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Kiko’s Food News, 7.17.14

Through National Geo’s beautiful photography and Traci McMillan’s justice-oriented storytelling, this article reveals how the suburbs are one of many places where poverty is on the rise and a new face of hunger is being revealed: (National Geographic)

The CDC encourages workers to stay home if they’re sick, but that’s not an option for food industry workers, 70% of whom are low wage employees with no paid sick days; ironically, the worst food-borne illnesses, including a virus that sickens 20 million Americans each year, originate from contaminated food handled by sick workers: (CNN)

A comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, veggies and grains compared with conventionally grown produce; the findings don’t claim, however, that eating organic produce will lead to better health: (New York Times)

In areas where fresh produce is hard to come by and fast or packaged food is perceived as easier and cheaper than cooking ingredients, “groceryships” are a new attempt to provide families with an allowance to spend on plant-based groceries: (Civil Eats)

Now that we know sugar-laden juice isn’t the healthiest thirst quencher for kids to drink day in and day out, is it possible kids tea could become the new go-to? (Food Navigator)

And for the adults, rosé is pretty–but if you’re a little pinked-out, you might consider orange wine; it’s stocked with tannins from the time spent with grape skins, seeds and stems: (Modern Farmer)


Matt R.

Vinos de Mezcal: Tradition and Terroir in Oaxaca‏

agaveThe roasted maguey plant (pronounced mah-gay), or agave, has been a staple of the Oaxacan diet for thousands of years. Whether or not native Mexicans learned to distill before the Spanish conquest is debated, but the Spaniards do get credit for bringing Filipinos to Central America via the Manila/Acapulco shipping route, who brought the technology for crude, homemade stills (in tree trunks!). By 1621 when it was first written about, the practice of distilling roasted agave was well established.

Tequilas and mezcals are both vinos de mezcal, but tequila must be made only with the Blue Weber agave plant, and must come from the region surrounding the city of Tequila in Jalisco. Mezcal can be made with any of the hundreds of varieties of agave anywhere in Mexico, though it is usually made with the Espadin variety of agave in Oaxaca. What truly distinguishes mezcal is the process used to roast it, where the harvested piñas are buried in earthen pits lined with stones and smoked until the starches fully convert to sugars.

Aside from the occasional bottle smuggled back from vacation, it was almost impossible to get good mezcal in the U.S. until recently. Its availability these days is mostly thanks to Ron Cooper, an artist who twenty-five years ago committed to making mezcal available outside of the tiny villages where it was produced. He developed relationships with traditional Zapotec producers and Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal was born. Mezcal is at the heart of spiritual life in Oaxaca. Palenqueros ask for permission and give blessings, harvesting just enough to supply their village fiesta and a few hundred bottles for Del Maguey. These are spirits produced with reverence and love, and we’re lucky to drink them!

Agave-Sale_web_asset2We’ll be offering 10% off all tequilas and mezcals for one weekend!
Friday, July 18th through Sunday, July 20th at both Markets!
Learn! Drink! Viva! 

Del Maguey Mezcal Vida  -  $39.99
Vida
Vida is an entry-level, cocktail-friendly mezcal made in the traditional method. Agave are wild-harvested then buried to smoke in stone-lined pits. The roasted agave are then crushed with a giant stone wheel, or tahona, usually pulled by a donkey, then fermented in open barrels with native yeast for two weeks to a month. The resulting vino de mezcal is run twice through a traditional copper still to be light and clean while preserving the unique qualities that make it a true Oaxacan mezcal: smoke, honey, tropical fruit, and ginger-y spice. Vida is a wonderful introduction to the world of mezcal and makes a beautiful Margarita (we prefer Tommy’s style, with 2oz mezcal, 1oz fresh lime juice, and .5oz agave nectar). (Available at both Markets.)

Del Maguey Mezcal Chichicapa  -  $72.99
Maguey
Chichicapa is made by Faustino Garcia Vazquez in his highland village four hours south and west of Oaxaca over a mountain range accessible only via dirt road. Elevation here is 7,000 feet, giving the agave concentration of fruit, elegance, and finesse similar to those of a Highland Scotch. Its smokiness develops across the palate, accompanied by minty herbal notes and hints of bitter chocolate and the tropical fruits (guava, mango, and banana) that grow alongside it. (Available only at Bi-Rite 18th Street.)

Del Maguey Mezcal Minero  -  $74.99
MineroAn hour beyond the village of Chichicapa lies Santa Catarina Minas, where the award-winning Minero is made by Florencio Carlos Sarmiento and his sons. The water of the village is outstanding, yielding a mezcal with floral and citrus notes and a creamy sweetness that lingers on the palate. The still used is traditional clay and bamboo, which preserves a fresh fruity quality in the finished spirit. (Available only at Bi-Rite Divisadero.)

Upcoming Events:

  • 18th Hour Cafe - Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In - At 18 Reasons
  • Wine Tasting with Cristin from Return to Terroir – Friday, July 11th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Wine Tasting with Tess from Edward T. Edwards – Saturday, July 12th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Wine Tasting with Christian Adams from Rudi Wiest Selections – Sunday, July 13th, 2-4PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Loving Old Vines: A Tasting of California Heritage Wines - Tuesday, July 22nd, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons
Beer Workshop: Hops - Tuesday, July 29th, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons

Kiko’s Food News, 7.11.14

With an aging population of farmers, it’s clear that agriculture needs to attract more young people; luckily, ag jobs these days include permaculture design, communication technologies, forecasting, logistics, quality assurance, food prep, environmental science….lots of sexy fields for the youths! (Food Tank)

And here’s a step towards training them for the work: an emphasis on food issues will become an intensifying focus among all 10 University of California campuses, centered by the UC Global Food Initiative: (Sacramento Bee)

Testing is in progress on two treatments that desensitize patients who suffer from some of the most common allergens, including peanuts, milk, eggs, shellfish and wheat: (NBC)

Did you know the USDA has a “Let’s Glean!” toolkit, developed to assist groups with food recovery? More food-saving habits fall under the “gleaning” umbrella than you may realize: (Grist)

San Francisco’s food “swamps” (ever heard of those? They’re low-income neighborhoods with a lot of food but not much that is nutritious) are being made over by healthy corner store initiatives; the Southeast Food Access Working Group is one to which Bi-Rite has lent merchandising training: (Civil Eats)


Kiko’s Food News, 7.4.14

On this day celebrating our nation’s independence, I’d like to raise a glass to food freedoms for all:

Freedom from counterproductive legislation: California lawmakers voted to repeal a law requiring restaurant workers to wear gloves; this is a coup for workers who argue that hand washing is as effective, without the added cost or environmental harm from millions of discarded gloves: (Los Angeles Times)

Freedom from food waste: New York City’s school composting program has spread to 230 school buildings, with an ultimate goal of encompassing all 1,300-plus schools; eventually, the city will use “digesters” to turn garbage into usable gas: (New York Times)

Freedom to eat cereal any time we want! Around 20% of cereal eating happens outside of breakfast, but cereal companies are just beginning to market directly to adults who eat it at night or children who snack on it throughout the day: (Wall Street Journal)

Can’t say I feel like fireworks when I read these last two, though:

Danny Meyer, who set the gold standard for restaurant service at his Union Square Cafe, laments how his and other pioneering neighborhood restaurants are closing due to untenable rent escalations; only the condos and chain stores that likely replace them can absorb the high costs: (New York Times)

Toshiba (yes, the electronics conglomerate) says it will produce long-life vegetables in aseptic conditions at their Japanese factory, which was constructed to allow for much lower germs levels than typical for vegetables grown in soil; so much for benefitting from the nutrients and minerals of the land! (Bangkok Post)

 


Stephany

Cool as a Cucurbit: Cucumbers & Melons

The cucurbits (or cucurbiticae) are a plant family that includes cucumbers, melons and gourds of many kinds. They peak in sweetness and flavor during the summertime. At Bi-Rite we’re lucky to work with a number of local farms that grow unusual heirloom varietals in this family.

A few of my favorites:

Armenian cucumbers, which are botanically considered a melon. We have been getting the ‘Painted Serpent’ varietal, which is long and snakelike, with dark and light green stripes, from Full Belly Farm, Oak Hill Farm and County Line Harvest. You can use these like the more common English cucumber. The skin is very thin and not at all bitter, and the seeds are not yet formed, so no need to peel or seed–just slice them right up. They don’t need to be rock hard; the ones that are a bit bendy will still be crisp. Armenian cucumbers will make the prettiest garnish for your summer gin and tonic.

Lemon cucumbers are small, round and yellow with large but tender seeds. They’re great for slicing into salads, and make beautiful sandwich-sized pickles. They’re lovely sliced up and dressed with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar or lime juice and a pinch of sugar or honey, perhaps over some arugula or baby lettuces.

Watermelons, in mini and huge, seeded, seedless, yellow and red varietals. Orchid and Yellow Doll are two of the yellow-flesh varietals we get from Full Belly Farm. These should be picked when they are ripe and do not really keep ripening like muskmelons do. They should be firm and feel heavy for their size, although there is no surefire way to tell if they are ripe.

Muskmelons have netted skins and get very fragrant when ripe. These include cantaloupes, galia and goddess melons. These will smell very sweet and floral as they ripen, and can get a bit soft (though they shouldn’t be squishy). The more fragrant the stem end is, the sweeter the melon will be.

Recipes!

SaladGoodCucumber Melon Salad with Feta & Olives

This isn’t so much a recipe as a useful guide. Try using what you have and taste as you go. It’s a bit of a riff on a Greek salad and a wonderfully refreshing addition to a barbecue or summertime supper.

  • A mix of your favorite melons, cut into large dice. I like watermelon, galia, cantaloupe & piel de sapo or snow leopard.
  • A mix of your favorite cucumbers, diced or sliced as you like. I like Painted Serpent Armenian cukes and lemon cukes.
  • Red onion or scallions, thinly sliced. I soak the red onion after slicing in cold water for a few minutes to take the edge off, which also sets the color and prevents it from bleeding into the salad.
  • A nice feta, not too salty. Our French feta is the perfect balance of tangy and salty.
  • Kalamata or another fruity olive, pitted. I usually cut them in half, but they can be whole or cut into rings.
  • Fresh herbs. Cilantro and mint are great, but parsley, basil and chives all work. I would recommend to staying away from herbs that are too woody or heavy like thyme and rosemary. Fresh, bright herbs work better to highlight the delicate flavors in the melons. I like to chiffonade them (stack up the leaves, roll into a tight “cigar”, and slice into thin ribbons), but you could chop them or pick the leaves and toss them in whole.
  • Fresh or dried coriander seeds, toasted until fragrant and lightly crushed.
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar or lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Toss everything together in a large bowl or arrange on a platter. Dress to taste with olive oil, red wine vinegar or lime juice and salt. A sprinkle of toasted, crushed coriander seeds wakes up all of the flavors. This salad is best dressed right before serving, though you could certainly do it ahead of time.

Cucumber Raita

Really popular all over India, this is somewhere between a salad and a condiment, and I often use it as both. Awesome in the summer next to grilled meats such as lamb or chicken, or dolloped on top of a sandwich or rice bowl. Also delicious with pita or Dosa chips as a dip!

  • 1-2 cucumbers, unpeeled, shredded on a coarse grater.
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (you could use regular plain yogurt, but it will be less thick).
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • Salt, sugar, lime juice to taste.

Place the shredded cucumbers in a bowl, salt them and set aside for a few minutes. The salt will draw out the water. Squeeze as much of the water out as you can – a lot will release! Mix it up with some gin and tonic water and have yourself a cocktail, or discard. Place the drained cucumber in a bowl.

Add yogurt to drained cukes and stir. Heat up a small pan over medium to high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil such as canola. When the oil is hot, drop in the cumin seeds. The seeds will darken in color and get really fragrant. Dump the spice oil into the yogurt mixture (this is a technique used commonly in India to quickly add lots of flavor to any dish by making a spice oil, called a tarka). Stir it around, season to taste with salt, lime juice and a pinch of sugar for balance.

Melon Agua Fresca

Again this is less of a recipe and more of guide. The proportions will vary depending on the fruit being used.

Cube up your melon and place it in a blender. Add a handful of sugar (or a squeeze of honey or agave) and cover with water. Blend until smooth. Add more sweetener to taste if necessary, or a squeeze of lime to perk it up. Super refreshing with basil or mint added!


Rose

It’s a (Cheese) Block Party!

Greetings, friends, and welcome to another curd round-up! Lately when recommending cheeses to our guests at Bi-Rite, I’ve been a big proponent of block cheeses. This is the designation that we give to cheeses that are perhaps not as unique as, say, an artisanal UK cheddar or a farmstead California sheep’s milk tomme, but still comprise the building blocks that we use for many of our most important and comforting dishes. Block cheeses include selections such as pepper jack, orange cheddar, Havarti or Jarlsberg. They’re often overlooked because of a misconception that they’re made from inferior ingredients. Given the right dish on the right occasion, these fistfuls of creamy goodness can dazzle the taste buds.

My boyfriend is as much a fromage fan as I am, and we’re always happy with a couple of cheese toasties on our plates. But last week I wanted to make something a little different for an evening meal, something that would satisfyingly pull together all of the scraps in my fridge. A closer look revealed that I had the ingredients to create a deceptively simple masterpiece.

CheesePic3First up was Vella Pepper Jack, a creamy and sinfully spicy delight from Sonoma Country’s Vella Cheese Company. This cheese is studded with green and red jalapeños from Vella’s special source in New Mexico; if that secret ingredient pizazz isn’t enough to draw you in, the flavor of the cheese itself certainly does. This cheese melts like a dream and has the perfect balance of milk to spice–making it a perfect offset to the next ingredient.

Cabot Extra Sharp is one of the most fascinating block cheeses I have ever come across. It’s moist and tangy, creating that sought-after burn that sharp cheese fans love. The cheese is supplied by New England/New York cooperative Cabot, and they describe it as “sharp cheddar without the training wheels.” This is the real deal: a salty, flaky, and creamy bite that compliments any dish, but really shines when we combine it with the Pepper Jack and our last cheese.

OK, this is kind of cheating: Point Reyes Mozzarella is certainly not a block cheese. However, mozzarella still sometimes gets a bum rap as a melter without special merit. But if you know anything about us here at Bi-Rite, it’s what shout-out-loud fans we are of Point Reyes Mozzarella. It contains all the flavors of the rainbow: it is at once sweet, salty, flavorful and boisterous. It’s local, which we can’t get enough of. And it melts gorgeously, a treat for both the eye and the palate.

When I toasted these three cheeses with a healthy dollop of mustard, what emerged was a cheese toasty that left both of us dumbstruck. I highly recommend trying this recipe yourself, as well as adding and subtracting other block cheeses to the mix. Let us not treat these block cheeses as mere foundations upon which to pile the “greater” cheeses, but as beautiful notes that can be woven together to form a symphony of taste that you can really sink your teeth into.

Curds and whey,

Rose


Jason Rose

Fireworks! Blow up Your Tastebuds with our 4th of July Menu!

4th of july star-05

Both Bi-Rite Market locations will be open on
Friday, July 4th from 9:00am to 6:00pm!

4th of July is almost here! Time to celebrate with classic fare! We’ve got original spins on your favorite Independence Day celebration dishes. Come stock up, and while you’re here let us recommend great snacks and drinks to go along with your barbecue. Don’t forget dessert! Pick up some Bi-Rite Creamery seasonal fruit pies, galettes and ice cream!

Here’s the holiday menu from our kitchens, available from July 2nd to July 6th:

 Bi-Rite’s Classic Fried Chicken
With Mary’s GMO-free chicken
$12.99/lb

 Chili-Rubbed Heritage Pork Ribs with House-Made Chipotle BBQ Sauce
$13.99/lb

 Summer Pasta Salad with Farfalle, Fresh Ricotta, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Black Pepper
$9.99/lb

 Wyatt’s Cornbread with Jalapeño & Cheddar
$2.99/slice

 Carrot, Kale & Cabbage Slaw with Creamy Honey Dijon Dressing
$10.99/lb

Summer Pole Bean Salad with Tarragon, Lemon & Creamy Greek Yogurt Dressing
$12.99 per pound

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Lime, Cilantro, Mint & Chili Flakes
$6.99/lb

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chili Lime Butter
$2.99/each

BeefBoard

Grill the best! Celebrate with BN Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef!

BN Ranch Beef  is unmatched in quality and flavor.
Raised on pastures and rangelands and 100% grass-fed,
BN Ranch animals are harvested only in season at their peak. 

BN Ranch Prime Rib: $24.99/lb
BN Ranch Ground Beef: $9.99/lb

4th of july firework-05

 


Matt R.

Wines of the Vallée d’Aoste

    Blog1

The Vallée d’Aoste is one of Italy’s most remarkable wine regions that you’ve likely never had a glass of wine from. It has a long tradition of food and wine dating back to Roman times. Many of the old Roman acqueducts can been still be seen crisscrossing the valley which is dotted with Medieval castles and terraced vineyards. Nestled in the northwestern corner of Italy, sharing borders (and the Alps) with France and Switzerland, the Vallée d’Aoste feels more like its own magical kingdom rather than an integrated part of Italy or France.

Viticulture once played an important role in the region, with upward of three-thousand hectares of grapes planted. However after two World Wars and into the early 2000s, there remained less than eight-hundred hectares. Luckily, the region is making a comeback with many small producers working to preserve traditional grapes and winemaking techniques. The Vallée d’Aoste also boasts the highest elevation vineyards in Europe, with some in the Alps reaching 1,200 meters in altitude. There are thirteen indigenous grapes to the region including Morgex, Malvoisie, Fumin, Petit Rouge, and Petite Arvine that are planted among more recognizable French varietals like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Syrah. The interplay between Italian, French, and Swiss grapes, languages, food, and traditions is very apparent here.

Wine production here is not easy. Looking at some of the dramatically terraced vineyards, that no tractor could ever survive, you can see the love and (labor!) that’s required to produce wine in the Vallée d’Aoste. Most of the wine produced here is made by small family-owned wineries, many with small plots of grapes not much bigger than a vegetable garden. Thus, it’s truly special to find a wine from this region and appreciate the place it came from and the work that went into it. Come by either Market to try these very limited wines from the Vallée d’Aoste!

Wine12012 Institut Agricole Regional Nus Malvoisie  -  $24.99
The Institut Agricole Regional was founded in 1951 as a professional agriculture program with the sole purpose of preserving the traditional agrarian practices and products of the region. This encompasses everything from wine to native fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. The wine-focused branch of the school works equally in the vineyards and in the lab. They work to genetically identify native varietals and preserve plantings of these indigenous grapes in the region. The wines they produce are a testament to the uniqueness of the Vallée d’Aoste. Nus Malvoisie is the local DOC exclusively for the grape Malvoisie, the local variant of Pinot Grigio. Lightly floral up front, with notes of tart citrus, chamomile, and tart acidity, this white is versatile and food-friendly. 

Wine22012 Grosjean Freres Petite Arvine ‘Vigne Rovettaz’  -  $29.99
The Grosjean family has been cultivating land in the Vallée d’Aoste since 1781. Today, Dauphin Grosjean and his five sons have just seven hectares of vineyards in the small town of Ollignan. In addition to winemaking, they cultivate chestnuts and graze cattle on the Alpine slopes. Their Petite Arvine is from the single vineyard ‘Rovettaz’ made from 100% Petit Arvine grapes. It’s lightly floral with notes of white peach, green almond, and a light, refreshing texture. We see this easily paired with pork or veal tenderloin topped with prosciutto and Fontina cheese. 

Wine32012 La Cantina di Cuneaz Nadir ‘Badebec’  -  $34.99
Winemaker Nadir Cuneaz has a mere half hectare of vineyards. Total. That’s basically 1/16th the size of Dolores Park. His grapes are a mix of various native varietals, many planted over 100 years ago. The ‘Badebec’ is a blend of mostly Petit Rouge, with small amounts of Fumin and Vien de Nus. Since it’s a blend of various grapes, which are all fermented together, the earliest ripening grapes are allowed to dry for two weeks until the remaining grapes are ready to harvest. The resulting ‘passito’ grapes are combined and vinified with the rest giving a concentrated dark and sweet blackberry quality to the wine, complemented by notes of Alpine forest and rustic herbs.

Wine42010 Institut Agricole Regional Fumin  -  $36.99
Fumin is a grape native to this ItalianFrench/Swiss area that’s a bit reminiscent of Syrah in its herbal and peppercorn notes. Very little is left planted in the Vallee d’Aoste and the Institut Agricole Regional is working hard to preserve what’s left and hopefully encourage local growers to plant more. Notes of dusty dark fruits, balsamic covered berries, pine forest, and smoke are well-integrated in a mid-weight palate with enough acidity to stand up to a variety of dishes. This would be killer with the traditional Fontina Fonduta (melted cheese and broth!) served with bread, veggies, and charcuterie for dipping! 

Upcoming Events:

Raph

Sharing in LGBT Pride

SF-Pride-logo-001

The 2014 San Francisco Pride Celebration is coming up this weekend, June 28th and 29th. It’s one of our favorite times of the year because we get to join in the fun and festivities, watch the inspiring Dyke March pass through our neighborhood, and express our love and support for the LGBT Community.Our 18th Street Market is the place to be on Saturday; we’ve got everything you need to stay fed, hydrated and in good spirits for what promises to be a day of beautiful weather and celebration.

Here’s some special stuff we’re preparing just for Saturday! All of these great sandwiches, drinks and snacks will be available right out in front of our 18th Street Market! Just stop by our table outside, grab what you need and go show your pride.

SPECIAL SANDWICHES

Caprese Sandwich     $6
Belfiore Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, Picked Basil, Olive Oil, Balsamic, Maldon Sea Salt on Acme Rustic Baguette

Rainbow LGBLT     $10
House-Made Bacon, Lettuce & Heirloom Tomato with Pickled Carrots, Coleslaw & Aioli on Bakers of Paris Sweet Roll

Bangin’ Weiner     $6
BN Ranch All-Beef Hot Dog, House-Made Kraut & House-Smoked Ketchup on an Acme Hot Dog Bun

COLD DRINKS & SNACKS

Waters & Munchies
C2O Coconut Water                    $3
Renewal Water                           $2
Kettle Chips                               $1.50
Organic Fresh Watermelon Slice  $1

Beer (Cans)     $4
21st Amendment IPA
21st Amendment Seasonal
New Belgium Shift Lager

Tallboys     $5
PBR
Sapporo
Tecate


Kiko’s Food News, 6.20.14

Amidst skyrocketing college fees, Starbucks is leading the way with education just like they did with health insurance decades ago; the company will provide a free online college education to thousands of its workers: (New York Times)

Uruguay might have beaten England in yesterday’s World Cup match, but we know their mojo didn’t come from their favorite snack: Brazilian officials confiscated 86 pounds of dulce de leche caramel spread from the team as it arrived to the Cup, since it was made with milk and therefore needed sanitary documentation: (BBC)

Looking for info on global meat consumption, GMO labeling policy, or obesity by state? There’s a map for that: (Vox)

Soul searches looking for a dramatic catalyst for inner growth are sipping ayahuasca tea, but experiences while under its influence “work” because, in addition to causing vomiting and diarrhea, it can be frightening and challenging to the psyche: (New York Times)

Diet fads come and go, but observers of nutrition and eating trends say the gluten free food regimen is likely to last longer and have more impact than others…or do “people just seem to like making eating difficult for themselves?”: (New York Times)


Rose

Washed Rinds in the Summertime

Greetings, friends! I’m Rose, Cheesemonger at Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street, and it is an absolute pleasure to be writing to you from our cozy cheese corner. I hope that we will go on many enjoyable voyages together, sailing the Seven Bries, the Ched-lantic Ocean, and exploring all the islands of Fromageria.

JasperHillCellarsToday I write to you about one of my very favorite styles of cheese, one that’ s perfect for this time of year when the weather is bright and warm and the green grass of Dolores Park is glistening. We’re talking Washed Rinds. The beautiful , full-flavored B. Linens bacteria-covered cheeses that glow and make a room smell like a campfire, or roasted meats, or peat, or your grandparents’ favorite Limburger. Each cheese is washed in a particular bath, be it salt brine, liquor, or just plain water, that builds that beautiful orange rind and imbues the paste with character and flavor. These cheeses, though not always crowd-pleasers, can, in the right setting, make a “stinky” cheese-lover out of the most unsuspecting palate. Fortunately for us all, our cheese counter at 18th Street is awash (hah!) with a multitude of options in this cheese genre.

WRcropFirst up is the delightful Kinsman Ridge, a New Hampshire-made cow’s milk cheese from Landaff Creamery, a small farmstead cheese company. Known for their Landaff, a cheese made in a style similar to the Welsh Caerphilly, Kinsman Ridge is another homage to a cheese from across the pond, but with a domestic twist. St. Nectaire, the French inspiration for Kinsman, is an earthy, almost sunchoke-y tomme in a charming discus shape. Kinsman has a similarly pleasing form, but with much creamier flavor tones and a less earthy funk. We’re finding flavors like roasted green veggies, hazelnuts, and a spring onion bite at the end of the palate–one of my favorite tell-tale washed rind traits. It’s not super whiffy as you will find with many washed rinds, but it will let you know it’s in the room with wafting notes of butter and forest floor.

AmeribellaSecond is Ameribella, a simply divine washed rind cow’s milk from Jacobs & Brichford Farmstead Cheese in Connersville, Indiana. For those who are fans of Winnimere (how we’ll miss that cheese until later this year!) and Grayson (another seasonal that we’ll hopefully be seeing again soon), this is a cheese to enjoy. A beautiful deep butter-yellow paste (their farm has a cross of Jersey, Normande, and Tarentaise cows) is paired with a terra cotta colored rind, creating that classic color combo that we have become accustomed to with washed rinds. The silky smooth, almost voluptuous paste very clearly sings its flavors of nettles, tangy strawberries, sweet grass, and that trademark spring onion. I’m a fan of this new cheese and invite you to revel in it as it announces itself with a strong aroma of brine, smoky meats, and vinegar.

Stay tuned for my next missive!

Curds and whey,

Rose


Christine Mathias

Celebrate Summer! Our New Seasonal Catering Menu

ApricotsPrettyI know, I know, summer in San Francisco isn’t necessarily “summer,” really, but c’mon! We still get all the amazing tomatoes, stone fruit, vegetables, and good vibes that summer brings to everyone outside the fog bank. The days are luxuriously long, BBQs can last well into the wee hours, and with the solstice and 4th of July just around the corner, there’s no better time of year to slather on the sunscreen and invite everyone you know over for a little sun (or not-sun) worship.

Bi-Rite Catering is gearing up for a great season using many of the fantastic seasonal fruits and veggies that are carried by our markets! There are so many new veggie options on the menu, in fact, that by the time you get to the Focaccia Flatbread with Peaches, Bacon, Goat Cheese, Fresh Thyme and Rooftop Honey Drizzle and the brand new Ciabatta Finger Sandwiches with Estancia Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Red Peppers, Grilled Onions, Chimichurri Sauce and Mixed Greens, you’ll have to figure out how to make room. And you’ll do it, too.

CornYou’ll have to! Otherwise how else are you going to figure out your favorite new salad dish? It’s going to be tough to choose between Summer Corn and Tomato Salad with Mediterranean Cucumbers, Peppers, Red Onions, Cilantro, and Parsley and something like our Fresh Summer Bean and New Potato Salad with Parsley and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette. You know what? Don’t choose. Get them both! And if you absolutely must have some sort of food on a stick (who doesn’t?), we are all really excited about the Mozzarella Bocconcini and Cherry Tomato Skewers with Basil Dip. So simple yet so, so delicious.

So if it’s a 4th of July party, an office cocktail reception, or Aunt Dorothy’s family reunion in Golden Gate Park, we have your food desires covered. Now go chase some sun!