Halloumi? Hallou-you!

Argh! Sorry for the punny title… I’m a little rusty here. I’m shocked to discover that it’s been nearly a year since we made our feta. Things have been pretty busy over here. I made one of these:

No smile for mama?

She’s of the girl variety and completely awesome even though she was up from 1am – 4:30am last night. *sigh* Look at that face! Yes, you may have a pony….

Other than that completely consuming pastime, I’ve been ramping up my freelance work and, well, that’s pretty much all the time I have. I have missed cheesemaking, though. So, when a publisher offered to send a book to review with recipes, I said, “yes, please!”

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ACS 2010 Conference

The Space Needle in Cheese

So, who is ACS and what is this conference? The American Cheese Society claims membership across the U.S., Canada and parts of South America. It’s an organizing body that helps the membership stay on top of trends, studies and industry changes. The conference is an annual event that brings together retailers, cheese makers, farmers, distributors, food scientists and more. The conference has a few events and presents topics of interest to these people. On our tour from Portland to Seattle, we had a few cheese enthusiasts. As an enthusiast, the conference is not really geared towards you. However, the topics are fascinating and with my volunteering hours, I was able to make it to a few seminars. I focused on the two topics that were of interest to me most: business and science. Here’s what I attended:

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Three Washington Creameries

Baaaaa!

To kick off the 2010 American Cheese Society conference, there were three tours originating from points a few hours away from Seattle and visiting various creameries and retail stores along the way. After the Portland Wedge Cheese Festival last year, I got roped into volunteered to help lead the Portland to Seattle tour which left the morning before the festival, arriving in time for the opening keynote address that evening.

Our itinerary had us starting early in the morning in downtown Portland, visiting the Hollywood Whole Foods for snacks and then heading up to three Washington state creameries on the way to Seattle. We picked up cheese along the way and on the last leg, had a cheese tasting with wine and beer on the bus! My partner in crime, Bill Stephenson from DPI Northwest, was very adept at cutting the cheese at the front of the bus as I wandered the aisles with wine and some of the finest Oregon craft beer (graciously donated by the Oregon Brewer’s Guild).

We all had a lot of fun and only lost a little cheese when the bus braked hard and Bill’s cutting board went flying. For my part, I only spilled a little wine and beer on one poor guy who was very good-natured (and luckily wearing navy blue pants!). Here’s just a little wrap-up about the creameries we visited.

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Figs with Goat Cheese

Black Mission Figs

One of my favorite summertime pairings is figs with goat cheese. We first had this over at Rob and Maria’s house and try to make it every year. There are a few ways you can make this up and I’ve also done it warmed which is a special kind of delicious.

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Feta! Feta! Feta! Oy! Oy! Oy!

Holy hiatus, Batman! I have been incredibly busy, haven’t been making cheese and haven’t had time to write about some of the yummy cheeses I’ve been eating. However, lucky me, the ladies of FUCheese proposed a cheesemaking day and we actually made it happen. On the menu this time was something I’ve been wanting to make for over a year: feta!

Feta!

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Cheese with Tea?

Tea & Cheese

I did a writeup of the cheese and tea pairing workshop that we attended at the Oregon Cheese Festival. Check it out over at Beer + Cheese!

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Cheese Festival Wrap-up

Ig Vella

Ig Vella keeps an eye on the creamery!

Another year, another visit to Central Point, Oregon, for the Oregon Cheese Guild’s annual cheese festival which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Rogue Creamery. The tent this year was much bigger and better which seemed to keep the 4,000 cheese lovers from becoming a crush. Like last year, there were all kinds of vendors in addition to cheese: a number of wineries, meats, bread makers, jams, chocolate, beer, soda and tea. There is definitely something for everyone there and I really liked the array of vendors. The festival does a great job of highlighting food purveyors in the Applegate and Rogue Valley — stuff that I don’t see up in Portland. The wine in Southern Oregon is quite good — it’s drier and sunnier down there and you can taste the difference in the kind of grapes they’re producing.

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Oregon Cheese Festival This Weekend!

Creamery Signage

This will be the second year FUCheese travels down to Central Point for the Oregon Cheese Guild Cheese Festival hosted by Rogue Creamery. This year, we’re going to try to hold back a little bit and not eat the whole thing! We’ll be staying in Ashland so if you have any “don’t miss” restaurants or things to see, please comment! I’m hoping to attend more of the workshops this year and am looking forward to meeting Gordon Edgar and getting a signed copy of his memoir, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge. Tami Parr wrote up an excellent review of his book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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Steve’s Cheese Bar Review

Beer + Cheese

I’ve started up a new blog (Beer + Cheese) with my beer-loving husband and we’ll be posting about cheese and beer pairings plus other great food pairings over there. Last night we went to Steve Jones’ new Cheese Bar and wrote up a little review.

Check it out!

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Ye Olde Cheese Shoppe

View from Benson Winery

Lake Chelan and vineyard view from Benson Winery

My husband and I went for a long weekend at Lake Chelan in Washington. It’s the shoulder season so the lake was low, the sky overcast and the vast orchards and vineyards bare. However, we had a great time. We did a little cross-country skiing on the last snow of the season at the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area which luckily was just up high enough that the trails were open. It was literally bare dirt all the way up the hill until, suddenly, snow! Then we availed ourselves of the many wineries in the area and had a fantastic time. Cabernet! Viognier! Gewurztraminer! They grow a huge variety of grapes here and are very excited about the new Columbia Valley AVA designation.

To get there, we drove up near Seattle on I-5 and then over, passing through the little Bavarian town of Leavenworth. Did I say Bavarian? Yes, I did. Sometime in the 1960s in an attempt to save their town from financial ruin, some enterprising folks decided that Leavenworth could become a destination. They invented the Bavarian concept and ran with it — all the places on main street are tarted up like hearty Alpine Volkesmarchers with Willkommen! signs and gingerbread filigree and excellent murals. However, they managed to stay just this side of a total Disneyland spectacle and we were pretty charmed by the ingenuity of it all.

On the way into town, I googled up some recommended places to eat and to see if they had a cheese shop. I wouldn’t be writing this post if they didn’t!

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