Paul Savage - cheese monger, renaissance man and avid home cheese maker - has been making cheese at home for about a decade. In this episode, he shares some basic tips, like NEVER using ultra-pasteurized milk (Alta Dena is a good brand, many organic milks are not). He shares a creamy dreamy bloomy rind, a spicy habanero cheddar and a blue that is "blued" only on the rind, from the outside in. From ricotta to aged cheeses, all can be made at home with some basic ingredients and mostly ordinary kitchen equipment. In San Diego, you can get all the cheese making supplies you need at Curds and Wine. While Paul has advanced to the level of "Cheese Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology," a good start would be one of these books:
In this first segment of our Chef Showcase series, we felt it was appropriate to feature Venissimo's very first wholesale customer, chef Katie Grebow. She walked into the shop and asked if we have a wholesale program, to which I replied, "Well, certainly. Let me send you the details tomorrow." I then went home to ask my husband what a wholesale program was and how we could set one up. The rest is history.
Katie built one of the most stunning cheese plates in town during her tenure as executive chef at Cafe Chloe. Her tips for building the perfect cheese course include using all the milk types, multiple textures and styles, all paired with sweet accoutrements like tomato jam (a favorite with smoked cheeses) and wine-based geleé (a great way to introduce interesting wine). Check out a couple of her favorite cheese recipes: Warm Crottin of Goat Cheese Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette and Tartiflette.
In honor of Mother's Day & her upcoming birthday, I'm pleased to introduce you to my mom, Gert. Gert comes from a tiny, picturesque town in Austria called Oberdrauburg- human population 1,210, kangaroos 0. She always supported my crazy ideas, I think knowing that life is enriched whenever you take a risk, try something new. She left her small town to join my Papa in America, the "land of opportunity." Did she know the language? No. Did she know anyone? No. But it all worked out and her life is enriched with her many adventures. Thank you, Gert, for everything you do to make life an adventure and drive it like you stole it.
Liberty Station cheese monger Caroline joins us to obliterate the myth that American cheeses are crap! Born in Vermont, she has worked her way across the country, tasting the best cheeses made in the USA and meeting the cheese makers.
There are now more than 900 specialty / artisan / farmstead cheese makers in this country, feeding an industry with more than $4 billion in sales. So why, when you do a google search for American cheese, do the answers come back, "terrible," or "worst cheese in the world"???
They have obviously not tried one of our favorites, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (pictured). Aged in Vermont in the famed Cellars of Jasper Hill, this 50-lb wheel of wonderful stands proud right next to the greatest English cheddars in the world.
Monger and manager Hannah from Venissimo Liberty Station also worked at Heart & Trotter, making her quite the expert in both cheese and charcuterie (aka, cured meat). For example, if you're looking for the Sonny & Cher of pairings, try Prosciutto (little sweet) with Parmigiano (little salty). And don't confuse Prosciutto with Serrano Jamon - one is from Italy while one is from Spain. And why is it better to slice Prosciutto, Serrano and Speck quite thin? Because they are made of well-worked muscle meat, making them tough, hence the need to be sliced thin.
And what the heck is caul fat? It's the best choice to wrap meats, providing a rich layer of fat for both texture and flavor plus a sturdy netting to hold things together. Have a listen to learn more.
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Gina Freize is the founder and Cheese Wiz of Venissimo Cheese and host of Noon on Tuesday, a weekly podcast all about cheese, all the time.