Our Cheeselog

Stop! Don’t toss that rind.

Once the delicious Parm has been grated away, most of us just toss the rind, believing it to be useless. It’s hard. It’s waxy on the outside. It has writing on it, for goodness sake! Well, that rind has not seen its last hurrah – because what is the rind of a wheel of Parm? Super-concentrated Parm! The flavors within are just waiting to be released.

No, you can’t put the rind on your cheese platter, but you CAN cook with it! Simply toss the rind into soup or sauce while cooking and the cheesiness will melt seamlessly, boosting flavor and adding richness. Once your dish is done cooking, simply remove the (now squishy) rind and throw it away.

Can’t use the rind right away? Place it in a ziploc bag and store it in the freezer. No need to thaw before using.

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Thank you, Del Ray, for 13 Amazing Years!

In September of 2004, Del Ray welcomed Cheesetique with open arms. In the 13 years since, Cheesetique has expanded to three locations. At the same time, my husband and I have grown from a family of two to a family of five, with our three daughters born and raised right here in Del Ray. This neighborhood is more than just the heart of my business; it’s the heart of my home and family – and I am proud to live and work here every day. Thank you, neighbors, for making Del Ray such a special place… and for continuing to support Cheesetique for all these years!

Yours in Cheese,

Jill

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Green Hill

Green Hill, from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia, is a true American original. This double-cream, soft-ripened buttery beauty is hand-crafted from grass-fed cows’ milk. Its grassy flavor is delicate and fresh, due in part to the fact that it’s only aged a few weeks. Because of the small size (a 7-oz. disc) that’s plenty of time to mature the cheese to gooey perfection.

The question we always get with cheeses like Green Hill is, “Should I eat the rind?” The answer is absolutely YES! Soft-ripened rinds add flavor and texture to your cheese. And in the case of Green Hill, the rind is so delicate, there’s no risk of flavor overload.

Pair Green Hill with a crusty baguette (it’s the best partner for the unctuous texture). Add sparkling wine like Cava or Champagne to take it to a whole new heavenly level.

And remember… ALWAYS EAT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. This is true of all cheeses, but is especially critical with creamy cheeses like Green Hill.

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Entrees are Here!

We are so excited to announce that all three Cheesetique locations now feature a full entree menu (after 5pm). Of course, each entree highlights cheese in an exciting way. For those of you searching for a heartier choice, these were made for you!

From left to right: Your Own Lasagna; Chicken Alfredo con Piave; Steak and Blue; Shrimp Cypress. Try all four! Maybe not at the same time, though 😉

For more details, check out our online menu.

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Summertime Blues

Sure, blue cheese is salty and piquant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it during the hotter months.

On a platter, I recommend lighter blues like:

Cambozola: this German blue has the texture and rind of a Brie, but it lightly marbled with blue mold. Its flavor is mild and its mouthfeel is decadent and buttery.

Gorgonzola Dolce: “Dolce” means “sweet,” and in this case, it refers to the fact that this Gorgonzola is milder and creamier than its intense older cousin, Gorgonzola Piccante. Gorgonzola is one of the most ancient cheeses, being made in northern Italy for over 1,000 years. It has a texture like firm icing and a flavor like grass.

BUT one of the greatest ways to enjoy blue during the summer months is melted on a burger. In that case, you want to go for a stronger blue whose texture will stay (somewhat) cohesive and whose flavor will hold up when exposed to heat.

A fun approach is to choose older versions of the cheeses on your platters. Show your guests what time does to cheese by tasting the younger and older side-by-side. I recommend:

Grand Noir: This older sibling of Cambozola is aged longer – and aged in wax – increasing its flavor intensity, but still maintaining a dense, creamy texture. It will melt nicely, stay flavorful, and be able to stand up to the rich beefiness of any burger.

Gorgonzola Piccante: “Piccante” means “spicy,” which is a nice way of saying that this cheese is quite intense. Its texture is like a dense pudding with a bit more crumble that Gorgonzola Dolce. It will warm without liquefying and nothing will diminish this heavy cheese’s flavor.

Now… go eat some blue cheese, people!

 

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Grayson, a.k.a. Sir Stinks-a-lot

Grayson is one of those cheeses that people either love… or can’t stand. Like literally can’t stand near it. Falling into the Washed-Rind category, Grayson is a particularly heady specimen. Not only it its rind moist and pungent, but the cheese is also unpasteurized, which makes the flavors even more pronounced. The paste is velvety and rich while the edible rind is supple and piquant (yes, this rind is edible – try it!)

Some call Grayson “meaty” or “farmy” or even “fruity” (yes – those are the hard-core stink lovers). I call Grayson a work of art, made by hand on a family farm in Galax, Virginia, called Meadow Creek Dairy. The cows are pasture-born and pasture-raised, never confined, and dine on rich grasses all season long.

Cheeses like Grayson are best paired with off-dry white wines like Riesling or for the optimal combination, go for a full-flavored beer.

Learn how to store stinky cheeses like Grayson at home in this handy-dandy video by our owner, Jill Erber.

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Dragon’s Breath: Raw. Fiery. Fierce.

Keswick Creamery’s Dragon’s Breath has been with Cheesetique almost from the beginning. Once we tasted it, we knew that it would be the only cheese on earth that could make our Pimiento Cheese so special. We used it then. We use it now.

Keswick Creamery is a special place. Located near Newburg, PA, it takes pride in its herd of Jersey cows, which graze on fresh pastures and never see artificial hormones. Keswick uses organic practices and time-honored cheese-making techniques.

Dragon’s Breath is a raw cows’ milk cheese in the style of Jack, but with the addition of Jalapeño, Habanero, and Birdseye peppers. This trifecta of fire makes for such a unique, layered heat, that Dragon’s Breath is elevated from merely a “pepper jack” to a work of art. Another reason this cheese is so exceptional? The unpasteurized milk gives the cheese itself such defined flavor, it really stands up to the spice.

If you want to try Dragon’s Breath in the flesh, ask for a taste at our cheese counter. Or take home a tub of our Pimiento Cheese. You won’t regret it.

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Pecorino Romano: Savory and Sassy

In Italian, the word “Pecorino” simply means “sheep’s milk cheese.” There are hundreds produced, ranging from young and tender to firm and intense, and including anything from peppercorns to truffles to red pepper flakes.

Because we cook so much with cheese, I’m always seeking flavorful, robust, low-maintenance additions to our cheese drawer. One that often cycles through is the beloved Pecorino Romano. This cheese is made today just as it has been for over 2000 years (in fact, it was carried as rations for ancient Roman troops because it was so nutritious). When you taste Pecorino Romano, you are tasting history.

Milk: 100% Sheep

Taste: Salty and super-tangy. Some would even call it “gamey.” But in a great way.

Texture: Very firm. Perfect for grating, but also for slicing. Serving at room temperature is CRITICAL for this cheese, as the high fat content will cause it to be brittle and almost flavorless when cold.

Cooking: Melts well, but is especially impactful when grated over roasted vegetables or pasta, as its flavor is robust throughout heating.

 

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Fish & cheese taste great together

One of the greatest misconceptions is that seafood cannot be paired with cheese. I’m not really sure where this originated, but it must be debunked. Hopefully, this recipe will help.

Grilled Grouper with Melon/Cucumber Salad and Feta Cheese

1) Cut 1/2 pound each of watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumber into bite-size chunks.
2) Toss with 1/4 cup fresh lime juice and 1 tsp. toasted chili powder (toast chili powder in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant).
3) Salt and pepper 1 lb. of fresh grouper filets, then grill to desired temperature.
4) Plate grouper, top with generous scoop of melon/cucumber salad, and crumble 1/4 lb. Feta over the entire dish.
5) Garnish with chopped parsley.

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Feta Cheese: Ancient & Awesome

Feta is one of the most ancient cheeses in the world. In fact, some claim it was the “first” cheese ever created. Since this was many thousands of years ago, we may never know the full story, but suffice it to say that Feta has witnessed every major world event since the foundation of human society. Wow.

Feta is very simple – a fresh cheese whose curd is pressed and then preserved in salty brine. Stored this way, Feta can last for months, which would have served ancient people well in the days before refrigeration.

Milk: Originally, Feta would have been made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Today, most Feta in the world is made from milder cow’s milk, as it is more plentiful (Feta is very popular).

Taste: Because of its unique preparation, Feta is a very salty cheese. If made from sheep’s milk, it is also quite full-flavored (almost gamey). When made from cow’s milk, it’s still salty, but you won’t get that nice full flavor – you get mostly salt.

Texture: Since the curd is just lightly pressed together, Feta is very crumbly, and works beautifully as a topping to other dishes. When you put it in your mouth, however, high quality Feta will become quite creamy, not grainy.

Cooking: Feta melts well, turning soft, not gooey, and maintains its flavor when heated.

One way to serve Feta which will blow your mind is to mix it with fresh melon of any kind. It’s a life-changer. Check out this recipe, where we pair Feta, melon, and grilled Grouper (yes – FISH!) with Feta. If you think fish can’t go with cheese, this will change your mind.

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