactose, the sugars present in milk, and sour it. Nowadays with the aid of refrigerated bulk tanks to cool and store milk, farmers can afford to wait a day or two before transforming fresh milk into cheese. The colder temperatures considerably slow the growth of acid-producing bacteria, buying the cheesemaker a bit more time. But in the days before refrigeration, cheesemakers made cheese twice per day – once after the morning milking and again after the evening milking, to keep the pace with the bacteria in the milk.

Finally there is the cheese itself, and its very particular relationship to time. When cheese is being made, the cheesemakers don’t measure in minutes – they monitor and measure when certain changes take place within the milk and the curd. They measure the temperature and acidification of the milk to gauge how well their microbial friends are getting on in their conversion of lactose to lactic acid.

Flocculation is the measure of when the enzymes in rennet (one of the four main ingredients in cheese – milk, culture, rennet, and salt) have begun to rearrange the proteins in the milk to transform it from a liquid into a gel-like curd. The extremely scientific way to see if flocculation is taking place is not by stopwatch, and not even by the changing PH of the milk. The cheesemaker simply spins a flat-bottomed plastic cup on top of a vat of milk and see how long it takes for it to stop spinning. When it doesn’t spin very much at all, coagulation has begun. From that point, it’s a short time until the curd is cut and transformed into a wheel of cheese.

Throughout the making and maturation of cheese, countless thousands of microbes live and die, assisting in flavor development. They are all on their own timetable, dictated not by seconds or minutes, but by the changes taking place within the milk, within the paste of the cheese, and on the rind. When conditions are favorable for them to move in and do their work, they do it. When they have no more work to do, or when the environment of the cheese has changed and there are no more nutrients for them to consume, they die off and release flavor compounds that whether we like to think of it or not, influence the texture and taste of the cheeses we love so much.

As a young wheel of cheese matures, its readiness for eating is cannot be dictated by a predetermined number of days. The affineur (or cheese maturer) measures ripening, and readiness for eating, by touch, by smell, and by taste. The closest we get to a numeric formula for cheese aging is the 60-day aging rule we have here in the United States, an archaic and scientifically wrong measure of how long to age raw milk cheese in order to make it ‘safe’. Aging cheese is like tending a garden. Each variety of cheese has its own arc of maturation, and it is the affineur’s job to notice when the cheese’s needs are changing, care for them accordingly, and then release them for sale when the cheese is at its peak.

In the middle of winter, when the days are short, and in our digital world, when time is at such a premium, it is heartening to think of these things. Some things cannot be timed. You simply have to wait, watch, and taste for them to happen.

 

Of Hastening and Freshening and Rumen Ecology – Things Learned On Our Visit to Vermont’s Cheesemakers

The Saxelby Cheesemongers team just returned from a weekend in Vermont where we were lucky enough to visit six of our cheesemakers – Consider Bardwell Farm, Twig Farm, Shelburne Farms, Jasper Hill Farm, Grafton Village Cheese, and Vermont Shepherd. When we first opened the store in 2006, our mission was to be the bridge between the cheesemaker and the cheese lovers out there who come to us to taste America’s finest cheeses. Trips like us allow us to keep that connection alive – meeting with the cheesemakers, seeing their animals and cheese caves, talking about the weather, the season, small changes made in their cheesemaking process and how their cheeses are aging illuminates this world of curds and whey that we daily inhabit.

One of the most wonderful things about cheese is this – the more you think you know about it, the deeper you dive into learning about it, the more you are humbled by the vast and infinitely complex universe that cheese inhabits. The finished wheel of cheese is a bit like the sun – the brightest thing radiating in the center, tantalizing you with a complex and infinitely colorful palette of flavors. It’s only when you start to learn about the planets, stars, comets, satellites and other galaxies around, and how they all affect and influence one another, that you scratch your head and say well, I guess we’ll just have to take this one step at a time.

This cosmos of curds and whey begins with the animal making the milk – their diet, digestive processes, environment, comfort, and their overall health – all of which impact the most important raw ingredient in the cheesemaking process. Then there is the chemistry and science of the making cheese – controlling the beneficial bacteria that acidify milk and build flavor in the wheel of cheese throughout the course of its life. Finally there is the environment where the cheese is aged – where other microbes enter the picture and (with the help of humans acting as affineurs) add their signature to the finished wheels. All of these processes owe their successes (and occasional failures) to things we cannot even see – microbes. From the soils and the grasses grown there to a ruminant’s digestive tract to milk to the finished wheel of cheese, we have untold billions of friendly microbes helping the cheese along.

Here are a few cheesy vocab words that we picked up on our trip, and what they mean to the cheeses we eat:

Freshening – Now we’re not talking about gum, or deodorant, or some other barn cleaning device here. Freshening is farm-speak for when a cow, goat, or sheep gives birth. When she freshens, her milk production kicks into gear again so that she can feed her babies, and so the farmer can (after a week or two) begin to use her milk for making cheese. The first milk that comes from an animal after giving birth is called colostrum – it is rich, super fatty milk that is loaded with antibodies that act as the babies’ crucial first boost to their immune systems. After the colostrum has all been consumed, the milk returns to a more normal consistency and can be used for cheesemaking. Most calves, kids, or lambs are bottle fed with milk from the herd until they are ready to go out on pasture and begin eating grass.

Hastening – A very romantic sounding word (in our opinion) that refers to a newly made cheese forming its rind. Young or green cheeses are put into certain environments to hasten for a few days before being moved on to their final destinations in the aging cellar. Rind formation is crucial to the finished cheese – not only does it provide flavor, it also protects the exterior of the cheese during aging. In order for a cheese to hasten properly, the environment must be a bit warmer than a normal cheese aging cave (60-71 degrees) and have a high level of humidity. This environment allows yeasts to flourish on the acidic surface of the cheese, consuming lactic acid and paving the way for future bacterial growth that will become the cheese’s rind.

Rumen Ecology (a layman’s attempt to describe a cows’ digestive system) – If cheesemaking is its own universe, then a cows’ digestive tract is another unto itself. Unique among ruminant animals (those that eat grass) cows have four stomachs operating in concert to convert grass, fibrous plant material, into milk and energy to support their 1,000 pound plus bodies. The first chamber, the rumen, is where most of the magic happens.

The rumen is like a giant fermentation chamber – the cows eat grass almost without chewing, the grass passes to the rumen where billions (yes, billions) of microbes ferment it, producing components that the cows can use for energy. Within each millimeter of the rumen, there are between 10 to 50 billion bacteria, 1 million protozoa, and variable numbers of yeasts and fungi. Whoa. The most interesting thing that we learned on our trip was that grass is not actually the cows’ food… The microbes ferment the grass to produce energy and proteins the cows can metabolize and then die, so what the cows are actually digesting is the spent bacteria from their rumen!

Here at Saxelby Cheesemongers, we are so thankful to our cheesemakers for the work that they do, and thanks to the crash course in microbiology we received over the weekend, we’re even more thankful for all of our microbial friends too!

A Gift For Everyone On Your List!

HolidayGifts01.jpgThe holidays are almost here! This year instead of giving ’em yet another pair of socks or gaudy Christmas sweater (not that we don’t love these things…) give the gift that nobody expects but that everyone is bound to love the most…
CHEESE! Check out our holiday gift guide and send your loved ones some
holiday cheer in the form of cheese!

Animal Farm Butter – Available For Sale TODAY!

Photo Sep 07, 12 46 09 PMsm.jpg

Get it now! $50

Holiday Pie and Cheese Social with Four and Twenty Blackbirds + More Cheesy Events!

holiday-pie-and-cheese-social

Holiday Pie & Cheese Social!
Saxelby Cheesemongers & Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Saturday, December 10th

BONUS!

Pre-order your holiday pies from Four and Twenty Blackbirds for pickup at Saxelby Cheesemongers on December 23rd! Click here for more info!

Events Galore!

Check out the events page on saxelbycheese.com for info on our Holiday Pie & Cheese Social, A Beer & Cheese Takeover at Against the Grain, and Recurring Cheese and Beer Happy Hours at Essex Market! Click here for more info!

 

Announcing Our NEW Website!

CyberMonday.jpg

Saxelby Cheesemongers Invites You To Take a Peek at Our Brand New Website!

Take 15% Off All Online Orders TODAY ONLY With Discount Code ‘holidaylaunch’

Here at Saxelby Cheesemongers, we’ve been hard at work revamping our website for the past six months… There’s just so much cheesy knowledge out there, and we want to share it with you! Check out the new and improved saxelbycheese.com for an all-new online Cheese and Gift selection, a new and improved Library of Cheese, Farmer Profiles featuring all of our incredible cheesemakers!

Special Delivery! Rush Creek Reserve – Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

rushcreek49-b

Each fall, we wait with bated breath for the release of Rush Creek Reserve, one of our favorite ooey-gooey washed rind cheeses from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin. Available for a short time each year – from early November through December, it is a cheese worth savoring (and celebrating)! Cheesemaker Andy Hatch spent time in the Jura region of France apprenticing with artisans to learn how the famed Vacherin Mont d’Or is made, and brought those lessons back here to the U.S. to produce the first Vacherin-style cheese in the states.

Each wheel is creamy and ridiculously unctuous – you can literally eat it with a spoon! Just let the wheel temper for an hour or so, grab your favorite loaf of bread, and schmear away with reckless abandon. The cheese tastes of cultured cream, toasted nuts, beef stock, and grass – a robust, yet delicate combination of gustatory sensation that will leave you clamoring for another bite. Makes a perfect Thanksgiving table centerpiece – or a perfect gift for that food-lover you love this holiday season!

In Europe, Vacherin Mont d’Or is made in the early fall, when the cows have come down the mountain from their high Alpine pastures to graze a bit closer to the farm. During this time their diet shifts from fresh pasture to cut hay supplemented with grain. The resulting milk is richer and higher in butterfat, allowing for more decadent and buttery cheese to be eked from it. Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Wisconsin follows a similar seasonal pattern. They make their Pleasant Ridge Reserve when the cows are out on pasture during the summer months, and then switch gears and craft Rush Creek Reserve when the cows come off the pasture and go on their richer winter diet. It seems that even cows like to indulge and pack on the pounds in winter!

So don’t delay! Order your wheel of Rush Creek Reserve before this year’s supply runs out!

A Stinky Exclusive: Jasper Hill Farm + Transmitter Brewing + Saxelby Cheese

Plus a Slew of Special Events! Pie & Cheese Social / Beer & Cheese Pairings

transmitterwilloughby01It all started last holiday season when we got a special delivery of limited edition Willoughby, a pungent round of cows’ milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm washed with beer from the Alchemist, one of Vermont’s best craft brewers. That got our imaginations brewing (pun definitely intended… we can’t help it!) about what great NYC-based breweries we could work with to create our own beer-washed cheese. Enter Anthony Accardi and Rob Kolb of Transmitter Brewing, a brewery that’s small in stature but looms large in flavor, located under the Pulaski bridge on the border of Long Island City and Greenpoint.

Transmitter focuses on saison-style beer, a funky and delicious genre that lends itself handily to the task of washing cheese. After tasting through many of their delicious offerings, we settled on their H1 Zinfandel Saison – a cherry-hued beer that is aged in wine barrels and then re-fermented with Zinfandel grapes to produce a fruity-heavy and slightly sour flavor profile.

The wheels of Willoughby have been washed with the beer twice weekly for about six weeks now, and are ripe and ready to go! Snag one for yourself while the snagging’s good, and add some pungent, gooey, cheesy fare to your table this holiday season!

Join Saxelby Cheesemongers for Some Fantastically Flavorful Events!

‘Meet the Maker’ at As Is NYC

Wednesday November 9th | 6-8pm

Saxelby Cheesemongers & Transmitter Brewing serve up pairings of Transmitter Willoughby with H1 Zinfandel Saison

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 9.55.02 AM.jpg

Pie and Cheese Social at Essex Street Market

Saturday November 12th | seatings at 1pm and 2:30pm

Sample three perfect pairings of pie and cheese from Saxelby Cheesemongers & Peetee’s Pies

Event Info

Pie and cheese_petee's pie_sm.jpg

‘Meet the Maker’ at 61 Local

Tuesday November 15th 7-9pm

Saxelby Cheesemongers and Transmitter Brewing serve up pairings of Transmitter Willoughby with H1 Zinfandel Saison along with house made accompaniments

Event Info

61 local beer & cheese_sm.jpg

SAXELBY CHEESE FAQ’s

Q: How should I keep my cheese wrapped?

A: Cheese should be kept wrapped in cheese paper. The paper is specially designed to allow the cheese to breathe and not get dried out. If the paper gets tossed, don’t despair! The next best thing to wrap your cheese in is a layer parchment paper with another layer of saran wrap over the parchment to keep it from drying. The next best thing is foil. DO NOT wrap your cheese directly in plastic or saran! The fats in the cheese end up interacting with the plastic and cause a stale, plastic-y flavor to develop.

Q: How should I store my cheese?

A: Keep your cheese in the fridge when it’s not being served. The colder temperatures will stabilize the cheese and keep it from ripening too quickly.

Q: How quickly do I need to eat my cheese before it gets too old?

A: Soft cheeses should be eaten more quickly than aged cheeses – a good general rule of thumb is that soft cheese should be eaten within 2 weeks of receipt, and more aged cheeses can last in the fridge for a few weeks. The firmer the cheese is, and the less moisture it has, the longer it will keep. You can keep aged cheeses for a REALLY long time… (2 months or more) They might develop surface mold on the cut surface, but they’re still safe to eat – just trim that mold off!

Q: At what temperature should I serve my cheese?

A: To best enjoy cheese, eat it at room temperature. We like to keep it out for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to fully express themselves.

Q: Can I freeze my cheese?

A: In a word, no. Freezing cheese alters the flavor and texture that is not super nice… If you’re afraid you can’t eat it all in a timely fashion, we recommend inviting all your buddies over for a cheese-eating party! Nobody’s going to say no to that…

Q: How do I know if a cheese is too old to eat?

A: The general rule of thumb is that soft cheeses will spoil faster than aged cheeses. If you have a bloomy rind cheese that looks very brown or gray on the rind and smells like ammonia, it’s probably too old to enjoy. However, your taste buds are your best guide here! Taste the cheese – if it tastes spicy, soapy, or bitter, it is probably too old. If it tastes strong, but does not have any of the above flavors, munch away! Firm, aged cheeses are pretty much indestructible. Even if there is mold on the cut surface of the cheese, you can just trim it away and keep using it.

Q: What molds are edible vs inedible?

A: All of the mold on cheese is technically edible. However, there are certain kinds of mold that are less desirable. For example, pink mold on a bloomy rind cheese is not desirable – it is an indication that the cheese was a bit too damp at some point in production. Blue or gray or greenish mold on the surface of a bloomy rind cheese is totally fine to eat, and will not influence the flavor. Surface mold on a cut piece of cheese is technically edible (i.e. it will not kill you or make you sick) but should be trimmed away for best flavor.

Q: What should I do if mold grows on my cheese?

A: All cheese is dependent on different bacteria and mold to ripen it and develop its flavor… In the world of cheese we LOVE mold! Should any mold develop on the cut surface of the cheese, don’t worry, and DON’T throw the cheese away! Simply trim away the surface mold and then keep on enjoying that glorious wedge!

Q: Can I eat the rind?

A: YES! Unless the cheese is wrapped in wax or cloth, the rind is edible. The rind is to the cheese what crust is to bread. With softer bloomy rind cheeses, the rind really enhances the flavor. With more aged cheeses, the rind can be quite dry, hard, earthy, etc. Try it for yourself – if you like it, eat it, if you don’t, trim it away.

Q: Can the mold on cheese be a problem for people with allergies?

A: There are some penicillin-based molds in cheeses – mainly bloomy rind cheese and blue cheese. However, a person would have to have a VERY strong allergy to have a reaction to the cheese. The worst we’ve heard of is people having a slightly itchy sensation in their mouths or tongues.

Q: Why do some people not want eat raw milk cheese?

A: Most pregnant women are advised by their doctors not to eat raw milk cheese. There is a pathogen called Listeria that can be dangerous to an unborn fetus, and that bacteria can be carried in cheese. HOWEVER, if a cheese is made in a manner that is safe (i.e. clean production facilities, healthy animals making the milk, etc) there is an EXTREMELY small risk of this bacteria being present.

It’s Spooky, It’s Creepy, and It’s Totally Awesome and Is Really Good For You Too! What is It? Read and Find Out!

HalloweenMoldHero.pngWith Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be apt to zoom in on one of our favorite subjects in the cheesy galaxy we inhabit – MOLD! We live in a society where mold is anathema – if something has mold on it, the conventional wisdom of the day (that is 2016, mind you, in 1916 that outlook was likely much different) says to put on the biohazard suits, run for the hills, and dispose of said moldy product in the most expeditious manner possible.

But we cheesemongers beg to differ! We are awash in a world of fascinating (and delicious) bacteria, mold and yeast that make our heads spin with wonder and our bellies contented with nutritious cheese. Our guts are probably happy about it too… it’s been proven by scientists (and touted by ‘real’ food titan Michael Pollan) that probiotics in food help nourish the gut’s microbial population making it easier to digest food and arguably making us healthier overall. Bottom line is this – humans have had a wonderfully symbiotic relationship with mold over the millennia, and we’re here to celebrate the artistry of our microbial colleagues that aid in the flavor development of cheese – from the cheese vat to the aging cave to your dinner table.

All cheese is mold…

Sometimes people freak out at our cheese counter when they see a spot of blue or green or gray mold gracing the rind of their cheese. What they can’t see are all of the other microbes that have gone into the development of the cheese from the cheese room to the cheese counter.

Milk is inoculated with different bacterial cultures at the outset of cheesemaking to start the fermentation process and lay the cornerstones of flavor for the finished cheese (starter cultures). The bacteria consumes the lactose (or the sugars) in the milk and produce lactic acid as a byproduct. Additional types of bacteria might be used to jumpstart the development of flavor in cheese later in the ripening process (secondary ripening cultures)

All of the strains of bacteria used in starter cultures have been isolated over humanity’s thousand-plus year love affair with cheese for their flavor producing properties. And different types of culture produce different flavors in cheese… cultures used to make say, a brie-style cheese differ greatly from cultures used to make a cheddar-style cheese. Nobody knows exactly how many different types of bacteria there are in the world, but today’s scientists are putting their conservative estimate at over one trillion. Of course not that many are used in cheesemaking, and not all of these bacteria are good for us, but in the battle of good versus evil, we cheese folks are working with the superheroes of the bacterial world.

After the cultures have done their work to start milk’s ‘leap towards immortality’ as cheese, then the molds, yeasts, and (even more) bacteria take over. When cheese is ripened, different molds, yeasts and bacteria colonize the rind and sometimes the interior of the cheese itself (in the case of blue cheese) causing different cheeses to have different appearances.

Bloomy rind cheeses are home to scores of mold and yeast that literally ‘bloom’ on the surface of the cheese, blanketing the exterior in a downy white rind comprised of bajillions of mold and yeast organisms.

20150814_cheese_details_II_03_LG_600px.jpg

Natural rind cheeses are salted and left out in the cave to attract and encourage any ambient mold present in the environment. Michael Lee’s goat and cows’ milk cheeses from Twig Farm may be our favorite incarnation of the natural rind phenomenon. Their thick gray fuzzy rinds are a singular work of microbial genius.

11.01.10-saxelby_fall_cheese_42300px.jpg

20150813_cheese_details_i_08_lg_600px

Washed rind cheeses are brushed with different liquid solutions – from salt brine to booze depending on the cheese – to encourage bacterial growth on the exterior of the cheese. Old school, dyed in the wool American cheesemakers sometimes refer to this process as ‘smear’ ripened. Sounds kind of yucky but kind of awesome all in one go!

20150813_cheese_details_I_03_LG600px.jpg

grayson_2016_4_600px

Blue cheeses are inoculated with different strains of mold stemming from the family ‘Penicillium Roqueforti’. Legend has it that blue cheese was a happy accident caused by a cheesemaker who left a moldy loaf of rye bread in his cheese room whose spores got into his cheese. Contrary to popular belief, blue cheeses are not injected with blue mold. The cultures are mixed into the milk during cheesemaking, and are activated when the cheesemaker pierces the wheels of cheese with stainless steel needles. The oxygen allows the mold to grow, creating the blue veins that we see in blue cheese.

a_la_carte_121_lg_600px

Pearl with blue mold_600px.jpg

Definitions / What The Heck Does This All Mean?!?

Bacteria – microscopic organisms, usually single-celled, that can be found everywhere. They can be beneficial, such as when used in fermentation of foods, or to aid in the decomposition process, or dangerous, such as when they cause infections.

Mold – multi-celled organisms that are part of the fungi family. They are aerobic (i.e. need oxygen to grow). Molds have a long, threadlike shape, produce spores, and can be found in many colors – orange, green, black, brown, pink, or purple.

Yeast – one celled organisms that that are part of the fungi family. They are not as colorful as mold; most yeasts tend towards a white or off-white color. They are anaerobic (i.e. do not need oxygen to grow) and do not produce spores. Yeast is also found everywhere.

Probiotics – live microogranisms (bacteria and yeast) that, when administered in proper amounts, provide a health benefit to the host. (i.e. yogurt with ‘live cultures’ or any cheese for that matter!)

Saxelby Cheesemongers’ Mold FAQ’s

Q: What molds are edible vs inedible?

A: All of the mold on cheese is technically edible. However, there are certain kinds of mold that are less desirable. For example, pink mold on a bloomy rind cheese is not desirable – it is an indication that the cheese was a bit too damp at some point in production. Blue or gray or greenish mold on the surface of a bloomy rind cheese is totally fine to eat, and will not influence the flavor. Surface mold on a cut piece of cheese is technically edible (i.e. it will not kill you or make you sick) but should be trimmed away for best flavor.

Q: What should I do if mold grows on my cheese?

A: All cheese is dependent on different bacteria and mold to ripen it and develop its flavor… In the world of cheese we LOVE mold! Should any mold develop on the cut surface of the cheese, don’t worry, and DON’T throw the cheese away! Simply trim away the surface mold and then keep on enjoying that glorious wedge!

Q: Can I eat the rind?

A: YES! Unless the cheese is wrapped in wax or cloth, the rind is edible. The rind is to the cheese what crust is to bread. With softer bloomy rind cheeses, the rind really enhances the flavor. With more aged cheeses, the rind can be quite dry, hard, earthy, etc. Try it for yourself – if you like it, eat it, if you don’t, trim it away.

Q: Can the mold on cheese be a problem for people with allergies?

A: There are some penicillin-based molds in cheeses – mainly bloomy rind cheese and blue cheese. However, a person would have to have a VERY strong allergy to have a reaction to the cheese. The worst we’ve heard of is people having a slightly itchy sensation in their mouths or tongues.

 

 

 

It’s Halloween for Grownups! NEW Cheese & Chocolate Combos for Saxelby’s Monthly Clubs!

Cheese&Chocolate.png

This Halloween, supplement your stash of Snickers and Nerds with some killer cheese and chocolate pairings from Saxelby Cheesemongers and Raaka Chocolate! Our Cheese & Chocolate of the Month Clubs are a perfect gift for that candy-loving someone in your life, OR make a great treat for yourself too – because you certainly deserve it! Each month, you’ll get a perfect pairing featuring 1 bar of Raaka chocolate and a half-pound wedge of fabulous farmstead cheese.

Choose from a 3 month subscription or a 6 month subscription to Saxelby’s Cheese & Chocolate of the Month Club, and take 10% off when you use discount code ‘cheesemonth’

Red Hook Brooklyn-based chocolatier Raaka Chocolate sources the finest organic cacao beans they can get their hands on, and transforms them into sublime bars with elements like Smoked Chai Tea and Ghost Pepper to enhance the naturally complex flavor of each bean. The team at Saxelby Cheese has dutifully tasted through our many cheeses to find the perfect pairings for Raaka’s bars. As we like to say, it’s tough work, but somebody’s gotta do it! We’ve come up with some fabulous NEW pairings, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

20140619_saxelby_cheesemongers_18_sm.jpg

Cheese & Chocolate of the Month Club Pairings

Month 1 – Smoked Chai Chocolate with Kunik – a decadent, buttery goat/cow triple creme from Nettle Meadow Farm

Month 2 – Sea Salt Chocolate with Queso del Invierno – a creamy, citrusy and nutty sheep/cow blend from Vermont Shepherd

Month 3 – Bourbon Cask Aged Chocolate with Bayley Hazen Blue – a fudgy, sweet & salty blue cheese from Jasper Hill Farm

Month 4 – Maple Chocolate with Cacao Nibs with Ashbrook – an earthy, buttery, & lightly funky Morbier-style cheese from Spring Brook Farm

Month 5 – Coconut Milk Chocolate with Landaff – a tart and earthy cows’ milk tomme from Landaff Creamery

Month 6 – Ghost Pepper Chocolate with Marieke Super Gouda – a nutty and butterscotch-y aged gouda from Hollands Family Cheese

October is American Cheese Month!

Stop by Saxelby Cheesemongers in the Essex Street Market for daily cheese specials, and take 10% off all online cheese purchases through the month of October when you use discount code ‘cheesemonth’

StoreCase.jpg