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Education

Italian Cheese: The Makings of Parmigiano Reggiano

Old and Young Parmigiano Reggiano

On a recent trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to visit a co-op that makes Parmigiano Reggiano. It was a first for me – I have witnessed the cheesemaking process before and have even tried my hand at making chèvre but I had never before observed the making of a hard, aged cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. Continue Reading »

Heirloom Varieties: The Apples of Our Ancestors

Crisp autumnal air. The sweet smell of leaves. Dashes of yellows and oranges and reds and browns. A quintessential New England fall. And nothing says fall to me like apples and apple picking. As a produce buyer here at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, what really gets my motor going is the sheer variety of apples available today. With the help of seed savers and the grace of a handful of dedicated growers, like Zeke Goodband of Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont, there are a plethora of heirloom apples available.

The Origins of Gorgonzola: Dolce and Piccante

Lombardy is a part of Italy that is home to many well-known cheeses: Taleggio, Mascarpone, Provolone, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola. What is interesting to me is that such a wide variety of styles are represented – be it washed-rind, blue, cooked or fresh. Perhaps this is the result of the fact that cheesemaking has a long history in the region. Indeed, Gorgonzola is one of the oldest blue cheeses in the world.

A Salt Tasting: How Do They Stack Up? (Part II)

Here at the shop, we have many kinds of salt, sourced from all over the world. It is a little bit daunting to try to choose between the lot of them so when Ihsan recently opened a number of them for a class, I jumped at the opportunity to do a little tasting across varieties and types, hitting many of the ones I had never tried before.

Salt: The Only Kind of Rocks Eaten by Humans (Part I)

Most folks are aware that salt is somehow critical to human survival. Reading Mark Kurlansky’s book, Salt, I became aware of just how integral this substance is to the healthy functioning of our bodies and, consequently, the major role it has played in human affairs throughout much of recorded history. As far as our bodies are concerned – the average adult human contains just over a half pound of salt or, as Kurlansky calculates, roughly 3 or 4 salt shakers. However, in the natural course of things, we lose this salt and must take action to replenish it.

What Exactly Are Double and Triple-Crème Cheeses?

The terms “double-crème” and “triple-crème” are bandied about a lot in cheese shops. While most folks have a general idea of what they mean in terms of texture (creamy, spreadable!) and flavor (buttery, lactic!) for a cheese, these terms actually have very specific meanings.