Retail-United States

Bread and Butter

On the Lower East Side this Saturday, Saxelby Cheesemongers is hosting an event they're calling Bread and Butter. The event is a fundraiser to help send the Evans family, dairy farmers from upstate New York, to Turin, Italy for this year's Terra Madre festival, Slow Food's annual meeting of artisanal food and beverage producers from all over the world.

The Bread and Butter event will feature tastings of dairy products made from the milk of Evan's Farm, including yogurt, organic cheese, creme fraiche, and sweet cream butter, and of course the creamline milk itself. The menu will be created by

Cheese Shop Newsletters

In my unending quest for curd knowledge, I am a faithful member of email newsletters from several brick and mortar cheese shops. In such capacity, I have noticed a strange phenomenon: more often than not, the newsletters from Murray's and Artisanal arrive within several hours of each other, and yesterday, for example, they arrived within nine minutes of each other! Sometimes Artisanal's comes first, other times Murray's beats them to the punch. Now, I am sure this is no accident; I'm sure whoever is writing Artisanal's newsletter is a member of the Murray's newsletter, and vice-versa. But the really creepy thing is that the two contemporaneous newsletters often share the same "theme."

For instance on May 30th, the Artisanal newsletter arrived, featuring "Incredible Cheeses of the Northeast USA." Three days later, on June 2, the Murray's newsletter touts the all-too-predictable theme "Murray's Gone Local." In this case, it is possible that

On Location: Zingerman's Deli, Ann Arbor, MI

Back in 1982, Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig opened a small deli near the farmers market in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and sold a small selection of Jewish-style sandwiches and prepared foods, as well as specialty items. Twenty-four years later, Zingerman's is a foodie's paradise, a landmark well-respected not just in Michigan but around the world. Aside from the incredible selection of deli sandwiches (Niman Ranch Pastrami, anyone?), they also have a wide selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

But their cheese counter rivals some of the best in America. I was on business in Ann Arbor recently, and I got to see first-hand the bounty they offer. They have a nice array of cheeses from around the world, although I was expecting to see more

Fairway Opens in Brooklyn

Following fast behind the rampant installation of Starbucks outposts, today's opening of Fairway Supermarket in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn thus completes the yuppification of the area. But as a longtime devotee of Fairway's cheese department, steered by Maître Fromager Steve Jenkins, I am proud to count myself as one of the yuppies thrilled by the prospect of such an amazing store in my home borough of Brooklyn.

However, as excited as I am about browsing the cheese counter at this new branch, I will probably stay away from the place for at least six months. Anybody who's familiar with Brooklyn knows that Red Hook is very poorly served by the subway. Add to that the fact that you're going to want to buy many more things than you could possible carry in your arms, a car is pretty much mandatory here. Then again, driving anywhere in Brooklyn is

Coming Soon - Saxelby Cheese

Anne Saxelby, former cheese monger at Murray's, is opening a new cheese shop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Saxelby Cheese will be ready for business on Friday, May 5, 2006 in the Essex Street Market, and will be the first store in the country dedicated solely to American cheeses.

They will offer the usual American favorites such as Maytag Blue, as well as some exclusive varieties like

Zahidul Hakim, Cheesemonger

From yesterday's New York Times, an interesting little article on Zahidul Hakim, the new Bangladeshi cheesemonger at the legendary Balducci's Gourmet Market in New York City.

When Mr. Hakim returned to Bangladesh in 2003 for his second visit home, he took Abbaye de Belloc, a washed-rind sheep's milk cheese from the French Pyrenees. When his mother visited New York recently, she got a wider selection.

"How can cheese become like this?" he said she marveled as she nibbled through a variety of tastes and textures.

Fondue Month

For many, February is best known as Black History Month, a month when we celebrate the many contributions African Americans have sewn into the fabric of our country. But the Curd Nerds at Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro have a different idea: February is Fondue Month.

With such temptations as Comté with Date-Almond Chutney, and Munster d'Alsace with

It's Alpine Cheese Season!

Head over to Murray's far-too-sporadic blog Big Cheese Stories for a fantastic overview of alpine cheeses (my personal favorites), including information about when and how (and even why) they are made, and what characteristics make, say, Abondance different from Comté.

Second Annual American Artisanal Treasure Awards

Winners of the Second Annual American Artisanal Treasure Awards have been announced. What are those awards, you ask? Norbert Wabnig, proprietor of the The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, created the awards to "honor producers of handmade specialty foods across the United States." Aside from cow, goat and sheep's milk categories, Wabnig also hands out awards for best olive oil, best condiment, best bread, best sausage, best marmalade or preserve, best honey and best sweet.

Transit Strike Hurts Cheese Mongers

Regardless of where you stand on the Transit Strike, you can't help but notice how it affects the world of cheese. A visit to the Bedford Cheese Shop's Online Catalog displays a sad message: We apologize for the inconvenience, but the online cheeseshop is closed during the MTA strike. I wonder if the brick-and-mortar store is also closed.

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