Friday, September 17, 2010

Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise

We've kidnapped cheesemaker Jeremy Stephenson for the day. At the ACS conference last month Tarentaise, made on Spring Brook Farm won first place in the farmstead cheese category and third place in the all-around Best of Show competition. For your tasting pleasure, we've kidnapped cheesemaker Jeremy Stephenson for the day. Starting at noon today you can stop by the shops, meet Jeremy, taste his cheese, and pepper him with as may questions as you can imagine.

Lake St. from 12-1:30
French Market from 4-5:30
Broadway from 6:30-8

Shockingly, the Tarentaise is our cheese of the week. Tarentaise is a washed rind, semi-hard, raw milk, cooked curd, farmstead cheese. What's farmstead cheese? It means that the cheese is made on the same land where the animals are raised. Having the cows and the cheese at the same location allows the cheesemaker and the herdsperson to work closely together in producing a truly unique and distinctive artisinal cheese.

Nutty, grassy and slightly sweet with a nice buttery mouth feel this cheese is one of two Vermont farms making Tarentaise. Spring Brook Farm isn't just about making delicious cheese, they're also giving back to the community as a part of the Farms for City Kids charity. This program takes city kids and their teachers and gives them an educational week on the farm. The kids learn how to apply their school work to life outside of the classroom and they get a great education in where food comes from. They help take care of the animals, help turn cheese, garden and have a fantastic learning experience in the process. We are very excited and proud to help support this great organization.

Xian suggests the Ommegang Tripel Perfection to sip alongside this fantastic cheese. In it's traditional style, tripels are fruity, malty beers with well-hidden warming alcohol notes. It's kind of conjecture, but the story goes that these beers are called "tripels" because the monks brewing the beer indicated the high alcohol level (8-10%) by marking "XXX" on the jugs.

The makers at Brewery Ommegang in upstate New York took three years to formulate the "perfect" recipe in the style of a traditional tripel, but with a touch of spice here and there to add complexity. the Tripel has notes of vanilla bean, tropical fruit, banana bread and just a hint of bubblegum. This is a one-time-only beer, and they only brewed 2,000 cases total. Although very tasty now, this beer can be aged for two or three years.

This is a great example of a truly harmonious pairing. The cheese serves to emphasize the sweet, yeasty nature of the beer, and the naturally produced bubbles in the beer soften the mouth feel of the cheese, creating a wonderfully buttery flavor and texture.

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