For this post, I wanted to focus on Inferno Ale, a Golden Strong ale. This beer is made with German Magnum and Saaz hops, Belgian yeast strains and uses a secret ingredient or two for drama. It pours a fiery orange in the glass and is just simply gorgeous to look at and to drink (in a dangerous kind of way).
Historians have documented the development of basic architecture, tools and weapons as well as an emergence of agriculture and the reliance upon the foods grown in cultivated fields to as far back as 9,000 B.C.E. Cereals, grasses and grains were among the first crops to be harvested and prepared, usually by grinding them into meal and cooking them over a fire. Grains were also ground into flour for bread or fermented and brewed into beer.
Last year, I visited the Cellars at Jasper Hill and had the opportunity to participate in the Winnimere cheesemaking process. It was a very educational experience as there are some interesting new developments going on at Jasper Hill.
Our house-made Rabbit Pâté would be a strong contender for the top of my “favorites” list. Wrapped in rose-hued Prosciutto di Parma and encased in amber-colored Madeira aspic, this pâté is our most intricate and, in my opinion, visually appealing.
Elaine and Catharine, proprietors and chocolatiers of EH Chocolatier, were gracious enough to show us around in their Somerville kitchen. Don’t be fooled – Catharine and Elaine might be new chocolatiers, but their confections are anything but amateur.
It’s a rare day on the cheese counter that we mongers don’t dip into our bucket of fresh mozzarella from the Mozzarella House at least a couple of times. This small operation in Everett supplies Formaggio Kitchen with most of its fresh cow’s milk mozzarella and burrata. My fellow cheesemonger Jess and I recently dropped in for a visit to their cheese room, and owner Giuseppe was kind enough to let us have a look around the facility, as well as share some background on their process.
Since opening in Brooklyn a few years ago, Mast Brothers Chocolate has been making a big name for itself. Founding brothers, Rick and Michael Mast, create flavorful bean-to-bar chocolate with imagination and enthusiasm at every step. They import some of the finest single origin cacao from around the world.
Some weeks ago, I made an immensely informative and inspiring trip to Jasper Hill Farm and The Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. The Jasper Hill enterprise was started by two brothers, Andy and Mateo Kehler. The determination that they have towards revolutionizing and solidifying the cheese-making industry in their state and in this country is unmatched in its political, scientific, and pastoral fervor.
The Maine Beer Co. is based out of Portland and is a very young company. It was started by two brothers who began their brewing career experimenting in a garage. Their goal: to make something they would be happy drinking themselves.
The cheese counter at Formaggio Kitchen is pasted with articles, vintage cheese labels, stickers, helpful tips and lovely old pictures from our early days in business. All are interesting to peruse, but one sticker in particular always resonates with me as I pass it daily – a small, hardly noticeable, green sticker right at the entrance to the counter. It reads, “No Farms, No Food.” This statement may seem obvious, but in a time where triple-washed, packaged, pre-cut and peeled vegetables are the norm, it is difficult to remember that everything we eat was grown by farmers in wide spaces, deep in the dirt. By maintaining close relationships with the farmers that produce our food, the gap from field to consumer is ultimately closed and enormous benefits are immediately apparent. Not only is it now possible to know the exact date of harvest, but we can discuss the pest management techniques used on the farm, inquire about the diet of livestock and poultry, and even know the farmer’s most recommended crop of the week. With this in mind, Formaggio Kitchen aims to be an equally transparent connection between our customers and farmers. We are happy to talk at length about the practices of each farm and alert customers as to when we receive produce from each grower. Recommending the perfect fruit or vegetable comes naturally when we are so highly tuned into what is happening on the fields! In that spirit, here is an in-depth look at some of our favorite farms and growers in the New England area.
Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit an apiary for the first time. Local beekeeper, Jean-Claude, was leading a small, introductory class to beekeeping and, after a quick hop, skip and a jump (i.e. a T journey, a bus ride and a short walk), I found my way to his hives which are nestled between the Boston Nature Center and the Clark Cooper Community Gardens in Mattapan.
Traditionally, the beginning of spring is marked on a calendar date, but many believe in other signs of a new season. Some watch for the first crocuses and tulips. Others await opening day at Fenway Park. Still others believe spring arrives only after Formaggio Kitchen fires up the grill and begins the sidewalk barbeque season. But for me, spring officially arrives with locally grown vegetables, farm fresh eggs and wildly foraged edibles from hearty New England soil.