Cheese Library

Cashel Blue

Cashel Blue

When Louis & Jane Grubb set out to make Cashel Blue in the early 1980’s, their ambition was to create a farmhouse cheese that “truly represents the outstanding quality of Tipperary grass-fed milk.”

Today, more than 30 years later and in the hands of the second generation, Cashel Blue is still made by hand on the same 200 acre farm; Beechmount, in Co. Tipperary, Ireland.

Cashel Blue is Ireland’s original, farmhouse blue cheese, as until it's development there was no blue cheese made on Irish farms.  Nearly 50% of the pasteurized milk used in the cheese comes from Grubb’s selected Holstein-Friesians cows while the remaining comes from local herds. The rennet used in making in this cheese makes it suitable for vegetarians.    

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Cheese of the Week:  Gruyère

Gruyère (pronounced GREE yare) is an AOP raw milk Swiss cow's milk cheese with a great nutty flavor.  Produced in large, 70-80 pound wheels, this cooked curd and pressed cheese is just the ticket for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, fondue, gratins, omelets, with fruit, or as part of a cheese plate. 

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Point Reyes Blue


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Point Reyes Blue

The Giacomini family are third generation dairy farmers and have had a presence in Point Reyes area for many decades.  Bob Giacomini began milking cows in 1959. Over the years, Bob and his wife Dean, together with their four daughters, developed a shared vision of producing an all-natural farmstead cheese.  

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Meadow Creek Dairy is a family farm located in the mountains of southwest Virginia. At an elevation of 2,800 feet, the combination of pure water, clean air, and deep soils produce an ideal environment for growing diverse, mineral-rich pastures. Rick and Helen Feete have been farming since 1980 and over the years have worked extremely hard, focusing their attention on constantly improving the genetics and milk quality of their herd of Jersey cows.  They make Farmstead cheeses; i.e., cheeses made from the milk of their own herd.

Best known for Grayson, a pungent washed-rind delight, they also make this wonderful semi-soft cow’s milk Tomme-style cheese. Appalachian is buttery and smooth in the mouth with a bright, mild, lightly tangy flavor with hints of mushrooms, citrus and nuts.  This is an excellent melter for grilled cheeses.

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Oscar Wilde Cheddar

Oscar Wilde Cheddar

If I were tasked with naming a Cheddar cheese after a dead, gay, Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and wag**;  I don't think I could come up with a better name than Oscar Wilde Irish Cheddar.  

This aged, crumbly, classic cheddar is a versatile table and cooking cheese, that's been aged for two years in Ireland’s dairy heartland, County Cork.  

With a distinct creamy flavor, this cheese is made from farm-fresh cow’s milk from multi-generation family farms.

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Triple Crème Cheeses


Triple Crème Cheeses!

Nothing goes better with good times and sparkling wine than Triple Crème cheeses!

(From Formaggio Kitchen, a Boston-based cheese shop): "The terms “double-crème” and “triple-crème” are bandied about a lot in cheese shops. While most folks have a general idea of what they mean in terms of texture (creamy, spreadable!) and flavor (buttery, lactic!) for a cheese, these terms actually have very specific meanings.  

Both double and triple-crème cheeses have extra cream added before the curd is formed. And, at least according to French law, a double-crème cheese has between 60-75% butterfat. Cheeses that fall into this category are, for example, Brie and  Camembert.  The first ever double-crème cheese was made in Normandy in 1850 and was called Petit Suisse. According to Steve Jenkins’ Cheese Primer, the name of the cheesemaker is lost to history – all we know is that, per the name of the cheese, he was a small fellow of Swiss extraction!

Triple-crème cheeses made an appearance roughly 75 years after Petit Suisse was introduced. These uber-creamy cheeses also found their origins in Normandy. Made by the Dubuc family, the first triple-crème was called Le Magnum and is the ancestor of today’s Brillat-Savarin. 

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Fontina val d'Aosta

Cheese of the Week (COTW): Fontina Val d'Aosta

Fontina Val d'Aosta is a classic Italian cheese that's been made in the Aosta Valley (north western Italy) since the 12th century.

This is the real Fontina, made from the raw milk of cows grazing in 6,500 foot high Alpine pastures. The uniquely rich and nutty flavor is reminiscent of truffles, with a subtle fruity, grassy aroma and supple texture. There are many Fontina cheeses made with alternative names such as "Fontinella", "Fontal", and "Fontella" but the Italian FontinaFontina Val d'Aosta, identified by a Consorzio (Consortium) stamp is the original and most famous. The other versions are much milder than the original Fontina. There is also a Danish version which can be recognized by the red wax rind.

The Italian Alps, the highest mountains in Europe, lie in the northwest corner of Italy, near the French and Swiss borders. They are terraced by the steep-sided pastures of Valle d'Aosta, over which towers Mont Blanc. In spite of the very dry summers, these high-altitude pastures provide a wonderful variety of lush, unique grasses upon which graze the cows whose milk gives us Fontina. Genuine Fontina is made only in Valle d'Aosta. It’s an ideal gustatory expression of this territory's inimitable character, its history, its hard-working people, and their love for the mountains.

During the summer the cheese is made at the chalets in the alpine pastures, and in the winter months it’s made in creameries lower down in the valley. Only fresh, raw (unpasteurized) milk from a single milking of Valdostana cows is used to make Fontina. The cheese is made twice every day, and aged for a minimum of three months in natural environments. Each cheesemaker has his own favorite location for ripening his cheeses: caves, grottos, tunnels, even former military bunkers. One cooperative dairy uses an old copper mine. Exotic, earthy, and enchanting, Fontina is perhaps one of the best Italian flavor experiences around.

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Mezzo Secco


Mezzo Secco (Partially Dry Monterey Jack)

Mezzo Secco represents Vella Cheese Company's attempt to return to the 1930s. The genesis for this cheese lies in the need for a soft or medium soft cheese to hold up during the hot summer months in an "ice box." In California from the 1920's thru 1946, mechanical household refrigerators were found only in the homes of the wealthy, or in commercial establishments. The majority of households by far had iceboxes that were cooled by a melting block of ice. When summer weather came, milk and butter were placed directly onto the ice box, and other foods that needed cooling--including fresh cheese--were left to fend for themselves in the adjoining compartment.

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Alle-Pia Cured Meats

Salami from Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats

We've brought in a new line of Salumi, made in Paso Robles and inspired by Italian regional cuisine. Crafted by an Italian-American family who own and operate two successful Italian restaurants, they started making sausages and salumi for restaurant use.   These products became so popular that they started selling them locally, and started a wholesale business originally to supply the many local wineries in Paso.  

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Raclette is both a cheese and a communal meal involving the cheese. 

Raclette the cheese is a semi-hard cheese made on both sides of the French and Swiss Alps. Valais Raclette or Fromage a Raclette, as they are traditionally called, are made using ancestral methods with unpasteurized milk of cows grazing on the alpine meadows. The name Raclette comes from the French word ‘racler’, which means ‘to scrape’.

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