Spring is Goat Cheese Season!

blueledgefarmSpring is the season of  many things . . . renewal, new beginnings, baseball, blooming flowers . . . and of course, spring is the start of the cheese season! That’s right, now is the time when “dairy goats in particular tend to breed and freshen more seasonally than cows, and begin producing their milk in the late winter and early spring.”  Arguably, the most delicious and intriguing cheeses of the new season are aged goat cheeses. And in one in particular stands out, our cheese of the month, the award-winning Crottina from Blue Ledge Farm in Leicester, Vermont. Blue Ledge Farm, found in the southern portion of the beautiful Champlain Valley of Vermont, is a family owned and operated goat dairy. This is the cheese that “put them on the map” when it took a first place award in the American Cheese Society competition in 2006. Since then it has won loyal goaty fans for it’s classic simplicity. Aged for three weeks, the texture of this pasteurized cheese is velvety and smooth, with a white mold exterior. It should pair  well with a Pinot Grigio (try Kris Pinot Grigio from Stewart’s Spirits) or Sauvignon Blanc (try Sterling Napa County Sauvignon Blanc) wine. We love this cheese with a dollop of local CT honey (’tis the season for that too)!

Vulto Miranda – Cheese of the Month

vultomirandaMiranda by Vulto Creamery (Walton, NY)  
This fresh arrival from Vulto Creamery is a washed rind cow’s milk cheese from NY cheesemaker extraordinaire Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery. Essentially the same style as Vulto’s main cheese the Ouleoout, the Miranda is made from the last curds of the Ouleout batches. Though while the Ouleout comes in a larger 8″ or so size, the Miranda goes into small italian cheese moulds, producing the little buttons about 3” in diameter and height. The wash really sets the Miranda apart. Where the Ouleout gets a basic brine wash, the Miranda is treated with the herbal spirit of absinthe, made by Cheryl Lins at Delaware Phoenix Distillery, a Walton-based distillery. A true rarity in the cheese world – an absinthe-washed cheese! Though please note the cheese does not take on absinthe color nor will it induce any hallucinations. “The flavors have the trademarks of a great Taleggio: brothy, meaty, savory and earthy, with nutty and grassy notes; the absinthe wash lends it additional complexity, subtle fruity and yeasty hints, with a bit of sour and tang on the finish.” (available in our cheese case).  Pair with a nice Malbec from Stewart’s Spirits.

Cheese of the Month – North Country Blue

northcountry_blueThis warm buttery Blue Cheese from Minnesota is made with Cow’s Milk and aged in a cave for 3 months. It develops a strong and pungent taste but not with soapiness that is found in other American Blue cheeses. The cheese is free of any growth hormone or artificial additives. It is a good cheese to end the meal as well as on a cocktail canapé with smoked salmon or in salad dressing with apple and walnuts. Also, an excellent cheese on steaks, burgers and salads. Stewart’s Spirits pairing suggestions:  90+ Cellars Pinor Noir, Seghesio or Rombauer Zinfandel, Wagner Ice Riesling, Guinness Stout or Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Cheese of the Month – Tomme Fermier d’Alsace

Tomme Fermiere d'AlsaceA firm, washed rind, aged cow’s milk cheese from the Alsace region of France. This smoothly textured cheese offers a bold flavor that is complemented nicely by a chilled Riesling (try Milbrandt, Flat Rock Cellars or Trimbach from Stewart’s Spirits). Washed with light fruity Alsation wine. This dramatically accentuates the lactic flavors and helps it develop long, fruity notes with hints of mushrooms, grasses and butter.

Our Cheese of the Month – Bloomsday

bloomsday_cheeseofmonthBloomsday Alpine-style Winter Cheese from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, CT.  Aged 6 – 7 months.  One of Cato Corner’s most popular cheeses, named for Joyce’s Ulysses, the dry-textured Bloomsday has a fabulous nutty flavor and addictive lingering aftertaste. A great cooking cheese; ideal for fondue as well as an excellent sandwich cheese. A perfect addition to any cheese plate!
Stewart’s Spirits Pairing Suggestions:
Beringer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon,  Adelsheim Pinot Noir,  Cisco Brewers Lady of the Woods Belgian Ale