28 April 2008

Fromage goes to Brooklyn: A Dispatch from the Field

While traveling it is often difficult to purchase and maintain high quality cheese samples, especially since I prefer to travel light without all variety of fromage accoutrement. Clearly restaurants and friends' refrigerators are the primary source of cheese forage. The latter because they are free and the former because the potential for excellence exists. Anyhow I was pleased to find JakeWalk in Carroll gardens last Saturday night and then surprised to find a review of it in the Times on Sunday seemingly written by a high school intern. The review although positive is, in fact, so egregiously base that I suggest you only view the photograph associated with the article. The real point is the wide variety of excellent chesses on hand for $4 each. I was especially pleased to see them representing Fiscalini Farms on the east coast. This is a cheese maker I've been meaning to address for a while. I often get these cheeses from a local shop in San Diego and have seen them at a few restaurants in California. At JakeWalk I had the San Joaquin Gold: a mild, Fontina-esque cheese. I think the best part about this and another one of my favorites, the Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar (also from FF) is the subtle grassy taste that really compliments the other flavors (nutty, creamy, etc) . FF suggests melting or grating on salad, but I think the San Joaquin Gold really stands well on its own. Although subdued, I think the high quality production process comes through in the finished product. If you come I across it, I suggest you give it a spin. And if you're in Brooklyn, try it at JakeWalk. They've got good wine, good cheese, good service, and good ambiance. Just don't forget "Cotton dresses and flats for women; corduroy and denim for men." Otherwise you won't get in.

11 April 2008

The Feta - No longer just Uncle Aristedes' favorite...

The modern Greeks have a healthy diet and a very long life-expectancy. And absolutely stunning views of the mountains and ocean. Maybe some of all of these things has to do with their beloved Feta cheese.

A story covered by the Daily-Mail describes a new study that came out in the past two weeks. It is from the work of a Greek researcher (of course!) at the University of Lincoln in the UK. Microbiologist Panagiotis Chanos reported to an esteemed microbiology society in England that Feta cheese has many natural, lactic-acid containing bacteria that function as strong antibiotics in the body. Panos studied the raw milk and feta cheese produced at 40 small farms, in the Macedonia region of northern Greece, and used samples of raw Feta from each for his experiments. He was able to demonstrate, in vitro, that the bacteria in Feta are able to kill many virulent, food-poisoning bacteria, like Listeria, that the human body has much difficulty with.

At Fromagedumois, we give our hat's off and three cheers to Dr. Chanos. We always suspected that something would come to justify the lovable, lactic-y Feta taste.