The Perfect Cheese Plate – Expert Tips on Creating a Delectable Thanksgiving Spread!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Saxelby Cheesemongers is here with some expert tips to creating a deliciously crowd pleasing cheese plate! There’s no better way to keep hungry family and guests at bay while you’re in the kitchen cooking up a storm… Or if you have the restraint to wait for cheese until after dinner (we know you’re out there!) – we can’t think of a better gustatory intermission between eating that big bird and dessert.


Fresh

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sozzled pearls

A fresh cheese is a perfect way to lead off your cheese board – the dominant flavors in young, fresh cheeses are typically mild, bright, tart, tangy, and sometimes just a touch yeasty – paving the way on your tastebuds for stronger flavors to come. Saxelby’s Sozzled Pearl – our seasonal special button of fresh goat and cows’ milk cheese wrapped in bourbon-soaked grape leaves is a lovely choice for the holidays! Beautiful, festive, and delicious to boot! In terms of beverage pairings, think champagne, soft white wines like sauvignon blanc, or Belgian saison-style beers.

 


 

Creamy

Harbison

A creamy cheese is a must for any cheese plate! There’s just something ‘come hither’ about a soft spreadable cheese that the human cheese-loving brain cannot resist. This year, try Harbison, a soft and gooey cows’ milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm that is bound with a balsa bark girdle. The bark imparts some incredibly savory flavors to the already mushroomy and cauliflowery cheese – think mustard seed, juniper berries, and smoked meat. We recommend buying a whole wheel, sticking a spoon in it, and just going to town! For delicious drinking partners, think spicy and sinewy or even slightly funky red wines – Anjou or oddballs from the Val d’Aosta are great choices, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try a smoked beer alongside!


Wild Card

Square Cheese

Every cheese plate needs a wild card – and in our humble estimation, you couldn’t choose a better cheese that Square Cheese from Twig Farm. This semi-firm goat cheese defies easy categorization – its rind is covered in downy gray mold (which you should absolutely eat!) and the flavors in the cheese range from goat musk to a fall leaf pile to pine resin. Throwing in a wild card will delight those who love the weird and wonderful, and it will challenge your cheese newbies to try something new and different! For pairings try reds from the Loire Valley like gamay, or honeyed chenin blanc or riesling.


Extra Aged

Marieke Two Year Aged Gouda

After the creamier cheeses, your guests’ appetites will be whet for something a bit bigger, bolder, and more intense! We recommend Marieke 2 Year Gouda from Holland’s Family Farm in Wisconsin. This extra aged gouda is firm, robust, and butterscotchy-sweet – a cheesy guilty pleasure that you’d be remiss to miss! Other flavor highlights include toasted nuts, burnt caramel, and broth. To drink don’t be afraid to bust out the big guns! Bold, dark, high octane beers such as imperial ales are a good choice, as are ports, sherries, and bold reds like syrah.

 


Blue

Kind of Blue

Not all blues are created equal! We know some are apt to shy away from blue cheese, which is why we’ve chosen a friendly, creamy version for this roundup. Our Kind of Blue from Woodcock Farm is modeled on a gorgonzola dolce recipe – it is a milky, mushroomy, and fudgy blue that could be a gateway cheese for those blue-fearing folks in your circle of family and friends. This mellow but intensely satisfying blue is best paired with sweeter white wines like muscat our sauternes, jammy reds such as barbera or dolcetto, or on the beer side, something toasty like Blue Point’s toasted lager

 

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Thanksgiving Recipes With Staples from Saxelby Cheese!

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Buttermilk Brined Turkey

Our thanks to our very own cave manager Anthony Pepe for this one!

Put a 10-12# turkey into a container big enough to hold it and with enough room to cover it with liquid.

Remove giblets and heart/liver from inside of turkey and reserve for another use.

Cover the turkey with Animal Farm Buttermilk (a 10-12# bird will require about 2 quarts buttermilk) and make sure buttermilk covers the entire bird. Seal the lid of the container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the turkey from the buttermilk and discard the buttermilk. Rinse the turkey under cold water until all the buttermilk is rinsed off, then pat dry with paper towels and set on a large baking sheet or roasting rack.

Salt the skin and inside of the bird liberally with coarse salt and place on sheet or rack, uncovered. Place in the fridge and let sit uncovered for 24 hours. This step ensures that the bird will be salted throughout and the skin will crisp up nicely.

About an hour before you are ready to cook the turkey, take it out of the fridge and leave it on your counter while the oven preheats. Heat the oven to 425.

Rub olive oil over the entire skin area of the turkey and coat it with pepper and/or any other spices you choose, remembering to not add more salt because it has already been salted.

If you are stuffing the bird or putting any spices/onions, etc, in the cavity, now is the time to do that, but this can also be done unstuffed.

Cook at 425 for 30 minutes and then bring the oven temp down to 350 and cook for 3-4 hours until a meat thermometer reads 165 in the breast.

Take the turkey out of the oven when it’s done and let it rest for 45 minutes on a cutting board before carving.

*CHEFS NOTE! The buttermilk causes the skin to become very dark brown. This is what you want. Don’t be alarmed…it’s the natural sugars in the buttermilk that cause this and it does not mean that the bird is burning. If it gets too intensely dark, you can tent the bird with foil for the remaining 30 minutes of cooking.


 

Butter Pie Crust

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

  • 4 oz cold ploughgate salted butter broken into one inch pieces
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

Combine butter sugar and flour in food processor. Transfer to bowl and add ice water and mix until combined. Roll into a ball and cover with Saran Wrap then put it in the fridge for at least one hour


 

Oven Baked Sausage Stuffing

Our thanks to Chris Bradley, chef extraordinaire for this one!

If you’d prefer a meatless option just leave the sausage out. No need to make any other adjustments.

  • 3 lbs sourdough bread, cut in 1 in. cubes
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 6 oz loose breakfast sausage
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 3 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • salt and pepper

Spread the cubed bread on 2 baking sheets and toast in a 325 degree oven until golden brown and delicious (henceforth GBD).  Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl.

Melt 1 oz of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the sausage and allow to brown stirring occasionally.  Remove from pan once fully cooked and drain away the fat.  Add 2 oz of butter back into the same pan, melt and add the celery, onion and garlic to the pan.  Cook until translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add sausage to the pan and then place everything in the mixing bowl with the bread.

Blend the stock, buttermilk and eggs together with a whisk.  Pour the liquid over the bread and add in the sage and parsley.  Season generously with salt and pepper and then mix thoroughly and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Rub the bottom and sides of two 10in x 15in casserole dishes with the remaining butter.  Divide the stuffing between the two dishes, cover with foil and place in a 325 degree oven.  Bake until fully set (30-40 minutes) and then remove the foil.  Continue to bake until GBD (15-20 minutes).

Animal Farm Butter Sale! Launches Tuesday 11/17 at 9am EST

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Animal Farm Butter – $50 per lb

It’s the best and butteriest time of the year! This year Diane St Clair and her cows at Animal Farm have been working overtime to churn out some extra butter just in time for Thanksgiving! This year we’re lucky enough to be getting TWO batches of butter – one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas (Christmas sale launches Tuesday 12/8) so grab some butter while the grabbin’s good!

BUY NOW!

18ca71ae-871b-46ad-a090-e43b81c26d31Every holiday season Saxelby Cheesemongers has the privilege of bringing you butter from Animal Farm, a small dairy farm in Orwell Vermont. Diane St Clair produces this exceptional cultured butter from her herd of ten Jersey cows. Throughout the year Ms. St Clair ships all of her butter to acclaimed chef Thomas Keller, owner of The French Laundry and Per Se. But for a few butterfat-filled weeks each year, Diane sends her butter to Saxelby Cheesemongers!

What makes Animal Farm Butter better? Start with the fact that it is made from pure Jersey cream, which contains over 87% butterfat. Diane hand-skims the cream with a ladle instead of relying on a mechanical separator, which, in addition to building up her biceps, keeps the precious fat globules in pristine condition. After the cream has been separated, Ms St Clair cultures it for 24 hours using her own buttermilk as a starter, creating a tangy flavor profile that is totally unique to her proprietary blend of cultures.

Next the cream is churned until it is transformed into butter. Diane then drains off the buttermilk and puts the block of butter on a marble slab for kneading. She ‘washes’ the block of butter with water and kneads it until all the milk is out of it and the butter is perfect. We think you’ll agree that this butter is sublime! The flavor is sweet, grassy and complex with a gentle twang from the culturing process.

Each one pound package comes with four hand rolled balls of butter that will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, or can stay frozen for up to six months.

**PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PACKAGES WILL BE SHIPPED ON MONDAY 11/23 VIA FEDEX OVERNIGHT DELIVERY SERVICE FOR DELIVERY ON TUESDAY 11/24. ORDERS PLACED FOR IN-STORE PICKUP WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP ON WEDNESDAY 11/25**

Saxelby Cheesemongers New ‘A La Carte’ Online Selection! Plus Animal Farm Butter Sale Heads Up!

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Exciting, cheesy things are brewing at Saxelby Cheesemongers! Be sure to check our holiday gift collection at saxelbycheese.com, including an all-star lineup of cheeses for purchase A La Carte! Saxelby’s A La Carte selection allows you to create your own cheese plate from an assortment of over 20 delicious domestic artisan cheeses. Choose from trusty old standbys like Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, or discover some rare and incredible cheeses that truly set Saxelby apart from the rest! Our A La Carte cheeses are cut to order, meaning you’ll receive the freshest and most delicious cheese imaginable! Whether you’re looking to round out your Thanksgiving spread, or just want to indulge and stock up on your favorite cheeses for the holidays, we’ve got a wedge that’s right for you!
Check out our full selection at saxelbycheese.com, or browse from our list of favorites below: (Alex, if you could put pics and links with each one of these that would be great!) All pics can be snagged from website, or I can email them to you if you need!

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Supremely addictive Clothbound Cheddar from Cabot Creamery and the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm. Bold and savory with a peanut butter-y nutty sweetness.

Intense, caramelized aged gouda from Hollands Family Cheese in Wisconsin. Each hearty wedge is full of chock full of those crystalized crunchy bits we all love so much!

Our go-to favorite for sandwiches, cooking with, melting, you name it! A fruity and lightly pungent semi-firm cheese from Spring Brook Farm that is a real chameleon in the kitchen.

 
Nothing says fall like the arrival of Concord grapes and pears! This silky and delicious fruit butter from our friends at the Oakland-based Blue Chair Fruit is a perfect accompaniment to any cheese plate.

These crispy crackers from the Fine Cheese Company are a Saxelby favorite! A perfect add-on to any cheesy assortment.

Animal Farm Butter – Thanksgiving and Christmas Sale This Year!

Rare_Only at SaxIt’s that time of year! Time to start dreaming of America’s best butter from Animal Farm in Vermont. This year, we’ll be holding TWO butter sales – one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas as opposed to our usual one-time sale. Mark your calendars and order early – this incredible butter always sells out fast!
Thanksgiving Sale – Launches Tuesday 11/17 9am EST
Thanksgiving orders will ship on Monday 11/23 or will be available for in-store pickup on Wednesday 11/25.
Christmas Sale – Launches Tuesday 12/8 9am EST
Christmas orders will ship on Wednesday 12/16 or will be available for in-store pickup on Thursday 12/17

Cheese Really IS Addictive – Feed Your Habit at Saxelby Cheese!

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So, the experts have confirmed what we’ve all known to be true for years – cheese really is addictive! The LA Times reported last week that a scientific study has confirmed that there’s a biological reason we crave cheese. During the digestion process, casein – the main protein found in cheese – breaks down and releases casomorphins, a naturally occurring opiate, making us want to eat even more of the butterfatty good stuff.

Of all the vices to have, a cheese addiction is a pretty good one… Stop by Saxelby Cheesemongers in the Essex Street Market this week to try our favorite habit-forming cheeses of the moment!


Cabot Clothbound Cheddar – Long dubbed addictive by its legions of fans (we’ve heard people refer to it as crack cheese) Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is the perfect cheese to ward off those ‘hangry’ feelings and please just about every guest at every dinner party. In fact, we can count the number of folks who don’t like this cheese on less that one hand. That’s a pretty addictive track record.

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Appalachian – A sleeper favorite at Saxelby Cheese! This aged cows’ milk tomme from Meadow Creek Dairy is tasting PHENOMENAL! We just cracked into a buttery, fruity wheel today and are over the moon. The texture is semi-firm, pliant and creamy, and the flavor is round and complex – dancing between strawberry, cultured butter, and grass. If you’ve never tried it, now’s the time! And if you’ve had it before, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with a delicious old friend.

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Paymaster – Chocolate whiskey-washed goat cheese from Crown Finish Caves and Coach Farms. Throwing alcohol into this addiction equation almost seems unfair! The booze infuses the young goat cheese with a barnyardy, caramelly, toasted quality that is undeniably exquisite. A perfect little round of cheese to tote to your next get-together, or to treat yourself to a nice weeknight dinner.

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Rippleton – The sexiest cheese in our case right now – bar none. This supple and gooey sheeps’ milk cheese is washed with barely fermented beer from Empire Brewing Co. in Syracuse. We recommend buying a whole wheel, lopping the top off, and eating it with a spoon. Yes, we’re shameless… and proud of it!

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