One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was outside Palermo at an acquaintance’s small hotel. They served cheese from their own sheep and homemade wine from their own grapes, neither of which was particularly exceptional, but we sat there for several hours talking and eating. One simple dish they served was fresh mozzarella that had been baked into a semi liquid and doused in olive oil. We then sloppily scooped it up with bread, kind of like an Italian fondue. I was reminded of this story because we’re excitedly bringing back…
Mozzarella and Myrtle – One of our most popular seasonal specialties returns this weekend and remains through the new year. Ari first brought this combination to my attention about five years ago and it quickly became one of my favorites. Originating in Campania, the birthplace of mozzarella, fresh braided mozzarella is engulfed in branches of Greek myrtle leaves which are tied with raffia. Greek Myrtle is related to the Bay Leaf and has a beautiful aroma. The braid is baked at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. The strings are cut, the myrtle removed and olive oil is poured over the mozzarella with maybe some telicherry pepper and coarse sea salt. Then rip off chunks of Paesano bread and dip into the cheese. You’ll need lots of napkins, a bottle of hearty red wine and several friends.
Coming December 1st: New Pressed Goat Cheese rolled in fresh chopped tarragon. The goat milk is cultured and set for twelve hours then cut into cubes and hand-ladled into molds. The cheese is allowed to drain for about an hour and the molds are refilled. This process is repeated one more time. Then after about two hours, gentle weight is applied to press the cheeses for three hours. The cheeses are then brined and allowed to drain overnight. Once removed the cheeses are rolled in freshly chopped herbs. The result is a cheese that is denser than a fresh goat cheese, with a mellower less citrus tone which allows for the flavor of the herbs to accent the cheese nicely.
My wife turned me on to a great gelato combination – mixing cinnamon and pumpkin. This combination captures the essence of fall and gets me in the mood for the holidays.
September 18, 2006
We are continuing our efforts to improve the Manchester. I wise cheesemaker once taught me that when you attempt to alter a cheese to achieve a desired results, you only change one thing at a time. So, in our effort to limit the blue mold growth on the cheese, we look at all the factors that might be contributing, start with the most likely culprit and change that. Then you wait for the aging process, to see if the problem recurs. If it does, you move on to the next likely source, and so on. Our first treatment cut way down on the mold growth, but didn’t eliminate it, so we are moving on to the next phase.
Lately I’ve been into taking slices of the Lincoln Log, piquillo pepper, and olive oil and putting it under the broiler for about fifteen seconds. The warming enhances the goat flavor and it’s very good on a baguette.
Our next new flavors of gelato are about to come on board. Our most popular seasonal favorite PUMPKIN makes a comeback in time for Halloween along with a new, new flavor GREEN TEA. These are due the first week of October.