curdnerd's blog

Quick! Free Tickets to an Irish Cheese Tasting in NYC!

The kind folks at Murray’s Cheese are inviting the first 30 of you who R.S.V.P. to the phone number below to an exclusive Irish farmhouse cheese tasting at Ireland House in NYC this Thursday, October 30th, from 6-8 PM. The tasting will be led by Breda Maher from Cooleeney Cheese in the heart of Tipperary. Below are the details.

This will be the kick-off event for a month-long Irish cheese promotion that Murray’s is conducting. As part of the festivities, Murray’s will be featuring Irish cheeses throughout November and hosting tastings with cheesemakers from the country.

What: A free guided tasting of Irish farmhouse cheeses
When: Thursday, October 30th, 6-8 PM
Where: Ireland House, Consulate of Ireland, 345 Park Avenue (bet. 51st and 52nd)
R.S.V.P: Please call Jasmin Mirsal at 212-243-3289, ext. 38

Photograph courtesy of Cooleeney Cheese

Making Cheese at 8000 Feet

Some of the greatest cheeses in the world are made only in the summertime in the gorgeous high elevations of the French and Swiss Alps. Gruyère, Beaufort, Appenzeller, Comté all come to mind. In a process known as transhumance, cows are allowed to graze on mountainous pasture at higher and higher elevations as the snows melt in the warm weather. The cheese itself is made right there on the slopes in little stone huts. The lush array of herbs, grasses and wildflowers in the alpine meadows make for some of the greatest tasting cheeses in the world. This process has been beautifully chronicled on, with a stunning high-resolution photo essay of the wonder that is alpine cheesemaking.

8 Cent Mac 'n' Cheese!

Attention cheese-loving New Yorkers: this Tuesday (7/29), Supermac is teaming up with to offer 8-cent mac and cheeses, available all day. Supermac is a mac and cheese mecca here in New York City, offering no fewer than 13 different varieties of the dish.

I've never been to Supermac (and I call myself a Curd Nerd?), though I have been a few times to their very similar downtown competitor S'Mac, which is a great restaurant itself. But it's pretty tough to resist 8-cent mac and cheese, so I'm definitely going to go try it. The website that's co-sponsoring the event seems interesting too; the premise is that you can text-message coupons to your cell phone, and redeem them at stores simply by showing the cashier the text on your phone. Pretty cool idea, and I downloaded a bunch of other coupons for a kosher deli near my office.

I'll be sure to give a full review of Supermac's offerings in the comments below. Check back on Wednesday!

348 7th avenue (btw. 29th - 30th Street)

So You Want to be a Cheesemaker?

What respectable curd nerd has not, for even a moment, contemplated leaving the rat race, moving to a farm, and making their own cheese? Well, lest there be any doubt that being a cheesemaker is easy business, check out this recent post that Kris Noiseux of Meadowstone Farm published to a cheesemaking listserv:

We have a grade A goat dairy in CT, milking 20 with 4 dry and 6 replacement kids. I work full-time and have the help of my retired father. My significant other works weekends and does morning milkings during the week plus animal care, soap, order tracking and supply stocking. We make soap, lotion, have a farm shop, and sell raw milk as well as cheese. We also keep bees, broilers and layers. We service commercial accounts and do two farmers markets.

I work 100-120 hour weeks, every week. I normally work to extreme exhaustion and, during high season like now, will find myself passing out in odd places and and generally incoherent. I regularly work 48 hours at a stretch, especially on the weekends. I have no idea how other farms do it, I would guess each season probably takes a few years off my life span. We couldn't afford to hire an employee.

Thanks to all the hard-working cheesemakers out there! We appreciate you!

Does Cheese Go Bad?

It's a question I am asked frequently, and my answer is always the same, "Yes, but you'll know it if it's so spoiled that you can't eat it." That's kind of a loaded answer though, because many people think that cheeses that are perfectly fine have spoiled. For instance, Époisses is so stinky that it smells spoiled even when it's perfectly ripe! That said, if a cheese is so smelly you can't bear to eat, don't. (But make sure you find the nearest curd nerd and ask them if they would want it!)

In fact, cheese is just milk that has spoiled in a controlled way, so asking whether spoiled milk can spoil is kind of a non-question. But maybe you want some more details. The folks over at Philadelphia's DiBruno Bros. have published an extensive blog entry on cheese spoilage. Definitely worth a read!

Where Did We Go? logo
Apologies for the noticeable dearth of posts lately. Things in my life have been busy and I haven't been able to give this blog proper attention. However, I continue to post a weekly cheese column called Serious Cheese over at Be sure to check there every Tuesday if you're jonesing for cheese-related blog posts (this week my cheese post is hitting today). Thanks, and I look forward to getting back on track here soon!

In the meantime, take a look at this interesting history of cheese someone posted in the forums. (No sources are given, but anyway it makes for entertaining reading and is a somewhat plausible theory. They also link to an interesting-looking site that has videos of cheese-making and other wine & food related things.)


UPDATE: Just installed a widget at the right that lists my most recent posts over at Serious Eats. Check them out!

Artisanal Offers Same Day Delivery in Manhattan (via Rickshaw!)

Artisanal announced today that they have begun a same day delivery service in Manhattan. Cheeses are delivered via rickshaw, and, for now, the service is only available in midtown from 34th Street to 63rd Street. Orders must be received by noon for a 5pm same day delivery.

This is a really cool service and I hope it does well so they can add more neighborhoods. Only certain items can be ordered online, but you can place a custom order by calling the toll free order line (1-877-797-1200).

I'm not located in the delivery area, but if anyone is and has tried out the service, please leave feedback in the comments below!

Video: How (Not) to Make Cheese

(Caution: contains some adult language.)

From the BBC's That Mitchell and Webb Look, via Steve

Jersey Cheese Awards

2008_0331jerseycow.jpgI received the following email the other day from Deborah over at the Jersey Cheese Festival:

I am the event co-ordinator for the first World Jersey Cheese Awards, a cheese competition purely for cheese made using Jersey Milk. The competition is due to be held in the island of Jersey on May 23rd. I am looking to contact cheesemakers using only Jersey Milk, would any of your readers be able to help? We do have a website for the awards on

Cheese made from the milk of Jersey cows is especially tasty, owing to an unusually high cream content. Of course, you wouldn't want to make a Parmigiano-Reggiano from Jersey milk, but most cheeses really benefit from the extra fat. In fact some cheesemakers, like the folks behind Vermont Shepherd and Nettle Meadow Kunik, add Jersey cream to their sheep and goat cheeses to give them some heft and richness.

The Jersey cow originated in Jersey islands of England, but can now be found all over the world. This is the first I've seen of a cheese contest specific to one dairy breed, and it'll be interesting to see the results.

If you have any leads on Jersey cheesemakers for Deborah, leave a comment here or contact her directly.

Video: Half Ton of Cheese Carved into the Statue of Liberty

This is perhaps the best use I've seen for commodity block cheddar, since of course you wouldn't ever want to eat the stuff. Sure it's a waste of food, and I am utterly opposed to wasting food, but here's an example of a food that just should never have been made in the first place. So you might as well turn it into art, I suppose.

In February, Showtime Networks hired ace cheese carver Troy Landwehr to convert 1200 pounds of cheddar into a likeness of the Statue of Liberty. The process took four days and is condensed into two minutes in the video above. Watch and be amazed...

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