Ramblings on Grass, Cheese, and Peanut Butter

It really all starts with sunshine and grass, this cheese thing. Just ask Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm, who wrote an article for the latest issue of Diner Journal called ‘Banking on Sunshine.’ Since time immemorial, farmers have been capturing solar power in the form of milk and turning it into the delectable dairy products we pour our granola on top of in the morning, slice onto our sandwiches in the afternoon, and savor a bite or two before or after dinner (or both!) in the evening. This week’s email is an homage to sunshine, and all we glean from it… from greens to cheese to peanut butter.

The summer sun was the topic of this week’s rendition of Cutting the Curd, when I interviewed Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese, makers of the unparalleled Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Uplands Cheese is one of a relatively small number of farmstead dairies who make cheese seasonally, only during the summer months when their cows are out on pasture. The practice mimics the ancient ritual of transhumance, when farmers lead their animals high up into the mountains in the summer time to take advantage of the abundant and varied pasture that grows there. All that verdant goodness is fodder (literally) for a complex and nuanced palette of flavor that characterizes all grass-fed cheeses. At Uplands, cheese is made all summer long, from May until October, and aged a minimum of 6 months before we get to tear into that sunshine in its cheesy form. Stop by the shop this week for a chunk of 11 month old Pleasant Ridge Reserve, my personal favorite age for this sublime alpine-style cheese.

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Join Saxelby Cheesemongers this Saturday, July 24th at the New Amsterdam Market for sunshine on a Sullivan Street roll as we unveil our newest dynamic duo of cheese sandwiches! We’ll be serving up one sweet and one savory cheese sandwich that are both sure to knock your socks off!

For the sweet we’ve doctored up the seemingly stoner-ific but incredibly delicious combination of Peanut Butter and Maytag Dairy Blue Cheese on Sullivan’s raisin walnut rolls! Peanut butter and blue cheese?! Absolutely. After one bite your life will never be the same.

For the savory we went straight for the ploughman’s lunch with Shelburne Farm’s Two Year Cheddar with Tomatillo Chutney made by Sweet Deliverance. What could complement cheddar better’n a tart & tangy summer chutney?

This New Amsterdam Market coincides with New York’s ‘City of Water Day’ celebrations. Grab some provisions an hop on the ferry to Governor’s Island for a picnic and free boat tours around the harbor!
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And last but not least, for your weekly dose of sunshine in vegetable format (we’ve all gotta eat something besides cheese after all), you’ve gotta check out the Brooklyn Grange’s Sunday Market at Roberta’s Pizzeria in Bushwick! The Brooklyn Grange is a one plus acre farm on a rooftop in Long Island City that is proving that you don’t have to pack up and move to Green Acres to be a bonafide farmer. Yesterday farmers Ben Flanner, Gwen Schantz, and Anastasia Cole were on hand slinging NYC-grown veggies ranging from carrots and beets to snap peas, peppers, as well as a dizzying array of greens.

The market is open from 11-5 at Roberta’s, 261 Moore St in Bushwick, or you can even visit the farm! Check out brooklyngrangefarm.com for directions and contact info. If this picture doesn’t inspire you to pay them a visit, we don’t know what will!

‘Till next week, eat sunshine, and be merry!

Culture is good for you!

They say culture is good for you. And in the world of cheese, this couldn’t ring more true. This week, for your sensory and gustatory enjoyment, Saxelby Cheesemongers has distilled culture down three ways: for your eyes, for your ears, and last but not least, for your mouth! Read on and see which dose’ll do ya.

First things first. This Wednesday, at Pasanella and Sons, join Saxelby Cheesemongers for a tasting featuring old world wines paired with Yankee cheeses that take their inspiration from those same famed wine making regions. Which American triple creme would find itself at home in the Champagne region? Which stinky square is redolent of the Piedmont? What do the Loire Valley and the Champlain Valley have in common? For answers to these questions and many more, come on down to the seaport for some schooling on wine and cheese culture.

Old World Wines and Yankee Cheese at Pasanella and Sons
Wednesday, July 14th 7:00-9:00 pm
for tickets ($45) visit pasanellaandsons.com

Now for your audio visual dose of culture. Yesterday on Cutting the Curd, I interviewed Kate Arding, British cheese maven moved stateside, and one of the primal forces behind ‘Culture’ magazine. Kate and I dished about the culture of the cheese business, and how she got her serendipitous start in the world of curds and whey. From Neal’s Yard Dairy to Cowgirls in Tomales Bay to the first magazine devoted entirely to cheese, Kate spins a most fascinating yarn. If you’ve never checked out this fantastic publication, don’t miss another minute! Visit ‘Culture‘ on Facebook and see what’s fermenting.

‘Till next week, eat, drink, smell, (listen to?) cheese, and be merry!

New Cheese & Old Favorites

July 4th may have come and gone, but that’s no reason to not continue to celebrate fantastic American farmstead cheese! This week, Saxelby Cheesemongers is tickled to introduce you to a delicious newcomer as well as some of our trusty old favorites, back in action after a seasonal hiatus. Stop by the shop this week and mention this email for a 10% discount on any of these tasty morsels. We can’t think of a better way to spend the heat wave… Just find yourself a cool spot, be it in the park, or parked in front of the AC, open up your favorite bottle of vino or beer, and picnic your heart out!

Wabash Cannonball
(Pasteurized goats’ milk. Capriole, IN)
A brand new ball of goaty goodness from Judy Schad and the ladies at Capriole dairy. These diminutive, ashed orbs of fresh and lemony goat cheese are light and tangy as can be, making them ideal summer fare. Named for an old country tune about a ficitional railroad racing along the Wabash river, they might just inspire you to sing a little jingle or two.

Grayson
(Raw cows’ milk. Meadow Creek Dairy, VA)
Oh pungent, buttery cheese! How good it is to see you again! That’s right folks, this year’s first batch of Grayson has finally arrived in all of its plump, pudding-y splendor. At this stage of the seasonal game, these quadrangular, peach-colored cheeses are mild-mannered and creamy with a twinge of barnyard on the finish. The perfect expression of sweet Virginia pasture!

Sozzled Pearl

(Pasteurized goat and cows’ milk. Seal Cove Farm, ME)
A spirited (literally!) collaboration between Saxelby Cheesemongers and Seal Cove Farm. Sozzled Pearls are gooey, racy, musky little numbers, enveloped in bourbon-soaked grape leaves. The cheese comes to us fresh from Maine, and after a few days in the cave at Saxelby’s, gets wrapped up in a boozy, leafy package. Think French goat cheese funk come stateside.

Shaker Blue
(Raw sheeps’ milk. Old Chatham Sheepherding Co., NY)
Like buttah, only bettah. After a late lambing season this year, the ewes up at Old Chatham are back on the wagon, and making tastier cheese than ever! The first batch of Shaker of the season is robust and fruity, with a dense, sheepy tartness that balances the sweet, butterfatty blue. Look out Roquefort, these upstate sheep are giving you a run for your money!