Formaggio Kitchen Blog

Join Us for Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day 2015!

Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day

“Why Raw Milk?” is a common question at the Formaggio Kitchen cheese counter, and for good reason. Before the advent of pasteurization just over 150 years ago (thanks Louis Pasteur) the world’s cheeses were made exclusively from raw milk. Heating milk to a high temperature (135oF for 30 minutes or 161oF for 30 seconds according to US regulations) has proven to stabilize dairy products and prolong shelf life. While this process has the benefit of reducing the risk of certain contaminating pathogens in milk, it also effectively destroys the vast majority of naturally occurring bacteria in raw milk. These beneficial micro- flora and fauna provide a great potential to produce a wide range of complex flavors and aromas through the cheesemaking and aging process. Although cheesemakers using pasteurized milk can compensate for lack of microbial activity with the addition of commercially produced cultures, these amendments can obfuscate the origin and true character of the milk. Raw milk cheesemakers using safe manufacturing practices can transform this rich, wholesome product into something that is truly evocative of the place where it was made.

Next Saturday, April 18th, we are thrilled to celebrate the first annual Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day. Cheesemakers, retailers, and consumers around the world are getting together to share their love for traditionally made cheeses and raise awareness of the gustatory and nutritional benefits of raw milk cheese. We’ll be featuring a number of our favorite raw milk cheesemakers across all of our locations.

 

Suffolk Punch

Suffolk Punch

PARISH HILL CREAMERY, Westminster West, VT
@ Formaggio Kitchen South End on Saturday, April 18th from 11 am to 3 pm

Renowned cheesemaker and consultant Peter Dixon is heralded by some as the “Godfather of Vermont Cheese.” With over 30 years of raw milk cheesemaking under his belt, Peter has helped craft recipes and design facilities for some of our favorite cheesemakers in the Northeast, including Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont. Today, Peter makes cheese with the the help of his wife Rachel in pastoral southern Vermont, where he focuses on adapting classic Italian DOP (protected origin) cheeses to American terroir, including the Cacciocavallo-style “Suffolk Punch” pictured left. Parish Hill’s latest project is a partnership with Crown Heights Finish, an aging facility that takes his young cheeses to Brooklyn for subterranean urban affinage.

 

Greta's Fair Haven

Greta’s Fair Haven

RUGGLES HILL CREAMERY, Hardwick, MA
@ Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge on Saturday, April 18th from 11 am to 3 pm 

Local engineers and innovators Tricia Smith and Michael Holland began raising goats in Carlisle, MA in 2001 and started making cheese in 2005 as Carlisle Farmstead Cheese. They quickly outgrew their first creamery, and settled on the historic Ruggles Family homestead in Hardwick, MA in 2010. Ever since, they have been producing some of our favorite goat cheeses with a precision and attention to detail that reflects their commitment to sustainability and a true passion for their trade. Their herd of about 16 does are milked by hand and help support production of small-format bloomy-rinded cheeses, each named after one of their goats. Greta’s Fair Haven is Tricia and Michael’s only raw milk cheese, and its delightfully dense, herbaceous paste is clothed in a delicate,
earthy rind.

 

Tekenink Tomme

Tekenink Tomme

ROBINSON FARM, Hardwick, MA
@ Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge on Saturday, April 18th from 11 am to 3 pm

Since 1892, the Robinson Family has been farming in the rolling hills of central Massachusetts. Fifth-generation farmer Ray Robinson and wife Pamela manage a certified organic diversified farm featuring a milking herd of over 40 Holstein, Jersey and Normandy cows. In 2004, the couple decided to expand their operation beyond fluid milk, and began taking classes and experimenting with cheesemaking. Since 2009, they have been making exclusively raw milk, farmstead cheeses, in the French and Swiss Alpine tradition. Our latest offering from Robinson Farm is a grassy, washed-rind wheel called Tekenink (tay-kah-nink) Tomme that has a wonderfully complex finish redolent of horseradish and earth.

 

Ekiola Ardi Gasna

Ekiola Ardi Gasna

FROMAGERIE EKIOLA, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Cheese available at all Formaggio Kitchen locations

In the heart of Basque country in the high mountains of the Pyrénées, husband and wife Désiré and Kati Lathayo make some of our favorite Ardi Gasna (Basque for sheep’s cheese) on the planet. At Fromagerie Ekiola (translated as “mountain hut”), the Lathayo family makes Ekiola Ardi Gasna, the only farmstead or fermier cheese we import from the region. The label of fermier indicates that the cheesemaker is sourcing their milk from their animals and aging and marketing their cheeses at the farm. For smaller productions like Fromagerie Ekiola, this ensures optimum quality control and a distinct expression of terroir. Ekiola Ardi Gasna is a perennial staff favorite at Formaggio, and one of the most nuanced raw milk cheeses on our counter.

 

Pecorino Caggiano

Pecorino Caggiano

AZIENDA AGRICOLA CAGGIANO-SUMMO, Basilicata, Italy
Cheeses available at all Formaggio Kitchen locations

In southern Italy, the Caggiano-Summo family raises cows, goats, and sheep and a host of other livestock in the town of Forenza. Michael Caggiano donned his family farm “Il Parco Delle Bontà” (literally translated as the park of goodness) when he founded the operation in 1974. Today, matriarch Maria Caggiano oversees the production of incredible raw milk cheeses, breeding stock, and pork and salami. We offer a selection of Caggiano’s rustic, singular cheeses including on of our favorite Pecorino Stagionato styles, Pecorino di Caggiano. Every wheel we receive differs in size and age (and character), but we embrace all of these delicious variations as the mark of a true artisan producer.

 

Please join us at the shop this Saturday, April 18th where we’ll be celebrating raw milk cheese (as always) and offering samples of our favorites!!

 

Rory Stamp is a classroom instructor, Wine Buyer, and cheese monger at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.

Vieilles Vignes: Do Old Vines Make Better Wine?

Vieilles vignes is a phrase you frequently see on French wine labels. These are somewhat mysterious words since, though it’s obvious they refer to vines of some advanced age (it literally means old vines), it isn’t immediately clear (a) how old ‘old’ is and (b) why we should care. The conventional wisdom has it that Continue Reading »

The Color of Eggs: An Interview with Our Resident Egg-spert

White, brown, blue, green; speckled, striped, solid, blushed; boiled, scrambled, fried, whipped — there are so many kinds of eggs and so many delicious ways to use them! To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of eggs as a kid, but eggs are now one of my favorite things to buy here at Formaggio Kitchen. Not only Continue Reading »

When Red Wine Grapes Go White

Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Sangiovese. The names of these grapes inspire images of red hues ranging from autumn auburn to vibrant vermilion; tastes of smoke, berries, cherries, and chocolate; textures ranging from tongue gripping to smooth satin. Yet we owe these sensory impressions largely to the skin of these grapes, and the Continue Reading »