Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekend Pairing 5/1/09

May is "Eat Local" month here at Pastoral. We are kicking it off with a local pairing. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a raw cow's milk cheese from Uplands Cheese co. in Wisconsin. This cheese is the result of hard work and a quest for perfection from the makers.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is made in tune with mother nature. When the fields are lush and green and the cows are grazing, only then is their milk turned into cheese. Does it make a difference? Of course! Terroir is important in cheesemaking as it is in wine. Pleasant Ridge Reserve has won numerous awards and after sampling this nutty, creamy, grassy, green Alpine styled cheese we think you'll be ready to give it an award of your own.

Our suggestion for wine is the Highland Red from August Hill Winery right here in Illinois. This red is made from fromtenac grapes. It has some fruity notes of cherries and dark berries with just a bit of pepper. It drinks like a light bodied pinot noir, and is delicious! Come in for a sample, leave with a bottle of your own!

Don't forget that tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month and that means it's time for a free wine tasting at our downtown store. Come and join us from 6:30pm-8:30pm as we pour samples of local and delectable products. Our store in the Loop is located at 53 E. Lake St. right between Wabash and N. Michigan. Hope to see you there!


Thursday, April 30, 2009


Last weekend we did an opening of a wheel of Comte. But what exactly is Comte? Comte is a raw cow's milk cheese from France. It is an AOC ( Appellation d'Origine Controlee) regulated cheese (since 1976) which places restrictions on how and where the cheese is made.

  • The milk must be transported immediately after milking to the place of production. If the milk is refrigerated and kept at 57-65F renneting must be done within 14 hours. If the milk is at 39F, within 24 hours or 36 in the winter.

  • The milk may be heated once to a temperature of 104F, but only at the renneting stage. Any machinery that would allow the milk to be heated to that temperature before the renneting stage aren't even allowed to be on the property.

  • The salt must be applied to the surface of the cheese directly or with brine.

  • The green label must be applied to the side of the cheese, and bear the date of production

  • Grated cheese may not be sold as Comte.

    The bands on the side indicate the score that the cheese has gotten. Comte is graded on a 1-20 scale. The categories are overall appearance, rind quality, appearance of the cut, quality of the paste, and quality of taste. The cheese must score above a 12 inorder to be Comte. If is gets a score lower than that it is labeled Gruyere. A score of 12-15 gets a red label. A score of 15-20 (like the cheese we carry here at Pastoral) gets a green label.

Alison and her lovely assistant Shawn triumphantly show off a freshly cracked Comte!