Industrialization of AOC Camembert Covered by New York Times


You heard it here first, but there's an article in today's New York Times Dining & Wine section that covers the A.O.C. Camembert controversy in a bit more depth. One quote I found particularly interesting concerned the actual differences between raw-milk Camemberts and those made from treated milk. The following would imply that the differences are more subtle than commonly thought, and that using treated milk poses more of a marketing challenge than anything else:

Officials at two of the top cheese emporia in Paris, Quatrehomme and Barthélémy, said they will continue to sell only raw milk Camembert even though there is only a slight difference in taste between it and cheese made with milk that has been thermized or microfiltered.

“If the Camembert is from treated milk, I will warn all my customers — and I know my sales will go down,” said Nicole Barthélémy, owner of Barthélémy on the chic Rue de Grenelle in the seventh arrondissement.

While the vast majority of Camemberts made with treated milk are gummy and tasteless, I must say that the sentiment above actually gibes with a recent experience I had with Hervé Mons' Camembert from Whole Foods Fromagerie. It was easily the best treated-milk Camembert I'd ever tasted, and it certainly rivaled some of the raw-milk versions I've had. I don't know the specifics of the milk treatment on the cheeses that Hervé ages, but if anyone out there does know, please leave a comment below!

Cheese, a "Modern Marvel"


Next week the History Channel is showing an hour-long documentary on cheese as part of their Modern Marvels series. The episode, which premieres Wednesday June 27 at 10pm EDT, profiles cheesemaking technologies from ancient to modern, with particular attention to the wide variety of cheeses currently produced in Wisconsin and California.

Via Cheese Underground

NY Times Book Review: The Atlas of American Cheese


Marian Burros has an article in the Food Section of today's New York Times about Jeffrey Roberts' new book The Atlas of American Cheese. In her words, "Mr. Roberts, himself a walking encyclopedia of American cheeses, may have set out to provide restaurateurs, shops and cheese lovers with an indispensable reference, but in the process he created an exciting new kind of travel guide. His book is a perfect companion volume to books about winery visits, especially for California, Oregon and Washington." Definitely a book every Curd Nerd should own!

Whole Foods Bowery's Fromagerie

Last Friday I finally got a chance to check out the new fromagerie Whole Foods has built in their latest New York City store, located on Houston and Bowery. This ambitious project features a climate-controlled display room as well as proprietary selections from noted French affineur Hervé Mons. But a cripplingly flawed execution largely overshadows their innovative approach and unique selection of cheeses.

Cheese of the Week: Dancing Ewe Farm Ricotta

Dancing Ewe Farm Ricotta, Drizzled With Honey

Granville, NY is a tiny country town nestled in the valley between the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and dotted with historic Victorian homes and rolling, rustic farmlands. It is the home of Dancing Ewe Farm, who make some of the best fresh cow's milk ricotta anywhere. Yes, that's right, cow's milk. Though the name of the farm proclaims otherwise, and though ricotta is sometimes made with sheep's milk, this stuff is pure bovine.

The soft, fluffy curds are shipped fresh in the basket in which they were drained, with an indication on the label as to when the batch was produced. The label on the one I tried on one recent Thursday indicated that it was made two days prior, on Tuesday. Now that is fresh ricotta, my friends. Because of this, the only place you can find this cheese is at Murray's retail counters (it is too difficult to ship). But lest that prevent you from procuring some, let me remind you: this ricotta cheese is some of the best you will ever taste. Curdy, milky, it would be a perfect addition to many pasta dishes, and with some honey drizzled on it (as pictured above), it makes an incredible dessert.

Available for $12.99/lb at Murray's Cheese, retail locations

Ricotta Salata


It's been an ugly week people. Mass murder at home and abroad. Racism. Swarms of bad ideas and without Kurt Vonnegut to make it seem funny somehow.

It's made me get real philosophical about the world and forced me to attempt to come to a separate peace with all of the stupid cruelty that it encompasses.

Curdnerds.com Updated!

We recently upgraded the software that runs Curdnerds.com, and everything seems to be running smoothly so far there are still some minor kinks to iron out. If you discover any further problems, or you don't like how any of the new stuff works, please contact us!

The Chemistry of Cheese

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Check out this post over at the Murray's Cheese blog. It's a nice overview of the different chemical processes that happen during the course of affinage, or aging. If, for instance, you've ever wondered why a ten year Gouda is so different than a young one (and if your idea of quality children's entertainment is Mr. Wizard) then this article is definitely for you.

Whole Foods "Fromagerie"

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I wouldn't have guessed it, but Whole Foods is taking New York City by storm. With three stores already firmly established (the lines are insane), three more under development, and one set to open tomorrow on the Bowery in New York's Lower East Side, the Austin, Texas company is poised to have a great impact on the NYC food scene. The Bowery store will be of particular interest to curd nerds everywhere, as it represents the first Whole Foods store to incorporate a full-fledged fromagerie.

Artisanal's New Cheese Blog

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The state of the Internet in 2007 is such that nowadays everyone and their cheesemonger has a blog of their own! A little less than a month ago, Artisanal Fromagerie launched "News From The Cheese Caves." So far they're posting pretty regularly, which is nice, and past entries have featured such stories as the World's Largest Fondue, Spanish cheesemaking classes at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, and of course Chef Terrance Brennan's recent nominations for the James Beard Foundation's awards for "Best Chef NYC" and "Outstanding Restaurant" (for Picholine). Congratulations on the nominations, and welcome to the blogosphere!

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