Valençay is situated in the central Loire Valley on a hillside overlooking the River Nahon. The town is known for its pyramid-shaped Valençay cheese made from raw goats’ milk.

The commune was formed by the amalgamation of three settlements: the “Bourg-de-l’Eglise”, the “Bas-Bourg” and what is called the “old quarter.”

Distinctive in its truncated pyramidal shape, Valençay is an unpasteurised goats-milk cheese weighing 200–250 grams (7.1–8.8 oz) and around 7 cm (2.8 in) in height. Its rustic blue-grey colour is made by the natural moulds that form its rind, darkened with a dusting of charcoal. The young cheese has a fresh, citric taste, with age giving it a nutty taste characteristic of goats cheeses.

The cheese achieved AOC status in 1998 making Valençay the first region to achieve AOC status for both its cheese and its wine.

Tale has it that Napoleon having returned from his disastrous campaigns in Egypt stopped at the castle at Valençay. Their local pyramidal cheese apparently aroused unpleasant memories as he alleged then cut the top off in fury with his sword leaving the shape that survives to the present.

The curd is drained and placed in a mould. After being removed it is covered with charcoal dust and left to ripen in a humid, ventilated room. Affinage lasts for three weeks during which time its characteristic external mould forms and the central pate – initially crumbly – softens.

The cheese is available between March and December, with peak manufacture between April and August.

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Dalla Forma is as Italian as it gets in preparing the ultimate pasta dish. A wheel of cheese is hollowed out preserving about an inch or two of border, and pasta is prepared inside it. Its roots can be traced to the Roman Empire and its epic gastronomic orgies.

Although the most popular and widespread method is to use a 50 pound wheel of Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano in the process, Chef Lippe has adapted the technique to a diverse collection of cheese wheels, Pecorino Romano, Moliterno al Tartufo and Gouda among others.

Each cheese lends its own personality to the final dish, as does the sauce used. Chef Lippe makes no shortcuts in assuring this is the most intense pasta experience he can possibly deliver, using almost illegal amounts of butter, cream and cheese in one of the most decadent pasta dishes you have ever tasted.

Whether a gathering of friends, family party or a nationally recognized event of hundreds such as the Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival, Dalla Forma pasta is always an addition to be remembered. Feel free to contact us for a quote. It is always a pleasure to serve you.

DallaForma Pasta

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Gouda Shrimp & Crab Cheesecake

Hey Mom what is for dinner?

Once you get your head around the fact that CHEESECAKE can be made with ANY type of cheese and cheese combinations, now I am going to show you it can also be a SAVORY dinner treat! You can have cheesecake as appetizers, for dinner or even breakfast. One slice of this tasty treat is only 283 calories (calculated without crackers): 24gfat (11g saturated fat), 137mg cholesterol, 411mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate (1gsugars, 0 fiber), 12g protein. Made with two of my favorite cheeses, Parmesan Cheese and Gouda with Creole spices it is supper good. Gouda Cheese is a mild, yellow cheese made from cow’s milk. It is one of the most popular cheeses world wide. The name is used today as a general term for numerous similar cheeses produced in the traditional Dutch manner.  Today“Gouda” is not a PDO – DOP (protected designation of origin with a specific area of production). The Gouda cheese name refers more to the style of cheese making than the actual cheese, as Gouda cheeses can vary widely depending on age and where it is made. For this reason, the name “Gouda” isn’t protected or meant to define only the cheese coming from Gouda. If you want the real deal, look for “Noord-HollandseGouda”, as this title is protected and can only represent true Dutch Gouda made with Dutch Holstein cows milk.

So Gouda type cheeses are made all over the world. How is Gouda made? When cultured milk curdles, some of the liquid whey is removed and replaced with warm water, which is then drained. This is known as “washing the curds”, and it helps to remove extra lactose, therefore preventing some of the lactic acid formation. The curds are then pressed into round molds and are plopped into a brine (salt water) bath. The cheese is then set out to dry, coated in wax and aged for anywhere from one month to over six years. And if you’re trying to be a real cheese connoisseur, you’re going to have to pronounce it right. While in America we pronounce it “g-OOO-dah”, it’s actually pronounced “(g)h-OW-da”. I’ve noticed that the common classification of cheese in the grocery is either “jong” (young) or “oud” (old). Digging a bit deeper, the Dutch actually classify their cheeses into six categories based on age:

  • Young or New: aged 4 weeks
  • Young Matured: 8 to 10 weeks
  • Matured: 16 to 18 weeks
  • Extra Matured: 7 to 8 months
  • Old or Fully Matured: 10 to 12 months
  • Very Old or Very Aged: over 12 months

The younger Gouda cheeses will have a more mild, soft, and almost sweet taste and texture.They’re best on sandwiches or crackers. The older Gouda cheeses acquire more complex notes and layers of flavors, ranging from caramel to pineapple. They also become harder, stronger, and darker. The deep flavor of the older Gouda makes it great for cooking. I have paired an American Gouda with an American parmesan, shrimp and crab meat for this interesting cheesecake.


  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined cooked shrimp, chopped
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) lump crabmeat, drained
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • Assorted crackers


  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and chives; stir in butter. Press onto bottom of a greased 9-in. spring form pan. Place pan on a baking sheet.
  • For cheesecake, in a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add red pepper, onion and carrot; cook and stir until tender. Stir in seasonings. Cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cream until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Fold in vegetable mixture, shrimp, crab and Gouda cheese. Pour over crust.
  • Bake 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight, covering when completely cooled.
  • In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard and Creole seasoning. Remove rim from spring form pan. Serve cheesecake with sauce and crackers.
  • Cover top of cheesecake with grated parmesan, chopped chives and drizzle with sauce.


The following spices may be substituted for 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning: 1/4 teaspoon each salt, garlic powder and paprika; and a pinch each of dried thyme, ground cumin and cayenne pepper.

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Manchego Cheese Meets Cheesecake

Manchego Cheese Meets Cheesecake


Manchego is a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the manchega breed. Official DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) manchego cheese is to be aged for between 60 days and two years. Manchego has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, and often contains small, unevenly distributed air pockets.

Protein content: 4.5% min

Fat content: 6.5% min

Country of origin: Spain

Source of milk: Sheep

Other names: Queso manchego

Texture: Firm and compact

Characterized by a mildly gamy (think lamb choppy) flavor and a hazelnutty sweetness, Manchego is everywhere. It’s arguably Spain’s most well-known cheese, made in La Mancha with the whole (full-fat) milk of Manchega sheep. Younger versions are aged for about 3 months, but you can find wheels aged for 9 months or longer, at which point they become drier and punchy, with a longer, more resilient finish. You’ll find examples that are bland and innocuous, but when you’ve happened to find a great producer, you’ll taste only round, meaty flavors and a distinct, creamy bite. Another traditional way of aging the cheese is in olive oil, which produces a rindless, super-dense end product.

You’ll see Manchego made with pasteurized or raw milk, it’s hard to judge the cheese solely on whether or not it’s a pasteurized version or raw. It’s easy to spot Manchego from afar because of its rind. It’s inedible and waxy with a cross-hatched, herringbone pattern that it gets after being drained and molded in a patterned basket.

Traditionally, it’s served with membrillo (Quince paste) and marcona almonds, or maybe some Serrano ham. A glass of sherry is an obvious choice to spotlight its nutty notes, or some Crianza Rioja wouldn’t hurt, either. But don’t fear straying from Spanish territory. Manchego, with its fullness and fatty backbone, is a versatile pair for many red wines and fuller bodied whites. Since it’s made with 100% sheep milk, it will be higher in fat, and can actually ooze out its butterfat as it comes to room temperature. This is the reason that a wedge may look shiny or on a cheese plate.

More and more, we’ve been seeing it used in cooking, with suggestions for its incorporation into mac & cheese, sandwiches and NOW Cheesecake. Manchego makes an excellent melter and works wonders with all types of egg dishes.

Here is our family recipe for Cheesecake!

blackberrie cheese cake


  • 1 Cup Manchego cheese cut into cubes
  • 2 ounces of water
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3 oz sour cream

Graham Cracker Crumb Crust

  • 6 oz butter
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Blackberry Puree

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vodka

Instructions Graham Cracker Crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer cream butter, sugar and honey
  3. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients.
  4. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat until smooth
  5. Cover bottom of cake rings with crumbs and bake 5 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes

Instructions Cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Blend Manchego cheese and water in blender until smooth
  3. In separate bowl blend combine flour and eggs add to cheese
  4. Add sour cream to cheese and blend until smooth
  5. Pour into ring molds and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Instructions Berry Topping

  1. Marinate berries, sugar and vodka overnight.
  2. Heat mixture in small pan and cook to reduce slightly.
  3. Place Cheesecake on serving dish add a spoon of berries.

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Cheesecake…Basil…..Parmesan what do these have in common you ask?

Chef Lippe Parmesan Basil CheesecakeA savory holiday appetizer that is light, airy, creamy and slightly salty with just the right amount of either sweet or tang! These will be the hit of the season.  As the wife of a chef and cheese affineur there is no shortage of different cheeses to experiment with. Then when the “snowbirds” hit the Florida town of Vero Beach there is no shortage of test tasters at the local farmers market Saturday mornings. We will be back at the market December 1st .

Just think a strawberry (it is almost time for local Florida strawberries) champagne mojito, the Christmas tree ready for decorations and these tasty little treats for the evening.


  • 1 ¼ cups cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small bowl combine cracker crumbs, butter, egg white until combined.
  3. Press ½ tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each well of a mini cheesecake pan.
  4. Bake crust in oven for 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Turn oven down to 300 degrees.
  6. Add the cream cheese, parmesan, basil, sugar, eggs and salt to blender. Puree until smooth.
  7. Fill each well of the pan ½ way with mixture.
  8. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until edges are dry but center is still a little jiggly. Refrigerate overnight.


For a sweet topping chop fresh strawberries sprinkle with sugar and garnish the top of each cheesecake.

For a tangy topping top each cheesecake with tomato jam. This is available at most farmers markets or gourmet food stores.

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Roquefort and Chocolate, the science of Blue Cheese

This is not a new flavor combination in fact it has been around for a long time in France. Dark Chocolate and Blue Cheese was made famous by Chef Michel Bras in a dessert called Coulant. We are going to make Roquefort Bites which are Roquefort cheese rolled into balls and then rolled in chocolate pieces. But first some history.

The Legend

A long time ago, every story starts out this way and because this is a French cheese you know it has to include a little romance.  So we begin, at the base of the Combalou Mountain, a shepherd spotted a beautiful young woman. He ran after her, leaving behind his flock and his meal, which included ewe’s milk curds, in a cave with some bread. The young woman didn’t want to be caught and so she ran and hid from the shepherd having him chase her for days. He looked and looked for her but could not find her. He slowly made his way back to his flock. He found his meal which was now less than appealing with green veins running through the curd.  But the shepherd was starving from days of searching for the love of his life so he tasted the cheese…..and fell in love with the magic of the cheese and now you know the legend of Roquefort. He forgot the beautiful young woman and started making Cheese.  What I am a Cheese Monger you didn’t really expect him to get the girl did you?

Now for the science of the Roquefort

The unique look of blue cheese is a result of a specific type of mold added during the cheese making process and an additional step in the ageing process called “needling”. The molds added to blue cheese are derived from the genus Penicillium. The most widely used molds in blue-veined cheeses are Penicillium Roqueforti and Penicillium Glaucum. These fungi are found commonly in nature and were “discovered” by cheesemakers ageing their cheeses in damp, cool caves.

Penicillium Roqueforti is named after a French town called Roquefort with caves full of naturally occurring Penicillium mold spores. It is cheesemakers in the town of Roquefort who created, and still creates, the famous blue cheese called, of course, Roquefort. Original recipes for Roquefort cheese required that cheesemakers leave loaves of rye bread in the caves near the town. The loaves became hosts to the ambient mold in the air. After a month or so, the mold inside the loaves of bread was dried, ground and combined with cheese curd. (Remember, the bread simply acted as a host for the ambient mold spores in the cave; Penicillium Roqueforti is not the same type of mold that grows on any old loaf of bread one might leave out.) To further encourage the growth of mold that flavored the cheese, the wheels of cheese were aged inside the caves. Today, most cheesemakers use commercially manufactured Penicillium Roqueforti cultures that are freeze-dried.

After the mold cultures are introduced to blue cheese, the “needling” begins. Wheels of cheese are pierced (either by hand or by a device that can poke many tiny holes at once) to create tiny openings. Air enters the wheel of cheese, feeding the mold, and blue/green veins form.

The flavor of Blue cheese is often an acquired taste. Some people initially find the pungent, almost peppery, flavor of varieties such as Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Danish Blue and similar cheeses to be overly strong. However, when one becomes used to the flavor, it is quite delicious. The flavor of Blue cheese is dominated by a class of compounds known as n-methyl ketones (alkan-2-ones). Spores of the blue mold, Penicillium roqueforti, germinate within mechanical openings (needling) in the cheese mass to form the blue veins characteristic of these varieties’. roqueforti produces two potent extracellular lipases which dominate lipolysis in these cheeses which have the highest levels of free fatty acids of all cheese families. However, liberation of fatty acids from triacylglycerols is only the start of the process of producing the Blue cheese flavor. P. roqueforti converts fatty acids to n-methyl ketones by a four-step pathway corresponding to the early stages of beta-oxidation. Heptan-2-one and nonan-2-one are the predominant n-methyl ketones in Blue cheese and contribute greatly to its pungent flavor.

So now that you are full of knowledge here are a few pictures to get you back to that nice romantic place you were in when I told you the legend first. We know that if you are brave and try this combination with a good red wine you will understand why the shepherd gave up on the beautiful woman.

blue cheese and chocolate 1

blue cheese and chocolate 3

blue cheese and chocolate

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Strata the Gourmet Cheese and French Bread Casserole!

strata 1

Strata – the “gourmet casserole” It’s got all the homey, comfort food qualities of its predecessors, and a name that brings to mind layer upon layer of savory, custardy bread, melted cheeses, salty meats and seasonal vegetables.

¾ cup shredded Maasdam cheese
¾ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Cooking spray
1 loaf French bread (approximately 16 thin-sliced pieces)
4 ounces Serrano Ham
1 cup (about 4 ounces) roasted asparagus*, chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Mix the Swiss and Gruyere cheeses together in a small bowl and set aside. Liberally spray an 8” round casserole dish with cooking spray, and place half of the bread slices in the bottom of the dish. Layer half of the Serrano slices over the bread, followed by a layer of half of the roasted asparagus, and half of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering process, ending with a layer of cheese.

In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

When ready to bake, remove the strata from the refrigerator, and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake strata for 50 to 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and strata is slightly puffed and golden.

Serves 8.

∗ To roast 1 pound of asparagus: Preheat oven to 400°. Wash asparagus and break off bottoms of spears. Place asparagus on baking sheet, and drizzle with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 10 minutes, until slightly browned and tender. If you like, pour about 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice over asparagus and garnish with some grated lemon rind.

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Easter the Italian Way!

If you’re not Italian, or an Italian-American who grew up celebrating Nonna’s Old World food traditions, you might be unfamiliar with this smooth, bright-white cheese that comes in white plastic containers. Delicate in texture (think tofu), it’s made with pasteurized cows’ milk and rennet, an enzyme that causes milk to become cheese by separating it into the solid curds and liquid whey. The stuff looks like a cross between fresh mozzarella and ricotta, but has a much milder taste than those semi-soft cousins — somewhat bland, if we’re going to be perfectly honest, with only the faintest flavor of curds.

Some eat basket cheese right out of the slotted container, on top of crackers or good crusty bread, perhaps with a little honey, jam or fruit to sweeten things up, or with a generous drizzle of good-quality olive oil, sprinkle of salt and grind of black pepper. You also can crumble the cheese onto tossed greens for a light lunch (it has just 70 calories in a 1-ounce serving) or pair thick slices with olive spread or tomatoes in a grilled-cheese sandwich. Others like to sprinkle it on top of pasta or marinate it for an antipasto.  You also can whip it with sugar and heavy cream into a velvety, pudding-like dessert.

Basket cheese’s most popular use, though is in a rich, seasonal specialty known as Italian Easter pie.

Every region in Italy has its version of the savory dish, which also is known as pizza rustica, pizza chena or pizzagaina. In the Campagna region of Southern Italy, for instance, where the Easter tradition originated as a way to clear smokehouses of winter sausages, the double-crusted pie is stuffed with spicy-hot sopresatta and prosciutto along with basket cheese, ricotta and parmesan; you’ll also find recipes that include hard-boiled eggs, salami, sausage, pepperoni or Parma ham — sometimes all of the above. Really, there is no “right” way to do an Easter pie, other than to go all out with your favorite cured or salted meats and cheeses — and not be cowed by all the calories. It helps celebrate one of Christianity’s most important holidays, after all, so why not indulge?

From this:

easter basket cheeseTo This:


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Montboissie Morbier


Montboissie is a Morbier style cheese that is made in the highest part of the Jura Mountains in a small farm village in the Franche-Comte region.  The cheese dates back to the 19th century when producers of Comte cheese decided to make a smaller cheese for their own consumption. They take the leftover curd from the day and sprinkle it with ash to prevent it from drying out overnight. The next morning new curds are added and the wheel is pressed and washed with brine for form a protective rind.  Because of the washed rind the cheese has a pungent aroma that is surprisingly mild. It has a supple silkiness that is sweet, rich and has a nutty aftertaste with hints of fruit and fresh hay that pairs well with fruity white wines, nuts and grapes. This cheese is made with the milk of the Montbeliarde cow which is typical of this area and is a great melting cheese and is used in recipes like Quiche Lorraine, Potato Gratin

Try melting it over potatoes and bacon for a special treat on this cold mornings.

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Parmigiano Reggiano La Traversetolese “White Gold”

La Traversetolese logo

Known as the “king of cheese” there are more than one kind of Parmigiano Reggiano.  For example there is Parmigiano Regiano Solo Di Bruna made with milk from the Brown Apline Swiss cows, or Parmigiano Regiano Vacche Rosse made from the milk of the Regiano cow. Italy has 33 PDO cheeses and the La Traversetolese has a history dating back to the mid-13th century.  To be a PDO cheese the cows must eat at least 75% of their feed from the region, along with several other regulations, one is the sound the cheese makes when you strike it.

This version of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is produced from the cream of raw milk skimmed from the evening milking and whole milk from the morning milking. The color of the crust is straw color with branding that identifies the month and year made and the dairy.  The paste is hard with a color ranging from a light cream (pale straw) to a darker yellow (straw).  The structure of the cheese is hard with “crunchies” which are amino acids that are formed by proteolysis (the breaking down of proteins).  The crunchy bits facilitate in the digestion of the cheese making this an excellent cheese for young children and the elderly, it is rich in bioavailable calcium, absent of lactose and low in cholesterol.

La Traversetolese also known as “White Gold” takes its name from the village where the dairy was founded. The Cooperative has 73 farmers supplying milk for the 20,000 wheels made each year. The milk comes from cows that graze in the mountains, where they eat a particular mountain grass and flax.  Its rich taste pairs well with white wines.

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