What’s Happening at The Cheese Shop
The spring holidays came early and snuck up on us, so my wishes are a little belated, but Happy Easter and Passover! The hard snowy slog of March finally subsided and the warmth and brightness that April offers has finally arrived. There was still snow in my backyard during April vacation, but rising temps softened the ground and I've got a serious urge to get digging in my garden. My eagerness to hoe and weed and plant had to wait until the last weekend in April because Tracy, Sophia and I went out to Carefree, Arizona and Fresno California to visit some of Tracy's family. Sophia enjoyed spending time with her cousins, and Tracy caught up with her Aunts and Uncles. A major highlight for me was a day trip to the Grand Canyon. I've seen it from 35,000 feet in the air with my luggage stowed beneath my feet, but never up close, never right at the edge. There is no describing the grandeur of this little crack in the ground. We wrapped up the trip with a couple of days in Sacramento, and dined at Mulvaneys Building and Loan, the best restaurant in SacTown, owned by an old friend and his lovely wife. If you ever get to Sacramento, make sure to tell them that you know "the cheese guy from Boston", and Dan the bartender will make you up something special.
Friday Night Dinner Club
The best excuse to order in - our ever-popular, always delicious Friday Night Dinner Club. The menus for the coming month are full of Spring's finest flavors, and from roasted pork tenderloin with artichoke and lemon risotto to a whole roast chicken with chard and lentils, if you've got an appetite, we've got a meal for you (for two, in fact!) I'm especially excited about the caramel croissant bread pudding for dessert on the 12th. That and a nice tumbler of bourbon and I'm all set for the evening. So rent that movie you missed, send the kids to a friend's house and give us a ring. The link for May's line-up of dinner is http://www.concordcheeseshop.com/Images/FridayMenu/FridayMenu.pdf
Many of you who visit express the same concern: you don't know much about cheese and don't know how to describe what you're looking for or enjoy. Well, we love showing you all it takes is a good cheesemonger and a lot of tasting. However, anyone looking for a little more nuts and bolts info might be pleased to learn I offer an introductory cheese course through Middlesex Community College. It's fairly informal, about a dozen "students" and I gather at the store in the evening for a few hours. I describe different categories of cheeses and take questions and there is, of course, plenty of tasting. It is a Cheese Shop class after all. You can register for the next class in June through the Middlesex website: https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/persenrich.aspx
New Cheese Finds
Spring and summer are an excellent time to visit The Cheese Shop. The warmer months, when the pace at the counter slows, we have the time to restock, regroup, and most importantly try-out new things. These are the seasons we investigate all the products and artisans we've been curious about and share them with you. And because I love nothing more that telling you about something delicious, I want to tell you about the things I just can't stop raving about (or eating for that matter.)
Jacob and Brichford
A fantastic producer based in southeast Indiana, we're carrying their earthy, gooey and absolutely fantastic cow's milk cheese called Arabella. It's incredibly luscious and redolent with a deep and rich milky flavor. There cows are exclusively grass fed, humanely treated, the milk is never pasteurized. But of highest concern to me, the cheeses are delicious!
From Plymouth Artisan Cheese in Vermont this is another domestic treasure we've been munching on. A semi-firm cow's milk cheese that's nutty and ever-so-slightly grassy, with a full mouth feel.
New Salami Finds
An Italian dry salami hand crafted with Virginia pigs raised in open pasture, cured with garlic and peppercorn and a touch of Sangiovese wine.
A big hit right out of the gate, it's styled on a Piedmont region specialty, mixed with black summer truffles. Savory and mushroomy without being overpowering, it pairs remarkably with our latest wine infatuation.
New Favorite Wine and Cider
Sine Cura is Latin for "No Worries", and that is how you will feel when you pour yourself a glass. This Barbera/Cab blend is from Northern Italy, with a rich ruby red color. It is smooth and fruit forward, and exquisitely balanced by a rustic undertone attributed to time spent in oak. This wine was made in 2004, and age has made it soft and elegant. When we first tasted it, we all loved it, so we bought all there was left in the country. Get some while you can, many people have tried a bottle, and came back for the case
We've also got the next cider from Bantam in stock. Named La Grande, it's made from a French heirloom apple, and is very reminiscent of French hard ciders from Normandy. Super dry with an earthy, almost yeasty quality. Very elegant and pairs perfectly with other French cheese classics like the Xavier David Camembert or Pont L'Eveque.
Crucolo Parade on Chronicle
Chronicle is a daily TV news magazine. They sent a crew to cover our Crucolo Parade back in December, and the segment aired on Thursday February 21 and again on April 24. They did a fantastic job capturing the excitement, spectacle passion and pomp of our fun event. You can watch it on their website here.
Mike has filled the calendar with Saturday wine tastings. Every Saturday from now through July we have invited some of our suppliers to taste their wines. Usually 6 or more wines will be open for tasting. I always insist that all staff members (over 21 of course) try all the wines. They frequently comment that it's a great being forced to drink on the job.
As the summer approaches, we've got some fun events to look forward to this year. At the end of June, a group of us head down to NYC for the weekend to attend the annual Fancy Food Show, and I promise to return with even more delectable treats for you. Our day trip to the Vermont Cheese Festival was such a success last year, we've decided it's an absolute must to go back this year. Vermont Smoke and Cure's pepperoni was a prime find and we're eager to see what else the Green Mountain State's best food artisan's have to offer. If you want to join us, give us a call. I'll keep you posted on our discoveries and as always, if there's anything in particular you'd like me to keep an eye out for, do let me know.
~ Peter S. Lovis