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Cheesy Chat with Pastoral

  • Pastoral Presents: The 11th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 11th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Mixed-Milk Cheese That's Dense and Pillowy

    MietteThis little "crumb" has the intoxicating aroma of fermented grapes and an amazing cake-like consistency.

    One bite confirms that the only way to improve upon the classic French crottin is to add a little bit of sheep's milk into the mix! Missouri-based Baetje Farm took the cheese world by storm this summer and we haven't looked back since we first set our eyes on this beauty.

    For a truly decadent delight, pair Miette with Pear Tree strawberry rhubarb preserves and a chunk of dark chocolate... go ahead, you deserve it!

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 10th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 10th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...our very own Alpine adoptee

    Alpkase KohlschlagWe adopted an Alp and in return we are delivered these beautiful alpage cheeses made according to the ancient practice of transhumance.

    This cheese is made from milk gathered as the cows graze the pastures of Alp Kohlschlag up to an altitude of 6400 feet above sea level. Taste the beautiful, distinctive grasses and flora of our adopted mountain, in every morsel of this cheese.

    The tight-knit paste of this dense Swiss cheese is a textural workhorse, as satisfying to sink your teeth into as it is to melt and slather on warm bread.  Set it alongside some Glogg and celebrate the warmth and joy of the season.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 9th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 9th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Downy-Rinded, Triple Creme Brie

    brillat savarin blog and facebook day 9 redoCreated by Henri Androuet in the 1930S, Brillat-Savarin is a rich and silky triple crème cheese named after 19th century gastronome and epicure, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

    Brillat-Savarin is a classic triple crème produced in the Ile de France region by 3 generations of cheesemakers at Fromagerie Rouzaire. Putting the quality and heritage of their product first, the milk is sourced daily from 25 farmers of the Seine and Marne region. After aging the cheese for 4-6 weeks it develops a fluffy, bloomy rind along with a complex taste of butter, salt and cream with a hint of mushroom and hazelnuts.

    Triple crème cheeses are known for their lusciousness, due to their minimum 75% fat content. To achieve this, the cheese is made with heavy cream added to the whole milk during production. Traditionally seen as a dessert cheese, Brillat –Savarin pairs well with pale ales and light fruity white wines like Riesling or Champagne, making it perfect for holiday celebrations.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 8th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 8th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...Manchego Named For Don Quixote

    1605 manchego blog and facebookThis young manchego, aged for only six months, is made by Maria José at Finca Sierra La Solana Farm, where 500 ewes graze amongst the farm’s almond trees and grape vines. The cheese is hand-made from unpasteurized milk and aged with a natural rind rather than a wax coating, allowing the cheese to breathe as it ages, so the flavors develop without becoming overly sharp or piquant.

    1605 Manchego is the newest addition to the sublime import portfolio of Essex Cheese. (Longtime cheese club members may already be familiar with some of their other offerings, such as l’Amuse Signature Gouda.) They have long been among Pastoral’s favorite cheese importers, selecting only the best of Europe’s traditional cheeses. Every wheel that they bring to the United States is tested for quality, texture, flavor and its ability to withstand the long journey across the Atlantic.

    The cheese hits the palate with an earthy, meaty flavor that sweetens as you eat it, finishing with notes of almonds and cassia bark. In the case of this Manchego, the classic pairings hold especially true: Salty Marcona Almonds, Jamon Serrano, Rioja wine and Extra Virgin Olive Oil are all flavors of Spain’s central plateaus that ring true to the region’s arid climate and sultry flavors.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 7th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 7th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...L'amuse - C'est tres bon! Oui, Oui!

    l'amuse blog and facebookL'amuse is an excellent example of the close relationship between cheese production and curing, or affinage. Extra large wheels of Gouda are made at the Cono cheesemaking plant in northern Holland. Wheels are then carefully selected and aged by Fromagerie L’Amuse in Amsterdam for two years before they are exported to the US.

    L’Amuse matures its Gouda at a slightly higher temperature than normal. The result is a cheese the color of amber with an even formation of Tyrosine protein crystals. (Those are the fun crunchies that you’ll experience as you eat this cheese, proteins that form as cheeses lose moisture during the aging process.)

    The flavor of L’Amuse is varied and nuanced; notes of hazelnuts mingle with the flavor of dark salted butterscotch. The texture is velvety with the distinct bite of the amino acid crystals interspersed throughout. This cheese completely it destroys the lines between sweet and savory as it defies the definitions of soft and hard.
    L’Amuse Signature Gouda is great with nutty brown ales, but if you really want your socks knocked off, give it a whirl with a nice dry sherry.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 6th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 6th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...Red Rock Cheddar, Blue & Veiny

    red rock blog and facebookWith the help of his father and neighboring “rock star” cheese-maker Willi Lehner, Chris Roelli developed his first (and signature) specialty cheese, the Dunbarton Blue. Red Rock was added to the Roelli cheese line-up about a year ago, and Chris calls it “Dunbarton’s little cousin.” Like the Dunbarton, it starts as a cheddar base with blue mold spores introduced near the beginning of the cheese-making process. The Red Rock is then dyed with Annato (about twice as much as your typical Wisconsin cheddar) and made into 40-pound blocks. After these are cut down to 5-pound blocks and hand-spiked to allow the blue mold access to oxygen to bloom, the cheese is cave-aged for 3-4 months, during which time it develops a natural blue rind.

    The cheese is made to mirror the local red soil after which it is named. Visually striking with a surprisingly creamy and pliant texture, the light blue veining adds just a touch of piquancy to Red Rock. Chris describes it as a “working man’s cheese,” perfect for melting over burgers, in your favorite grilled sandwich, or added to the pastry of your grandma’s apple pie for an added punch of color and flavor.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 5th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 5th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Green Hill Golden Dream

    greenhill blog and facebookAl Wehner’s family had been dairy farmers since before their immigration from Germany to New York. He and his wife Desiree discovered the mild winters and sunny warmth of the south and for nearly 20 years they operated a conventional American farm with thousands of cows that were fed on silage.

    In the early 1990's, the Wehners attended a seminar in Wisconsin where they were introduced to the concept of rotational grazing. These days at Sweet Grass, the cows spend about 22 hours every day happily grazing in lush southern fields. They are moved from one pasture to another every 12 to 24 hours, which maintains consistent regrowth and renewal of the grasses and gives the cows a healthy, varied diet.

    Green Hill is a double-crème cheese made in a camembert style. Its thin bloomy rind and rich golden paste offers subtle flavors that are best enjoyed at room temperature. The diet of the cows is reflected in the sweet grassy flavors as the silky texture of the cheese coats your mouth like butter.

    This hand-made cheese is super delicate; you may notice some friendly blue, green and white mold taking up residence on its rind. These molds are natural and normal, and are perfectly safe to eat. If you prefer not to, though, feel free to gently scrape the mold off with a knife before you enjoy your cheese!

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 4th Day of Cheesemas

    On the 4th Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave To Me...A Dreamy Drum of Driftless Sheep Cheese

    driftless blog and facebookDriftless is a fresh sheep’s milk cheese that derives its name from the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin, where Hidden Springs Creamery is located. There, Brenda and Dean Jensen raise their herd of 250 sheep on 80 acres on lush, rolling fields that were left untouched by glaciers more than a dozen millennia ago. That’s how the region – and the cheese – got its name, as the only region in Wisconsin without the “drift” of sand, silt and rocks that were left behind after the glaciers rambled through.

    The Jensens raise two breeds of sheep, whom they affectionately refer to as “the Ladies.” East Friesian sheep are prized for their high milk yield, and Lacaune sheep, whose fat and protein-rich milk is famed for its association with French Roquefort. The sheep graze on horse-tilled pastures that lie right in the heart of Amish country. The Jensens are active members of their surrounding community, and employ a number of their Amish neighbors for both farm and construction projects on their farm.

    Driftless was Brenda Jensen’s first cheese creation. The flavor is mild and tangy, just like a fresh goat’s milk cheese, with the rich fattiness of a sheep’s milk cheese, and the mildest earthy flavor that lingers on the finish. We enjoy it in both sweet and savory roles, whether whipped with lemon and served with lox or drizzled with your favorite preserve or honey, you’ll find it to be a warm but refreshing feature of any meal.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of a tub of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 3rd Day of Cheesemas

    On the 3rd Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A Pantaleo Bright & Citrusy

    pantaleo blog and facebookSardinia is strongly associated with a number of excellent sheep’s milk cheeses, but Pantaleo, an aged goat’s milk cheese from the island (the second largest in the Mediterranean!), Pantaleo stands apart from the rest. The tangy bone-white cheese complements oil-cured vegetables and charcuterie, but it is also excellent grated over pasta or roasted potatoes.

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations
    in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

  • Pastoral Presents: The 2nd Day of Cheesemas

    chiriboga blue blog and facebook day 2 redoOn the 2nd Day of Cheesemas My Cheesemonger Gave to Me...A light and Creamy Blue From Germany

    What do you get when you take an Ecuadorian cheesemaker and a 100 year old Roquefort rip-off recipe and drop them in the stunningly beautiful Bavarian Alps? Chiriboga Blue!

    Created by Arturo Chiriboga in Bad Oberdorf, this blue cheese is modeled after a recipe created by Basil Wexler in 1902 to rival his favorite Roquefort cheese. Arturo makes his cheese in a dairy co-op, Obere Muhle, which sources local milk of exceptionally high quality.

    Despite its connection to Roquefort, Chiriboga is much more mild and buttery with some light grassy notes. It pairs decidedly well with light, aromatic white wines as well as light-bodied red wines like Burgendlander
    .

    Stop by any one of our three retail locations in the city of Chicago, and you could be the random winner of 1/3 lb. of this amazing cheese!

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