Traditional recipes

Hooked on Cheese: Guffanti's Cherry-Leaf-Wrapped Robiola

Hooked on Cheese: Guffanti's Cherry-Leaf-Wrapped Robiola

These little discs of goat cheese are complex and delicious

This small-format Italian artisan cheese is wrapped in wine-vinegar-soaked leaves and aged in an abandoned silver mine.

Being a cheese guy, every time I receive a Guffanti raffia-wrapped Robiola I feel as lucky as a bride-to-be when she's given a baby blue box from Tiffany’s. These goat's milk discs are both beautiful and delicious; truly meant be savored.

Luigi Guffanti is the premier supplier of small-format Italian artisan cheese to America, and their reputation is hard-earned and well deserved. My current favorite of their Robiola offerings is a creamy, fragrant version enveloped in cherry leaves. These small (100-gram) cheeses are wrapped in wine-vinegar-soaked leaves and aged in an abandoned silver mine located near the dairy. Aging the cheese in this naturally humidity-controlled, cave-like atmosphere contributes to its complex flavor development.

Robiola has a deeply earthy, almost mushroomy flavor (imparted by the leaves) mixed with a slightly tangy goat’s milk bite and a hint of minerality. It is best served when soft to the touch and must be brought to room temperature for maximum enjoyment. The leaves completely surround the cheese and should be trimmed or peeled off prior to serving. When you unwrap each disc, you release the wonderful aroma of a forest floor in summertime.

This particular Robiola is a farmstead cheese, meaning it is produced on the farm that cares for the goats that produce the milk. In fact, Guffanti is a committed family-owned dairy operation dating back to 1876, and it's still run by descendants of the founder (Giovanni Guffanti Fiori, Luigi’s great-grandson and head affineur at the company, is a friend of mine). The dairy and aging facilities are located in Arona, about 60 kilometers northwest of Milan on the border of Piedmont and Lombardy. Guffanti's history of producing great cheeses themselves, aging cheeses for other producers, and exporting these Italian products to America is unparalleled. They are righteously proud of their tradition and reputation; plus they are really nice people.

You can follow Raymond's cheese adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and his website. Additional reporting by Madeleine James.


15 Hilariously Effective Baits Used by Fishermen

Put down your spades—when it comes to finding fishing bait, you don’t need to dig in your backyard for worms. You can plunder your pantry instead. From sweets to garbage, veteran fishermen swear these 15 out-there baits get results.

1. Soap

Believe it or not, chunks of soap are considered “traditional” bait for reeling in catfish, and fishermen have been using them for centuries. Brands of “pure” soap, with no added scents or chemicals, work best, as do homemade lye soaps.

2. Canned Meat

Everyone’s favorite World War II-era canned meats not only taste delicious with pineapple (just ask Hawaiians), but make an excellent catfish bait. In 2001, an Arkansas fisherman set the record for the largest catfish ever caught by rod and reel (at the time) by snagging a 116-pound, 12-ounce blue catfish with the stuff. The man claimed he didn’t realize his bait was unusual—it’s what his father and grandfather had used all their lives.

3. Dog Food

Fido’s chow of choice is also popular with fish. Anglers debate whether wet or dry is the way to go, but many agree that dog food (sometimes wrapped in cheesecloth or mixed with corn starch, water, and flour to create a doughy consistency) is great for catching carp, catfish, and certain species of panfish.

4. Chicken Liver

Not only a staple on trendy farm-to-table menus (in mousse form, served with dainty crostini), chicken liver is also at home in a tackle box. Thanks largely to their smell, livers are alluring to catfish as well as hybrid and freshwater striped bass.

5. Raisins

Fruit baits, such as persimmons and mulberries, are great for catching fish. Carp especially are known to congregate in water near low-hanging mulberry bushes, waiting for the fruit to fall. One expert fisherman from Alabama swears by golden raisins as bait. Particularly during the summer months, he says, the raisins swell on the hooks and begin to ferment. The smell and the bright color make them irresistible to catfish, especially when fishing at night.

6. Chewing Gum

Preferably of the bubble variety. The key, anglers swear, is chewing the gum for a few minutes before sticking it to the hook. But don’t chew for too long! Fish, especially catfish and trout, are drawn to the gum’s sweet flavor.

7. Candy

Fish seem to have a weakness for sweets. Fishermen have reported success with nearly everything found in the candy aisle, from chocolate bars to gummy fish (the latter helped one fisherman land a non-gummy 4-foot sand shark).

Sour worms are known to be particularly appealing to fish because of their bright colors and shape (which, of course, mimics that of a real nightcrawler).

8. Mini Marshmallows

Miniature marshmallows, the kind you add to your hot cocoa, are tried and true baits for catching trout, particularly stocked rainbow trout. Bluegill and some species of sunfish are also reported to have a taste for the confection.

9. Hot Dogs

Anglers who run out of worms have been known to turn to frankfurters in their time of need. Similar in shape to surface plug lures, ripped up bits of hot dogs attract bluegills brilliantly. A fishing guide from South Carolina claims that chicken or turkey hot dogs, as opposed to ones made from all beef, are most enticing to catfish.

10. Doughnuts

One inventive fisherman hooked a sizable carp in North Carolina’s Lake Norman using a pumpkin-flavored doughnut as bait.

11. Bacon

Another breakfast favorite popular with the fishes is bacon. While one successful Massachusetts catfisher claims hickory smoked is the only way to go, most anglers agree that the raw stuff gets the best results. Not only is the meat’s pungent smell attractive to fish, but the bacon fat is full of oils known to attract varieties such as bluegills, crappies, and catfish.

12. Cheese

Be it sharp (like cheddar), stinky (like Limburger), or processed, cheese (broken up into small pieces or balls) has a great track record of landing trout and catfish.

13. Cigarette Butts

One man’s trash is another man’s—or fish’s, as the case may be—lunch. Some anglers claim to have had great success fishing with the cigarette butts they’ve picked up off the bank, saying they’ve used them to hook as many as 100 fish in a single afternoon.

14. Peanut Butter Sandwiches

When you pack your lunch for a day on the lake, be sure to make an extra sandwich for your fishy friends. Experienced anglers say that peanut butter sandwiches, made with stale bread and sometimes gussied up with birdseed or garlic, are great for catching codfish, catfish, carp, and bluegill.

15. Corn

Canned corn particularly is known to be a great bait for reeling in trout, carp, bluegill, and perch. Some fishermen recommend throwing a handful of whole kernels into an area where fish are spawning before lowering their hook—laden with three or four kernels—into the water to incite a “carp attack.” Rainbow trout raised in hatcheries are especially susceptible to corn bait.


Spring has sprung in New York, which means spring risotto can feature produce like ramps, peas, asparagus, morel mushrooms, and fiddlehead ferns. As more and more restaurants continue to reopen and outdoor spaces come back to life, the city’s chefs are celebrating the season with the newly available local produce. And what better dish than creamy risotto to bridge the seasonal gap between winter and summer. Hearty and warming for those breezy days, fresh spring vegetables brighten up the velvety Italian rice dish, making it the ideal spring dish. Read on for our favorite spring risottos on the menus of some of the best restaurants in the city right now.

Spring Risotto from Ai Fiori

1. Ramp and Morel Risotto at Ai Fiori

At this Michelin-starred Italian restaurant from Executive Chef Michael White and his Altamarea Group inside the swanky Langham Hotel, this wild ramp and mushroom risotto is on the menu in spring. Acquerello rice is cooked with minced onion, olive oil, white wine, pureed ramps, pickled ramp bulbs, sauteed morel mushrooms, and Taleggio cheese. To finish, the plated risotto is topped with more morels and crispy-fried crostini pieces.

This Japanese-Italian newcomer takes the best of both cuisines and turns them into inventive and delicious dishes. This spring, Chef Christine Lau uses a short grain glutinous rice combined with fresh spring bamboo, shitake mushrooms, and fiddlehead ferns. It’s all wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed before it’s served with a spring vegetable fricassee made from asparagus, ramps, fava beans, English peas, spring onions, and carrots cooked in a robiola truffle cream.

Spring risotto from Musket Room.

3. Risotto All’uovo with Favas, Nettles, and Young Pecorino at The Musket Room

Fresh fava beans and their leaves are folded into a creamy Carnaroli risotto spiked with lemon and young Pecorino at this Michelin-starred Nolita spot. At the bottom of the bowl is a velvety puree of nettles and mint and a slow-cooked egg is nestled on top to create an additional layer of richness. “Risotto is one of my favorite vehicles to feature spring ingredients,” says Executive Chef Mary Attea (Annisa, Vic’s). “I wanted to take the classic pairing of favas, mint, and Pecorino and present them in a way that is luxurious and indulgent.”

Il Buco's nettle risotto. Credit: Courtesy of Il Buco

Risotto is always on the regional Italian menu at this NoHo favorite and this is one of owner Donna Lennard’s favorites. It’s made with a generous portion of stinging nettles, creamy goat cheese, and Carnaroli rice. The nettles made the final dish a bright green, and it’s garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Lennard shares the recipe with La Cucina Italiana here.

Risotto from Emilia's Restaurant

5. Seafood Risotto Belmare at Emilia’s Restaurant

An Arthur Avenue favorite, Emilia’s serves a rich seafood risotto with jumbo shrimp and plump sea scallops. It’s topped with bright asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Call for it on the charming back patio or dining room.

Risotto with asparagus and gorgonzola from Antica Pesa

6. Risotto Asparagi e Gorgonzola at Antica Pesa

This cozy Williamsburg restaurant celebrating Roman cuisine is run by the Panella family. Spring brings this bright risotto to the menu that’s made with asparagus puree, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and gorgonzola combined with Carnaroli rice and a rich vegetable stock. It’s garnished with shaved fresh asparagus and toasted almonds.

Risotto alla erbe from Sistina

Chef Giuseppe Bruno, whose family is from Salerno, has been serving Southern Italian specialties on the Upper East Side since 1982. “In springtime, cows and goats eat many fresh herbs and so the cheese has a very nice flavor,” says Bruno, who makes the spring risotto with fresh goat cheese and fragrant herbs.

[email protected] Aged Carnaroli Risotto Acquerello

8. Aged Carnaroli Risotto Acquerello with Wild Ramps at [email protected]

The now-merged iconic Union Square restaurants of 15 East and Tocqueville by Chef Marco Moreira has a combined Japanese and Italian menu. For spring, Chef Moreira cooks Acquerello Carnaroli rice with seasonal wild ramps, forest mushrooms, beurre noisette, and Vacche Rosse Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Morel Mushroom Risotto at Vestry

9. Morel Mushroom Risotto at Vestry

Chef Shaun Hergatt runs the kitchen at this Soho fine-dining spot that focuses on seasonal ingredients. On the spring menu is this Morel Mushroom Risotto, which is made with earthy morels, a bright basil pesto, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Carnaroli Riserva “San Massimo”

10. Carnaroli Riserva “San Massimo” at Armani / Ristorante 5th Avenue

This chic 5th Avenue restaurant inside the designer store has a menu of creative Italian crudos, pasta, seafood, and meat. For spring, Executive Chef Michele Brogioni makes this special risotto using Carnaroli Riserva “San Massimo” risotto that he cooks with fresh aromatic herbs, morel mushrooms, and a salted lemon jam.

This Italian trattoria on the sixth floor of Macy’s in Herald Square has Empire State Building views and a menu with Neapolitan-style pizza, pasta, gelato, and more. On the spring menu is a creamy risotto with sweet peas, green asparagus, piopini mushrooms, and Stracciatella di Buffala.


la colombe iced cappuccino

Spring Menu: Chicken Za’atar Cobb

307 cal.
chicken breast, tomatoes, cucumbers, za’atar spiced feta, avocado, romaine, kale, red and green cabbage, perfectly paired with green goddess dressing

380 cal.
avocado, corn, jack & cheddar, grape tomatoes, onions, tortilla chips, kale & romaine, perfectly paired with chipotle-lime vinaigrette & a fresh lime squeeze

258 cal.
roasted turkey, crispy , mushrooms, crumbled blue cheese, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, baby spinach & romaine, perfectly paired with buttermilk ranch dressing

333 cal.
falafel, scallions, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, chickpeas, kale & romaine, perfectly paired with lemon tahini dressing & a splash of house-made hot sauce

375 cal.
avocado, kidney beans, corn, cucumbers, scallions, crispy onions, kale, romaine, perfectly paired with avocado chimichurri & a fresh lime squeeze

210 cal.
grape tomatoes, croutons, grated parmigiano, kale & romaine, perfectly paired with creamy caesar & a fresh lemon squeeze

339 cal.
craisins, walnuts, green apples, crumbled blue cheese, mesclun & romaine, perfectly paired with balsamic vinaigrette

282 cal.
avocado, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, fiery pickled sweet peppers, crushed pita chips, romaine, perfectly paired with mexican pepita caesar

233 cal.
roasted chicken, edamame, scallions, almonds, cilantro, red cabbage, romaine, perfectly paired with miso sesame vinaigrette

Premiums & proteins add-ons

roasted chicken | roasted turkey | crispy chicken | blackened chicken thigh | falafel | baked tofu | atlantic salmon | half avocado


Murray's Smoked Mozzarella

The Lioni family has been perfecting their whole cows' milk mozz for generations - it's delicate and moist with a clean milky flavor. The cheese is made nearby in Jersey with milk from a herd in upstate NY, then transformed into the most perfect antipasto ever. They take it a step further here with a heady treatment of hickory and cherry wood-smoke. Hand rolled into pinwheels layered with prosciutto, it's ready to slap down for your guests alongside marinated artichoke hearts and a carafe of Chianti. Salty, sweet, bravo!

Photos from Our Community

Just the Facts

Lagers and Kolsch

Lagers run the gamut from crisp, pale Pilsners to dark-malted Dunkels and Märzens. Flavors are typically approachable and mellow, a delicate balance of toasted bread, gentle sweetness, and mild hop bitterness for structure.
Pair with: Almost any firm, mild cheese like Tomme de Savoie or Landaff Creamery Landaff.

Tempranillo

Pair with: Sheep’s milk cheese like Malvarosa or Pyrenees Brebis, flavored cheese (truffles, herbs, or spices), and younger leaf-wrapped cheeses with some funk.


Hooked on Cheese: Wintertime Blues

The cold weather is finally setting in and it’s time to break out the festive winter recipes. For me, this time of year signals a return to one of my favorite cheeses for pairing and entertaining: the infamous bleu.

Blue cheese has always been polarizing due to its salty, pungent character, but its popularity has been on the up and up for quite a while. Last year, a Norwegian blue called Kraftkar was named World Champion out of the 3,000+ cheeses presented at the 29 th Annual World Cheese Awards and international interest in blue cheese spiked. And rightly so: blue is more than just the stinky red-headed stepchild of the cheese world. There are so many varieties that you’re bound to find one you can enjoy.

One of my personal favorites comes from the award-winning Rogue Creamery in Oregon. I ran into Rogue’s co-owner David Gremmels at a recent event in New York and he presented me with a chunk of their most sought-after Organic cheese: Rogue River Blue, a perfect choice for my first blue pairing of the season. The cheese itself is seasonal, made between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice from pasture-fed cow’s milk, and exhibits a profound connection to the land. Each cheese is wrapped in a local Syrah leaf macerated in pear brandy, and has a rich, creamy texture and relatively light bluing. Its slightly peppery and deep herbal flavors linger pleasantly on the palate.

But what to pair with this outstanding cheese? There are plenty of experts out there who’ve weighed in on what to pair with blues, but for me, the most important factor is choosing items that can stand up to the boldness of the cheese. In this case, I went with an extra-fruity red wine, also from Oregon: the Knudsen Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir. While I wouldn’t often recommend a Pinot Noir with blue cheese, this particular wine is quite robust and boasts distinctive sweet cherry notes that complement the cheese perfectly.

To finish up, I added two accompaniments: Cherries, Almonds & Linseeds Toast for Cheese from The Fine Cheese Co. (for their crunchy kick) and some luscious Caoba Venezuelan dark chocolates from El Rey. If you have yet to pair chocolate and cheese, you’re missing out especially with intense blues, the sweetness of chocolate can impart a more nuanced flavor experience.

Enjoying a good blue is one of wintertime’s great pleasures, so don’t be afraid to go for it, even if it means having to convince a few friends that they’ll enjoy the cheese. I promise they’ll thank you afterward.

Get our weekly Tasting Notes newsletter for reviews, news and more.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.


How to Cook With Hoja Santa, the Mexican Herb We Love as Much as Cilantro

Matt Taylor-Gross

If you’ve ever wandered through the Mexican markets of New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, you might have come across big floppy leaves of hoja santa. And if you didn’t recognize them, you wouldn’t be alone. Hoja santa is native to Central America and the North American southwest, and while it has long been a staple of cooking from those regions, the fragrant herb gets little attention outside traditional Latin cuisines.

That’s a shame, considering how adaptable an ingredient it is for both sweet and savory applications. Which is why I’ve decided to welcome hoja santa into my regular pantry rotation.

What is Hoja Santa?

Piper auritum is sometimes referred to as pepperleaf, sacred pepper, or root beer plant. Its holy name alludes to a Mexican legend that the Virgin Mary dried the young Messiah’s clean diapers on its branches, which seems unlikely considering the plant’s Mesoamerican origins.

The herb’s unusual flavor is hard to pin down, but it has been compared to licorice, sassafras, mint, tarragon, and eucalyptus.

How to Cook With It

Cheese cozy: My hoja santa curiosity began, like most of my great loves, with cheese. Working as a cheesemonger through college gave me crash course in all things dairy, so I was already familiar with the practice of aging goat cheeses wrapped in chestnut, cherry, or sycamore leaves. When I read up on this tradition for my story about foliage and food, I learned that a Texan cheesemaker was doing the same thing with fragrant hoja santa leaves.

The fuzzy dark leaves are used in many Mexican and Central American dishes, but they can be tough to come by in my chilly northeastern neck of the woods. One of the only nationally distributed products that features it is a fresh goat cheese from Dallas. Paula Lambert of The Mozzarella Company wraps 5-ounce pucks of her fresh chèvre with hoja santa leaves, infusing them with curious, herbal notes of not-quite mint, and not-quite-eucalyptus. With that first taste, I was hooked.

Salsa strengthener: Hoja santa is widely used in traditional Central and South American recipes, both savory and sweet. The Aztecs likely included it in their unsweetened chocolate beverages. It is often sliced and added to pozole or egg dishes, though it is most commonly used as an ingredient in mole Amarillo and mole verde in Oaxaca. In Veracruz, Chiapas, and Tobasco, the broad heart-shaped leaves are used to wrap meat, fish, and occasionally even tamales before cooking.

A vanilla root beer sour made with hoja santa syrup Christina Holmes

Better green juice: In the Yucatan, hoja santa is used to make a green liquor called Verdìn the herb’s root beer-like notes make it an excellent cocktail ingredient. When we infused the leaves into simple syrup, our deputy web editor and resident cocktail expert, Dan Q. Dao, wasted no time mixing up a round of frothy herbal vanilla fizzes that had the rest of the office pretty much on board for my Hoja Santa for President campaign.

Try it steeped it in hot water with raw honey for a minty tisane, or update your summer panna cotta game swapping out vanilla bean for one or two leaves of your new favorite herb.

Where to Find It

Hoja santa is tough to find in mass-market grocery stores, but don’t despair. It grows wild in the Southwest and can be cultivated in a wide range of climates. Look for it in Mexican produce shops or farmers markets, order online from La Vigne Organics, or grow your own. Seedlings can be ordered from Do keep in mind that hoja santa contains small amounts of the aromatic oil safrole, a known carcinogen that is also naturally occurring in sassafras, cinnamon, and basil. As with all the most delicious things, proceed with caution and avoid consuming frequent large quantities. But don’t shy away from this miracle herb.

Get the recipe for Vanilla Root Beer Sour » Christina Holmes


Hooked on Cheese: Guffanti's Cherry-Leaf-Wrapped Robiola - Recipes

This Thanksgiving gift basket is dedicated to the cheese lover with a refined palate. We’ve brought together a unique collection of less common, small production cheeses from some of Italy’s finest cheesemakers. A diverse array, these luscious cheeses with dazzle your senses and your appetite with their unique and unforgettable texures, aromas, and flavors. Though they’ll make a perfect start to a Thanksgiving meal, we’d understand if you kept them all to yourself. The Thanksgiving Cheese Platter Gift Basket includes: Pecorino Filiano ‘“ 8 oz Approx Caprino Cheese with Truffles ‘“ 4.6 oz Cusie Cheese in Chestnut Leaves ‘“ 8 oz Approx Taleggio Cheese ‘“ 8 oz Blu Cheese Moncenisio ‘“ 8 oz Serves 6 – 8 Pecorino di Filiano is a firm sheep cheese produced in the Italian region of Basilicata, granted the Protected Designation of Origin. Caprino Cremoso with Truffle is a sublime fresh goat cheese with earthy truffle, a dreamy little cheese from Piedmont. Cusie with Chestnut Leaves is a “grand” cheese by Beppino Occelli made from cow’s milk and wrapped in chestnut leaves. We could’n t forget to include Taleggio, the famous Italian soft-ripened, washed-rind cheese, that with its fruity, meaty goodness will satisfy everyone. Finally, an exceptional Blu del Moncenisio completes our Thanksgiving relish tray, a fantastic Italian blue cheese aged and exported by Luigi Guffanti.

About Sensibus LLC
"Sensibus is an online specialty food store. We sell high-end food products of the European and American Gastronomic Tradition, selected with the utmost care and expertise. Among our leading products, there's a wide range of Italian and French cheeses and a special selection of Italian truffles. Our products exemplify profound respect for nature, tradition and quality certifications, as well as traceability of the food supply chain." --- Sensibus LLC More Details


Cabécou

Raw Cow’s Milk (aged over sixty days)

Raw Cow’s Milk (aged over sixty days)

You will notice several things on this grid…

First, I added hyperlinks to take you right to the manufacturer so that you could find out more info, or where to purchase.

Secondly, if I have not added a hyperlink that means that there are multiple producers and a quick internet search will bring up all of the producers for you. In some cases (like Banon AOC or Queso de Valdeón PGI) there are administrative organizations that oversee these protected cheeses. Just in case you are not familiar with these “protected” terms, here’s a quick refresher:

AOC (appellation d'origine controlee) Is a French certification granted to certain geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the French Minister of Agriculture. It is based on the concept of terroir and a form of geographic protectionism for these historical French food products.

PDO/AOP and PGI – Adopted by the European Union (EU) in the mid-1990’s, the EU worked to create a uniform approach by protecting names for historically produced food items (example: Roquefort cheese from Roquefort-sur-Soulzon), establishing fair conditions of competition between producers while not undermining quality schemes already in existence, (such as A.O.C. from France, D.O. from Spain, and D.O.P from Italy). As a result, several indicators were created and given their own logos to help explain their level of protection. These are

Protected Designation of Origin – PDO(also referred to as AOP – Appellation d'Origine Protégée)Covers agricultural products and foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognized know-how.

Protected Geographical Indication - PGICovers agricultural products and foodstuffs closely linked to the geographical area. At least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the area.

While the grid of cheeses listed above is great, it does not tell you a lot about the producers of these fine products, so I would like to review a few of them for you now:

O’Banon by Capriole – Wrapped up like a gift in bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves, O’Banon is all the excuse needed for a celebration. This fresh goat cheese round initially has a bright, tart-fruit flavor balanced by an underlying sweetness and mild tannic notes. The paste is dense but softly cloudlike, a testament to Capriole’s hand-ladling process”.

“O'Banon is basically a solo cheese. While its subtle flavors and beautiful presentation are a perfect foil for bigger heavier cheeses on a cheese board, it’s perfect alone with a simple bread and a glass of dry bubbly. Unfold the leaves like petals around the cheese, allow to dry briefly and come to room temperature, and serve. It can also be grilled briefly on low heat and served with a peach or nectarine salsa. Pair with: Dry Prosecco, Champagne, or California Viogniers”.

Incavolata by Castagna (Lead photo) – The first time I spotted this cheese was on a trip to Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It stood out and demanded your attention, as the piece of cheese leaped into my shopping basket. “ is a fresh cheese made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk. Creamy, soft, spreadable. Melting on the palate, sweet taste, slightly acidic. Aged in cabbage leaves”. While the website says that it’s “Latte Crudo” (Raw Milk), the version I had was clearly made from Pasteurized milk.

Shakerag Blue by Sequatchie Cove Creamery – This may not have been the first raw milk Blue cheese to be wrapped in leaves, but it was the cheese the sparked my imagination in sharing the “Wrapped in Leaves story” with you. “Shakerag Blue's colorful name is derived from the beautiful Shakerag Hollow atop the Cumberland Plateau, famous for its wildflower trails and rich moonshining past. Legend goes that a thirsty individual could leave a white rag and money in a tree stump and find a jar of moonshine in its place upon returning”. Tasting notes: An ode to all things Southern, Shakerag is a crumbly yet dense blue-veined cheese cloaked in local fig leaves which have been soaked in Chattanooga Whiskey, the first legal whiskey being distilled in the city since Prohibition. Its salty-sweet and fruity interior is reminiscent of root beer, and lends itself to more complex notes of savory bacon, dark chocolate, and tropical flavors towards the rind. Pairs nicely with: Chattanooga Whiskey , barley wine, root beer, dried fruits, and raisin toast. Crumbles well for salads and steaks, and deserves a prime spot on the cheese board.”

I would like to extend a big Thank You to Nathan and Padgett of Sequatchie Cove Creamery for supplying the sample of this cheese!

So there you have it…A goat’s milk, a blend, and a cow’s milk. Time to “wrap” up this week’s post.

This being the first post for 2021. I think my friend Ricky Roca summed it up best: “Let’s make 2021 the best comeback story of our lifetime! Believe! Conceive! Achieve!”


Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup butter, softened

Place water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough/Knead and First Rise Cycle press Start.

When cycle finishes, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12 inch circle, spread 1/4 cup softened butter over entire round. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Roll wedges starting at wide end roll gently but tightly. Place point side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place, let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).


How To Make A Great Looking Cheese Platter!

Once you select the cheeses you want and accompaniments, it&rsquos time to arrange everything on on the platter.

The Rustic Cheese Platter &ndash designed by my friend Pam &ndash chef, artist and caterer. Cheeses are arranged on a weathered shallow wooden bowl. Pam chose four cheeses, distinct from each other in taste and looks.

Accompaniments are rustic and beautiful, just like the cheeses and the bowl: a hunk of glistening honeycomb, a heaping spoonful of rich fig jam, a ripe split pomegranate and a large spray of red grapes. I especially love the Castignino Cheese for this rustic presentation, wrapped in Chestnut leaves and tied with raffia.

The gold-flecked cheese was so striking that we decided that was the only embellishment the platter needed! It was simple and elegant and perfect with the gold leafed cheese as the centerpiece, and the gold rim of the dish to frame it.

The Mid Century Modern Cheese Platter. Pam and I went to our friend Carol&rsquos house to create the final platter. Carol is an artist, jewelry-designer and has an fantastic taste and design sense. She and her husband Clif are collectors of Mid Century furniture and dish ware. What you see here is the real deal.

Pam brought over the green retro cocktail picks. She selected the more geometric shaped cheeses and paired them with colorful olives and (who can resist?) a platter of mini sausages and saltines arranged on top of sliced genoa salami! (pigs in blankets would work well here too)

We all agreed that potato chips and cheddar dip were a &ldquomust&rdquo for this theme!

If you&rsquore serving cheese for one of your holiday gatherings, I highly recommend a visit to your local specialty store for help. It&rsquos a lot of fun to learn about the different cheeses, especially when the selection processes includes tastes!

Be creative! Pick and theme and have fun with it!!

Speaking of having fun, here&rsquos Formaggio Kitchen&rsquos most important rule for putting together a cheese plate: have fun! &ldquoAll of us at Formaggio Kitchen believe that cheese is one of the most fascinating foods in the world. Assembling a cheese plate from our well-curated cheese selection should be as exciting for you as it is for us.&rdquo

You don&rsquot have to be live in Boston or New York to enjoy cheeses and other specialty food items from Formaggio Kitchen. You can order many of them online.

And If you&rsquore still looking for a great holiday gift &ndash one of the best selling cheese centric gifts from Formaggio Kitchen is their &ldquoFavorites Meat and Cheese Collection.&rdquo Formaggio also has a cheese of the month club for hard-core cheese lovers who want a regular supply of incredible cheese.


Watch the video: Hooked on Cheese (December 2021).