Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: Down South Edition

Hey, y'all! This week's featured cheesemakers unintentionally ended up being mostly Southern. Must be all the Paula Deen we're watching.

Of course many great things come from the South, like sun tea and Beyonce, and the cheese is no exception. From Atlanta comes Sweet Grass Dairy's Green Hill, a Dairymaid regular. On their sustainable farm in Thomasville, the folks at Sweet Grass pasture feed their Jersey cows to get the milk that makes this incomparably smooth brie-style cheese.

As for Texas cheeses, we'll have Pure Luck Dairy's Hopelessly Blue and Veldhuizen Parmesan. The Parmesan is the Veldhuizens' biggest cheese in terms of flavor and perfect for grating over pasta or pairing with something sweet.

Our other goat cheese this week is the Old Kentucky Tomme from Capriole. It's 100% goat's milk and bears some relation to a Tomme de Savoie (quelle fancy!) with its natural-mold rind and earthy, mushroomy flavor.

This is our first week back at the Woodlands' farmers market and you'll find us there from 8am until noon. Here is a helpful map.

Aside from our weekly tastings, we have some other awesome stuff in the works including beer and wine licenses and five more cheese classes on the way. We'll let you know as soon as there's booze in the house.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: Family Matters

The family that eats cheese together stays together. This is such a widely accepted fact that scientists are now looking into whether gibbons and prairie voles do, in fact, eat cheese. Indeed, many of America's great cheeses are made by families as well.

The Giacomini family has been making Point Reyes cheese in California for over a decade. The Toma, modeled after classic Italian table cheese and in stock at the warehouse this weekend, is made with the dairy's own certified organic milk. It's semi-firm and straw colored, the subtle, sweet and grassy flavors great for snacking or melting.

Beehive Cheese was founded by brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford, a team that's proved to be good at pairing different flavors. This week we'll have their smoked Habanero cheddar that has a slow-to-surface sweet-to-hot flavor.

Of course, over at Pure Luck Dairy, the Nubian and Alpine goats are practically part of Amelia Sweethardt's family and we'll have lots of fresh chevre on hand.

Remember that wine bath cheese? We'll have Cowgirl Creamery's Pierce Point and Mozzarella Co.'s gooey, slightly tart Crescenza too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: A Match Made in Heaven

Among planet earth's greatest food hybrids are the pluot (plum and apricot) and those jars that contain both peanut butter and jelly. Now joining the ranks of the Food Hybrid Elite Squad is the powerhouse combination of cheddar and blue, which you can experience in the form of our newest cheese, Dunbarton Blue. This Frankenstein's monster of a dairy product comes from Roelli in Wisconsin. Although natural rinded cheddar sometimes gets veining unintentionally, the Dunbarton is purposefully inoculated then pressed, which keeps the blue at a minimum and the flavors more approachable. Still, it's a very intense cheese and we're excited to have it at the warehouse for the first time this weekend.

We'll also be fully stocked on Hoja Santa, which is not technically a hybrid , but the combination of the herbaceous leaves and fresh goat cheese is pretty much perfection. Try heating these pretty little packages and serving with sundried tomatoes.

Also on deck: Marieke Gouda, Green's Creek Gruyere and CKC Farms Baby Blue. Hope to see you this weekend! And while we're busy hoping for things, I'd like to nominate naturally occurring chocolate cherries for earth's next hybrid food.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Charlotte's Cheese 101 Class

Being a Dairymaid is no easy task. There's a lot of training, wind sprints and God telling us we're special. A lot of the time, we're eating cheese. Yeah, your heart goes out to us.

But eating cheese is the best way to learn about cheese--convenient!--as students will soon discover in our upcoming Cheese 101 class, held here at the warehouse on September 22 and led by Charlotte, once voted Only Dairymaid that Looks Good in Braids and a Cowboy Hat (pictured right).

Students will blind taste a cheese at the beginning of class and try to describe it before Charlotte reviews the basics of cheese analysis: types of rinds, milk types, aroma, etc. Another cheese will get the blind treatment and we'll see if any of our descriptions have changed. Oh, and there will be beverage pairings!

Give us a call at the warehouse at 713-880-4800 to sign up for a spot! Class is $30 per person and starts at 6pm.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: Winds of Change

Bad for Good: the Very Best of Landaff.

The future's in the air, I can feel it everywhere -- blowing with the wind of change! The blessedly blustery weather over the past few days didn't just dry the back-of-the-knee sweat from every human, squirrel and bird in Houston for the first time in three months. It also blew a few completely new cheeses into the warehouse.

All the way from New Hampshire comes buttery yet tart Landaff. This smooth and meltable cheese with bright lemony notes was modeled after Duckett's Caerphilly, a cheese out of Somerset, England in the tradition of Welsh farmstead cheese. The Landaff is aged in the Cellars at Jasper Hill, which you might recall as being the source of Bayley Hazen Blue as well.

Also new to the plate, in a way, are the Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert Squares. This creamy, soft-ripened cheese made from a combination of East Fresian ewe and cow milk has been in the shop before but now it's available in a miniature square format. They're perfect for leaving on a cute coworker's desk as a surprise or on-the-go snacking, just like Go-Gurt. Just kidding, we don't eat Go-Gurt on the go. We prefer to savor it.

Also in the line-up for this weekend: Veldhuizen Redneck Cheddar, Buttermilk Blue Affinee from Roth Kase and fresh burrata! And of course we're now open from 10am-6:30pm on Fridays and 10am-4pm on Saturdays.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: Labor Day Edition

History lesson of the day: Labor Day became a federal holiday back in 1894 when President Grover (aka Tha Grove) Cleveland was desperate to reconcile with the working class after some worker deaths and the Pullman strike.

Here in 2011, Labor Day seems to be having the similar effect of throwing us a bone just when the resultant brain boil of record breaking temperatures might make Do the Right Thing look like the Sandlot. But a day off, the final tomatoes of the season and maybe a belly full of cheese sound just right.

Things that like melting other than the chocolate chip cookie accidentally left in the car: Reading Raclette from Spring Brook Farm in Vermont. The solid form cheese features a mild interplay of salty and sweet but once melted, the crusty bits are toasty perfection.

For those sandwiches in front of the TV, we recommend some Sharpshooter Cheddar, the Veldhuizens' Texas Gold aged for an additional two years to give it that extra bite. We'll also have Carmody, the Italian-style table cheese from Bellwether Farm, and Mountain Gorgonzola all the way from Lombardy. It's robust, firm and pairs beautifully with honey.

Three cheers for Grover Cleveland!

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX