Friday, September 24, 2010

New cheeses in the case, new pairing for your tummy.

Q: How do you know when it's fall?

A: Rogue River Blue is back in stock!

That's right, after too many months of waiting the BIG DADDY of the Rogue Creamery line is finally back in the stores! This raw milk blue is made only in autumn, and wrapped in grape leaves that have been soaked in pear brandy. Stephanie and Agela think that in addition to the flavors of berries, hazelnuts and mushrooms that this cheese has a chewy, fudgy texture and a lingering flavor that is emparted by the grape leaves.

Brand new to our cases is the Robiola di mia Nonna from Reichert's Dairy Air in Knoxville, Iowa. All of the cheese is made from the milk of only 15 goats. With such a small supply of cheese available it's out the door almost before it has a chance to get into our case. Complex and assertive, the cheese has a lovely tang that evolves into pleasant earthy flavors and a lush creamy texture. Yes, you need to have this cheese. Seriously.

This week for our pairing the cheese comes to us from award-winning Uplands in Wisconsin. As you all know, Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a fantastic cheese, so fantastic in fact that in august it won Best of Show at the ACS for the third time. Unfortunately, we're all sold out right now. Never fear though, every cloud has a silver lining and ours is that we are now carrying Pleasant Ridge Extra Reserve.

At it's core, it's the same cheese. It's a farmstead cheese that's only made from May-October when the animals are grazing on pasture. The same love and care goes into each wheel made, and it's aged the same way. The difference is in how long the wheels are aged with the wheels of Extra Reserve aged for a minimum of 15 months-twice as long as the younger cheeses.

These particular wheels are from the batch that Cesar and Cristi picked oh so many months ago and the cheese was made on June 3 of 2009. Along with a slight milky sweetness you'll find notes of toasted nuts, grass, fruit and a little tang of clover.

Mike Gingrich says that he finds a slightly sweet Reisling is a perfect pairing for the cheese. Far be it for us to disagree with the well-respected award-winning cheesemaker, so we're pairing the Hirscbach & Sohne Reisling from Mosel, Germany.

Wine buyer Jill comments that this wine is ripe and slightly sweet with a lively acidity and balanced richness that Riesling is known for. Aromas of stone fruit like apricots and nectarine with a flavor profile that includes honey, white flower and roasted pears.

Together this is a dynamic duo with the wine enhancing some of the floral characteristics of the cheese while the nuttiness of the cheese perfectly compliments the honey and pear flavors of the wine. Yum!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Have a four day weekend with Pastoral

This coming weekend is the Chicago Gourmet at Millenium Park. This coming Saturday and Sunday we will be offering deliciously cheesy samples at our booth in the NASFT pavillion. As a bonus, we're also going to have a few cheesemaker guests.

On Saturday 9/25 from 12-2pm Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm in Champaign, IL will be offering up samples of her delicious farmstead goat cheeses. But wait! There's more. From 12-3pm we welcome Wisconsin's renowned Holland Family Farm, specializing in farmstead Gouda.

Sunday 9/26 we're bringing in a bit of Michigan. Creamery manager Mike Baptista from Zingerman's Cremery in Ann Arbor will be offering up some tasty examples of their fantastic cheeses.

Monday 9/27 Our locations on Lake St. and in the French Market will be hosting the producers of our brand new cheeses and honeys. Join us from 12-1:30 at our Loop store or from 5-6:30 at the French Market as we showcase some of the finest Italian honeys, cheeses, and vinegars. Monofloral honey from Meli Thun, balsamic from San Giacomo and Italian cheeses from various producers. We are honored to have these fantastic artisan craftspeople from Italy in our stores.

Tuesday 9/28 If you missed the events on Monday don't worry, we're continuing our cheese and honey tasting at our Broadway store today from 5:30-7:30