In celebration of Independence Day weekend, we’re featuring one delicious American wine.
Despite the slow drag as spring gradually gains ground in the battle to wrest our weather from winter’s claws, we have been fortunate to have a bit of sunshine gracing our shelves. This sunshine comes in the form of produce from the small, organic farms we work with in California.
The heat of summer is finally over! While that does mean the end of berries, lemonade and cobblers, the season of pumpkins, mulled cider and, of course, apple pie is now in full swing.
It was the perfect day yesterday at Shelburne Farms for the 5th annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. Forty plus cheesemakers from around the state of Vermont, as well as a few from New Hampshire and Massachusetts gathered for an afternoon of tasting and talking – and, happily, we did a lot of both!
Consider Bardwell cheeses constitute a stronghold in the domestic section of our cheese counter. We have been carrying cheeses from this outstanding dairy for some years now – day in, day out, they maintain a standard of excellence and consistency that, if you are familiar with cheesemaking, know is a real challenge and, when executed, is a true achievement.
Although we are known for having a vast international honey selection at the shop, I think that this year’s selection of domestic honey particularly stands out.
Every two months or so, Tripp, our domestic cheese buyer in Cambridge, and I, domestic cheese buyer for our South End location, drive up to Greensboro, Vermont and visit with our friends at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The purpose of these trips is primarily to select new wheels of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.
I recently visited Barrington Coffee at their roastery in Lee, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Roastmaster Brian Heck, along with fellow coffee alchemist Paul, guided me through Barrington’s process of coaxing the delicate aromas and fine flavors out of their unroasted, green coffee beans.
At the end of March, Jeremy Stephenson, head cheesemaker at Spring Brook Farm in Vermont, visited our Cambridge shop and led a staff tasting.
I recently had the great fortune to visit with Stan Biasini and his family at Mt. Mansfield Creamery in Morristown, Vermont. I arrived bright and early, just as Stan was pooling the milk from the morning milking into a heating vat to begin making his cheese: Inspiration.
I first joined Formaggio Kitchen as an assistant to Julie, our charcutière. As she taught me to make the shop’s range of sausages, pâté, and other cured meats, she talked a lot about sourcing—what she buys from farms in Connecticut, the turnaround time needed for an order of rabbit from Vermont, the best uses for bellies from Massachusetts-raised Berkshire hogs, and the like.
Though Edwards hams have become an icon of the South and its distinctly American food traditions, the family didn’t set out to join the meat business. The company’s founder was a ferry operator, and he began selling his family’s cured ham on sandwiches to hungry travelers. They were a hit, and thus a much tastier business venture was born—thankfully for all of us, I’d say.