Move Over Fondue...

Raclette is a semi-firm, cow's milk cheese, made in the alps of Switzerland and France and aged from 3 to 6 months. It is also a means of serving the cheese, not unlike fondue, in which the wheel is heated by a fire or heat-lamp, and the melted surface of the wheel is scraped onto a plate. In fact, the French verb racler means "to scrape." Along with the melted puddle of cheese, one traditionally serves cornichons, pickled pearl onions, and one or more small boiled potatoes.

Last week Emmi USA, the largest importer of Swiss dairy products in the country, invited me to a "Raclette Party" held at Swizz Manhattan, a Swiss-American restaurant in Hell's Kitchen. (Swizz actually offeres a Raclette dish on their regular menu; appetizer portion $10, All You Can Eat for $26.) Though I'd previously tried the cheese on its own, this was

Cheese of the Week - Homemade Gruy&#232re-style

The hard thing about making aged cheeses is that the lessons you learn come many months after the mistakes you made. That's why it's important to take good notes so that when you finally taste the cheese you've made, you can either duplicate your process again or modify the things that may have caused any flaws.

You may remember that at the end of January, I blogged about three homemade (kosher!) Gruyère-style cheeses that were aging in my mini-fridge. The second-oldest of the three, made on January 17th, 2006, had too much rennet in it, which I assumed would make the cheese more bitter after a long period of aging. Normally this cheese is supposed to be aged for 5 months, but I decided to try it sooner than that, to make sure it wouldn't get too bitter.

I tried it at about the three month mark, and while it wasn't bitter, it also wasn't very flavorful either. The subtle flavor that it did have was good, but it was just too weak. I decided to try it again at the four month mark, which is around now. The flavor has definitely improved greatly, with the

Cheese of the Week - Ibores

Murray's Cheese is showcasing its selection of Spanish cheeses this month, and Ibores, produced in the Extremadura and name-protected under the "Denominación de Origen" (D.O.) label, is certainly one of the best. Ibores is made from the raw milk of the Retinta and Verata breeds of goats, and features a semi-firm paste scattered with small eyeholes. Its subtle goatiness blends beautifully with a sweet grassy character and a delicate bitterness. The rind on an Ibores can vary; some are natural (white/yellow), while some are rubbed with olive oil and/or paprika.

Cheese of the Week - Kefalograviera

Continuing with the Mediterranean theme, the Cheese of the Week this week is Kefalograviera, a deliciously salty sheep's milk cheese from Northern Greece/Western Macedonia. First produced in the 1960s, the cheese is aged for roughly three months and the pale yellow pâte has scattered pea-sized holes. Combine with tomatoes, olives and capers in a salad, or fry it up to make Saganaki.

Cheese of the Week - Chimay Grand Cru

Made in Belgium by Chimay, the same company behind the fantastic Belgian beers of the same name, Chimay Grand Cru is a semi-hard pressed cheese made from pasteurized cow's milk. Aged for 6 weeks, this is a Trappist cheese in the best sense. It is fairly pungent, super creamy, and, best of all, delicious.

Cheese of the Week - Isle of Mull Cheddar

Isle of Mull Cheddar

This fantastic raw cow's milk cheddar is made by the Reade family in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Because of the climate on this Scottish Isle, the diet of the mostly Fresian cows must be supplemented with spent grain from the local whiskey brewery. This grain introduces a fantastic nutty flavor to the cheddary foundation of the cheese. I found it quite enjoyable with a glass of California Chardonnay, but I suppose it might go well with some fine Scotch Whiskey.

Cheese of the Week - Vacherin Fribourgeois

Vacherin Fribourgeois

Vacherin Fribourgeois is an alpine Swiss cheese similar to Italian Fontina d'Aosta. Not to be confused with Vacherin Mont d'Or, a round, much softer cheese that ships in small wooden boxes, Fribourgeois is a semi-soft and creamy cow's milk cheese made in the Fribourg region of Switzerland (near where Gruyère is made). It is sweet and slightly fruity, and, because it melt

Kraft Wants to Change Defintion of Parmesan

Reports are flying about Kraft Foods wanting to amend the definition of Parmesan cheese. Currently one of the defining characteristics of American Parmesan cheese, according to the FDA, is a period of 10 months of aging. Kraft claims they have a way of recreating the taste and texture of Parmesan cheese in far less time, 6 months. I don't really want to know how they've managed to accomplish this, but the deeper issue at hand is

Cheese of the Week - Gruyano?


A few entries ago, I described the three Gruyère-style homemade cheeses that have been aging in my "cheese cave." The oldest one had been aging for 5 months, the amount of time that Margaret Morris recommends in her book, and after trying a sample using this cheese trier, I determined that the cheese was

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