28 February 2007

Nor-cal Creaminess: From the Goats of Humboldt Bay...

This Tasting...
When: Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Where: San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, DC, London
What: Northern California-produced ripened goat's milk cheeses (e.g. from Cypress Grove Chevre, Aracata, CA)
Who: Fromagedumois members, and the rest of illustrious cheese enthusiast world...

Did you know that, according to the American Dairy Goat Association (http://adga.org), more people drink goat's milk around the world than any other type of milk? That's easy for you to say ADGA.... :)

This bi-weekly tasting is the first of an American cheese that we have questrd for. It is an important part in our journey for amateur cheese excellence because the North America contributes its fair share to the market of the world's great cheeses. This journey begins about 200 miles north of San Francisco....

Humboldt County, California, is known for a bunch of things in the U.S., including an absoultely gorgeous surrounding outdoor playground and, of course, Chinese exploration in the late 1880s. But, lately, it has gained prominence for its growing number of dairy farmers who have earned some national reputations for making outstanding cheeses.

One standout producer in this region, Cypress Grove Chevre, has expanded in the past decade to encompass a number of farms and dozens of different goat's milk products. Despire it's growth, it still maintains its 'artisinal' cheese making process from its humble beginnings. All of the steps in the process of meticulously carried out by hand. (more details to come....)

Begin the tasting dialogue below!

14 February 2007

Charles White: Artisan of the Ages

This very special post concerns not only amateur cheese tasting, but amateur cheese production as well. Charles White, a long time friend of Fromage du Mois and true polymath, recently sent an advanced shipment of his latest artisan Parmigiano-Reggiano. White Farms does more than just cheese. Charlie also specializes in beer / wine production, and can grow anything that you hand him. When Charlie heard we were doing a Parmesan tasting, he immediately jumped at the chance...

First some background on the fromage under scrutiny. Parmesan is a cow's milk cheese from Reggio, Italy, with strict rules concerning production. In particular:

  • Parmesan can only be made in four provinces of Italy
  • Parmesan can only be made between 15April and 11November
  • Wheels of Parmesan must weigh between 66lbs and 88lbs
  • Parmesan must be aged at least 14 months and can be consumed up to three years
  • Each pressing combines two separate milkings
Parmesan is relatively low in fat content and should be yellowish white in color. According to Jenkins, there are few American producers worth tasting, but it's safe to say that Jenkins has not tasted Charlie White's recent entry. The 2% milk for Charlie's cheese comes from the finest, grass-fed cattle in Ohio and was pasteurized just prior to cheesemaking. Once pressed, the cheese is salted in brine solution for 24 hours before aging 10 months.

Read on for the tasting comments!