Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekend Pairing

This weekend we've got slightly different pairings at both stores. Our loop store is pairing a triple creme called Pierre Robert and a lovely sparkling wine from Michigan called L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc. That's right sparkling wine from Michigan. Delicious sparkling wine from Michigan. Sharp and crisp without being sweet this wine is a great way to celebrate the everyday, and a great Midwestern producer.

At our Broadway store we are going Michigan all the way. Pairing our Michigan sparkling wine with a Camembert by Reny Picot in Michigan.


Pastoral Cooks?

Oh yes we do! Here at Pastoral we not only a highly knowledgeable team, but many of the employees are trained cooks and chefs who have worked at some of the best restaurants in the country.

Often customers come in and ask us how to cook with a cheese. Starting this weekend, we're going to give you some suggestions. The staff was challenged to come up with some cheesy ideas using our fresh cheeses (Mozzarella, Feta, Tomini).

This weekend we've got our first recipe. A great pasta salad using either the the Tomini with herbs, or with pepper flakes. Tomini are a soft fresh cheese with a bit of tang to them. Super creamy with just a hint of lemon zest. This cheese can be used on pizza, in pasta, and even egg dishes.

Come in to either store this weekend, get a taste, pick up the recipe and try this recipe (or experiment on your own).


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Better with Cheddar

This past Sunday, Marty Stiglich and the Sunday Broadway Pastoral crew did battle with a beautiful wheel of Montgomery's Cheddar that had been hand selected for our store by Neal's Yard, the distinguished English cheese shop and affineur. As seen in the pictures, the opening was well attended, and Marty made quick work of the 57 lb wheel so it could be shared with the crowd. This beautiful, hard to find wheel, aged for nearly two years, is currently available at Pastoral.

Why is this cheese so special? Well, Montgomery's Cheddar is the quintessential bandaged wrapped cheddar, perhaps the best tasting in the world. Made on the Manor Farm in Somerset England with the raw milk of their Fresian Holstein herd, it is an amazingly complex cheese with a lingering presence on your palate that is the mark of a wonderful cheese. It is drier and flakier than its American counterpart, but the nuances of this cheese are impressive. Aged at roughly a 25% higher temperature than American cheddars, these golden yellow wheels can be nutty, mushroomy, and perfectly barnyardy. The aging in cheese cloth allows for a transference between hand made cheese and aging room that bestows this cheese with all its unique characteristics. Stay tuned to the Pastoral Blog and for future instore events!

- Nat

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Possibly the Best Pairing Ever

If you have ever been to Pastoral, you know that we spend a fair amount of time trying to find some of the best pairings of wine and cheese. Well, this past week, Patrick and I may have come upon one of the best yet when we indulged in a Langres from Champagne, France with a bottle of the Blanc de Blanc made by the L. Mawby vineyards on the Leelanau Pennisula of Michigan.

The Langres is one of those unique, beautiful young cheeses from France that has been made in some form or another since at least the 18th century. Due to the excessive laws of the FDA, it is only available in a pasturized version in the United States, but it is still a goregously delicious cheese. It gets creamier as it ages, but texturally can span from supple to silky. As the fairer skinned sister to Epoisses de Bourgogne, its very pungent washed rind kin, Langres' flavors are also strong and complex yet slightly more subtle, ranging from smoky to tangy to earthy all at once. It is a 6 ounce round with a concave top sold in a high sided wooden round. While the cheese and bubbles were excellent as a traditional pairing, complementing each other in a manner that generated a whole new wonderful flavor, it was when we poured some of the Mawby on top of the Langres that pairing took on a whole new dimension.

While this may seem gratuitous, the divot in the top of the cheese, as well as the cheese container's high sides, are traditionally designed for this combination, and once the two were combined, it produced decadent, wonderful flavor offspring. Sticky bubbles came frothing up from the cheese, and we knew we had created a whole new delectable treat. The earthiness of the cheese became muted, and a subtle fruitiness was suddenly apparent, not noticeable before either in the cheese or the bubbly. The cheese was suddenly creamier and more delicious than we could have imagine, and it was then we realized that we may have stumbled onto one of the best pairings ever.