Life of a Cheesemonger, What a Year Has Brought Me September 25, 2014 15:50
Wow! What a difference a year makes! Since my journey began last June my cheesemonger status and experience has sky rocketed! I know I've spoken of it much on social media (first time via blogosphere) but my attendance to this years American Cheese Society's Annual Conference completely struck my heart.
The trip was made possible by my Cheese Leader, Louise Converse first and foremost. Along with many contributors to which the trip would have been but a bus caught the following year. To everyone I am extremely grateful. I was served experiences that have enhanced my confidence behind the counter and beyond. My once terror stricken 101 classes, where I would be nervously approaching the attendees hoping they wouldn't ask me what rennet was is now but a memory.
I research, I learn, I love. It's hard not to embrace such a world and not want to share it with those who grace our shop or our classes. The education I have received while working at Artisan Cheese Company has flipped my world view on cheese.
We are a group of strength and passion, lifting the artisanal cheese making world to it's highest priority. I know that sounds very "cheese superwoman" but if the apron fits, people. The shop is approaching it's 3rd year, which in Sarasota speak means season. This means the crisp fall morning wind will become more of a constant and with that comes new customers to share my passion with. New cheeses to handle with care and curiosity. It's been real as a cheesemonger…real delicious and my real life. Cheers to the coming months.
Hope to see you soon! :)
Photographed: Me, myself and the glorious Bonne Bouche from VBC. Ash ripened loveliness that becomes extremely spreadable as it ages. A good mouthful indeed! Yeasty sweetness with just the right amount of goaty tang. Heaven you are, pure heaven.
Asher Blue Cheese and One Delightful Pairing May 01, 2014 14:47
Asher Blue Cheese + Shotwell Candy Co. Lately I've found myself sweetly surprised by cheese and pairings. At heart, I'm a purist, who would like nothing more than the cheese to do the talking (wink wink Louise). Yet last week, our Taste of the South cheese class rendered me speechless.
We had gotten to our last cheese of the night, Asher Blue from Sweet Grass Dairy located in Thomasville GA (one of my favorites). I'm not sure how I had one salty caramel left, but I did. So I thought what the heck, let's marry these two and see what happens. At first, I tasted...then my eyes widened. Everyone must know what I had done! "The blue is fantastic with the caramel", I softly suggested. Suddenly other cheese 101'ers agreed...this was a match made. The grassy saltiness from Asher danced with the depth of the Shotwell Candy Co. Salty Caramel. It's as if I wanted the caramel to be stuffed with blue cheese. They brought out the best in each other. Both being from the south they represent tradition, memories and serious palate appeal.
Who knew after so many years I would find such an artisan friendship in our little shop on one southern night. There are of course some pairing "rules" but I find the best way to go about it is trusting what your taste buds tell you. I still find myself surprised after 11 months of mongering, and for me, the best is yet to come.
..."how long have you been here?" January 29, 2013 17:13
we get asked this all the time by our customers. Because we are so consumed with life at Artisan Cheese Company, we are always so surprised that people come in all day long and tell us that they didn't know we're here. Or, "when did you open?". For those of you just stumbling upon us, we opened at the end of March in 2011, so we are nearing the end of our first infant year. We are loving being in Sarasota and we love where we are on Main Street. But it seems it's a bit hard to find us. So here are some key pointers -
We're across from Living Walls, on Lower Main Street. So if you know where Epicure is stand on that corner and look towards Marina Jack and you'll see us a bit kitty corner across the road.
Look for the Red Ship's Funnel. It's a real ship's funnel, an icon that has been on the roof line of Sarasota since the Cunard folks had a sales office in our spot.
There's always parking at the Palm Avenue Garage. And it's Free!! Thank you Sarasota.
Or, there's usually two hour parking around the corner on Gulf Stream in angled parking. In fact, I've never not seen a parking space available there.
Or if you're lucky you might find a parking space open right out front of the shop or across the road if they're not being squatted by employees of some of the near by businesses (sorry, it's a pet peeve, especially since we have such a fabulous free parking garage steps away!).
Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company December 06, 2012 00:20
David & Jo Clarke of Upton England make this traditional English cheese much in the same manner as it was originally done in 1745.
Sparkenhoe Red Leicestershire has a soft silky rich creamy mouth feel with a nutty quality and just a hint of the grassy pasture you'll recognize from some of the best farmhouse Cheddars. It's rich in flavor and honors its legacy.
I wanted to bring a cheese to the case that would be a center piece on a cheese board, something that would bring a pleasant mouth feel and would appeal to just about everyone. I think the Sparkenhoe Red Leicester is it.
Sparkenhoe is made on a Leicestershire farm in England, near where my family comes from (middle of the country). This is the real deal and nothing like the red leicesters you'll find squeezed into plastic at your local supermarket.
Sparkenhoe is an old Leicestershire name meaning gorsey nob. It was the name given to the old medieval one hundred area and as the farm is situated in the middle of this area it was named Sparkenhoe Farm.
The last time Leicester cheese was made on a farm in Leicestershire was in the 1950’s by a Mr Shepherd of Bagworth. He was a dairy farmer and was said to have made the finest Red Leicester Cheese and supplied all the local butchers and cheese shops. Over 50 years on this age old art has been revived by Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company making the aptly named ‘Sparkenhoe’ Leicester.