Monday, December 6, 2010

Cheeses and Jesus, a Serendipitous Conjugation

Nativity sets captivate me (I have a growing collection of them). And frankly, so does cheese. Strange how 2 very disparate entities can be entwined so seamlessly, but watch this video and you'll see...

... Sustenance, nourishment, simplicity, universality, stillness, meekness, grace, a gift to mankind. Both the nativity and cheese have an inherit immutability about them. I've wondered what it is that draws folks like John Putnam to leave a successful career in law or Petra Cooper who left her job as a publishing exec, to embrace a labored life of cheesemaking. Could it be a spiritual pilgrimage or a foray into the creative realm of inspired art?

For me, the essence of cheese (yes, you read that correctly) reminds me that we are more than what we make with the toil of our hands, and the beautiful result pressed and aged in a wheel tells of something greater at work-- an Omnipresence orchestrating the rains to grow the grasses for the cows to enjoy, to the milk extracted from the hands of faithful hands--tells of a premeditated power at work in the universe.

And nativity scenes engender a similar thought pattern in me... They make you stop for a moment to think of the story being told in it, and if you're really open to it, you might see the connection that Christmas is more than a very expensive holiday, and cheese is more than a favorite pizza topping. Angelo Frosio, the Italian cheesemaker in this news clip, seems to be thinking of something more.

Maybe that's the reason why I love cheese and nativity scenes so much-- they remind me I am part of a much bigger picture, I'd like to think of it as work of the biggest masterpiece known to mankind. I don't know about you, but to me the very thought gives me peace in a troubled world, and beckons my heart towards goodwill to those around me near and far.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Smoked Salmon Recipe for the Raclette Grill

If you love raclette like I do, you've already pulled your raclette grill out and it's sitting comfortably smack-dab in the middle of your dining table, just cuz it's November. It's amazing how versatile a cooking apparatus it is. I'm discovering all kinds of interesting ways to make yummy little morsels.

I recently came across an recipe using Smoked Salmon with a raclette grill instead of the typical charcuterie like my favorites: salami, prosciutto and Serrano ham.

Smoked salmon, thinly sliced
Neuchatel or cream cheese
fresh Spinach leaves
French baguette

Essentially, all you do is slice your baguette which you can toast on the top of your raclette grill. Feeling extravagant?-- Brush the grill first with garlic infused olive oil. Then, put about an ounce of cream cheese, a bit of smoked salmon, spinach and fresh dill in the coupelle to melt in the lower half of the grill . When melted, scrape the cheese mixture onto your grilled bread which now, has been transplanted to your plate. Dust with some ground nutmeg if it's convenient, and there you have it, yummy tapas for Friday night! Serve with a lovely white wine or rose.

Let's see... I might try scallops and scampi with pasta next.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Starbucks Establishing Yet Another Trend with Cheese

From its inception, Starbucks has given more thought to the concept and the idea of their brand rather than their product itself, the coffee. This has certainly worked for them with their empire extending now to 49 countries. And in a new twist, the Seattle-based coffee trader is thinking up a new concept for their worldwide brand: adding wine, cheese and charcuterie to their evening offerings.

Really, how could you go wrong combining a coffee lounge with a soft-core bar atmosphere? Customers are always looking for a casual place to relax, read a book or meet up with friends. Some even do serious business in the plush cushioned couches of the quiet hum of espresso machines a-whirl. The company will start with a few stores in Seattle.

This is appealing for someone like myself who shies away from the bar scene, but occasionally would enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate for an evening meet-up with a girlfriend. Add to the luxuries of cheese, wine and coffee with music and art with a moderate pricing scheme, and you have a very chic and attractive environment indeed.

Just like the Americans to join the bandwagon late, but always with a loud bang. (Source: The Puget Sound Business Journal)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What do The Beatles and Cheeses Have in Common?

No denying it, English cheeses have proudly soared to the popularity of The Fab Four, The Beatles.

A recent study shows that British cheeses have outpaced their French counterparts at the rate of about two to one, as buying local has become the dominating ethos for the Brits and their longstanding love of cheese. The rise is also attributed to an evolved palate to make a larger place for Stilton, sheep's and goat's milk cheeses. (Source: The

But they're not resting on their own laurels, the French think that English cheeses are worth importing with the latest export figures showing that the demand for English cheese, especially Cheddar and Stilton, has increased considerably. England still imports cheese, but more and more, the taste for their own wins over their love of Brie.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cream Cheese History and Pumpkin Blatherings

Is cream cheese, "creamed cheese"? And, why do we call cream cheese "cheese" at all? Cream cheese, in fact, is essentially cream that has evaporated into a thicker substance that is no longer liquid. So it's not really "creamed" or whipped in any fashion, or, perhaps not even a cheese at all. Maybe a better name would be "cream spread" or "spreading cream".

Regardless, cream cheese has evolved to become an American staple ingredient in many treats especially around the holidays. Ah, the marketing genius of Kraft...

But is cream cheese really from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? In fact, not at all. Cream cheese history fact: Though fresh "cream cheese" has been around since the beginning of domesticated animals, it wasn't until really 1880 that Kraft started distributing the Philadelphia brand name in tin foil wrappers, as it is still done today. Labeling their product this way conveyed "Philadelphia quality" which was a higher standard in the day. Surprisingly, the Philadelphia brand is still superior in taste and texture compared to the generic brands over 130 years later (references: The and The Food

Cream cheese gets me thinking about pumpkins, October, the holidays, cheesecake and "The Great Pumpkin Waltz". How about you? This year I'm eyeing a recipe called Pumpkin Whoopie Pies on Rachel Ray's magazine, "Everyday With Rachel Ray". They're essentially a cream cheese icing sandwiched between 2 little round pumpkin cakes. Holy YUM.

Living in developing countries for the past several years has taught me to appreciate the conveniences of wild and imaginative recipes like this. I'm not sure Americans pause to recognize how good they have it sometimes, being able to walk down the aisle of their grocery store and pick up pureed pumpkin in a can and pumpkin spices (already pre-mixed) and a just a few steps away, go to a refrigerated case replete with a variety of mass-produced dairy products like cream cheese. Who knows, you can probably buy Pumpkin Whoopie Pies already pre-made these days!

As we strive in the recession, aren't we all... remember there are many many others out there without, and be thankful for cream cheese!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe from Sweetie Pie and Soul Food Diva

Must Watch Video: Oh Mama! do I wish I had a soul food diner like this in my neighborhood! Soul food Diva, Robbie Montgomery, has been dishin' out "heaping tablespoons" ;) of her macaroni and cheese for 40 years. Her Southern style macaroni and cheese recipe is a customer favorite at Sweetie Pie's in St. Louis, Missouri. For the rest of us, we'll have to settle on attempting to replicate her recipe in our own kitchens at home (via Helium and The Food Network, with Guy Fieri).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Cheesy Culture of Kid's Birthday Parties

What do children's birthday celebrations say about us as a people?

I can honestly say that I have never been to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, but it seems to be almost a rite of passage for Americans to celebrate another year of life with second rate pizza, turn-in-your-token arcade, and corny Animatronics that beckon you to join them for a number on stage.

For the price of admission, and it's a pretty steep price for the average American, you get an overload of pinball and video arcade machines, the pleasure of singing with oversized mechanical stuffed animals (that are quite scary), and 3 slices of the most forgettable pizza you'll ever taste.

A birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese is loud, artificial, bright or should we say colorful, corny, overdone, sensationalized and excessive.

... And then, we have birthday party in let's say, Western Europe with raclette. Austere and ever-practical... the focus of the party is on the people, the relationships, the conversation.

Who's having the better time? Hard to say, but I think it's a tie. Amusement and entertainment seem to be important factors to a culture that gave birth to Hollywood. Food is only secondary. Doing more than one thing at once, running around wasting money on pinball, going to the table for a sip of a your never-ending soda is perfectly acceptable.

But when it comes to the food, the Swiss children are faring much better. They dine on a few high quality ingredients. The food is as memorable as is the conversation. The food and people sharing the food is prized above other excesses.

One thing though they both got right: Cheese seems to elevate a meal to a celebration.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Swiss Raclette

By: Al Mann, Courtesy of Rocket Articles

Raclette is a signature culinary dish of the Swiss and French Alps. It consists of slices of heated, soft, runny cheese accompanied by small, firm boiled potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions. Raclette traces its origin back many centuries to cow herders, shepherds, and farmers, who would place a wedge of cheese in front of a campfire and scrape off layer after layer as the cheese heated. The word raclette comes the French "racler", which means to scrape.

One may still enjoy raclette in front of a campfire today, but the modern way of preparing raclette in the home is to use a small tabletop electric raclette grill or broiler. It is self-service as each person places a sliced portion of raclette cheese onto a small tray under the heating elements of the grill. In a minute or two, the cheese is bubbling hot and ready to be retrieved and scraped onto the plate over a cooked potato.

Often thinly sliced, air-dried beef of the Grisons region of Switzerland is served with raclette in addition to the potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions. Prosciutto also goes well. Today's modern tabletop raclette grills also have heated top grill plate which can be used to grill shrimp, meat, poultry, and vegetables.

The potatoes should be boiled in their skins before the meal. Keep the potatoes warm by placing them on top of the grill in a bowl covered by a small towel. There also are willow baskets with insulated covers for holding the potatoes warm.

Typically hot tea or dry white wine is served with the meal. White wines from the Alpine region are preferred with raclette, but if not available, a dry pinot grigio, pinot blanc, or riesling go well with the raclette. Usually an after-dinner cordial also is in order for the digestion after a hearty raclette dinner! Or maybe two...

The cheese itself is also called raclette. Usually raclette cheese is produced from pasteurized cow's milk and aged. It is characterized by a firmly textured, pale-yellow body with scattered small holes and a smooth, light-brown natural rind. The cheese has a mellow, distinctive aromatic flavor/taste that grows stronger when hot. Raclette cheese can be found in specialty food stores and ordered online. Unless you have a larger cradle raclette grill, described below, it will be necessary to pre-slice the cheese before the meal begins. Quarter-inch thick slices work well with the electric raclette grills.

Alpine restaurants will serve raclette (and portions will keep coming to the table until you say stop/halt). Instead of a tabletop grill, resturants use a larger cheese heating apparatus that holds a cheese wheel wedge in a cradle in front of a heat source, and the cheese is sliced off as it heats.

In Europe, raclette is often served during the winter holidays, and the meal turns into a festive evening with family and friends. The goal in raclette dining is relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours. Many families in the United States and other parts of the world also have discovered the fun of raclette.

Readers that are searching through the web for more information about the topic of internet marketing, please make sure to check out the link which is mentioned right in this line.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Skiing and Raclette, On the Slow Glide

Danish free-ski fanatics show how slick their tricks are-- their flow like Raclette cheese sliding off the wheel.

Courtesy of

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Three Retirees Spread the Mission of Cheese in New Jersey

Ain't no stoppin' them now-- the Big 3: Paul Robinson, 62, Walt Bodkin, 67 and Fred Austin, 72-- three big-hearted, hard-working retired executives not letting a receding economy, or a receding hair line, get in the way of generating income for themselves and the Atlantic City Rescue Mission in New Jersey.

The 3 decided to start a business selling cheese spreads, now 40 in all. With a little help from Bill Southrey, the Director of the mission, they had enough to begin whipping the cheese. When Robinson, Bodkin and Austin saw that the mission was helping to train and employ those in even more dire circumstances they decided to name their company after him: Bill Southrey's Gourmet Mission Cheese.

Currently, the custom-order preservative-free spreadable cheeses are only available to restaurants and stores, but plans are in order to roll them out onto dairy shelves in the local supermarket. Blueberry, raisin and walnut, jalapeno, scallions and crab are some of customers' favorites.

The creamy confections are made right in the Rescue Mission kitchen, and as demand for them "spreads" so will the opportunities by way of providing work for residents of the mission as well as to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission's farm in Cape May. With heart and soul poured into a venture such as this, they'll be reaping profits beyond what they can see or taste and leaving a lasting gift for many more to enjoy. (Source:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Raclette Grilling at the End of the Summer

The end of August is fast approaching, and the cooler months of fall are just around the corner. It's time to seriously think about Raclette! Here's a great idea to treat your kids to a back-to-school raclette party.

Whether the weather is balmy or starting to chill, the raclette grill instantly infuses warmth into the home. Now though, you can have raclette outdoors too! The Barbeclette allows you to melt cheese right over the barbecue. With some beers in the cooler and some Raclette cheese on the grill, what could be better!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The French Cowboy Tames the Wild West with Cultured Tastes

Laurent Bonjour, 'The French Cowboy", knows a lot about cheese. But you won't find him behind a cheese counter at your local cheese shop. Instead, you'll find him out on the range, the farmer's market circuit in Southern California with his refrigerated truck of cheeses.

Raised in the Swiss Alps Monsieur Bonjour has cheese in his blood, so selling the 75 varieties or so of cheeses and imparting the knowledge that goes with each one is like second nature to him.

Catch him in his Australian Outback hat at one of these outdoor LA locales where fresh vegetable and fruit stands comingle with The Cheese Corner. (Source: The Culver Patch)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Genesis of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

A Tenderoni Macaroni Company salesman in 1937 came up with the brilliant idea to attach grated cheese to a package of pasta. When Kraft got wind of the idea, they quickly hired the genius, and the first box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese sold 9 million boxes in the first year at 19 cents per box. (Source:

Ever since, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has been the "tenderoni" of the Kraft dynasty.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is a Mini Raclette Grill, and This is a Barbeclette

Get a free Barbeclette when you buy a Boska Holland Mini Raclette Grill during the month of August.

This "Mini" is designed for 1 or 2 people. It's just the perfect size if you don't have a lot of space.

My suave friend, Andrew, really impresses all of his girlfriends when he pulls this thing out and starts cooking. He swears it's the best thing that's happened to him (on the romantic front) since he bought a car.

A Barbeclette looks like this. You use it on a traditional outdoor barbecue grill to melt cheese. Vegetarians love this because they can enjoy grilled veggies with melted cheese on top at a BBQ.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Snack Culture: Yankee Cheez Doodler Dies

Since my last post, the inventor of Cheez Doodles has died. Morrie Yohai, a Wharton School business graduate as well as a Marine pilot in WWII, clearly also had a creative streak that resulted in the iconic neon-orange colored snack so well loved today.

In his father's snack manufacturing company back in the 1950's he and his father discovered that liquefied cornmeal pressed through one of their machines and then coated and baked with seasonings and cheese powder, made for a tasty snack.

His stroke of genius has left an orange-stained mark on our palate for sure. Known as a teacher and educator too, Morrie was 90 years old dying of cancer in his New York home on July 27, 2010.

Sources: The LA Times, The NY Times, The Washington Post

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hosting a Raclette Party

Author: Michael Binetti

The word 'Raclette' can be used to refer to three things - a particular type of cheese, a grill that is placed on the dining table to melt cheese, and a type of meal or a manner of eating.

The Raclette cheese is a Swiss semi-firm cows-milk cheese that is very popular in Switzerland, and although originally from the Alps, it is also made in France. Good Raclette cheese is mild, creamy and slightly nutty, and is very ideal for melting. The classic use of Raclette cheese involves melting it and serving it with boiled potatoes, pickled onions, a variety of sliced meats, and vegetables. Most people believe that fondues is the most popular dish in Switzerland when it fact, Raclette is actually more popular than fondue in most parts of Switzerland. The term Raclette comes from the French word racler, which means "to scrape", pertaining to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from a grill and on to the plate of the diner.

Raclette cheese can be melted into different kinds of dishes, even fondue, or it may be eaten plain. Its creamy, mild taste fits well with an assortment of things, which is why Raclette cheese is a favorite for quick snacks and dinner cheese platters. A lot of people nowadays enjoy these Raclette dinners because they make a great venue for catching up with friends without the tedious food preparation.

For most of use who have just recently discovered Raclette may feel like we have stumbled on to the latest and perhaps the most enjoyable dinner party trend ever. A Raclette meal is pretty much like a fondue party, but better - the same socializing, but with more cooking options. Aside from being absolutely fun for the guests, a Raclette meal is also one of the easiest parties to hose. This is because much of the food preparation can be done ahead, while the cleanup afterwards is equally simple.

In a nutshell, Raclette party goes like this.

The Raclette grill usually serves about up to eight people, and can take different shapes - some Raclette grills are rectangular while some are round or oblong in shape. Although traditionally, the Raclette grill is made of wood, modern Raclette grills are available in most department stores today. While the cheese melts on the grill, the guests get to cook their own meats, sausages, fish and even vegetables on the grill. The melted cheese on the trays is then scraped out and onto a selection of side dishes (the most common of all, are small boiled potatoes). Guests cook, talk, eat, and repeat the entire process often a few times, for several enjoyable hours.

Be sure to offer your guests a cocktail, something dry but not too sweet - perhaps a good old wine or a martini. But what good would your Raclette party be if you do not have the best Raclette cheese? Organize your next Raclette party and order Raclette cheese today!

Buy your favorite cheese from, New York's trusted gourmet cheese shop, serving cheese lovers for over 50 years. Our cheeses are guaranteed fresh and always hand-cut to order. For any questions about our cheese call us 1800-382-0109 for cheese.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Midnight Moon Goat Cheese, A Perfect Complement to a Summer Bean Salad

Midnight Moon Summer Bean Salad

1 can white beans
1 cup fresh broccoli mini florets
1 ear white corn, shaved
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon serrano pepper, chopped
1-2 oz. Midnight Moon Goat Cheese
freshly ground pepper

This salad happened quite by accident, but it's so good that it's worthy of sharing!

All of these surprising ingredients just happened to be around and wouldn't you know it, they harmonize beautifully together. The highlight of course is the cheese-- Midnight Mood Goat to be exact. Fresh cilantro and serrano pepper adds levity and an unusual kick to this light lunchtime fare. White corn, so abundant this season, and so very delicious adds a incomparable, mellow sweetness to the mix. The white beans, S&W brand, are so well seasoned already that no additional salt needs to be added. And then the Midnight Moon, very much like a premium Gouda except made from goat's milk, rounds out the flavors to lovely end.

I need to point out here that this salad requires NO dressing. It's really that good already!

This is so easy to prepare it's ridiculous! The broccoli, serrano pepper and the cilantro need to be washed. They'll be eaten fresh so wash well. If I have the time, I like to soak vegetables that I'll eat fresh in salted water for ten minutes (or all day). This is a French technique that I picked up living in a third world country. Drain. Mince or chop the pepper. Fresh broccoli I find works well in salads if cut small, so cut the flowers off near the ends about 1/2" in.

The ear of corn simply needs to be microwaved for say... 3 minutes, just until the it becomes opaque, then cooled. Another tip with the cilantro. Just pull off a handful of the leafy part from a bunch and wash briefly. Squeeze out the excess water, you can even pat dry with a paper towel, then tear or chop and add it to your salad.

Okay, the can of beans. Quality is important, and I have always been pleased with S&W. Drain beans and place in a medium bowl. Add all the other ingredients and toss lightly to mix. Dust with freshly ground pepper.(That's it.) =)

The creaminess of the beans combined with the crunch of the broccoli, with the feathery feel of the cilantro and the slight burst of sweet corn is amazing. The cheese is so velvety smooth it melds into the dish without a noticeable texture.

If you haven't had the chance yet, get yourself some Midnight Moon goat cheese! Hand-crafted and aged in Holland makes this California brand cheese by Cypress Grove Chevre a stand out. Holland makes some of the best cheese on the planet, didn't ya know? Midnight Moon comes in a small wheel, but you can purchase a small wedge like I did at the local produce market. Seductive, sexy... Midnight Moon will woo you for sure.

Serve this summery bean salad with a crusty baguette with good butter and limeade (why isn't it called limeonade?)-- that makes a perfect summer meal in my book!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Make Pizza with Your Raclette Grill

A great little video showing how to use a raclette grill, Kiwi style, using the coupelles to make individualized pizzas-- what a great idea!

For the crusts, try any yeast flatbread and cut to size. The beauty of raclette is you can make and eat what you want!

Cheese and Raclette Spot on FoodistaCheese and Raclette Spot

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cheetos Cheese Puffs in Art

Cheese has been used as a medium for art, especially in sculpture. Sarah Kaufmann has carved her way to a sort of cheesy fame as "The Cheese Lady", sculpting everything from Jay Leno's head to six-foot aircraft carrier replicas... in cheddar. A recent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in New York got heads turning with a Andy Warhol's head, sculpted in Fontina, melted onto a bed of crackers with from the ceiling with hair dryers. But let us not forget...

Cheese Puffs on Velvet.

This is one artist's tribute to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis.

Ah, the endless creativity of artists... they add so much beauty to our lives.

Sources: PNT Online, BizBash Boston, YouTube

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Midnight Moon, A Romantic Goat Cheese Gouda

Maybe it's the woman on the label, Bella-Bella daBall or perhaps it's the romantic name, but the goat cheese Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove Chevre creamery is made for the lover in us all.

I'd been perusing the cheese station at my local market, in particular looking to try an all-goat confection, when a wedge of semi-hard glacier-white cheese with an intriguing name caught me eye. Lo and behold, what I found was a hidden cheese treasure, Midnight Moon... Oh...

I brought it home thinking I'd enjoy a hunk of it with the tempranillo Spanish wine I also purchased, but couldn't wait that long. With abandon, I undressed that wedge of cheese and broke off a piece that made a speedway to my mouth. All of time suddenly slowed to almost a standstill as I allowed the rich, smooth, buttery and dense fullness of the thing to dissolve on my palate.

It was like I had a cheese epiphany.

Immediately I went online to find out my taste buds hadn't deceived me. Midnight Moon has received top accolades from cheese masters worldwide in fact, winning Best in Show out of 69 entries in the Hard Goats Milk Cheese category for the 2010 World Cheese Championships among other top cheese awards over the last 8 years since its creation.

Cypress Grove Chevre may be a California dairy, but make no mistake Midnight Moon is crafted and aged in one of the cheese meccas of the world, Holland. If you love Gouda then you'll love Midnight Moon which to my taste buds was even more buttery and a lighter-fluffier version of Gouda, but at the same time, rich nutty and dense which is even more than surprising coming from a cheese made of vegetarian rennet.

I never knew how sexy and romantic cheese could be until now, and as The Cheesemonger describes it, "Midnight Moon is pure cheese porn."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Red, White and Blue Cheeseburgers for the Fourth of July

Nothing says summer and The Fourth of July better than a grilled hamburgers on the barbecue. For the fixin's this year, offer 2 kinds of cheese like the standard beloved sliced cheddar, but also why not try the not-so-standard-but-intriguing crumbled Blue Cheese. (Okay, the burgers are not gonna be blue.)

Your guests will be delighted to have both the traditional down-to-earth, average but eternally yummy cheeseburger, and a taste of something a little more upscale, a little more far out, yet lipsmackin' as well. Cut some of the cheeseburgers in half or even quarters so that everyone has a chance to try both.

For the red... tomatoes and cooked bacon! Yes!

For the white... sweet, mild and white Vidalia onions, raw and sliced.

Blue cheese, also known as Roquefort is sharp, creamy and spicy, the perfect complement to the robust meatiness of beef. With cheese, like with many things, the cheapest version isn't the one you want to spend money on-- go with a slightly more expensive choice like a Cambozola from Germany or a Amablu St. Pete's Select Premium, cave-aged in Minnesota. Your tongue will thank you and remind you later that you want to eat that again!

There you have it-- your 4th of July main dish-- all the sides and dessert, beverages, buns can be tailored in a quick snap to your liking and budget. Modern convenience, simple and a little adventurous.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yay for Subway! Cheese Placement in a Sub Sandwich is That Important

Beginning July 1, 2010 something momentus is happening in the world of cheese and fast food:

Subway will tesselate their cheese (see diagram).

You'd think that graduates from The University of Subway (yes, this is real) or Subway's self-titled, Sandwich Artists would've come up with this idea aleady but apparently, the change towards better cheese coverage came at the request of a joe-blow consumer.

How mankind ever survived in the modern age without cheese tesselation is a mystery.

Subway was ranked #1 in 2010 by Entrepeneur Magazine (again) on its list of "America's Top Global Franchises". The American fast food chain has successfully carried forward its brand into 91 countries to date.

Source: The Consumerist

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How About Some Cheese with That Coffee?

"Do you take your coffee with milk, sugar or cheese?"

"Juustoleipä, please."

The thought of a few blobs of squeaky cheese in your coffee is not at all strange if you're in Finland. In fact Finlanders use this national treasure, leipäjuusto also called juustoleipä, in a variety of ways from eating it as a dessert to an addition to a salad. Translated, leipäjuusto means "cheese bread" and traditionally was kept for long storage through the drying.

"Traditionally, leipäjuusto was dried and could then be stored for up to several years. For eating, the dry, almost rock hard cheese was heated on a fire which softened it and produced an especially appetizing aroma." (Wikipedia)

Made of cow, reindeer or goat's milk that's been curdled and formed into a round disk, leipäjuusto is then grilled or flambéed leaving distinctive charred marks on the surface.

Perhaps the thought of cheese in your coffee isn't too far fetched-- isn't cheese a close cousin of cream? Well for my fellow cheese enthusiasts, Carr Valley Cheese Company makes and sells this specialty for a modest sum if you want to experience a new pleasure that's a beloved Scandinavian culinary tradition not only in Finland but also in Sweden as well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cheese Quote of the Day

The Old Foodie uncovered a wonderful cheese quote gem in M.F.K. Fisher's, How to Cook a Wolf (1942):
"Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love."

Cheese is an "Alien Taste" to the Chinese

Living in the middle of China 20 years ago, cheese was certainly considered to be an alien food, just as were the sea slugs we were served as honorable guests at a round table banquet. Today however, as incomes rise and more becomes available through the global economy cheese is gaining a small but secure foothold on the Chinese palate.

Here's an excellent news clip on the state of cheese in China.

Source: New Tang Dynasty Television, June 18, 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Cup Has Something To Give to Global Hunger

Whether your cup is half full or half empty, you have enough in your cup to share with the few with cups that are literally empty. If you are reading this post, you are likely in the top echelon of the world's most educated and most wealthy.
"1.02 billion people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union"
-- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Eradication of extreme hunger is actually feasible in the current century. The World Food Programme is spearheading this is a top priority and has made this their number one goal.
Women and children suffer the most; they're the ones left behind, the women must find a way to feed their children. Health, education, clothes and shoes all come secondary to a hungry stomach. All mothers want the best for their children, and if they can afford it they will gladly send their children to school. But the reality is that they may need their 10 year old to sell fried bananas on the street all day, just to make enough to buy enough to eat for that one day. Education can only help those who have food to eat, and are healthy enough to go. Clothes and shoes do help with immediate needs, but if a child has these things it means nothing on an empty stomach.
Fill the Cup is just one of the multi-faceted methods to address the humanitarian crisis that can be fixed. Collectively, with the resources of many, we can work our way towards ending hunger on a global scale. Won't you join this effort?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Casein, The Cheese Protein Wonder Drug

Now I know why I can't stop with just one bite of cheese when it's sitting on a cheese board...

When we eat cheese, we also ingest and break down casein, the most prolific protein in cheese. Part of the casein is converted to casomorphin (yes, in the same family as morphine) to produce a 'feel good' effect that probably contributes to that indulgent 'oh, let's just chill out on the couch for a bit and slice off a few more chunks' phenomenon. (Source:

Thank you, my dear blog friend, for explaining this uncontrollable urge to the struggling few of us out there with an addiction to cheese. :P

On a more serious note though, the regular consumption of cheese is being increasingly found to bring balance and sustained health to bodies depleted from ordinary stresses over time. See here and here. Could cheese be the ticket to wellbeing and well-thinking?

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I Need Me Some Soy Cheese, Please

The humble soybean has yielded extraordinarily imaginative food choices for modern man. All across the globe, with origins in the East but now moving westwards, soy is morphing into acceptable, and perhaps even sought after, food choices. Such is the case with soy cheese.

Soy cheese is a welcome alternative to those who love cheese but have trouble eating it for a variety of health related or ethical reasons. Consumer demand is driving the production of vegan cheeses which coincidentally, runs parallel to modern medical knowledge.

Tofu, a soybean product, has been morphed into a thousand variety of vegetarian dishes in the East where not only ascetic Buddhist monks must conform to a non-meat diet, but also where soybeans have had a significant standing as an inexpensive form of protein. It would only make sense then that soybeans would mimic a food pervasive in the Western diet.

This, of course, is an evolution of experimentation but the similitude is ever getting closer. Specialty health food companies are stepping up to the cheese-plate with the ever growing demand for soy cheese products. This is very good news for a new, more aware generation of health conscious consumers.

* correction: I previously blogged that Daiya Foods makes soy cheese. A reader corrected me; they do not. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bike Helmet Safety with Stinky Cheese

Known for their technological innovation, German scientists have come up with an effective way for bicycle enthusiasts to know when it's time to get a new helmet. The new issue contains stinky cheese smelling capsules that are released when the helmet is cracked or damaged in some way and no longer safe to use.

For many a cheese lover, stinky cheese is a welcome aroma when it's the creamy, decadent stuff we find on a cheese board accompanied with crackers and a good beer. But when the putrid aroma of decaying cheese comes from your bike helmet it can be disturbing-- disturbing enough to go out and get a new one.

This is exactly what the these companies are banking on. (Source:

Cheese and Raclette Spot on FoodistaCheese and Raclette Spot

Friday, June 4, 2010

French Cheeses Face Extinction

Paulette Marmottan is one of the remaining few farmstead cheesemakers in France, a nation known and defined by their love and consumption of cheese. She, her husband and son manage the 365 day-to-day laborious operations of a small farm in the French Alps, La Savinaz, where 33,000 pounds of persille de Tignes are crafted from 30 cows and 80 goats a year.

Though the exact number of cheeses proudly produced by the French used to number in the thousands, today, many of the traditional handmade varieties, prized throughout the history of France, are no longer being made. In fact, out of the 100 or so raw cheeses in production 3 disappear every year, this due primarily to economic reasons. The ones that remain are the few that can still command a sustainable price for production by discriminating cheese consumers.

"The paradox is that we're known as the land of cheese yet we're losing a increasing number," says Veronique Richez-LeRouge, president of the Association Fromages de Terroirs, a nation who fetishously has joked that they have a different cheese for every day of the year. Twentieth century French politician and war strategist, Charles de Gaulle is quoted for saying, "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?"

As is the case with 52 year old Paulette Marmottan, their backbreaking artisan craft is one passed down from generation to generation. Their methods combined with the unique terroir of the region yield distinctive cheeses, their secrets kept within the confines of the family alone. And when these families get too old to continue and the next generation decides they don't want to be farmers, these traditions die out and the cheeses become extinct. Traditional farmstead creations give way to industrialized companies and processed products.

In the United States, however, a return to pioneer living, a reverence for a simpler time and way of life is giving way and farmstead and artisan cheesemaking is on a rapid rise. Perhaps, this is France's destiny as well. As a nation that still consumes vast amounts of cheese, second only to Greece in the EU, a self-awareness eventually emerges. Whether or not France can bring about a rebirth in their cheesemaking traditions, only time will tell. (Sources: The Washington, The Huffington, Brainy

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheese Chasers Carrying On the Proud Tradition

Some traditions, like cheese chasing for instance, cannot be thwarted no matter what.

Such was the case of the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling event in England on May 31. For a century now, "Englishmen have been chasing a round of Double Gloucester down a steep hill in the Cotswolds" as Peter Moore writes in online publication, A Tangled Web.

What has become an extraordinarily popular event had to be cancelled this year, despite public sentiment, due to organizers' inability to manage traffic and crowds.

Nonetheless Chris Anderson, six time winning cheese rolling champion, made it out with 300 spectators in an unofficial cheese rolling contest. Five races were organized and Chris Anderson came away with the cheese once again in both the first and the last race, being the first to capture the 8 pound round of local cheddar.

For 22 years local cheesemaker and artisan, Diana Smart, has been lending her craft to what has become an important cheese tradition. She's now 82 years old, and has found a bit of celebrity status, making a cameo appearance in a music video by Maccabees because of the important role she plays in this cheese rolling fest. (See "Can You Give It" on YouTube.)

Apparently, the ties that bind cheese rolling fanatics cannot be severed easily. Thankfully for them, Cheese Rolling Committee has pledged to carry on the show next May.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Having Cheese and Dried Wild Mushrooms on Hand Makes for a Quick Supper

The folks at Marx Fine Foods were kind enough to send 5 samples of the wild dry mushrooms. I had so much fun trying different ways I could use these little bitefuls of flavor, texture and nutrition.

I was sent these varieties: Porcini Mushrooms, Matsutake Mushrooms, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Maitake Mushrooms and Lobster Mushrooms. Each kind sealed and pre-sliced nicely ready for use any time.

What I love about having dried mushrooms in the pantry is that when you're running low on produce, you can always whip up a dish with mushrooms. Mushrooms are not only dense in fiber and protein and a good source of B vitamins, copper and other minerals, they also are light in calories. They add nutrition, flavor and make you feel full without any fat or a lot of calories.

The possibilities are endless when you have these little dried gems in storage. They last easily up to a year in your cupboard. And rehydrating them is no mystery. Simply pour some boiling water over them and let them sit for 10 minutes or so--they're ready when soft tender. If you're not in a hurry, put them in a small cup or bowl of water and let sit for a couple of hours. To use in any recipe, simply drain away the water-- and that's it-- they're even easier to use than the fresh mushrooms!

Some of the varieties are chewy and some are toothsome, and each have a unique aroma and flavor. I used the Matsutake Mushrooms in a Shiritake Noodle stirfry (yum!) and the the Black Trumpet Mushrooms, with their vanilla scent, I used in a Sweet Chilled Korean-inspired dessert beverage. I had plans to make a quick pizza with the Porcini Mushrooms but they ended up in a Vietnamese chicken and ginger dish instead.

Some of the easiest to eat are the Lobster Mushroom variety. As their name suggests, they have a "shoreline" smell (as described from their site), so I thought I'd try them with some canned Alaskan salmon that was also in the pantry. These unusual mushrooms have a reddish-orange tinge, a shoreline smell but surprisingly blend into a savory dish with little effort. What I came up with is a Wild Mushroom Cheese Fritatta incorporating 2 varieties of cheese I had in the refrigerator.

This cheese recipe is extremely easy to prepare, and takes no time at all.

Wild Mushroom Frittata with Taleggio and Camembert Cheese

6 eggs
Lobster Mushrooms, small handful
1/2 can Alaska Salmon
3 oz soft cheese variety (Taleggio and Camembert)
3/4 cups evaporated milk
1/2 onion, chopped
salt (1/2 teaspoon), pepper, paprika
2 tablespoons Olive oil

Heat oven to 400F degrees. Rehydrate the mushrooms and drain away water. Drain the canned salmon. Beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the milk with the eggs until incorporated well. Add the salmon and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the egg mixture. Slice cheeses thinly.

In a oven-safe skillet heat olive oil over a hot stove. Saute onions for a quick minute and add the mushrooms. Throw in a pinch of salt. Soften and carmelize for another quick minute. Then, pour in the egg mixture and let sit for 2 minutes allowing the bottom of the fritatta to brown. Drape the Taleggio and Camembert cheese over the top.

Put skillet in oven and bake for 10 minutes. It's done when slightly browned and congealed with a little shake.

This recipe is a nice alternative to quiche-- easier to make and also lower in fat. The flavors are very mild so a nice pickled condiment with some fresh crudities on the side would suit it well.

Dried wild mushrooms are a pantry essential-- super convenient and easy to use. Thanks to the good folks at Marx Fine Foods.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Could Cheese Be a Superfood?

Not only can an ounce of cheese a day keep the doctor away thwarting the age-related deterioration of the immune system known as immunosenescene but cheese, not unlike milk, can speed up the metabolism because of the conjugated linoleic acid that it contains. CLA has been found to be a fat-fighting superhero-- not only increasing metabolism but also decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, insulin levels, and food-induced allergies. Sounds to good to be true? Read further here.

Dr. Michael Pariza and his crew at the University of Wisconsin Madison, found that CLA found in dairy products such as cheese can have a significant health benefit bringing balance, order and stability to our central operating systems: the thyroid, the immune, the endocrine and the circulatory frameworks that our bodies run on an unconscious basis.

These findings combined with the fact that cheese provides our daily need for calcium, an important underrated building block in the maintenance of our health infrastructure, makes cheese look more and more like some miraculous panacea.
Many Americans do not ingest recommended amounts of calcium from food. Approximately 44% of boys and 58% of girls aged 6–11 fell short in 1994–1996, as did 64% of boys and 87% of girls aged 12–19 years and 55% of men and 78% of women aged 20 years or older, according to the nationwide Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals (National Institutes of Health).
There's no question about it, cheese is delicious. And somehow we know intuitively that cheese is a good for you food, with its short list of ingredients and its natural, unadulterated origins. But the more research that's done the more we realize what people across all borders have known for a millenia, it's the cheese.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Campfire Raclette, Who Needs Silverware or Plates?

A great video demonstrating how to eat Raclette Homer Simpson style.

Actually, melting the wheel by the fire is actually how Raclette came to be originally. It's nice to know that all you need to have a campfire Raclette picnic is some boiled potatoes, sliced meat and a wheel of Raclette cheese!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cooking E-Course Brings a New Way of Cooking into Your Home

A new trend in personal cooking school are cooking classes online. Nourished Kitchen is one example of this innovative approach to learning about cooking.

In the comfort of your own kitchen, you can learn how to cook the basics from slow roasting meats to making homemade stock the real way using fresh ingredients. Learn how to minimize your food budget and at the same time, maximize the nutritional benefits of what you eat using traditional methods of cooking and learning how to shop.

For $10/class you'll be one your way to a healthier, leaner and more economical way of preparing food for you and your family. Hurry, sign up today. Classes will run for 12 weeks on a weekly basis beginning June 1. Visit The Nourished

(I will make a small commission if you should decide to enroll.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Get High on Cheese

James Nestor, in his book Get High Now, describes 175 ways to get high without the use of drugs and one of the peculiar ways he's discovered is by eating cheese. Apparently the consumption of certain types of cheese, like Stilton Blue, can induce psychodelic dreams. Wikipedia also makes reference to The King of Cheeses' ability to alter your mind's state:
A 2005 survey carried out by the British Cheese Board reported that Stilton cheese seemed to cause unusual dreams when eaten before sleep, with 75% of men and 85% of women experiencing "odd and vivid" dreams after eating a 20-gram serving of the cheese half an hour prior to sleeping.
Could it be the the Penicillium roqueforti injected in the Stilton Blue that creates the blue veins that causes such strange and lucid dreams-- more likely, it's the Port.  (Source: and

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eating Cheese Shown to Increase Immune Response in the Elderly

According to Science Daily, a remarkable study in Finland has demonstrated that the intake of cheese has immuno-enhancing powers on the elderly, and can actually thwart the effects of aging on the immune system.

A group of volunteers were asked to consume a slice of Gouda cheese-- laced with probiotic bacteria for four weeks. Probiotic bacteria in yogurt has been well documented to help mitigate a variety of problems ranging from yeast infections to other gastrointestinal ills. For two weeks prior, volunteers were given a control cheese and then again, for four weeks following as well. Through blood tests, Dr. Fandi Ibrahim and his team discovered that the phagocytic properties of NK cells, the warrior cells that kill off renegade abnormal cells, increased with the intake of cheese in the diet of these elderly individuals.

This study suggests that Immunosenescene, the deterioration of the body's inherent programming to fight off the bad guys, can be decelerated with daily consumption of cheese. Even with the control cheese, these findings were true. This dramatic discovery gives credence to cheese being not only a good food choice but perhaps puts it in the running for being a superfood and an important component in longevity and health.

Source: Wiley - Blackwell (2010, May 13). Cheese -- acting as 'carrier' for probiotic bacteria -- found to improve immune response of elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 14, 2010, from­ /releases/2010/05/100513071957.htm

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cheese-ism of the Day: "Turophile"

According to Merriam-Webster, a turophile is a connoisseur of cheese, "a cheese fancier" it says and in essence, a lover of the creamy rich calcium aphrodisiac known as cheese. Turo is from the Greek tyros for "cheese" and -philos for "beloved" or "dear". For the proper pronounciation, go to here.

The web encyclopedia on food known as says that the word has been in use as early as the 1930's, though is rarely used.

Apparently, Turophile is also the name of a rock alternative band from Toledo Ohio, curiosly enough. Check out their organized noise on MySpace and Facebook. Their record label: Wisconsin's Finest.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Using Dried Mushrooms

At first smell, the Black Trumpet Mushrooms smell like coffee ice cream; the Maitake Mushrooms have a light, floral and fresh aroma; the Porcini Mushrooms have a stronger, musky-sweet smell; the Matsutake Mushrooms smell of a wooded forest in spring, and as the name suggests the Lobster Mushrooms smell of the sea, somewhat fishy but not overly so.

At first look: each sample comes already pre-prepared, sliced nicely, and ready to rehydrate for any recipe.

At first taste: Porcini mushrooms are rustic and woody, rubbery but easy to bite. These would be good on a pizza, i'm thinking a quick Boboli crust or pita bread round, a good sauce with olive oil and a high quality mozzerella, with fresh basil.

"Raclette" by Babylon System and Nibe

Edgy, distorted and deeply futuristic, comes the recent release of "Raclette" by electronica wizards, Babylon System and Nibe.

Check them out @ Terminal Dusk Records DOT com.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

LA's Newest Lunch Trend - Mobile Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Rolling into your neighborhood, the Grilled Cheese Truck-- it's all the rage!

Here the bright-orange-block-on-wheels in Eagle Rock, California's dishin' up the all kinds of creations like today's special, Smoked Pork Chili Verde w/ onions, Cotija Cheese on Jalepeno Cheese Bread.

.. And we're not just talkin' the grilled cheese you grew up with, folks. These grilled cheese sandwiches all grown-up. Check out the grilled cheese with Butternut Squash, carmelized onions and Balsamic syrup. HOLY COW!
image source:
Nothing but the best in quality cheeses and ingredients are making this the most sought-after ride in town.  

Follow them on Twitter here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting Cheesy With Raclette Grills In North America by Les Finley

Yes, the fondue pot of the 70's was pretty cheesy, but in this century, nothing is more cheesy than raclette.   In recent years fondue pots have experienced a resurgence in popularity, and with them has come the raclette grill.  Though not traditionally well known in the US and Canada, raclette is suddenly experiencing a boom in popularity. 

Raclette is a semi-soft, relatively mild, easily melted cheese from Switzerland.  The term also refers to the cooking method of melting cheese at a tabletop grill and serving with a variety of accompaniments. 

Legend has it that the original method for melting the raclette cheese began when Swiss  herdsmen settled down for the night in their camps.  They placed a hunk of cheese near their campfire and as it melted, scraped it off onto a slice of bread.  

Today, this same meal is mimicked but with much greater variety of foods, and with electric raclette grills that are much more convenient.  Though the melting method has changed over the years, this simple and entertaining meal has remained just as enjoyable for entertaining evenings with friends and family.

There are several kinds of raclette grills that you can choose from.  Traditional raclette grills hold a half- or quarter-round of raclette cheese on an angle, with a heating element melting the surface of the cheese, which drips onto a plate of dried meats and other accompaniments. 

Today, the most common raclette sets include a cheese-melting element with a grill for cooking meats at the table.  They provide up to 8 people with individual cheese pans and feature non-stick, dishwasher safe surfaces for convenience and easy cleanup.  Perfect for entertaining! 

Portable raclette using fondue-type burners are also available for camping and picnicking.   

A raclette grill can provide not only a delicious, hot-off-the-grill meal, but also provide a lot of fun for family and friends.  For optimum enjoyment, serve traditional raclette with a Fendant or other light-bodied dry white wine.  If you are grilling meats, serve a wine appropriate for the meats. 

A traditional Swiss raclette meal uses raclette cheese with the following accompaniments:

- baguette bread
- small cooked potatoes
- small gherkins
- pickled onions
- charcuterie meats such as salami or proscuitto

You can also get very creative with a raclette meal.  A departure from tradition - but an adventure in taste - could include:

Raw meat for grilling and dipping into sauces:

- Italian sausage cut into 1/4" slices
- Chicken tenderloins cut into 1" pieces
- Beef tenderloin cut into 1/2" cubes
- Shrimp and Scallops

Thinly sliced cheeses:

- Brie
- Camembert
- Oka
- Cheddar
- Cambezola

Vegetables, blanched to al-dente, such as:

- Mushrooms
- Broccoli
- Cauliflower
- Asparagus

Here are two excellent recipes for dipping sauces for your meats and vegetables:

Pimento Sauce

3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 cup canned pimentos or 1 red bell pepper, roasted with skin removed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Season to taste.  Serve chilled. 

Cucumber Garlic Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of finely chopped chives or green onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
fresh ground pepper

Mix well all ingredients.  Serve chilled.

Find tips about aristocrat pear and alligator pear at the Types Of Pears website.

Article Source:

Let the "I" in "I Love You, Mom" Mean "Impact" This Year

The internet has ushered in an age of connectivity and sharing beyond what we could do only ten, fifteen years ago. Our world today is, and can be, much bigger than before. Right at our fingertips we can get a little closer, a little faster to the mundane routines of life, and yet at the same time, push further and farther beyond what we might normally entertain.
For example take Mother's Day. For several years now, I've been in the habit of sending e-cards, electronic cards via the internet, to my mother living in another country but not only to her, to my mother-in-law, my step-mother-in-law, and a few other not-related "mother"-like figures in my life. Five years ago though, I'd have to set aside more time to find the perfect cards, write something meaningful and get them posted and sent on time-- but only for the relatives.

This year, however, I'm going beyond that even. With a little extra thought I can make Mothers Day even more meaningful by sending an e-card that celebrates mothers who are less fortunate than I am. This e-card isn't free like the ones I've used in the past, but at the same time, this one may have a much more significant impact.

An eCard from The World Food Programme demonstrates that "I" remember the mothers who struggle to feed their children from day to day. It shows that "I" will do what I can to alleviate some of the suffering of mothers with AIDS. This eCard helps me to recognize that "I" am not here on this planet alone, and that with our excesses in wealth we can end hunger on a global scale.

Won't you join me in sending the perfect e-card for Mother's Day expression of love to those very special women both near and far.

Let the "I" in "I Love You, Mom" Mean "Impact" This Year

The internet has ushered in an age of connectivity and sharing beyond what we could do only ten, fifteen years ago. Our world today is, and can be, much bigger than before. Right at our fingertips we can get a little closer, a little faster to the mundane routines of life, and yet at the same time, push further and farther beyond what we might normally entertain.
For example take Mother's Day. For several years now, I've been in the habit of sending e-cards, electronic cards via the internet, to my mother living in another country but not only to her, to my mother-in-law, my step-mother-in-law, and a few other not-related "mother"-like figures in my life. Five years ago though, I'd have to set aside more time to find the perfect cards, write something meaningful and get them posted and sent on time-- but only for the relatives.

This year, however, I'm going beyond that even. With a little extra thought I can make Mothers Day even more meaningful by sending an e-card that celebrates mothers who are less fortunate than I am. This e-card isn't free like the ones I've used in the past, but at the same time, this one may have a much more significant impact.

An eCard from The World Food Programme demonstrates that "I" remember the mothers who struggle to feed their children from day to day. It shows that "I" will do what I can to alleviate some of the suffering of mothers with AIDS. This eCard helps me to recognize that "I" am not here on this planet alone, and that with our excesses in wealth we can end hunger on a global scale.

Won't you join me in sending the perfect e-card for Mother's Day expression of love to those very special women both near and far.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cheese: Part of the Magic Equation for Longevity

Could eating cheese extend your life? According to New York Times best-selling author, Dan Buettner, the answer is yes.

Avid traveler and health-nut, Buettner has discovered through his bicycling adventures that certain cultures have a higher population of centenarians. In his book, "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest",  he found that Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, was one of those longer-lived people groups.

Their diet consisting primarily of whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables, nuts, red wine, and cheese may be factors extending the lifespan of Sardinians by six years, according to Buettner.

Contrary to western culture, meat is rather once-in-a-week celebration than an essential component to the daily diet. Instead protein sources come from nuts, fava beans and cheese, more specifically, a grass-fed sheep's milk Pecorino Sardo, which is said to be high in heart-favorable Omega-3 fatty acids.

A very dark red wine, replete with neutralizing polyphenols, also accompanies meals which has the dual purpose of cleaning out the arteries.

This combination of fermented foods and fresh, natural, un-handled food seems to work as the magic formula making Sardinia one of the longest-lived communities in the world.

This, of course, is not a new discovery. Saint Benedict started eating this way as far back as 530 AD. Highly educated, and perhaps enlightened, Benedict escaped the tyranny of a privileged life in search of a more simple, meaningful way of living and thus, started what is known today as western monasticism.

St. Benedict and his monks sharing a meal

I love this painting I stumbled upon at Gherkins and Tomatoes.

Simple foods with occasional glitz; a basic diet with high quality cheese and other foods near their source, these are the makings of a healthy long life.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Dawn of a New Cheese Age As Evidenced at the Tillamook's 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the ultimate in easy comfort food, requiring only 3 basic ingredients really: cheese, bread and butter. If you always have an extra wedge and loaf on hand, whipping up a delicious meal is maybe just ten minutes away.

Nowadays, grilled cheese sandwiches can be taken to a whole new level with the availability of so many varieties of quality cheeses from regions as far reaching as Argentina, New Zealand to The Netherlands. Add the fact that the United States has jumped on the cheesemaking bandwagon, in force, and we have a virtual cheese revolution on our hands.

And not only are there a plethora of cheeses, literally anything can be added to this basic sandwich as was demonstrated at the Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles on April 24th. Examples of such creativity: Gago Avaneszadea's grilled Ricotta, Cayenne and Chocolate cheese sandwich; or 10-year-old Jake Feldman's "The Jakester" combining potato bread, Tillamook cheese, queso fresco, grilled portabello mushrooms, sauteed onions, tomato, butter, ground spicy cheetos and sauteed chorizo.

Taking top honors, a Short-Ribs-and-Taleggio on raisin bread with a piquant apricot-caper schmear from celebrity chef Eric Greenspan. The former Iron Chef plans to bring the beloved comfort food to a new level. Grilled cheese's popularity and new possibilities have sparked a renewed interest. Greenspan has plans to open up a grilled-cheese-sandwich restaurant on Melrose Place in LA next door to his current roost, The Foundry.

Heidi Gibson is also leading the bandwagon. She plans to open up The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco later this year. Of the grilled cheese fad she says, "I think the trend is cyclical, based on what’s going on in our economy and culture. When people feel unsettled and uneasy, they reach for comforting things — but their tastes have grown up, so they’re open to experimenting with different ingredients.” She quit her 15 year reign as a webmaster to open a grilled cheese restaurant... yes, you read that correctly.

Congratulations to cheese diviners and cheese chefs alike. We, your cheese-eating audience, thank you.

"Raclette" Google Search Engine Finds It

Unsurpassable, Google's Search Engine can even find "Raclette".

Still not sure?-- You can google it, or read about it here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pure Sex and Romance in a Bottle

The new evocative fragrance from England captures one of the stinkiest cheeses of the world, Stilton Blue...

"The earthy and fruity aroma of Blue Stilton cheese in an eminently wearable perfume."
(shamelessly taken from NuSkoolBreaks Radio forum).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You Can Buy Italian Cheeses Of Many Flavors

By: Luigi DeMarco

If you are looking for great cheeses Italy has hundreds on offer, so buy Italian cheese and take a gastronomic journey via its regional offerings. Cheeses made by add another distinction. Go online and explore the expanding number or venture into retail specialty stores to see how many cheeses are now available.

Regional flavor

Piedmont region has the widest selection. These range from the blue cheese Castelmagno to the Tomme cheese produced from milk produces by cow, sheep and goat and other cheeses in between. Cheeses from the region more available in the market include the soft cheeses like Fontina and the Seiras ricotta.

The northern region of Trentino Alto-Adige has cheeses demonstrating an Austrian influence. The slightly sharp and peppery Vezzena which has a hard granular texture, the mild and delicate Dobbiaco, the fragrant and delicate Grana Padano from Val di Non, the Puzzone di Moena with its intense aromatic perfume are amongst those hailing from this region. From the northeast Val Brembana in Lombardy near the Swiss border is the warm buttery tasting Mandriano di Zambla that is available in the United States and approximates to a cheese not available yet, the Formai de Mut produced in limited amounts that has a delicate aromatic herbal flavor reflecting the cows diet on the alpine pastures.

Lombardy has other standouts that include the savory spice of the Valpadana Provolones, the Taleggio which is a semi soft cheese with a meaty tone and a fruity finish, the rich and creamy Crescenza, the cheese curd Mascarpone used in deserts and Gorgonzola, the Quartiolo Lombardo that can be consumed at different maturities. When young, the cheese has a lemony acidity. After two months, the taste reveals a fruity character.

The seasoned gratable Bagoss and the uncooked low in fat and soft Quartirolo are amongst notable cheeses from this region. In Veneto, home to Venice and Verona, there is the Ubriaco, one type of the area specialty wine washed cheeses, or the Monte Veronese. The Asiago and the Piave named after a river with the flavor profile of a more intense Parmigiano Reggiano are amongst cheeses from here.

Italian grape varieties exceed even the cheese varieties. Hence, wine cheese go particularly well together, which you should keep in mind when you buy Italian cheese! Italian restaurateur Mauro Cirilli, who is a qualified Sommelier suggests trying pairing wine and cheese from the same region. An example is a mozzarella from Campania region and a regional white wine. Another is the tangy pecorino sardo the Sardinian sheep milk cheese enjoyed with the zest of the local Vermentino di Gallura.

Cirilli also suggests that people should not limit themselves to red wines with cheese, even when the cheese is strong like the Parmigiano Reggiano which he recommends trying with a vintage spumante, which has the complex flavor that blends well with the potent cheese. The Mandriano di Zambla recently available has also reported to be a good match for both reds and whites. To take trip down flavor lane will be quite an adventure if tastings progress from light to more robust cheeses and their wine accompaniments which can start when you buy Italian cheeses.

Looking to find the best deal on buy Italian cheese, then visit to find the best advice on cheese for you.

Article Courtesy of

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wine Yes, and South Africa Has Cheese Too

Located centrally in the heart of wine country Bien Donné, comes the "most loved foodie festival" in South Africa. The townships of Paarl, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Franschhoek are known for their superior wines, and it's no wonder that this annual Cheese Fest has become so popular, growing from 12,000 visitors in 2002 to 29,000 last year in 2009.

For more information for the 9th Annual South African Cheese Festival April 24-27, 2010 go here.

Flaming Feta: A Delicious Homeschool Experiment

Moms who love homeschooling will love this delicious little science experiment. Saganaki is a common Greek meal-starter, traditionally spread on bread, made from a feta-type cheese but like no other cheese spread-- in that it is on fire.

You will need: Kefalotiri cheese and Bacardi 151 (more here).

Feta cheese, Greece's cheese superstar, is made from a combination of sheep and goats milk. Kefalotiri cheese has the same origins but it's a harder, more dense cheese that doesn't melt.

What a great way for homeschooling moms to combine studies on country, culture, geography, science, language and have a tasty lunch! 

πόσο νόστιμα!

Cheese-ism of the Day, Color Your World with Words

Out of the Cambridge dictionary comes a briticism: to be like chalk and cheese. Use this phrase to describe when two things are completely different or unlike the other ( 
For example:  My mother and I are like chalk and cheese.
To eat chalk would be quite a different matter than eating cheese. Chalk is dry, powdery, pasty, tasteless, inedible. Cheese, on the other hand (especially good cheese), is rich, buttery, creamy, densely-flavoured and a pleasure for the palate. One you want to immediately spit out, the other you can't get enough of.

There you have it... The cheese expression for the day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Everybody Loves Cheese; Everybody Loves Wine"

Experiencing a cultural rennaisance, upper Michigan can proudly boast of a new recreation, gastronomic and shopping destination for mid-westerners. What was formerly known as the Northern Michigan Asylum has undergone a massive renovation and now the centuries-old Victorian-Italinate buildings sprawling some 63 wooded acres is home to some of the most chic retail shops, restaurants and condos in the Great Lakes region, called The Village at Traverse Commons in Traverse, Michigan.

Fitting in nicely with the European feel of the architecture is the Old World-style restaurant, Tastes of Black Star Farms, offering authentic Swiss raclette and award-winning wines from Black Star Farms Winery.

Local Leelanau Cheese Company supplies the raclette cheese for their Matterhorn Grill Dinners, which provide the perfect backdrop to accompany the highly-prized local wines.

"Everybody loves cheese, everybody loves wine," as tasting manager Kevin Culloty so accurately sums up. For a little taste of some classic Old World tradition, head on up to The Village at Traverse Commons.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Need a New "American Cheese"

How lazy have we become if we can’t get the grater out of the drawer and shred a little cheese? (Source: The Sun Herald)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cheese-Flavored Bubblegum Proudly Made in USA

The United States' penchant for experimentation sometimes results in great innovation... and sometimes, not. In this case, perhaps not.

To be fair, I haven't tried the string-cheese, bubble-blowing wonder yet-- but how could this flavor be anything but a great April Fool's joke or gag or perhaps, a White Elephant gift? (read a bit more here.)

Americans love cheese, and their rising fascination with the dairy miracle sometimes overtakes their sensibilities. In any case, we thank you Wisconsin cheesemaker Roger Krohn, for expanding and affirming our cheese obsession.