This may not come as news to many of you, but even though the holidays are over… it’s still winter. Days are short, temperatures (here in Boston, anyway) are miserably cold, and it feels like everything in the CSA box is a root vegetable. On the other hand, sometimes all it takes to get you out of that mid-winter rut is a little fiesta… even if your birthday’s still six months away.
In this blog series our intrepid intern Molly will find and interview American cheesemakers attempting to re-create traditional European cheeses. Learn about the difficulties as well as the benefits of this type of cheese making, as well as how terroir and the idea of a cheese tied to a location so distant changes when that cheese is made in a new location. Also, each week you’ll have a chance to win an issue of culture: the word on cheese. Last week's winner was Bonnie Karoly!
Aah, the Loire valley. This region of Central France-- also known as the "Garden of France"--is a dreamscape in the mind of any cheese aficionado. For some, the name conjures visions of historic chateaus and rolling vineyards--for me, it's beautiful salads adorned with grilled slices of chèvre, and petite balls of goat cheese with fuzzy, wrinkled rinds that look like brains.
In this blog series intern Kate E. interviews the staff here at culture: the word on cheese to give you an inside look at a day in the life of this goofy group of cheese-lovers and their work on the magazine you've come to love. Have specific questions for or about our staff? Be sure to send them to staff@culturecheesemag with the subject line, "Meet the Staff".
This year, I had the pleasure of working the Culture Magazine station at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, one of the largest specialty food shows around. Culture was tucked away as part of the World’s Best Cheeses booth, so I was happily nestled amongst some excellent food and people. Luckily, I was able to sample my way around the show as well. Here’s a short list of what tickled my palate over those three gluttonous days:
I can’t believe we actually got the building permit! That laminated piece of paper has a lot of power….it held us up longer than we wanted, and also granted us permission to construct our dreams. Even as I held it in my hands it seemed unreal.
First in order of construction was removal of the weathered concrete floor. The echo of jackhammering rang throughout the ranch as the old floor was demolished. I fully intended to help lug chunks of loose concrete away to the dump truck, but when I walked up to the scene I quickly realized it required more muscle power than I had. Plus I didn’t have a dust mask, so I didn’t feel so guilty about leaving. Trenches were dug, drain pipes were laid, and inspection was passed. Yesterday the concrete guy planned the pouring of the new floor, which I know from experience is a detailed process that takes a lot of measuring and thinking and more measuring.
Congratulations to our Fan Photo of the Week winner Gianaclis Caldwell, whose cheese resembles a blanketed baby. We’d like to rock this babe in our arms—and then spread it on crackers! Gianaclis’s photo has even inspired us to make our own cheese. Try this simple homemade mozzarella recipe by Anya Firisen. Yum!
Today is January 15th. This is the day that I’d originally hoped the creamery would be completed. So of course, in a remarkable case of situational irony that no one could have predicted, today was the day that we finally obtained our building permit. You just can’t make this stuff up! This morning, Dave drove to the County of Marin offices to present the final piece of paperwork, an authorization for our project from the County Fire District. After paying more fees, they issued our building permit. Dave and I took a moment to celebrate with a couple of pints of beer over lunch today but before we toasted, I made him show me the permit. It felt a bit like the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie shows his family the Golden Ticket, and overwhelmed with happiness, they break into song and dance. We didn’t have time for singing or dancing because Dave had to rush off to check on some creamery work that is already underway….but maybe later.
We know you’ve all been drooling over our Winter Cheese Plate… now we’re giving you the chance to taste it yourself!
WIN A CHEESE PLATE
We’re choosing five lucky bloggers to win a Cheese Plate Party with culture. How does it work? Each Cheese Plate Party blogger will host a party featuring our winter cheese plate, take photos and write about both the party and the plate, and have their blog post featured on our website. In addition, each winner will get to host a giveaway on their own blog.
In this blog series our intrepid intern Molly will find and interview American cheesemakers attempting to re-create traditional European cheeses. Learn about the difficulties as well as the benefits of this type of cheese making, as well as how terroir and the idea of a cheese tied to a location so distant changes when that cheese is made in a new location. Also, each week you’ll have a chance to win an issue of culture: the word on cheese. Last week's winner was Ashley Robin!
In a blog about traditional European cheeses, I'd be crazy not to write about Roquefort. The poster child of the legally-protected, this sheep's milk blue is perhaps the best example of how closely a product can be tied to a place--in terms of both chemistry and culture.
Let’s just get this over with: NO, we do not have our building permit yet. We are still waiting. I’ve entered the New Year with the realization that our creamery will not be completed by my fantasy deadline of January 15th. I’ve accepted this, but here’s hoping for February 15th, which is more than the original 100 day goal (by 30 days), but we’re sticking to the $100,000 budget no matter what!
I’m glad the holiday season is over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scrooge or a grinch, but the holiday season is not very compatible with a construction project. Building a creamery requires the full focus and attention of not only the proprietors, but also the various officials, professionals and vendors associated with the project, and the holidays are both distracting and non-productive. Places and offices have limited hours, or days when they’re totally closed, and people take extra days off on top of that. It’s 2013 now, so let’s get to work!