Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Red Carpet for New Zealand's Cheese Industry

This Tuesday's, March 3 2010, New Zealand reveals this year's stars in the world of cheese in their annual NZ Champion of Cheese Awards. Over 400 varieties have been tasted by 24 expert judges, including Australian Master Judge Russell Smith, and the winners will be announced at a glorious gala dinner at The Langham Hotel in Auckland where guests will be able to sample and purchase all the winning contributions of New Zealand's cheese industry. For more information click here.

Tickets: $30.00
Time: 5:00 - 8:00pm
Venue: The Langham Hotel, Auckland

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swiss Gold Medal for the House of Switzerland

Some of the best eats around Vancouver during the Winter Olympics are described wonderfully well here.
Not to be missed the Dim Sum, the Canadian Atlantic seafood and the Raclette.
Can you guess what this is? (this foto and more, definitely worth seeing.)  If you guessed half a wheel of Raclette cheese on a Raclonette, 10 points for you! 

This wonderful Swiss tradition, where creamy pungent cheese gets grilled until slightly browned and bubbly and then scraped (racler in French) onto a plate of potatoes with a nice contrast of pickles on the side, is being celebrated at The House of Switzerland, Swiss headquarters for the 2010 Olympics. 

If you have a chance, they're dishing up a heart-attack inducing portion, with rind included, on crusty bread instead. A must-eat experience that goes with the must-see theme of being at the Games.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Win a Raclette Grill from Ile de France!

American cheese company Ile de France is giving away a Boska Raclette Grill along with raclette cheese every week until March 12, 2010!

You'll also find an excellent source of recipes for Raclette, a "How To" guide and printable coupons.  Enter here-- Bonne chance!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 Olympics House of Switzerland Open to the Public

One of the few national centers open to the public during the Winter Olympics, the House of Switzerland has been dishing up Raclette in the spirit of the games. Check out the fabulous fotos.

Also, if you're in the Vancouver area, they're having an auction to benefit The Street of Home Foundation (more info here). On the block, a Swissmar Raclette Grill and a Swissmar Fondue Set!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quebec's Festival of Cheeses

Part of this year's Montreal's High Lights Festival, which has become an anticipated winter outing for 11 years in the running, comes a delegation of chefs and winemakers from Portugal highlighting the culinary diversity emerging as its own unique genre.  Alongside the delegation will be The Festival of Quebec Cheeses until Feb 20, 2010.

Then later in the month, on Feb 27, there will be a Cheese Culinary Competition with four distinguished chefs creating 16 delectable dishes, all with cheese of course! As a guest you become judge, and the winner walks away with a $5000 grand prize.

For more info click here.

Trio of Canadian Cheeses in Gift Box (3.1 pound by

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wine & Cheese for Supper Tonight?

How about some wine with your cheese?

If dining alone or with your loved one, how about picking up a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread and a new cheese you've never tried before for dinner tonight? Friday night is the perfect time to have a lazy supper. Factoid: there are over a thousand varieties of cheeses around the globe.

May I recommend the Spanish Assortment here which includes Manchego, Mahon Reserva, Idiazabal and Murcia al Vino all imported from Spain.  This month, experiment with some of Spain's prized cheeses, and then next month how about a sampler from another region of the world?

If you have children, how about making a simple supper-- macaroni and cheese perhaps?  After that's done, pour yourself an elegant glass and whip out the cheese and crackers, and sit back and enjoy making it through another work week.

Ordering cheese and wine online makes quickwork of your planning-- the only way to live in the 21st century-- this way you can reserve your trips to the market for a quick pick-up of some of the regular items you use from week to week.

It's a great idea to always have a few bottles on hand. My Wines Direct has the perfect combination of wines always with free shipping. Go reds with the Spanish cheeses, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Austrian Traditional Remedy for Swelling: Cheese Curds

MSNBC and The Associated Press reports that US Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is using cheese to heal an injury to her shin.  She's been applying topfen, a form of curded cheese popular in Europe, as a topical treatment to thwart inflammation to her shin.

Apparently, she learned this traditional remedy when training in Austria from her fellow Austrian ski mates.  Topfen is a white, creamy, acidic cheese-- a cross somewhere between cream cheese and cottage cheese--popular in western and eastern Europe for eating. (Photo from  & full article here.)

Grilled Cheese, Beer & Wine Festival - Baltimore, MD

Though the date of this event got postponed (see The Baltimore Sun's full article), what a great idea for lovely Saturday afternoon on the barbie (Aussie slang) in your own backyard?  Who says you can't have your own festival until then?

The article's author, Elizabeth Large, said it right: these people are definitely onto something with the 3 major food groups:  wine, cheese and beer!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How I Learned About Raclette in Cambodia

I never knew what Raclette cheese was until I lived in Cambodia.  I never even heard of it before.  (Wait... isn't Raclette a French cheese?  I didn't know they had cheese in Cambodia-- huh??)

Not as famous as his cousin, Emmental, Raclette cheese is from the French Alps region of Switzerland. Raclette is also the name of a wonderful Swiss traditional dish where the decadent cheese is melted over potatoes, cured meats and sausages and pickles.

Surprisingly, some of Europe's best cheeses make it to Cambodia where the well-travelled, affluent Khmer socialites have no qualms spending lavishly on many specialty food items they've tried in their travels.  There's also a significant expatriate population from western Europe in Cambodia. Since the 19th century, the French especially have had a love affair with Cambodia, even though they can no longer claim her as one of their colonies.

In Phnom Penh, there are several small grocery markets that specialize in all that foreigners and Khmer elite are hankering for whether it's Pop Tarts from the US, Marmite from New Zealand, miso soup paste from Japan or Raclette cheese from Switzerland they have it.  Not all the time, mind you... but often enough to keep the clamoring pubic happy.

They have markets with walk-in refrigerators, where you can point to whatever round of cheese they currently have chilling and get a wedge of it.  They also sell the smaller individually wrapped rounds of all varieties of cheese mostly from France.

The market where I purchased my first wedge of Raclette was more of a traditional grocery store.  I studied the pre-cut, pre-packed, pre-weighed, nameless wedge of cheese trying to determine if that small piece was worth $6. I guess I was in an adventurous mood that day, so I brought it home and to the delight of my tastebuds (and nostrils), I discovered what the Swiss and the French have known for centuries.  OH MY!!!  Raclette cheese is a little piece of gustatory heaven.

"Fromage" Cheese Application for Your iPhone

For fellow fromageophiliacs* wanting to take notes on the thousands of varieties of gourmet and artisan cheeses now available globally comes the application for the iPhone and iPod called Fromage.

Meant for the serious cheeeophile, who likely, also enjoys the complexities of wine as well.  Read full article here.

*(fromageophiliac: one who suffers from cheese withdrawal if the casein protein levels in his system are not satiated.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Send Your Loved One a Cheesy Valentine from Tillamook!

Send your very own personalized cheesy "loaf poem" to your sweet thang here!

Romance & Cheese at Home

The Cheese Goddess ran across an article that sparked an idea, and might offer some inspiration for you and your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. Here's the thought:

Many years ago—before the need for cholesterol watching and calorie counting—my husband and I were in Paris and went to a restaurant that served nothing but cheese. It was a heavenly afternoon and unlikely to be duplicated anywhere in the United States. But we keep trying.

Wouldn't that be divine-- an afternoon with various cheeses and some good white wine? No need to find a restaurant really; create your own Paris at home. Simply choose a 3-5 varieties of cheese you like and/or would like to try, some wine, a baguette and any other sweet or savory treats you'd fancy alongside.

In Chile, they do "onces" which is like afternoon tea but with a variety of cheeses, fruit or fruit spreads, breads and cakes. And, following the Chilean tradition, buy several varieties of cheese and have your own cheese course at home. What a novel and delightful idea, no?

I don't know about you, but that's my idea of heaven!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oregon Cheese Festival - March 19-20, 2010

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Fellow cheesophiles, don't miss the annual Oregon Cheese Festival March 19-20.  Dinner tickets hosted by the Rogue Creamery are $75/person. You can buy them here.

On Saturday the 20th, get ready to meet many of the skilled artisans of the area featuring local ales, bread, wine, chocolates and of course, the star of the show a variety of artisan cheeses. Meet the cheesemakers, learn about wine pairings and feel free to wander and sample in a farmer's market style atmosphere. Tickets are $10/person.

For more info, click here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"So much cheese, so little time."

"I only work in cheese." These are the words of one-of-a-kind sculpture artist, Sarah Kaufmann, who has used Wisconsin cheddar as her medium to fashion Jay Leno and one of his motor bikes and most recently two helmeted heads of Superbowl rivals the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend.

Kaufmann, a Wisconsonian native, is a product of American innovation. C'mon now, where else in the world do people sculpt large amounts of cheddar cheese just for the sake of art? Don't worry... the excess doesn't get wasted-- Kaufmann bags up the scraps and gives them to a homeless shelter at the end of the day.

Among her other creations that bring a new meaning to cheese and culture: A 6-foot long replica of the aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan, a 300-pound gorilla, and a life-size sculpture of astronaut Neil Armstrong.  (Read full article here.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Founding Father of Macaroni & Cheese KFMUBA37C6DG

Of the endless list of achievements that can be credited to Thomas Jefferson, one of the most significant forces in American history, could our beloved potluck favorite, macaroni and cheese, be traced back to him as well?

"Many historians credit Thomas Jefferson, who, in addition to possessing a keen culinary curiosity, brought a pasta mold home to Monticello after traveling to Europe. A version of the unctuous stuff was purportedly served at a state dinner at the White House in 1802." (taken from Across Atlanta)

Apparently, we can add Culinary Cultural Instigator to his long list of titles which include: founding father of our nation, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State and Vice President and third President of the United States. 

But it was the cookbook "The Virginia Housewife" (1892) by Mary Randolph (Thomas' cousin) also considered the Martha Stewart of the day, that popularized and made macaroni and cheese a mainstream meal for the New World. It only took a generation before Kraft invented an instant, stove-top version of the beloved baked casserole dish (1937), which firmly cemented our affection for the gooey cheesey stuff... the rest is cheese history.

Traditional Baked Macaroni & Cheese Recipe (taken from 


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese, divided
  • salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain well and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk and half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add paprika, pepper, and 2 cups of the cheese; stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Combine sauce with the macaroni and add salt to taste. Place in a buttered 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Garnish top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and dot with additional butter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Party Nachos - More Than Cheese

Looking for a nachos with a twist for your Superbowl party this weekend? Try the recipe I found in the The Washington Post that substitutes the traditional ground beef and cheddar cheese with Chorizo Sausage and Queso Fresco.

What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?
“Nacho cheese.”

Superbowl Commercial Madness - Cheese, Part 2

From Superbowl LVII, 2008

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Double Dip, It's Okay on Superbowl Sunday!

Here's another wonderful easy recipe idea for Superbowl Sunday.  The secret ingredients, horseradish and cream cheese, brings this hummus dip to a new level.  I found it at

Cream Cheese Hummus
(earthy, creamy with a "kick")

1 can garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
3 oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons horseradish
1/4 cup green onions, minced
1/2+ teaspoon salt

Simply combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, using the reserved liquid. Start with 1 teaspoon of horseradish, taste, and add more for a bigger "kick" (get it :P).

Eat with breadsticks, toasted sourdough sliced on a bias, a sliced chewy baguette, toasted pita bread chips, red tortilla chips or whatever else might suit your fancy.  Though cream cheese is used for both dips, the result is quite a different. And don't forget the crudités-- any variety of fresh vegetables will do!

Another way to try hummus with a twist would be to top it with paprika and grated Parmesan cheese, which adds a salty, nutty richness to the earthy flavors of the hummus.  Easier still, buy already made hummus, put it in a serving bowl and then add the garnish.

There you have it... Superbowl Sunday with a few healthy, inexpensive yet satisfying (and even "gourmet") ideas for the weekend.