Friday, July 24, 2009

New Pairing! New Cheese!

This week we are featuring cheese from Cobb Hill Cheese in Hartland, VT called Ascutney Mountain. Made from Jersey Cow's milk this cheese has a buttery, rich, nutty, grassy flavor with a slight sweetness to it. Like many Vermont cheeses this one is aged at the Jasper Hill Cellars in the Northeast Kingdom of the state. Adam and I are especially happy to have another representation of our "homeland" brought to Pastoral. Come in and taste why!
For libations this week we are pairing a beer from Goose Island right here in Chicago. Sofie is a bright, light and tart ale. That bit of citrus you're tasting is because it is aged in wine barrels with orange peel. Delicious and tart enough to cut through the richness of the cheese without detracting from the full flavor.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yesterday I was lucky enough, along with several of my co-workers and wholesale customers, to attend a professional cheese seminar led by Dave Lockwood and Raef Hodgeson from Neal's Yard Dairy.

Every cheese that passes through this British cheese institution is like gold--the cheeses are carefully selected and aged with an incredible amount of care. Neal's Yard works with traditional cheesemakers from the British Isles to ensure consistency in cheeses that already exist, but also to improve cheeses that are "under development."

The lecture by Lockwood was very high level and technical, and I won't bore you with the details (email me if you are interested, but I came away with an even deeper respect for what they do at the Dairy, and once we tasted the 8 cheeses the gentlemen chose for us, that respect became awe.

Did you know that Neal's yard imports only two American cheeses for sale in their London shops? Oregon's Rogue River Blue, and Wisconsin's Pleasant Ridge Reserve--two Pastoral favorites.

Did you know that Montgomery's cheddar tastes different depending on what day of the week it is made? They use different rennets on different days to prevent contamination, creating subtle but notable effects on flavor.

Join us today (Tues July 21, 2009 530-730 pm) at either location to taste a gorgeous Mongomery's Cheddar and a funky new (to us) washed rind cheese called Ogleshield.

Lisa Futterman