This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers
Fresh curd’s the word! This week we’re rolling out the welcome wagon for two new fresh cheeses, Champlain Valley Organic Cream Cheese and Hawthorne Valley Quark.
I ask you, this bright and shiny Monday, when was the last time you had a good bagel and cream cheese? I can confidently answer for myself that it was yesterday, Sunday, when I took a trip up to the venerable establishment called David’s Bagels on First Avenue and 13th street.
Lower East Side sacrelige aside (sorry Kossar’s! I just wasn’t in the hood!) it got me thinking… the New York bagel and cream cheese institution is sacred and delicate matter, not to be tousled and rocked about on the waves of change, trends, what have you. Each of us has our bagel rituals, favorite spots, favorite flavors, favorite schmears, etc. Different strokes for different folks, and so on and so on… as Sly and the Family Stone so succinctly put it.
That being said, I would like to propose to you a Green Mountain twist to your bagel and cream cheese regimen, coming from Champlain Valley Creamery in Vergennes, Vermont. Carlton Yoder, resident cheese maker extraordinaire, has been lovingly ladling the curd for his organic cream cheese for years now. Made from the milk of a neighboring farm with a mixed herd of Jersey and Holstein cows, his Champlain Valley Cream Cheese is pure butterfatty spreadable goodness. The cream cheese is rich and dense, with a stiff texture and delightfully tangy snap of flavor. I dare say that with the debut of this Vermonter, old Philadelphia has met its match.
And if that weren’t enough to get the old tastebuds up and running, perhaps a spoonful of Hawthorne Valley Quark might do the trick? Hawthorne Valley is a 400 acre biodynamic farm upstate New York that is home to a herd of stoic Brown Swiss cows. Quark, a traditional fresh European cheese, comes from the Slavic word ‘tvarog’ which means, simply, curd. However, much like an international spy, Quark has many other glamorous aliases depending on the country in which it resides… including pot cheese, white cheese, foamy milk, or thick milk. A beautiful yet simple fresh cheese, Quark’s uses are pretty much endless. It is phenomenal as a base for any herbed or veggie dip, makes a mean cheesecake or quiche, or holds its own with a bit of fresh fruit or honey stirred into the mix.
These cheeses are so fresh you could slap ’em. ‘Could’ being the operative word there.