One stop cheese shop: order your Thanksgiving cheese plate today!!

CheeseplateWith all of the running around and last-minute chores that (inevitably) come alongside the joys of Thanksgiving, why not leave an entire course to us!!

We’ve curated a range of perfectly composed cheese plates for this very purpose, and our Cheese and Charcuterie gift set comes with everything you need to lay out the perfect spread of cocktail hour apps! This set includes three wedges of American farmstead cheeses, accompaniments and delicious cured goodness from Olympia Provisions and from Cesare Casella, the country newest salumist churning out delicious prosciutto from heritage hogs in Rhode Island!

Remember to place your order by midnight tonight to receive your delicious cheese by Thanksgiving!!!

Women in Cheese – A 5 Minute History

The Future (and Past!) of Cheese is Female

Throughout history, women have played a crucial role in cheesemaking. From European cheesemaking traditions spanning many centuries to our nascent artisan cheese boom here in the United States, the role of women in cheese cannot (and will not) be understated! In honor of Women’s History Month, Saxelby Cheesemongers is celebrating women in cheese – past, present, and future!

In Europe, the making of many traditional cheeses was seen as women’s work. The division of labor on the farm was simple – men performed the ‘outside’ labor – caring for the animals, the land, and the farm’s facilities and equipment. Women did more of the ‘inside’ work – which consisted of homemaking, child rearing, and in the case of dairy farms, cheesemaking. Of course there were (and are) exceptions to that rule – shepherds high in the Pyrenees and Alps milked their animals in the field and made larger-format traditional cheeses like Pyrenees Brebis and Comte, but many of Europe’s most famed cheeses are the work of women’s hands.

In America, women were the force behind the artisan cheese movement, which began in the 1970’s as a drop in the proverbial pond. Over the past 40 years that drop has swelled to a tremendous wave of delicious cheese that can rival the best of the best from Europe or anywhere else. Those early American tastemakers have been affectionately dubbed ‘the goat ladies’ – and include icons like Laura Chenel and her famous chevre, Mary Keehn of Humboldt Fog fame, Judy Schad of Capriole Dairy, Alison Hooper of Vermont Creamery, Laini Fondiller of Lazy Lady Farm, Barbara Brooks of Seal Cove Farm, Jennifer Bice of Redwood Hill Farm, and Paula Lambert of the Mozzarella Company. Their reasons for making cheese ranged from wanting to provide their families with healthful and wholesome foods – an extension of the ‘Back to the Land’ movement, to a desire to replicate and further the reach of fabulous goat cheeses tasted while traveling, to a love of goats and goat breeding, or some happy combination of all three.

Starting with zero in terms of resources – they shared information, bootstrapped their young businesses, and conjured a goat cheese revolution out of thin air. Back in the seventies and eighties there were hardly any decent milking goats available, much less the milking equipment and cheesemaking supplies necessary to make goat cheese. All of the country’s top dairy minds had been focused for more than a century on a different dairy animal – the cow – and how to optimize breeding, milk production, and equipment. Through sheer willpower and and a LOT of elbow grease, these ‘goat ladies’ pioneered the craft of making great goat cheese here in the US, and inspired generations of cheesemakers to follow!

Chefs were the first to gravitate towards these fresh goat cheeses – Alice Waters and Thomas Keller were some of Laura Chenel’s first customers. Allison Hooper of Vermont Creamery made her first batches of chevre for chefs in Vermont and Boston who craved it but had no source for it. Chefs paved the way for the ‘civilians’, regular folks who might not have travelled abroad and tasted goat cheese before, but who trusted the chefs and restaurateurs who demystified this delicious cheese for the American palate.

Today, some of the finest minds (and hands) in the American artisan movement are female. Check out a few of our favorites below and read up on women making their mark in the American artisan cheese world!

Grayson – Helen and Kat Feete

Grayson is made by a dynamic mother-daughter team in Galax, Virginia. Helen was the first cheesemaker in the United States to make a supple, stinky, washed rind cheese, and was told by a few along the way that she couldn’t do it! After some tutelage from European cheesemakers, particularly Giana Ferguson of Gubbeen cheese in Ireland, Helen perfected her craft.

Ascutney Mountain – Jeannine Kilbride

Ascutney is made at Cobb Hill Farm, an intentional community conceived by Donnella Meadows, a thought-leader in the world of systems thinking and ecology. This community is dedicated to sustainability, and cheesemaking is one of their communal pursuits. Today Ascutney is made by Jeannine Kilbride, a talented cheesemaker in her own right!

Burrata / Mozzarella – Johann Englert

Maplebrook Farm was started by Johann Englert, a woman with good taste and a lot of gusto! After tasting some of Mike Scheps’ mozzarella in his Manchester, Vermont store, Johann decided to launch a business to distribute his cheese to shops in the Boston area in a newly purchased Chevy Tahoe. Johann and Mike joined forces and now produce award-winning mozzarella and burrata from the milk of Vermont family farms.

Kunik – Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase

Sheila and Lorraine purchased Nettle Meadow Farm after deciding to ditch their ‘normal’ jobs in favor of farm life. Kunik, their signature cheese, is truly one-of-a-kind. It is a triple-creme blend of goat’s milk from their farm, and cow cream sourced by a neighboring farm. Nettle Meadow Farm is unique because in addition to being a working dairy farm, it is an animal sanctuary where Sheila and Lorraine can care for animals – both retired dairy goats of their own as well as other animals who need a good home.

Cremont / Bonne Bouche – Allison Hooper / Adeline Druart

Allison Hooper, co-owner of Vermont Creamery, spent time in France learning the rudiments of cheesemaking, and in 1984 launched her business with Bob Reese. For years Vermont Creamery stuck to making fresh cheeses, but when Adeline Druart, a young dairy science intern from France, joined the team, she decided she wanted to up the ante and produce mold-ripened goat’s milk cheeses in the French style. Adeline, Allison, and Bob’s passion has yielded a stellar lineup of soft goat and cow’s milk cheeses that rival anything from across the pond.

Noble Road / Elsa Mae – Emily Montgomery

Emily Montgomery got bit by the cheese bug after working as a dairy science consultant to some of America’s biggest dairy companies. Her family’s 6th generation dairy farm in Wayne County Pennsylvania was ailing, so she came up with a plan to add value to the farm’s top quality milk by turning it into cheese! Now Calkins Creamery is thriving and produces a lineup of award-winning cow’s milk cheeses that Saxelby is proud to serve.

Marieke Premium Gouda – Marieke Penterman

Marieke and Rolf Penterman emigrated to the United States to start a dairy farm in Wisconsin. The cost of land in their native Holland was just too high, and their love of dairy farming was so great that it lured them across the sea! Rolf quickly established a thriving dairy herd, but Marieke missed the cheese from back home. She began making Dutch-style raw milk gouda from the herd’s milk, and a new business was born!

Tres Bonne – Anne and Susan Gervais

Sisters Anne and Susan (maiden name Gervais) are two of fifteen children in the Gervais family. The family has farmed in the northwestern reaches of Vermont since the 1960’s, and in 2007 Anne and Susan launched Boston Post Dairy to convert the farm’s cow and goat milk into top quality cheese.

Pawlet – Angela Miller / Leslie Goff

Angela Miller, a successful literary agent, and her husband Russell Glover purchased Consider Bardwell Farm with the dream of restoring it to its cheesemaking glory. Consider Bardwell is the site of Vermont’s first cheesemaking cooperative, and carries on that tradition today, sustaining the farm’s herd of milking goats, plus cow’s milk from two neighboring farms in town. Cheesemaker Leslie Goff has been working at Consider Bardwell since she was 15 years old, and learned the craft of cheesemaking from Peter Dixon. Today she is the force behind the farm’s cheeses, and is in our humble opinion, a bit of a badass.

Weybridge – Patty Scholten

Patty Scholten (one half of the dynamic duo behind Scholten Farm – the other half is her husband Roger) came up with the idea of turning her farm’s superior quality milk into farmstead cheese. In 2007 they sold the herd of cows that had come with the farm and replaced them with a herd of organic Dutch Belted cows. This bright & cheesy idea lead to a partnership with Jasper Hill Farm, who now age their diminutive discs of Weybridge cheese to fudgy perfection.

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!

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Get it now! $50

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

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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!

 

Drunken Cheese For St Paddy’s Day + Future of Essex Market Talk at the Lowline Sunday 3/20

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Grab your bagpipes and shillelaghs folks!

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! Stop by Saxelby Cheesemongers this week to taste our selection of beer-washed cheeses to go along with your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans. These tart, savory, and funky cheeses are washed or soaked in local brews, bringing a whole new level of flavor AND making them a perfect partner for your favorite pint of craft beer!

Trifecta

Crown Finish Caves (pasteurized sheep and cows’ milk/vegetarian rennet, Brooklyn, NY)
The traditional definition of trifecta is when a person accurately bets on the top three finishers in a horse race. In the case of this cheese, the top three finishers are cows, sheep, and beer! These little squares of buttery goodness are crafted by Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, and then sent down to Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn for finishing. The young cheeses are washed with beer from Threes Brewing (yet another Trifecta reference for ya..) giving them a slight fruity funk. The texture and flavor of Trifecta is sublime – think silky, creamy sheep butter with a hint of pepper and barnyard. Aged 4 weeks.

Harpersfield with Ommegang Beer

Brovetto Dairy (pasteurized cows’ milk/microbial rennet, Jefferson, NY)
The Ommegang Brewery, located in Cooperstown, New York, is just a stone’s throw (or a short drive) from the Brovetto dairy. This American original is the only cheese we know of that’s made in this fashion – young wheels of cheese are soaked in beer from Ommegang Brewery for one week, allowing the beer to penetrate the semi-firm chalky paste and dye the rind of the cheese a pale orange color. Deliciously yeasty with tangy and lactic notes, this cheese is the perfect marriage of two nearly perfect fermented foods.

Snow’d In

Lazy Lady Farm (pasteurized cows’ milk/animal rennet, VT)
A delicate round of creamy, mold-ripened cow’s milk that is lightly washed in local Vermont beer from Newport Brewing Co. This young cheese is a perfect blank slate for many pairings, the flavor is mild, milky, and nutty with just a hint of pungency.  Think very young Reblochon meets Robiola.

Upcoming Event

History and Future of Markets in NYC – Part Two

Sunday 3/20 – 12pm to 1pm

Lowline Lab – 140 Essex Street (between Rivington and Stanton)

Delight your inner foodie with stuffed risotto balls and other light bites as we discuss the importance of preserving the rich history of markets in New York City. Moderated by local history mavens, the Bowery Boys, alongside market vendors Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers, and Giulia Della Gatta of Arancini Bros; and Rohan Mehra, Principal at Prusik Group.

FREE – For tickets, RSVP here

Saxelby Salutes Women in Cheese!

March is women’s history month, and though I would not call myself an ardent ‘feminist’ – in the clichéd bra-burning kind of way – I realize that this sentiment is probably largely due to the fact that I take for granted how good I’ve got it thanks to the work of all of those fierce women who paved the path that I contentedly walk.

The world of cheese has probably always had a more feminist bent than other professions – especially in the field of agriculture. In France as in many other cultures, the work of making cheese was often a woman’s work. In the case of small-format cheeses like Camembert, and the little drums, thimbles, pyramids, buttons, and discs of goat cheese that are a large part of France’s gastronomic patrimony, we owe a debt of gratitude to the women who made them betwixt and between countless other tasks on the farm.

For those of you who did not grow up on a farm that produces cheese (and I imagine there are a few of you out there…) there is a real division of labor on the farm – there’s inside work, and then there’s outside work. Making cheese falls under the ‘inside work’ umbrella. The cheesemaking process is a fastidious one (cleaning, tempering milk, culturing milk, checking the feel of the curd, ladling the curd into molds, salting, turning, brushing, washing) and one that takes place over many hours. It would often be the woman’s job to tend to the cheesemaking while shuttling back and forth between the house and other farm chores. Apparently the age-old cliché that women are better at multitasking than men has roots in the cheese world as well.

When I lived in France before opening Saxelby Cheesemongers, I made goat cheese on three different dairies in the Loire Valley. On those dairies, the women were in charge of making the cheese, and the men were in charge of the animal husbandry and farm maintenance (or ‘outside work’) – feeding and milking the animals twice daily, haying fields, fixing tractors, etc. Of course this notion can be easily upended. There are certain cheeses, mostly larger-format ones – that traditionally were made by men (Comté, Cheddars, etc) or cheeses like the great sheep cheeses from the Pyrenees that are crafted in huts in high mountain pastures by groups of male shepherds, and there are certainly a lot of women out there who can fix a tractor. But it is all to say that women have a solid spot in the cheesemaking hall of fame.

Now let’s talk about mongers. In French, the word ‘monger’ doesn’t exist (can you imagine saying ‘monger’ with a French accent?!) but a woman in cheese is a fromagére or an affineuse. Many of the best cheese shops and affinage operations in France are run by women – There is Marie Quatrehomme, Marie-Anne Cantin, and Nicole Barthelemy in Paris, and La Mere Richard with her storied St Marcellin in Lyon. The best chefs in France, and the most discerning of cheese eaters happily entrust their cheese selections to these grand dames du fromage.

In America, one could argue that our artisan cheese revolution was kindled (and the flames stoked) by women. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, when the rest of the country was wolfing down Velveeta and Kraft Singles, women like Laura Chenel, Mary Keehn, and Jennifer Bice in California, Allison Hooper and Laini Fondiller in Vermont, Paula Lambert in Texas and Judy Schad in Indiana, were trying their hands at making an array of goat cheeses and fresh Italian-style cheeses – the likes of which had never been seen stateside. Fast-forward to 2016, and when you look at the cornucopia of American artisan cheeses that grace the counters of Saxelby Cheesemongers, Dean and DeLuca, Whole Foods and beyond, give thanks to these women and to their visionary (and at the time) wildly impractical desire to create fine European-style cheese in the United States.

As a woman who opened a cheese shop in New York City at the age of 25, googly-eyed with admiration for these cheese pioneers and the legions they inspired, and given the chance to launch a crazy business and sell New Yorkers good cheese, I guess I just might be a feminist after all… So when you munch on a morsel of cheese this March, give thanks to the many women out there – now and throughout history – making, aging, and selling great cheese!

 

 

Butterfat and Bubbles… Ring In The New Year With Decadent Triple Creme Cheeses!

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New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and Saxelby Cheesemongers has a killer line up of triple creme cheeses that are crying out to be munched alongside a bottle of bubbly! By definition, a triple creme cheese is one that has a butterfat content of 75% or more. To achieve this degree of richness, triple creme cheeses are made from a blend of whole milk and cream, making them supple, creamy, and extra delicious. The acidity and yeasty qualities of champagne are a perfect pairing for cheeses of this ilk, and the bubbles cut through all that butterfat in the most delightful way! Check out this trio of our favorite triple creme cheeses of the moment, and be sure to stop by the shop this week to stock up for a delicious New Year’s spread!

Trifecta

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Crown Finish Caves
(pasteurized sheep and cows’ milk/vegetarian rennet, Brooklyn, NY)

The traditional definition of trifecta is when a person accurately bets on the top three finishers in a horse race. In the case of this cheese, the top three finishers are cows, sheep, and beer! These little squares of buttery goodness are crafted by Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, and then sent down to Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn for finishing. The young cheeses are washed with beer from Threes Brewing (yet another Trifecta reference for ya..) giving them a slight fruity funk. The texture and flavor of Trifecta is sublime – think silky, creamy sheep butter with a hint of pepper and barnyard. Aged 4 weeks.


 

Kunik

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Nettle Meadow Farm
(pasteurized goats’ milk & Jersey cream/microbial rennet, Warrensburg, NY)

As we cheesemongers like to say, this is as close to eating gelato as you can get while still eating cheese! Kunik is dreamy mold-ripened cheese made from a mix of goats’ milk and fresh Jersey cream in the Adirondack Mountains. When young, Kunik has the texture of cold butter, and is light, tangy, and crème-fraiche-y in flavor. As it ripens, it becomes more supple, loose, and pungent, the goaty flavors becoming more assertive. Kunik is delightful at any state of ripeness, and deserves a much-coveted place in your belly. Aged 4-6 weeks.


 

Nancy’s Camembert

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Old Chatham Sheepherding Co.
(pasteurized cow and sheeps’ milk/microbial rennet, Old Chatham, NY)

A silky, buttery, bloomy rind sheeps’ milk cheese that can put to shame your favorite triple creme… Sheeps’ milk is naturally the highest in butterfat, coming in at around 7% (cows and goats are more around the 4-5% range) That means that the paste of the cheese is chock full of fatty goodness, melting on the tongue and leaving you craving another bite! The rind lends a slight mushroomy quality to the cheese, rounding out the sweet cream flavor with a touch of earthy-ness. Aged for 6 weeks or more, Nancy’s Camembert is a Saxelby staff favorite!


 

Saxelby Cheesemongers New Year’s Hours

120 Essex St, New York, New York 10002

Tuesday 12/29 10am to 7pm

Wednesday 12/30 10am to 7pm

Thursday 12/31 10am to 5pm

Friday 1/1 CLOSED

Saturday 1/2 10am to 7pm

Sunday 1/3 10am to 7pm

Booze Infused! Washed Rind Cheeses For Holiday Entertaining

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It’s age old wisdom that cheese and wine, beer, and spirits of all sorts go together… However, we cheese lovers owe a special debt of gratitude to monks who lived way back when for figuring out that cheeses washed with booze make everything even MORE delicious. Monasteries typically would make much of their own food themselves – the monks would cheese, grow veggies, bake bread, and brew beer or distill special types of alcohol (cue Chartreuse, Benedictine, etc.) They would then wash the cheeses with their house-made spirits to create radically pungent and delicious flavors. Check out Saxelby’s roundup of booze-washed cheeses for delicious holiday entertaining ideas. These robust and meaty cheeses are perfect fare for colder weather and festive meals! Just pick your favorite booze and find a cheese to match!

Cider

The northeast has a great tradition of cider making. Thanks to some pioneering cider makers and cheese makers, this delicious drink is making a comeback!

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Pasteurized sheeps’ milk. Meadowood Farms, NY. washed with cider from Critz Farms

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Raw goats’ milk. Consider Bardwell Farm, VT. washed with cider from Slyboro Cider House

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Raw goat and cows’ milk. Twig Farm, VT. washed with lees of house made cider made by cheesemaker Michael Lee


 

Beer

Thanks to the craft beer renaissance in the US, it seems like there’s a local brewery for every cheesemaker we work with! After all, local brews and local curds make for delicious eats!

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Pasteurized sheeps’ milk. Meadowood Farms, NY. washed with a rotating selection of barely fermented beer from Empire Brewing Co.

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Pasteurized sheep and cows’ milk. Crown Finish Caves / Old Chatham Sheepherding Co, NY. washed with beer from Threes Brewing


 

Eau de Vie

While Eau de Vie isn’t quite so common in the canon of American artisan distilling, leave it to our cheesemakers to suss out a producer and wash some cheese with it – to delicious results!

despearadoDespearado

caption (raw cows’ milk. Cato Corner Farm, CT. washed with Pear William eau de vie from Westford Hills Distillers)


 

Absinthe

A spirit that originated in France and Switzerland in the late 1700’s, absinthe is a liquor made of anise, grand wormwood, hyssop, lemon balm and other herbs. Despite it’s fame for being banned in the US until fairly recently, it will not make you hallucinate. Neither will this cheese, but it is addictive in its own right!

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Raw cows’ milk. Vulto Creamery, NY. washed with Meadow of Love absinthe from Delaware Phoenix Distillery.


 

Whisky

Loved the world over from Scotland to Kentucky, whisky is a natural choice for washing cheese, and for drinking when the weather gets chilly.

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Pasteurized goats’ milk. Crown Finish Caves / Coach Farms, NY. washed with Kings County Chocolate Whisky.

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Pasteurized goat and cows’ milk. Saxelby Cheesemongers / Seal Cove Farm, ME. wrapped in whisky-soaked grape leaves and aged by Saxelby Cheesemongers

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