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Archive for January, 2017


Jon Fancey

Essex St. Cheese

EssexStack2WEBComté, Gouda, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Manchego, and Feta are European mainstays that have become easy to overlook with all the cheeses flooding our aisles.  Here at Bi-Rite, we’re on a mission to bring you the highest standards of cheese that have been traditionally crafted, properly matured, and hand selected for export.  We partner with Essex Street Cheese, an importer and wholesaler based in New York that’s focused on only the best tasting cheeses. During the months of January and February, the Bi-Rite Cheese Department is celebrating our very special relationship with Essex Street Cheese, join us and start your year off with some of the world’s best cheeses!

  • Marcel Petite Essex Street Comté – The flagship of the Essex Street selections, these wheels are hand selected from the famed caves at Fort Saint Antoine.  A great everyday cheese that’s buttery and creamy with notes of hazelnut.
  • L’Amuse Signature Gouda – The best aged Dutch gouda we can source, these wheels are expertly matured at Fromagerie L’Amuse – Amsterdam’s finest cheese shop.  The texture is creamy and the flavors are robust.  The deep sweet and savory notes are perfectly enjoyed with full bodied red wines!
  • Cravero San Pietro Parmigiano-Reggiano – These wheels are sourced from one of Italy’s finest Parmigiano makers and matured to perfection by the Cravero Family in Bra.  It’s the perfect table cheese- succulent and slightly sweet.  After tasting Cravero, you’ll agree that Parmigiano is ‘The King of Cheeses’.
  • Manchego 1605 – A unique example of the Spanish classic, these wheels are crafted with raw milk and have a natural rind.  The pros at Essex select batches that are buttery, slightly earthy, and have hints of warm spice.  A real treat with a few slices of Jamon Serrano and glass of Rioja.
  • Essex Feta Lesbos – The most recent addition to the Essex Street selections, this is not your typical feta.  Handcrafted by a family on the Greek island of Lesbos, its texture and flavor are far more complex than most examples of feta that are just crumbly and salty.  One of our favorite additions to the Market during 2016!

Essex Street not only in the business of great tasting cheese, they are also committed to professionally educating American cheese mongers.  The firm was founded by the late Daphne Zepos, one of America’s most beloved & missed cheese advocates.  In honor of Daphne, her friends and colleagues founded the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, a yearly grant to a budding cheese professional to study in Europe and return to educate cheese mongers.  Bi-Rite is a proud sponsor of the DZTA, having donated $20,000 and counting to the fund over the past few years. 

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Simon

The California Citrus Experience is here!

 

cacitrus3webOne of the most prolific crops that grow throughout the state of California is citrus. From the Navel orange groves in San Diego County to the Satsuma mandarin orchards in the Sierra foothills there’s a citrus variety for everyone.  California citrus seasons always kicks-off at Bi-Rite in middle of November with the easy-peel, seedless Satsuma mandarin and ends in the beginning of April with the candy-like Pixie tangerine.  The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses loves to celebrate the peak of citrus season by launching the California Citrus Experience in January and February. Over these two months there will be over 25 varieties of citrus on the shelves of the produce department, tasty citrus themed cocktail recipes and plenty citrus products coming from our creamery and bakeshop. From snacking, to colorful salads, to zesty sweet treats, to potent cocktails to seasonal scoops- we’ve got just about every way to make the most of California Citrus Season on deck!

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The beginning of citrus season is all about Satsumas- the perfect intro to the season with its sweet/tart flavor and extra refreshing juice. Unfortunately the season is short and usually over by the second week of January.  Next up- the Clementine has the classic tangerine flavor with superbly sweet flavor and less acid than the Satsuma, followed by the Page mandarin- a clementine and grapefruit hybrid with a sweet rich juice.  Perfect for eating out of hand or juicing. We are fortunate to get our Page tangerines from Lagier Ranch in Escalon, CA for 2 months every year.  All of these Mandarins are a treat, but none draw the attention that the Kishu Mandarin does- believed to be native to China and was brought to California in the early 80’s, this tiny mandarin is extra easy to peel and pop in your mouth.  Jim Churchill aka “the Tangerine Man” located in hills of Ojai, CA and really knows how to grow the perfect Kishu. Weather permitting we will have Kishus at both Markets thru mid-February.

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Beyond Mandarins, our friends at Deer Creek Heights Ranch in Porterville, CA are harvesting beautiful blood oranges, navels and pomelos.  The Moro Blood orange has the perfect balance of sweet/tart flavor with berry- like tones and is one of the most versatile pieces of fruit in the kitchen. The Cara Cara pink navel offers a mild sweet flavor and a little less acid than navel oranges.  Lastly, the African Shaddock pomelo with its powerful fragrance and tasty meat-like texture, a must-try for any citrus lover. Up your salad game, up your citrus palate, gotta catch ’em all!

 

Our in-house mixologist Kitty Gallisa put together two different cocktail recipes to celebrate the season-

bitterblow6webThe Bitter Blow – Who are we kidding, 2016 was rough! We’re drinking away last year’s feelings with this colorful and potent kick to a new year!

thewakeup6_cardwebThe Wake Up – After all of the rich holiday foods, shake things up with a cocktail that’ll make your taste buds sit up and say, “Hello!”

 

 

And just in case you need some extra citrus dessert inspiration this weekend –

Caramelized Citrus from NYT Food

Blood Orange Curd with Honey Bourbon from A Brown Table

Winter Citrus Meringue Tarts from Local Milk

For the next couple months we will be introducing new citrus varieties to the Markets on a regular basis. Please swing by our Produce Department, enjoy a tasty sample and really see how amazing California Citrus can be when grown organically and harvested at the perfect level of ripeness! #PeakSeasonProduce!


Chili

Chop, Sear, Braise: The Three Steps to a Happy Belly

Colder weather means hunkering down over hearty meals that warm you through and through, coming together over cozy family meals. Winter is a terrific time to take advantage of value butcher cuts, that through the miraculous process of slow cooking transform normally tough portions of meat into luscious, tender, soul satisfying meals.  Nothing is more comforting than a braised lamb shank over a pile of creamy polenta dripping with a hearty, slightly sweet, umami-rich red wine jus – not to mention incredibly easy to prepare.

amazingbraising01_verticalAll month long we will be featuring BN Ranch Lamb Shanks for only $6.99 per pound (normally $9.99). This excellent winter cut comes from California lamb that is 100% grass-fed on the abundant grasses of the Sacramento Delta.  This is the perfect opportunity to experience the clean, mild flavor of grass-fed lamb.  It is cleaner and leaner than its much cheaper, commodity counterpart grain-finished lamb, that tends to be much larger and fattier.

Braising is one of the most foolproof cooking methods around: it’s a quick and simple three step process where our friend the oven and its pal time do all the work. With a little planning, you can get all your prep work done in about 30 minutes and spend the next 2 and half hour doing whatever you’d like while the magical cooking process does its thang.

We’ve partnered with one of our favorite local producers, Dario Barbone of Baia Pasta, on a recipe that is the epitome of easy weeknight meals that will knock the socks off your tastebuds. This simple Braised Lamb Shank Ragu is the perfect weeknight recipe: one dish that can be served for a week’s worth of meals: over pasta or rice, with polenta, over roasted squash, layered with cheese and eggplant and baked, over zoodles for a paleo “pasta”, with quinoa for a supergrain boost…the possibilities are endless!