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Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category


John Herbstritt

Sour Summer in SF

sour-sf-banner-13“Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” is actually a phrase developed by the sour beer brewers in Leipzig in the 18th century when they discovered their delicious gose style of naturally fermented elixirs. They believed that the bright acidity of their beer was able to transcend the drinker onto a higher plane of existence…OK, so I made that up, but when you taste of the delicious new sours that we have in house right now, you may very well be transported.

Sour beer is all the rage in San Francisco, but how is it made? Brewers use special yeast strains along with lactic acid bacteria to coax more and more acidity from their fermentation, a flavor that is not often found in other styles of beer. Sour beers are also the perfect gateway beer for wine drinkers given their vinous nature.  Their flavors tend to evolve and become more dynamic over time, and many are barrel-aged.

These beers are prized for their pairability with food, since acidity is such an important component on the palate, but many are also great on their own with flavors and aromas that cascade over the palate in waves.  Sour beers tend to pair well with rich, fatty, savory foods – we’re particularly fond of sour beers with cheese.  The only rule about sour beers it seems, is that there are no rules.

Another particularity of sour beers is their affinity for fruit flavors. Locally, Almanac Beer Co. is famous for preserving the produce of a season by ageing their beers on the best local fruit, often calling out the farm on their labels. They follow a seasonal rotation, like the fruit that they brew with, so availability waxes and wanes with the changing of the sun’s position in the sky. Whatever the season (SF “Summer” or SF “Winter”) there is a sour beer companion for your meal, or as a gift for your favorite beer nerd.

The beers featsour-sf-circleured below are a wonderful representation of the diverse styles of sour beers, but only a smattering of the sours we have in house (and in our online store at Instacart.com), many in limited quantity.  Ask one of our Beer and Wine Specialists on the floor at 18th Street or Divis to show you the whole selection, and don’t forget to stop by the Cheese Department for a pairing! Turn on to the sour revolution, baby. Your palate will never be the same.

 

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne 750 mL | $13.99
This traditional Flanders Red Ale is matured in oak barrels for 18 months. The final product is a blending of a younger eight-month-old beer with the 18-month-old barrel-aged brew. Fruity and rich with a full, sweet, and fresh taste.

Almanac Beer Co. Farmer’s Reserve Pluot 375 mL | $10.99
Pluots are created by cross-breeding apricots and plums; there are dozens of varieties with an amazing range of color and flavor. All through the summer, Blossom Bluff Orchards picks each variety at its peak: Dapple Dandy, Honey Punch, Flavor Queen, Black Kat, and Dapple Jack were all added to a sour blond ale and aged in wine barrels to create this funky oak-aged brew.
Pairs well with: Garden Variety Cheese’s Sweet Asylum – The balance of brightness and funk between this sour ale and tangy, creamy sheep’s milk cheese combines for a lush blend of floral, lanolin, and earthiness.

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This is only a handful of the sours we have in the Markets!

Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal “Zure van Tildonk” 375 mL | $10.99
Belgian “Farm to Bottle” sour beer brewed using hops and malt grown on the farm as well as the wild yeasts found around the farm. After a year of aging in a barrel, this sour is cellared for several months prior to release.
Pairs well with: Pecorino Sardo – The bright, buttery hay qualities of this sheep’s milk Pecorino shine with the tart, crisp funkiness of the Tildonk.

Cascade Brewing Barrel House Apricot (Divis Only) 750 mL | $29.99
Strawberry (18th Street Only)
 750 mL | $29.99
The Apricot is North West-style sour ale is a blend of wheat and blond ales that were aged in oak wine barrels for up to nine months before aging on fresh apricots for an additional six months. Flavors of fresh and dried apricot fruit are complemented by a tart acidity and lingering notes of apricot preserves.  Likewise, the Strawberry is aged in oak barrels with strawberries and vanilla for 12 months.  Bright and crisp, it captures the essence of fresh strawberries with subtle notes of oak, vanilla, and fruit preserves.


Simon

Getting Figgy With It

Fig trees are one of the most common fruit trees in backyards throughout the Bay Area. You would think IMG_5393this would lead to them being a super popular fruit in the area, but this isn’t the case!  Figs are one those pieces of fruit that usually taste better the uglier they get – but a lot of consumers buy figs that are under-ripe, are still extra-firm, and are not that sweet.  At Bi-Rite we realize that the best tasting figs are the ones that sit on the tree longer to develop their sugars, and are harvested just when the jelly-like flesh of the figs is about to explode out of the skin with sugary goodness.  The fresh fig selection at the Markets changes every day depending on which varieties our favorite farms are harvesting and delivering to the Markets.

Black Mission Figs are the most common fig you see at grocery stores.  They have a thicker skin than most other varieties, which makes them a good crop for shipping long distances.  If grown to the perfect level of ripeness, their dark purple flesh makes them one of the sweetest varieties. The Brown Turkey Fig is similar to the Black Mission in appearance, but a little lighter in color with green skin next to the stem. Brown Turkeys are known to be the largest growing fig and have beautiful rose-colored flesh.

IMG_3004The green fig varieties bring a lot of excitement to Bi-Rite each season with their lime green skin and beautiful reddish pink flesh. These are usually the some sweetest varieties of the season and a perfect dessert fig.  Adriatic, Kadota, and Calimyrna Figs will all hit the Bi-Rite shelves between now and the end of September. I can’t forget to mention the Candystripe Fig with its yellow skin and green stripes – it’s always a main attraction in the produce department in August! The flesh is crimson-colored and they taste like raspberry or strawberry jam.

Throughout the month of August we will be celebrating all of these amazing figs and the local farms that grow them! From Bi-Rite Farm in the foothills of the Sierra, to the legendary fig farmers at Knoll Farm in Brentwood, each fig variety will bring a different flavor to the table.  We are also highlighting the awesome Point Reyes Bay Blue Cheese and have adapted a killer recipe from our book, Eat Good Food, combining figs, blue cheese, and prosciutto that is going to blow your mind! Shop for the ingredients in our Markets or directly from our online store at Instacart.com and have them delivered to your door. And if you don’t remember what a big, juicy, ripe fig taste like please come by either Market and ask for a sample.

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Jon Fancey

Better Summer Living Through Cheese

Cheese isn’t just for the holidays or special events.  Serving a selection of cheese is a great way to impress your guests at your next summertime gathering, too! Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard BBQ, a spontaneous picnic at the park, or an extravagant weekend brunch –- don’t forget the cheese. Here are some of the cheeses we love at Bi-Rite that I’ll be sharing with my friends this IMG_2967summer:

Alemar Cheese Company’s Good Thunder – Keith Alemar started crafting cheese from organic milk in 2008 – and now his small creamery in Mankato, Minnesota is providing us with some of our favorite soft-ripened cheeses.  Good Thunder has been a work in progress for the past couple of years, and it now tastes better than ever –- milky, meaty, and just slightly pungent.  This little brick of cheese that’s washed in Surly Brewing’s Bender Oatmeal Ale would be perfect with any Olympia Provisions charcuterie and is a great option for any summertime cheese board.

Uplands Cheese Company’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve – Andy Hatch is one of our favorite cheese makers, and his stunning pasture on Pleasant Ridge in southwest Wisconsin’s Driftless region is one of our favorite farms to visit.  Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an Alpine-style cheese made with the milk of one of America’s most beautiful herds.  The wheels we’re selling right now in the Markets have been matured for a year and have deep flavors of toasted nuts and brown butter.  This sturdy cheese is perfect for picnics and day trips –- a great one to take to Sonoma to enjoy with just about any bottle of red wine.

IMG_1819Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue – Jasper Hill Farm is nestled in the rolling green hills of Vermont’s Northeastern Kingdom, and is committed to nurturing the region’s dairy and cheese-making traditions.  Bayley Hazen is crafted with raw cow’s milk, and has a delicious fudgy texture with flavors of grass and nuts.  It’s delicious melted on a burger or crumbled on a steak -– it can also be an easy dessert when served with the season’s best stone fruit and local honey.

Marin French Cheese’s Petit Crème – The folks at Petaluma’s Marin French Cheese are celebrating their 150th Anniversary this summer and we’re proud to offer their little bloomy rind button.  Crafted with cow’s milk from neighboring farms – this baby brie is mild, milky, and perfect for any occasion.

Cheese is a crowd pleaser for all of your summer events — come to the 18th Street and Divisadero markets and chat with our Cheese team!


Waverley Aufmuth

What Are You Cooking for 4th of July?

The weather (and the grills!) are heating up, which means the 4th of July is nearly here!  We’ve got everything you need to plan your epic independence feast, from meats and marinades to snacks and condiments – and don’t forget the BBQ friendly wines!  Whether you’re celebrating at home, picnicking with fireworks, or road tripping with friends, we’ve got your 4th
festivities covered.  Shop for everything you need in both Markets or order online for delivery from our special 4th of July Instacart.com!

Master the Grill, SF-Style

4th-of-July-Ribs-(2)Starting this Saturday, June 27th until Sunday, July 5th, get your Niman Ranch St. Louis Pork Ribs for only $4.99/lb. (normally $7.99/lb.)  Whether you prefer to dunk your ribs in sauce or braise them on the grill, San Francisco’s “signature barbecue sauce,” SFQ BBQ Sauce ($7.99) – with its spicy, smoky tang – is the perfect pair for ribs, grilled peaches or tofu too!  Try our all-weather St. Louis Ribs SF-Style recipe to get the party started:

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Chips, Dips and Condiments, Oh My!

primary_99e7a439-b1f3-4ec2-80e4-91ba6d017146 Because no barbecue is complete without the full roster of condiments, snacks, and seasonings, we’ve got some of our local favorites that are sure to liven up any party.  Spice things up with 4505 Chicharrones or go the classic route with Nopalito Tortilla Chips and three varieties of Papalote salsas – Roasted Tomato, Habanero or Serrano-Tomatillo.

primary_0ea2f938-d855-44f0-94e4-36ed550cd7ccFor your burgers, brats and buns, we’ve got some great twists on the classics.  Mix it up with sweet and spicy Sosu Srirachup and Mother In Law’s tangy umami-filled Garlic Chili Gochujang; or dress your burgers in the French tradition with KL Keller Dijon Mustard and Sir Kensington’s Mayonnaise.  For seasoning your ribs, burgers, and corn look no further than Omnivore Salt.  Top it all off with Cabot Vintage Cheddar and you’re sure to be the envy of every party!

primary_eb613a9d-7ba2-4e20-b110-03f92e39e55aWhether you like your pickles speared, sliced, or whole, on the bun or as a side, we’ve got what you need with our own Bi-Rite Market Public Label Dill Pickles, Boozely’s Pickles (spears), and Pacific Pickle Works’ Bread & Buddas.

 

Sweet Tastes of Summer

primary_3eafcc43-3f5c-4e39-abe7-af2bbdfc1bccOur Organic Sweet Corn is great for grilling!  It wouldn’t be a summer barbecue without the Watermelon and the best of summer’s berries with our Mixed Berry 3-Pack.

BBQ Friendly Wines

Dry-Farmed-WinesPerfectly paired with barbecue fare, these wines are dry-farmed and drought friendly, showcasing some wonderful California vineyards who are doing their part to conserve water while making delicious wines.

Bucklin “Bambino” Old Hill Ranch $21.99
This young vine field-blend contains several grape varieties, principally Zinfandel, but also Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Grenache.

Bucklin Rosé of Old Hill Ranch $19.99
Whole-cluster pressed and finished dry, this wine has beautiful floral aromas with a crisp finish.

Calder Wine Co. Charbono $24.99
This wine has vibrant aromas of cherry cola and ripe plums, backed by intense secondary flavors of forest floor, mustard flowers, dark chocolate, sour cherries and bee pollen.

Birichino Besson Vineyard Grenache $19.99
Modest and bright, with a bit more tannin than up-front fruit and a pleasant dried-herb aspect – perfect for a weeknight.


Jon Fancey

Fresh Cheese Makes All the Difference

Burrata, Chevre, Fromage Blanc, Queso Fresco, Mozzarella–these are just a handful of the fresh cheeses available here at Bi-Rite Market. Fresh cheeses are the best expression of the milk that’s used to make them, and they are easy to enjoy every day! May and June bring a bounty of stone fruit, berries, and tomatoes so it’s the perfect time of the year to pair them up with these fresh cheeses crafted in California. Here are a few you can look out for when you’re shopping at Bi-Rite!

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Andante Dairy Fresh Goat Cheese

Andante Dairy Fresh Goat Cheese – Soyoung Scanlan is a true renaissance woman: musician, biochemist, dairy scientist, and cheese maker. We sell a small selection of her cheeses at both Bi-Rite Markets, and her fresh rounds of goat’s cheese are the favorite of staff and guests.  Made one day a week in Sonoma County and delivered to the markets the following day, it’s always the freshest cheese in our case. Perfect with peaches and berries or a glass of rose.

Pennyroyal Farm Laychee – Boontling is a jargon spoken in one specific part of Northern California. Laychee means “milk” in Boontling and is an appropriate name for this fresh cheese from Boonville. It’s crafted from the milk of a small herd of goats that graze this Mendocino farm, neighboring the famed Navarro Vineyards.  It’s one of our favorite brunch cheeses — sweet, creamy, and spreadable – and pairs well with sparkling wines.

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Burrata from DiStefano Cheese Company

Di Stefano Cheese Company Burrata – Mimmo Bruno started working in an Italian cheese factory at the age of 11, earning $1 a week. In 1993 the Bruno family opened the Di Stefano Cheese Company in Southern California and introduced Americans to Burrata!  These cream bombs of stracciatella wrapped in a delicate mozzarella shell are a much-loved specialty of Puglia, the region Bruno and his family call home. Serve it as an appetizer with crusty bread and charcuterie, as a side dish with grilled vegetables, or as a dessert with roasted strawberries and a glass of Moscato d’Asti.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Fresh Mozzarella – The Giaconmini Family has been operating their dairy from the rolling green hills overlooking Tomales Bay for more than 55 years. Their beautiful land and herd of cows produce amazing milk that’s easily tasted in this fresh mozzarella. A favorite of guests at both Bi-Rite Markets: this is the cheese to use with this season’s best tomatoes!

Please come by and ask our knowledgable and friendly Cheese Team about our incredible fresh cheeses. They can help with pairings, wine suggestions, and are a great bunch of folks who love to share tastes and knowledge. Looking forward to seeing you!


Jason Rose

Super Bowl = Food, Food, and…FOOD!

IMG_0120Food, friends, beer, and bone-crushing football. Even if your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, it’s still a great opportunity to gather and enjoy each other’s company, the great commercials, incredible snacks, and festive food!

The Super Bowl Classic, of course, is chips and dip. We have house-made 7-Layer Dip, plus Bi-Rite Guacamole and Spicy Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip all made by our talented chefs. And we are so happy to now offer Nopalito salsas and chips, too, from one of our favorite neighboring businesses. There are also delicious salsa FullSizeRenderofferings from Santipapas and Papalote! And our chip options are killer: Casa Chicas, Primavera, Dosa Chips, and 4505 Chicharrones are all recommended for pleasing your crowd. We even have featured cheeses representing your preferred tea: Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar for the Seahawks fans, and Cabot Vintage Cheddar for you New England folks! Pair either with Rustic Bakery or Raincoast Crisp crackers for a perfect match.IMG_0118

And we’ve taken the hard work out of your heartier fare, too. Each Bi-Rite Market has a special menu of prepared items, perfect for a party, that are ready to pick up and take home.

                   Bi-Rite Market Divisadero Street Super Bowl Menu

                      Bi-Rite’s Barbecued St. Louis Ribs $13.99 per pound

Buttermilk Fried Chicken $12.99 per pound

Victory Chicken Wings with Sweet Chili Sauce,
Sesame, and Scallion
 $7.99 per pound

Pigs in a Blanket: BN Ranch Grass Fed Hot Dog
Wrapped in Puff Pastry 
$1.50 each

German Potato Salad $8.99 per pound

Pasta Salad with Seasonal Vegetables
& Red Wine Vinaigrette
 $7.99 per pound

Grilled Chicken Quesadillas $7.99 each

Bi-Rite Market 18th Street Super Bowl Menu

Bi-Rite’s Barbecued St. Louis Ribs $13.99 per pound

Buttermilk Fried Chicken $12.99 per pound

Victory Chicken Wings with Sweet Chili Sauce,
Sesame & Scallion
 $7.99 per pound

The Pig-Skin: Braised Pork Belly Sandwich
with Orange Mostarda & Chicory Slaw
 $10.99 each

German Potato Salad  $8.99 per pound

Winter Waldorf Salad  $10.99 per pound

Fried Falafel with Tahini  $5.99 for four

And don’t forget our amazing platters from Bi-Rite Catering! It’s not too late to get an order in for Sunday; you  have until Friday January 30 at 3pm to get it your Super Bowl yummies ordered and on their way.


Rose

Changing the World With Cabot Vintage

Cabot1Greetings, friends, and welcome to another installment of our cheese news! I’m happy and proud to write to you about a cornerstone cheese that we carry at Bi-Rite, one that is righteous and beautiful in both flavor and backstory, creating change and changing taste buds. 

Cabot Cooperative has been dairy farmer-owned since 1919, establishing itself as a source for sustainable and responsibly-produced dairy products. Currently numbering more than 1,200 family farms, the Cooperative has ensured the survival and growth of many small dairies, during a time when commodity cheesemakers have made it very difficult for most to do so. On top of this, Cabot Cooperative is  a Certified B Corp; the idea behind B Corps is to encourage businesses that focus on more than profit margins, and that give back to their communities and industries in very real, tangible ways. This can be seen in the many jobs that Cabot provides, but also by the fact that such a large organization continues to create such delicious, sustainable, well-made products. This is exactly the type of business that Bi-Rite loves to be working with; one that cares very deeply about the process, the producers, and the community that the product reaches.

My focus today is a very special cheese, one that I am sure you have seen around the market, one that has most likely caught your eye with its captivating form and proud signage: Cabot Vintage Cheddar.

Cabot2Cabot Vintage is aged for a minimum of two years, revealing beautifully buttery round notes that punctuate with a salty sharp bite.  Surrounded by decadent purple wax, (which draws comparison to Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes and royal Roman garb), it is both delicious and beautiful to behold. Our Kitchen and Deli at Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street use it in a variety of dishes, the current crown jewel being the Slow-Roasted 5 Dot Ranch Beef and Cheddar Sandwich (a staff favorite for sure). We find it pairs expertly with apples and mustards, the tangy sweetness complimenting both textures and flavors. It melts like a dream, but also is a frequent guest favorite due to its delightful snackability. When you combine all of these factors with its very Bi-Rite-esque background, you come up with the cheese of the season, one that will fit easily in your backpack as you hike the trails, snuggly in your picnic basket as you picnic on the windswept beaches, or sweetly in your hand as you soak up the crisp fall sun at Dolores Park.

The cheese stands alone, my friends, spreading the good word of the Cabot Cooperative and the B Corps organization. We are pleased to carry Cabot Vintage as one of our many stellar cheeses, and hope to see you in the Market soon asking for a taste. You will not be disappointed.

Curds and whey,

Rose

 

 


Rose

Bent Into Shape

The other night I was with a group of cheesemonger pals sampling a platter of the current offerings at Mission Cheese on Valencia Street. I excitedly pointed out Bent River Camembert, a beauty that had landed on the shelves at 18th Street some weeks back and is still showing beautifully, urging them all to taste it before taking a heaping hunk for myself. We were all struck by the complexity of this divine organic cow’s milk cheese from Mankato, Minnesota. Conversations were sparked, smiles exchanged and joy deeply felt.

Bent RiverThis ripe, pudgy cheese came rolling pleasantly into our lives from Alemar Cheese Company of Mankato. It contains buttery roasted vegetable notes, tangy acidic flavor swings, and that perfect springy bite that extends from the bloomy rind to a bright, creamy paste. It’s truly an expression of artisanal Old-World styles, an archetypal French cheese reinterpreted and expanded upon with typical American gumption. 100% grass-fed cows from Cedar Summit Dairy provide the milk, which pulsates through the cheese with lush ripeness. The vibrant waters of the river bend by Alemar’s production site shine through in the most pleasing way, making this cheese both flavorful and refreshing. And that’s saying something for a rich, buttery cheese like this one!

Not only is the Bent River Camembert a delight, but it comes with an interesting origin story.  Alemar founder Keith Adams had started his food career as a co-owner of the Bagel Bros. bagel shops. When the bagel craze subsided in the early 2000s, Adams wished to tap into food in a more interactive and personal way. He found inspiration after attending the American Cheese Society conference and, mentored by California cheesemakers Peg Smith and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery, he set up his aging facility in Mankato and created Alemar. Bent River and his other cheeses have taken off in a very exciting way, and we are honored to carry his excellent product.

I recommend pairing the Bent River with bitter, effervescent beer. At Mission Cheese I tried it with Magnolia’s Blue Bell Bitter and was delighted with the result. You can also try experimenting with light, minerally whites; this should compliment the creamy paste beautifully. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do!

Curds and whey,

Rose


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


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