Monthly Archives: March 2014

Raschera

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Raschera

Raschera cheese is produced in the mountains of the Monregalese area and bears the name of the mountain pasture at the foot of Monte Mongioie. The texture is elastic with small irregular holes dotted though out the cheese. It is produced and matured without the use of preservatives.  Raschera is a creamy delicate, sweet, nutty and slightly spicy with salty undertones, similar to in style to muenster type cheeses.

It is excellent for any cheese board, melted in rissottos or over vegetables or diced in salads.  We have used it for pizza and as replacement for mozzarella.

Pairs well with red wines from the Piemonte area like Dolcetto d’Alba,  Dolcetto di Dogliani – Barbera d’Alba,  Verduno Pelaverga.

Try it in this savory pudding and fondue recipe

Antica Tartra with Raschera Fondue

Ingredients (for 6)

  • 4 whole eggs plus 2 yolks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 onion
  • 3 spoonfuls of grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 8 oz. Raschera cubbed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped laurel
  • Pinch of sage and rosemary
  • Butter and 2 glasses of whole milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg

Directions

Finely chop the onions and brown in the butter, allow to soften. Separately beat the eggs in a bowl, add lukewarm milk and cream beating eggs as milk is added. Stir in parmigian and 2 ounces of Raschera the herb mix, salt and pepper to taste a pinch of nutmeg. When this has all been mixed well add onion and mix. Pour this mixture into greased and floured moulds.

Bake at 300 in a bain marie for about 40 minutes.

Raschera Fondue

Melt  remaining Raschera in 2 glasses of milk in a bain marie.

To Serve line bottom of dish with a ladle of fondue, top with Tartra and cover with melted cheese.

 

Raschera Cheese . All about it. Translated from Italian with Google Translate. Not the most accurate, but the best I could do.

Raschera is a delicious cheese from Piemonte with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO ), which, due to its characteristics, it is greatly appreciated not only as a product table but also as an ingredient in cooking. In this guide we will discover the history, characteristics , production methods , and recommendations for the consumption of Raschera PDO dairy product obtained only with milk from the ancient tradition of the highest quality.

Origins and history of the PDO cheese Raschera
Raschera is a raw and semi-hard cheese that comes from the mountains of Piedmont and, more specifically , from the Valleys Monregalesi which are in the province of Cuneo. In these mountainous areas belonging to the Maritime Alps for centuries the economy revolves around the breeding of dairy cattle , but also goats and sheep, who will find large tracts of mountain pastures . Raschera PDO is produced from cow’s milk , which you can add the milk goat and / or sheep in order to get a more pronounced cheese flavor , slightly spicy.
The name of this cheese, Raschera , derived from a local name that refers to a pasture and a lake situated on the slopes of Mount Mongioie , which, with its top touching 2630 meters of altitude. The area of the so-called ” Alpe Raschera ” is the cradle of a very special cheese production , following a centuries-old tradition , produces cheese round and square . In particular, the latter type of cheese that appeared more comfortable to carry the Alpine pastures to the valley floor , where the products of the mountain all still traveled by mule .

Here then the square shape , making it more practical to stack and carry, it still remained a key feature of cheese Raschera . Currently , with the disappearance of these logistical problems , we produce both square and round shapes ; machining initial milk are the same , then with a procedure that differs for the use of molds of different shape. Currently it is estimated that only less than 3% of the forms of Raschera are produced nowadays in the cylindrical version .

The downstream transport of the forms did not occur , however, before they had spent a certain period of maturation within particular premises such saddles. These cells maturing , very simple but functional , were and still are derived from a simple digging in the ground.  Inside the seats creates an ideal environment for the maturation of cheese, with constant temperature and moisture content . In these rooms there are also particular strains of mold that settle naturally on the rind of the cheese , giving it its characteristic pink hue . Currently only a limited part of the production of PDO Raschera still takes advantage of these traditional shelters .
Today, as then , Raschera is manufactured using high quality milk produced by cattle fed only hay and fodder in the mountains. Especially during the summer months , when the meadows are full of the typical species of high altitude , the cheese takes on even more fragrant aromas and flavors .  In recognition of the excellent quality of the product and the long history that sets it apart , the European Union has assigned to the cheese Raschera the PDO ( Protected Designation of Origin ) in 1996. For the protection of this denomination there is the Cheese Consortium Raschera PDO ( see link at bottom of page ), which brings together producers and maturers and is responsible for the development , oversight, and promoting this typical Piedmontese cheese .

Production of PDO Raschera
The area of ​​origin of the cheese Raschera PDO coincides with the entire administrative area of the province of Cuneo. According to the Production Regulations (see link at bottom of page ) , all the processing and subsequent aging should only be performed within this specific geographic area. In addition, the cheese produced at altitudes above 900 meters above sea level ( in some mountain towns listed in full in the Regulations ) may be marketed with the ” Mention of Alp .”

Livestock feed
The Cattle , sheep and / or goats whose milk is used for the production of PDO Raschera is powered exclusively by natural forage , both fresh and preserved , which come from the pastures of the production area . When machining is used in dairies milk from two milkings , one of the evening added with that of the morning , and production takes place throughout the year .

Coagulation of milk
The milk is heated in large containers until reaching a temperature between 27 and 36 ° C , and the addition of liquid rennet of animal origin that determines the coagulation of milk . Usually you have to wait twenty minutes for the entire mass abundant coagulation is complete : at this point occurred the separation of curds and whey , which is the water fraction of the milk in the local dialect is called prod.
After which the breaking of the curd , which is made using a particular traditional instrument that takes the name of spanuira . The whole mass is subjected to whisk for the next few minutes , an operation that is performed with the sbatarela , a thorn in spruce wood obtained from the top of the tree .

The whey
The curd is collected by special rotational and placed inside a canvas made ​​of hemp ( the curuira ) in order to allow it to drain. After a rest period of about ten minutes , the curd is still wrapped in this cloth is placed inside cylindrical containers , the fascele , made ​​of wood and provided with holes . Above each fascela is placed a weight, which will be left in position for a quarter of an hour approximately .
The forms are subjected to these pressing operations which allow the separation of the serum possibly remained in the dough and gives the cheese its typical flattened shape .
Subsequently, the weight is removed by opening the fascela and working the curd with hands , up to reduce it into small fragments . It then repeats the previous step , with the collection of curds in the cloth of hemp and its distribution inside the molds that will give the final shape , cylindrical , square , or more likely .

salting
The salting of the forms is dry in two separate occasions, and possibly it is possible to precede all from a prior salting in brine . The salting starts from the top side of the form , which is sprinkled with coarse salt and left to rest for about 24 hours . The form is then reversed and salt on the other side and along the edges. After the salting phase forms have absorbed the right amount of salt that will be distributed throughout the mass gradually during ripening.

seasoning
The curing stage takes place within particular local , in the case of D’ Raschera Alpeggio PDO , are represented by the traditional saddles dug in the ground and described previously . If the dairy was in the plains , the premises used for seasoning reproduce faithfully temperature and humidity typical of saddles mountain .
The forms are set to mature on wooden boards and are periodically turned over and brushed to remove dirt deposits have accumulated.
According to the Production Regulations seasoning should be continued for at least a month, but especially the artisan producers leave to mature forms for several months, until five or six. In this way, the cheese will be a fresh and delicate taste to a much more intense and flavorful .

Branding
Immediately before being marketed each form that meets the quality standards required by the Regulations is marked with a flag to the fire that will make it so unique .

Features Raschera PDO
Raschera PDO cheese is a semi-fat or fat characterized by a flattened shape , both round and square . As regards the dimensions and weights , square shapes have sides of about 28-40 cm in length, for one barefoot ( or thickness ) of about 7-15 cm and the weight of each form is variable between 6 and 10 kilograms . The round shapes instead are characterized by a diameter of approximately 30-40 cm and by a heel of 6-9 cm , of slightly convex shape . In this case the weight of the forms is around 5-9 kilograms.  Seen from the outside , Raschera PDO comes with a thin crust , smooth and regular texture quite elastic. The color of the crust is usually gray tending to pink -brown, sometimes with greenish and yellowish pink on bare patches , which are usually accentuated with the progress of aging. It is important to remind the consumer that the rind of this cheese , for health and hygiene reasons , it is not edible .  The dough is raw and semi-hard , compact consistency and somewhat elastic , and can be observed within the same holes (ie the ” little holes ” typical of cheese that are formed during the aging process ) fine , irregular and scattered . The color of the cheese is typically milky white, depending on the season and can take shade ivory white tending to straw .  Tasting Raschera PDO ” cool ” is recognized because of its mild flavor , delicate and fragrant, strongly reminiscent of that of raw milk. With the progress of the ripening flavor is enhanced by a slightly spicy nuance and becomes more intense and full- bodied .  The prohibition of the use of any type of preservative, both during production and during aging , gives the DOP Raschera the characteristics of a dairy product is completely natural, healthy and genuine.
Nutritional characteristics of the PDO Raschera

Here is the nutritional table on 100 grams of cheese Raschera PDO .

Raschera PDO cheese is a nutrient that in 100 grams contains about 30 grams of fat and more than 20 g of protein. It is therefore a product to be consumed with some restraint on the part of those on a diet or overweight, since in 100 g of cheese contains about 340 kcal . Raschera is however a less caloric than other cheeses , and especially those of hard cheese . Please also note that those who suffer from high blood pressure should consume small portions because of the high content of sodium chloride.

Thanks to its excellent nutritional properties Raschera PDO cheese is ideal for children and adults , sports or otherwise, and for the elderly . In the latter case, the soft texture and flavor invogliante are able to stimulate even the most inappetent . The high quantity of mineral salts , especially calcium , is an invaluable aid to children in the growth phase and for people predisposed to osteoporosis.
Recognize and enjoy Raschera PDO
We are in the supermarket and we intend to buy the Raschera PDO . How do we recognize it? Very easy, just search on the rind of the cheese label paper characteristic , whose background is green for the ” Raschera PDO ” and yellow for ” Raschera PDO Mention of Alp .”
In addition, each form has a branding exactly in the center of one of the two flat faces . Mark on the paper shows the logo of this PDO cheese , consisting of a letter “r” stylized green that goes inside a small “a” in the case of cheese Raschera ” Mention of Alp ” (see below ) .

Without a doubt , Raschera is a great semi-hard cheese that is eaten as it is, perhaps accompanying it with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of good red wine from Piedmont . Raschera DOP is also a particularly versatile in the kitchen, and can be used for the realization of different recipes as appetizers, first and second courses.
For example, this cheese is particularly suitable to be melted , so it can be used for the preparation of tasty and creamy risotto with bacon , bacon , zucchini , leeks or whatever your imagination suggests .
Raschera is also good to be eaten with a side dish of cooked vegetables or diced in salads , which gives a flavor really tasty . Raschera is often also used to prepare delicious fondues , vol -au-vents , quiches, pasta and as a dressing for potato gnocchi .

The Mountain Community of the Valleys monregalesi , includes within its territory one of the largest complexes pasture in the Province of Cuneo. In this part of the Maritime Alps , which is due at the end of the chain, the peaks reach modest altitudes and pads have a sweeter morphology : the mountain pastures so come to greater heights .
These surfaces are still intensively used in the summer by the herds of cattle , and sheep graze the poorest areas and high . As always, these Monregalese Alps , cheese is a particular product that has the name of a lake and a grassland site at the foot of Mount Mongioie ( m.2.630 ) : cheese RASCHERA .

” Alpe Raschera ” , has an area of approximately 620 and is located in the so-called ” administrative area ” of the municipality of Magliano Alpi
The local artisan cheese-making tradition , imposed on the cheese Raschera round and / or square . The latter has established itself over the years, for the greater convenience of transport took over, when the cheese had to be transported downstream from the ” saddle ” ( cafes formed directly in the ground, with the function of cells in which the natural aging ‘ humidity and temperature remain constant over time , lead to an environment highly suitable for the ripening of the cheese that takes on the heel and on the whole crust of the flat surfaces , a typical reddish color due to the development of mold in that color ), using , as the only means transport , the mule (the forms ” square ,” thus assumed greater stability and a better chance to improve the stacking of forms on the back of the quadruped ) . The tradition of making this typical mountain cheese all over the Monregalese meant that even today , especially in rural areas , to find a cheese that comes from the mountains that surround Mondovi , it says ” a raschera ” while indicating a cheese always in the mountains, but of another valley , it says ” tuma mountain.”

Historically we have the first hints of the existence of this cheese into a lease at the end of 1400 found in the municipal Pamparato , in which the local lord demanded by the shepherds who ” beat around their cows to graze the grass of the Raschera lawn ” for the payment of some forms of” the good cheese that gets up there . ” In the early ’70s , due to problems of market and consequently the depletion of the labor force that juvenile mountain areas were suffering due to the pro- industrial policy then prevailing in Italy , it is in danger of permanently losing this jewel of dairy production and craft .
A curious initiative of some characters of Fabrosa Soprana ( the heart of the summer production of Raschera ) , always in love with the local tradition and of the genuine products and linked to the peasant culture of the mountain , he allowed what was said before it did not. Not only that, but there was , at the level of production, a turnaround with a net increase in the market of Raschera Alpeggio .
They formed the ” Brotherhood of Raschera and Brus ” ( another typical local dairy product ), whose ” Knights ” had and have the task to ” propagate , raise awareness and support ” the production , consumption , knowledge and sales ” Raschera ” (following the mountain tradition , locally , is also used in the Italian female to indicate this cheese). This was the first act of a big political movement and a technical note not to forget this cheese. In the early 80’s in fact , the Chamber of Commerce , Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture of Cuneo and the Mountain Community of the Valleys Monregalesi , presented the study and all the necessary paperwork to the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry aimed at recognition of the DO ( Designation of Origin ) cheese Raschera .
production

Being characteristic of the cheese DO ” RASCHERA ” the ability to be manufactured either in the form ” round “, or cylindrical , weighing approximately 5-8 kg , with a barefoot 7-9 cm . and a diameter of 35-40 cm . and / or in the form ” square “, or rectangular , of a weight of about 7-10 kg , with a barefoot 12-15 cm . and a side of 40 cm. , it is obvious that also the processing will undergo , after a start perfectly equal , a diversification to obtain the product in the final desired shape .

Therefore, the first part of the work will consist of the following stages: cow’s milk (which sometimes is added goat’s milk or sheep to make the taste of the cheese derived spicier ) , from two milkings ( the evening one more than the morning ) , may be added in the amount considered optimal , liquid rennet , after heating the mass to a temperature of 27-30 degrees centigrade.  During heating, you must take care to continuously stir the milk and keep it stirred so that the heat is better distributed within the mass itself. Reached the optimum temperature and added the liquid rennet , the product is left to rest for about 20 minutes , half an hour , keeping the vessel that contains it covered with a canvas cloth or wool adapted to prevent any dispersion of heat. Is obtained so that the curd is then broken with a spatula (called ” spanuira ” ) , secondly, for at least five minutes we proceed to whisk with a thorn wood characteristic shape of said ” sbatarela ” (derived from the manipulation of the tip of a fir ) and finally arranges for the collection of curds separate from the whey (called the “prod ” ) with slow circular movements. This curd , well separated from the whey is collected in a canvas called ” curuira ” from which it can drain , and after about ten minutes , all the while wrapped in the cloth , is put into wooden forms cylindrical with a diameter of 35 – 40 cm. ( the so-called ” fascele ” ) having holes in the board acts to the passage of any serum still present and then loaded with weights to facilitate bleeding . After about ten minutes, open the ” fascele ” and the curd is kneaded with the hands sminuzzandola finely ; After that , harvest the product again in the ” curuira ” and later in ” fascela ” , puts weight below where you will stay for at least 12 hours . Hence it is removed as a finished product , ready for salting and seasoning .

Salting , as a rule , is carried out first on the top face of the form as soon as removed from the press and with coarse salt for about 24 hours , and thereafter turned the form, for a day or two, on the other side and always bare and dry with coarse salt.

After salting, you start the round shape to the seasoning that will be accomplished in suitable premises , which can be , depending on the place where you work , two different types :
* If you are in pasture , the place of seasoning called ” saddle ” consists of a restaurant is housed in the ground, the roof of which is nothing more than a small vault in turn covered with earth , precisely for these its characteristics, allows a constant temperature equal to the average of that year ( as happens in natural caves ) and , very importantly , determines a constant humidity and optimal for the complete maturation of the cheese and for the development of molds red characteristics on the crust of the same .

* If you are in the company of the valley or plain , the place is nothing but a maturing cellar reproducing as closely as possible, the characteristics of temperature and humidity before mentioned for the ” saddles ” .
In both local cheese ripening will be laid on wooden boards and cleaned and brushed on the crust that gradually take over the texture, color and smell typical of seasoned cheese RASCHERA .
The minimum ripening period is required by the specification of a month , but the tradition also includes cheeses aged for five or six months who purchase a savory taste that will be especially appreciated by ” strong palates .” The various processes described above , lead to having a cheese round shape.
Below we will look at the process that will lead to the final result as a square shape (ie rectangular ) : cow’s milk , with the addition of goat’s milk and / or sheep in limited quantities from two milkings , is heated until it reaches 27-30 degrees Celsius ; then adding the right amount of rennet which must always be liquid .
After about an hour the curd is broken with a spatula ( spanuria ) for five minutes and then we proceed to whisk with a skimmer ( sbatarela ) and finally arranges for the collection of the curd (prod ) with a slow circular motion.

The curd is so separated from the whey is collected in a canvas ( curuira ) from which it can drain , after which , always wrapped in cloth and placed into cylindrical shape with a diameter of 35-40 cm . ( fascele ) having holes on the board. After about ten minutes they open the ” fascele ” and riimpasta the curds with your hands sminuzzandola finely.
So , bunched and released in the canvas , storing under the weight , turning the cheese every hour for about a whole day at this point, is extracted from the ” fascela ” round the curd still wrapped in cloth and placed in a form parallellepipeda ( basin ) formed by wooden boards.  In the ” hollow ” the cheese is covered with a wooden board , loaded with weights , staying there for four or five days so as to assume a square shape irregular ;
salting is carried out with dry salt on all four sides of the heel during compression that still requires the overturning of daily form ; salting of the two flat faces is done only after removal from the ” basin ” .
A salting completed , this cheese that has already assumed a square form , it is sent to the seasoning on the premises that , as mentioned before about the seasoning for the round shapes , can be , depending on the area in which it operates , the ” saddle ” dell’alpeggio or the cellar of the bottom of the valley or plain.  Even in these cases , the minimum maturation period allowed by the specification, is one month .
Generally the RASCHERA square is tastier than round .  Especially in the summer and then the RASCHERA D ‘ ALPEGGIO is preferably manufactured in a square shape .
Members only in the Dairy processors is prevailing in the manufacture of square shapes than round ones (over ninety percent of their production is square ) .

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Bouche Amish Farmhouse Cheddar

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FARMHOUSE CHEDDAR FROM THE AMISH

Cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses. The mere mention of the name can bring many cheese lovers to salivate. So cheddar is cheddar, right? Definitely not! Cheddar is made in just about every English-speaking country and just as different countries have different accents, so they make different cheddar.  The Amish treat their cows as part of the family. The Amish use only their own milk to make their cheeses. They are passionate about the quality of their products.

TASTING NOTES

The aroma of authentic cheddar should be nutty or grassy, with a rich texture and complex flavors ranging from fruity to a woody oakiness. Factory processed cheddar is usually rubbery and dense and without the few cracks you will find in your Bouche farmhouse cheddar which can range in color from straw yellow to beige with a red bloomy rind from the cherry wood it is aged in.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

There are two theories on how Cheddar got its name. The first is that it is named after the English town Cheddar in southwestern England, where the cheese was first made. The other theory is that the name derives from one of the steps in the cheese-making process. After the cow’s milk curd is scalded twice, it is “cheddared” by repeatedly being cut up to remove whey and breaking the curd until it is smooth and silky. We love English Cheddar for its buttery, nutty richness, without the slightest hint of bitterness or bite, but we are addicted to the Amish Cheddar. This richness and creaminess can in part be attributed to the cow’s milk from which Amish Cheddar is made. This breed is renowned for having the perfect fat-to-protein ratio, which results in a fantastically, full-flavored cheddar. The flavor of Cheddar is often described as “sharp,” which is a direct relation to the acidity level. The higher it is, the sharper the cheese tastes. It is very easy to put this “sharpness” into cheese, and it actually kills other flavors. So what most farmhouse cheddar makers strive for is a breadth of flavors that develop with time. You’ll know great cheddar if you can still taste the sweet nuttiness several minutes after you have finished your first mouthful. Cheddar can be paired wonderfully with dark beer.

Please visit our web site for more information on this cheese and others Florida Cheese Club or like us on Facebook for GREAT recipes.

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The following is from Tom’s Amish Dairy web site:

With the burgeoning interest in health foods, cove or artisan cheese has steadily been receiving the recognition that it deserves. Until recent years, the only cave cheeses on the market were imported from Europe. Now, however, enterprising farmers have traveled to Europe and learned the secrets from master cheese makers.

These Artisan-Style cheeses are made from raw (unpasteurized milk) obtained from animals located on the farm where the cheese is made. The cows are pastured on organic, chemical-free grasses and receive no hormones or antibiotics, only homeopathic remedies, if necessary. Raw milk can be safely used in the cheese making process. The FDA requires that all raw milk cheese produced and sold in the United States be aged for a minimum of 60 days, the time deemed necessary to destroy any or most harmful bacteria.

Cheese made from raw milk or whole milk is superior in taste to those made from pasteurized milk. Most pasteurized milk is from a collection of dairies and is generally tainted with chemicals. The heating process used to pasteurize milk destroys many natural enzymes in the milk that affects the cheese making process. Pasteurization also results in the loss of many delicate flavors and retards the ripening of the cheese.

Artisan cheeses are handcrafted and a work of art in the world of cheese- making. The milk is chilled and transferred directly into the cheese vat and heated. The original culture from France (kept from batch to batch) is added once the milk reaches the correct temperature. Soon vegetable rennet is added and the cheese making process begins.

Smethe: Cheese is not pressed but allowed to drain naturally to retain the natural enzymes. The wheels of cheese are rubbed with Celtic Sea Salt and placed in a cave where the temperature of approximately 58 degrees is maintained in a humid atmosphere. Humidity, air circulation and temperature are the three factors that control the maturation of cheese.

The process of aging and maturing the cheese is called Affinage, a name givenby the French. In addition to flavor, many healthful compounds may be developed during affinage. During this manually intensive process, wheels are brushed with Celtic Sea Salt, water or other liquids and turned every two or three days. Molds are encouraged to grow to produce specific rinds, blue veins, etc. The mold’s job is to protect the fresh curd. The rind of the mold extends the life of the curd by acting as a barrier to contaminants and by holding the moisture.

There are two categories of mold-ripened cheese – Natural Rind and White – Mold. Natural Rind cheeses are acquired naturally without a lot of help from the Affineur (the one who carries out the work of Affinage). White – Mold cheeses have their rind grown using a strain of culture. They are often created in laboratories to produce a certain affect and purchased by the cheesemaker.

The mold on natural rind cheeses may be various colors. Whatever the color of the mold, it represents a natural process and is quite edible. Only a bright yellow color should be avoided. Eating the rind is a matter of personal preference. The rind will definitely make the cheese stronger in flavor, but the choice if eating or not is up to the individual.

Artisan cheese should never be stored in plastic as it kills the healthful enzymes. To store, wrap cheese in was paper and then in aluminum foil. Place in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. Freezing this particular style of cheese results in loss of quality. Bring cheese to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.

Americans   are now learning what Europeans have known for centuries and the Artisan Cheese Cart is replacing the dessert cart in many upscale restaurants in major cities. Most restaurants retain the services of a wine and cheese expert or Fromager. Some places even have their own well stocked cheese caves on the premises to provide their customers with the best in Artisan Cheese. The time and labor required to produce these cheeses is reflected in the price but that has not deferred the many that are enjoying the taste and healthful benefits of Cave-Aged Artisan Cheese.

BOUCHE’ –   Bouche’  is an approximately two (2) year old Cheddar that is aged in forty (40) lb. blocks at 50 degrees. We then cut up the block into four(4) and put it in the cave with the Smethe. It is then treated and handled the same as the Smethe. It ages for approximately ten (10) weeks or until the White Mold has completely engulfed the block of cheese. It is then ready for sale.

BOUCHE’ French Renaissance word meaning “square with a knife” This is a Cheddar type cheese.

SMETHE French Renaissance word meaning “smooth”. This is a camembert (KAM uhm behr) type cheese.  It has a subtle salty taste with fruity overtones.

 

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Gorgonzola

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Gorgonzola, Italy

Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola is one of the world’s oldest blue-veined cheeses. The Cheese is mainly produced in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, Gorgonzola. Unskimmed cow’s milk is used while preparing the cheese. Generally it takes three to four months to attain full ripeness.

This cheese has crumbly and soft texture with nutty aroma. It can have a mild to sharp taste depending on its age. Gorgonzola Dolce (also called Sweet Gorgonzola) and Gorgonzola Piccante (also called Gorgonzola Naturale, Gorgonzola Montagna, or Mountain Gorgonzola) are its two varieties, which vary in their age.

Gorgonzola can be consumed in many ways. It is served with wines like Bordeaux Blend (Red), Zinfandel and Sauternes.

Gorgonzola  is graded by the amount of mold in the interior. The ones with the most greenish-blue are rated superior.  Young Gorgonzola is creamer, less moldy and sweeter than Gorgonzola Piccante and should be paired with less sweet but fruity red wines such as California Cabernet Sauvignon and Vin Santo for the aged Gorgonzola.

Bleu cheese is a category of cheeses that contain spots or stripes of the mold Penicillium. Gorgonzola is a specific type of bleu cheese, produced in Northern Italy. While both are extensively used in cooking and with wine and food, gorgonzola has a unique taste and appearance.

Comparison chart   Differences — Similarities 

blue vs gorgonzola

Made from cow’s milk

  •          Country of origin: Italy
  •          Region: Gorgonzola
  •          Type: soft, blue-veined
  •          Fat content: 25-35%
  •          Texture: crumbly and firm
  •          Color: yellow

                              

Walnut Gorgonzola Crostini with Crumble Fried Sage

Serves 6-8

4 ounces gorgonzola, room temperature

¼ cup cream

½ cup finely chopped walnuts

4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

20 fresh sage leaves, washed and patted dry

olive oil

1 ciabatta loaf, cut into 1/2 inch slices

kosher salt or fine sea salt

1 clove of garlic, peeled

Directions

  1.       Combine gorgonzola, cream, walnuts and parmesan in a medium sized bowl. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until a creamy spread forms.
  2.       Pour olive oil into a heavy pan, about a 1/4 inch full. Heat over medium high heat, but not smoking. Place sage leaves in oil and fry on each side about two to three minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all sage leaves have been fried. Once cooled, crumble fried sage leaves.
  3.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ciabatta slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4.        Slice garlic in half. Rub each slice of crostini with garlic. Spread a layer of gorgonzola walnut mixture on to each crostini. Sprinkle the top of each crostini with fried sage leaves and serve. Gorgonzola walnut mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

 

Port-Soaked Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola, Chives & Walnuts Recipe

Ingredients
12 dried figs, cut in half
1/2 cup Port wine
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Directions
In a one-quart saucepan, combine the figs, port, fennel seeds and black pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the figs plump in the port for 15 minutes, then remove the figs from the saucepan, and lay them out on a tray to cool completely.

In a food processor with a steel blade, combine the Gorgonzola cheese and chives and blend until smooth. Remove the mixture from the food processor and mix in the walnuts.

Place a small dollop of the cheese mixture in the center of each fig, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm the cheese. Serve cold.

 

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Manteche Provolone Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

By Chef Lippe

chicken cassarole

Serves 6

Ingredients

  •          6 ounces fresh lemon linguini – cut into 3” pieces
  •          3 tablespoons of butter from the Manteche
  •          1 sweet onion, chopped
  •          ¼ cup all purpose flour
  •          1 ½ cups chicken broth
  •          ¾ cup milk
  •          Salt and pepper to taste
  •          5 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  •          2 bunches of fresh broccoli heads
  •          1 cup shredded Bouche Cheddar
  •           1 cup shredded Manteche provolone

Directions

  1.       Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook pre directions (about 3 minutes or until al dente); drain. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F  Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  2.       Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in flour. Gradually stir in chicken broth. Slowly stir in milk, and cook, stirring, until sauce begins to thicken.     Season with salt and pepper.
  3.       Place cooked noodles in the bottom of casserole dish. Arrange cooked chicken in an even layer over noodles. Place broccoli over the chicken. Pour sauce evenly over the broccoli. Combine cheeses, and sprinkle half over the casserole.
  4.       Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Allow to set for 5 minutes, until cheese melts.

 

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Filed under Amish Cheese, Artisan pasta, Chef Lippe, Manteche Provolone, recipes

What to make with a Belgioioso Manteche (provolone with butter inside)

 

IMG_9304Mac and Cheese with Manteche Provolone

 

Ingredients

1 box elbow macaroni

1 bunch of fresh Asparagus

4 fresh tomatoes chopped

8 oz. of Belgioioso Manteche

1 cup of grated Vantia Provolone

Directions

Cook macaroni per directions.

While macaroni is cooking,  steam asparagus to al dente, drain water and add butter from Manteche cheese, fresh tomatoes and sauté.

Grate cheeses

Mix with drained Macaroni

Serve

 

IMG_9309

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OH MY GOD and we mean it Mac and Cheese

MY OH GOD Mac and Cheese

mac_cheese_01

Ingredients

3-1/2 cups large elbow macaroni

10 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut into 1″ squares

10 oz. Bouche Amish cheddar cheese, cut into 1″ squares

15 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded

1 cup Asiago cheese shredded

1 cup  Bellavitano with Balsamic vinegar shredded

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup half-and-half

2 eggs

2-2/3 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dry mustard powder

1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. kosher salt

Pinch paprika

1 Tbsp. fresh chives, for garnish

 Cooking Directions

Breathe Deep and Smile your family is going to love you!  You’re about to prepare the best mac and cheese ever!

Grease a 13″ x 9″ nonstick metal baking pan with 1 Tbsp. butter. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare macaroni according to the package directions, but make sure it’s al dente. (It should be firm.) Be sure to add a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil to the boiling water while cooking. Drain pasta well and pour into the baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, add the heavy cream, half-and-half, and sour cream; break the cream cheese into little bits with your fingers as you add it to the bowl. Add the egg, flour, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powders, dry mustard, cayenne pepper; combine very well with a mixer to break up that cream cheese. It will look lumpy, but that’s okay.

Starting at the corners of the pasta dish, place and push down the Velveeta and the Bouche cheddar cubes. Work your way around and toward the middle (they won’t push down completely, but just smooch them down a bit).

Now sprinkle the Gruyere cheese evenly over the top. Gently and evenly pour that non-fat, low calorie artery-clogging (grin from ear to ear) mixture on it, covering all areas. Gently shake the pan afterwards for a sec to make sure the liquid is even in the pan.  Make little holes into areas of the mixture with your fingers. (You’re just getting some of that Gruyere down deeper below the surface.)

Sprinkle the Asiago and Bellavitano combo over the mixture and sprinkle the paprika on top. Put this piece of heaven in the oven (make sure your oven rack is right in the middle) and bake until brown and bubbly — approximately 30 minutes.

It will be creamy in the center and crustier on the top and edges. Chop some fresh chives and get those taste buds ready. When it’s done, garnish with the chives. Try not to eat part of the crusty top before you serve it, I know it’s hard so Breathe deep and try hard.

This is your ticket to a happy family.

To change it up a little sprinkle 3 oz. of finely chopped Serrano Ham on the very top just after the Asiago and Bellavitano. 

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Filed under Amish Cheese, Artisan Cheese, Asiago, Chef Lippe, Macaroni and cheese, Serrano Ham

Cacio Di Roma

Caciode Roma

Yes, it’s a sheep’s milk cheese; and yes, it’s from the Roman countryside. Cacio di Roma, however, is a far cry from Pecorino Romano. Smaller, younger and softer, it’s just as much of a kitchen workhorse as its hulking cousin. Use it when you’re looking for smooth richness and a hint of fruit, instead of gamy, salty intensity. Melts smoothly & deliciously into sauces, pizzas, focaccia, crostini; you name it, a layer of melted Cacio di Roma is likely to make it better.

A STORY OF LOVE AND PASSION

The story behind this gourmet treat combines love and another passion cheese. It begins with that wonderful past time we know as lunch. Well, it should be wonderful—and romantic! What’s so romantic about lunch? Setting has a tremendous impact, especially when that setting is the Roman countryside. This is where, every day for six months, Michele Buster enjoyed her lunch. She had discovered the Sini family’s restaurant, Buonatavola, and every day she tasted Sini Fulvi’s own cheeses, as well as other select cheeses from Portugal, Spain and Italy.  Michele, an American, traveling to such places as Barcelona, Ireland and Italy to set up international sporting events, fell profoundly in love with handcrafted European cheeses! And who could blame her? At first, she fell in love with one particular cheese. With a bit of a language barrier, when the waiters sometimes brought the wrong cheese, she would say, “No, no! Bring the one with the black label.” The object of her affection was a semi-soft, mildly peppery, ewes’ milk cheese called Cacio de Roma. Perhaps influenced by the intoxicating nature of this culinary treat, Michele then fell madly in love with the man who made her favorite cheese, Pierluigi Sini. (Who knew cheese was an aphrodisiac?) The two of them joined together and moved—not to a home in Italy, but to Astoria, Queens, in New York City. Together, they would introduce the cheeses of Pierluigi Sini’s family to America. These days, Michele enthusiastically promotes cheese instead of sports, and gives seminars about the many aspects of handcrafted cheese making. She has been known to fly around the country in order to educate staff at cheese stores. In large part, it’s to make them feel more comfortable about mold. “Mold is natural and doesn’t ruin cheese. Nor is it unsafe. It doesn’t mean the cheese is bad. You don’t have to eat it but you can certainly eat the cheese beneath,” says Michelle.

SINI FAMILY HISTORY

The Sini family has been making Cacio de Roma and other cheeses on a small dairy farm in the Village of Nepi, Province-Viterbo, in the Lazio region of Italy for over 30 years. Many of their cheeses are very unusual and hard to find. Second generation master cheesemaker, Uncle Domenico Sini, uses ewe ‘s milk collected the same day from local shepherds to produce Cacio de Roma just as his forefather’s did. Once the cheese obtains its form and some texture, it is bathed in sea salt for 24 hours and then aged on wood in cellars for 30 -60 days. The end result is a creamy textured cheese with a mild, balanced flavor with a slightly fruity finish. It is the essence of the classic Italian table cheese found universally in Central and Southern Italy. In Italy, this type of cheese is referred to as a Caciotta (Kah-CHO-ta) for its small round form. “Cacio”, meaning cheese, is generally used in Central and Southern Italy while “formaggio” is the more recognized word in the rest of Italy. Not only is it enjoyed as a table cheese either before or after a meal, it is also used in everyday cooking as it melts exceptionally well. It is used as a filling for ravioli, grated or cubed in salads, on pizza and for simple sandwiches like grilled cheese, for instance.

TASTING NOTES

One of Sini Fulvi’s own masterworks, this cheese is semi hard, mildly peppery and slightly acidic. The cheese that first brought Pierluigi and Michele together comes in a “Rustico Black” made with whole black peppercorns, or a version made with crushed red pepper. Either variety will give you a light nip on the tongue. It is great in lasagna, and wonderfully bold in quesadillas.

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