During our recent visit to M. Cheesemonger’s hometown in Normandy, we were able to escape from his father’s Grande Fête preparations (more on that later) to visit some of the local cheese makers and farmers that make this region the dairy capital of France. Since I had been charged with organizing the Grande Fête cheese platter, our plan was to find some excellent local cheeses. The sun shone warmly and puffy clouds drifted overhead as we wound our way through the verdant countryside.
One of the “must-see” markets in Berlin is the Turkish market in Kreuzberg, held along the canal by the Schönleinstraße U-bahn stop. There’s a sizable Turkish population in the city, and to serve them, this semi-weekly market (Tuesdays and Fridays) offers special breads, spices, vegetables, household items, cloth, and more. There are also some great specialty jams, waffles, prepared meals from several African cuisines, and cheeses.
This year is a great year of European travel for me. I am visiting Switzerland, Germany, France, and England, so you can be sure I will be writing and tasting plenty! I update my Facebook and Twitter (@msscheesemonger) daily, and you can see more of my writings on my blog, http://misscheesemonger.com/.
At the end of June, I spent the best part of a week at Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire learning and making cheese, crème fraiche and yoghurts with them. In the past I’ve made lots of social visits to Herefordshire in general and Neal’s Yard Creamery in particular so it was great to be back and to catch up with Charlie, Grainne, Conan, Holly, Finn and Rags the dog. Although initially Neal’s Yard Creamery and Neal's Yard Dairy were one and the same, the two parted ways after a few years when Charlie Westhead, until then an employee at Neal’s Yard Dairy working in the shop and driving around the country buying and selecting cheese, moved into cheesemaking and developed Neal’s Yard Creamery as a separate and sister company.
Before leaving for my recent trip to Vietnam and Hong Kong, I was able to squeeze in one last business lunch. With who? Will Fertman, of course. Why? Because we’re going to try posting Miss Cheesemonger articles to the Culture blog on a regular basis. Are you excited? I sure am!
I told him about my upcoming Asia trip, and so, as we parted ways, the last words I heard floating back to me on the wind were, “If you do find cheese in Vietnam and Hong Kong, that would be amazing.”
After meeting Swiss cheesemaker Willi Schmid and tasting almost 30 of his cheeses in New York last winter, I knew I had to travel to Switzerland to learn more about this talented craftsman. I was thoroughly impressed with his innovative approach to cheesemaking and so curious as how one man can make so many superb cheeses. World famous Swiss affineur Rolf Beeler, the great Swiss cheese importer Caroline Hostettler, and the author of Swiss Cheese, Dominik Flammer all say Willi Schmid is the best. But, I needed to understand for myself, a knowledge-hungry cheese professional, what makes him so great and how does he do it? After spending two weeks with Willi Schmid at Städtlichäsi creamery in Lichtensteig, Switzerland, I came to understand what makes this cheesemaker and his cheese so special.
I’m finishing up a week of traveling the fjords and roads of Norway, trying to scope out the cheese scene in this country better known for salmon and sweaters. One of the first things I discovered on my Scandinavian beat is that the average Norwegian refers to her/his cheese by color: they have their white cheese, their yellow cheese, some blue cheese, and plenty of brown cheese. Color indicts familiar supermarket cheese. They know, for instance, what to expect from a slice of white cheese.
Hola from Spain! I landed this morning in Barcelona and was then taxied to the town of Vic, an hour northwest of Barcelona for Lactium 2011—a gathering of Spanish cheesemakers and street cheese fare. As one of the fortunate invitees of this event, I get be to part of the “Super Jury,” a group of 34 international judges who will name The Best Catalan Cheese on Saturday. The festival begins tomorrow, May 6, when market stalls on the wide boulevard, Rambla del Carme fill up with cheesemakers and the contest ensues. Eyewitness reports on that to come. . .
02 December 2010
Amtrak Surfliner from Los Angeles to Goleta, CA
I have survived the Thanksgiving carbohydrate overdose, followed by the airline’s flight cancellation due to (inperceptable) weather conditions and the subsequent overnight at Syracuse Airport’s Holiday Inn Express, as well as the perk of making the most of it by indulging in Dinosaur BBQ, a 40-some-odd smokehouse and watering hole. The pulled pork at Dinosaur was actually recommended to me by Culture’s own David Newhoff, a man whose taste in food I would trust in even the worst of times. Believe me, being stranded in Syracuse qualified as such, but the AMAZING pulled pork at Dinosaur was definitely a big reward for my not having throttled the rude and flat-affective staff at the Hancock Airport (except you, Denise, Ms. Fabulous at US Airways!)