Our Cheeselog

A Cheesy Moment: Ballston’s Chef Andrew

How long have you worked at Cheesetique?
It will be 4 years in June.
Why did you want to work at Cheesetique?
I grew up on an organic dairy farm in Wisconsin where our milk was turned into cheese. I loved the menu at Cheesetique, cheese-focused with a European flair. It was exactly the direction I wanted.
What is so special about cooking with cheese?
Whenever you specialize in one thing, you have to do it well. That’s what we do. Cheese is unique because you can use it in so many ways, whether raw or cooked. Each has its own characteristics and can pair with different things. The possibilities are endless.
Is there any cheese you WON’T eat?
Baked Lemon Ricotta. It’s super-popular, but I just Don’t. Like. It. Too sweet.
Cow, sheep, or goat?
Definitely goat. My favorite cheese is fresh Chèvre. The tangy flavor is so unique – and simply spread on bread, it’s the best.

Filed in: Blogging

Blue mold gone bad… how to tell?

We received a great question on the “Ask the Cheese Lady” message board. Anytime you have questions, post them and I’ll get back to you!

Question:

Hi Jill
How do you tell or is there an easy way to tell when “veined” cheeses like Picos Blue, stilton, Roquefort and American blue cheeses go bad? I love these type cheeses but the flavor intensity usually means I eat a couple of times and then want to “pause” a bit but by the time I get back to them..well I am not sure if they are still edible, hence in the trash!
thanks in advance

Answer:

Hi there!

You have hit upon one of the great cheese questions! Since blue cheese is already intentionally moldy, it can be hard to tell when good mold goes bad. The best method is to watch the paste (the actual cheese part) of the cheese instead of the mold. It should be consistently colored throughout (some cheeses have a brighter white paste, some have more of a tan color, some are almost grayish). But the key is that is should be uniform. If most of the paste is white and the edges are turning brown, that’s a sign your cheese has passed. Likewise, if it begins to dry out, become rubbery, or develop cracks, let it go.

It can be hard to get through a big wedge of blue because of the intensity that you mentioned. I recommend taking home only what you can eat within a week, then come back and get more. That way, you’re not storing it too long. And speaking of storing, keep it unwrapped in a lidded Tupperware container (not plastic wrap). That will preserve it nicely.

Enjoy your cheese!

Jill

The Battle of the Goudas

Just for kicks, we decided to have our own little Battle of the Goudas at Chez Erber. The final decision was made by a toddler, so that’s always exciting.

IMG_6477

Beemster XO (left), with its deeper color, advanced crystallization, and brittle texture competes against Wilde Weide, with a more buttery color and firm but creamy texture.

The first contestant was the ever-popular (and eternal Cheesetique staple) Beemster XO, a 26-month pasteurized cow’s milk Gouda renowned for its deep butterscotchy flavor and dense, chewy texture. The second, a relative youngster, was Wilde Weide, a raw cow’s milk Gouda aged for about 15 months. Both cheeses hail from the Netherlands.

The big question is: will advanced age beat out raw milk?

Aroma: You can smell Beemster’s sweet richness a mile away. Your hands smell like butterscotch after you’ve handled it. Wilde Weide is more delicate so you don’t get that same aromatic punch. Winner: Beemster.

Texture: Beemster is chewy and crunchy, bordering on brittle. Wilde Weide is also super-firm, but raw milk makes it more creamy on the palate. Winner: Wilde Weide.

Flavor: Beemster is intensely sweet and savory at the same time, tasting of salty butterscotch. Wilde Weide is more subtle, still having butterscotch notes, but not so “in-your-face.” Winner: Wilde Weide.

Overall: For a more nuanced flavor with excellent creaminess, go for Wilde Weide. If you want an intense “a little goes a long way” experience, go for Beemster.

To make the final decision, I checked with the nearest 2-year-old child, who happens to be the exact same age as the Beemster we tested. Which did she prefer? The pictures speak for themselves.

The moment of anticipation. Which will she choose?

The moment of anticipation. Which will she choose?

The first bite. Not necessarily the method I'd recommend in good company.

The first bite. Not necessarily the method I’d recommend in good company.

Hmmm...

Hmmm…

The face says it all. The winner is... Wilde Weide! (at least for this toddler)

The face says it all. The winner is… Wilde Weide! (at least for this toddler)

Filed in: Blogging, Cheeses

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GREAT cheese!

For most Christmas celebrators, today will be crazy. Last-minute shopping, herculean cooking efforts, keeping the house orderly with all those darn kids running around. During all the cheerful chaos, we wish you the most joy possible.

If you’re stuck in gift limbo, run to Cheesetique and grab a few gift cards. Trust us; they will be much-appreciated. Want something more tangible (or edible)? Grab some cheese or cool serving items while you’re here. Just remember… today is also OUR craziest day of the year. There will be a line and you will most likely wait for jolly service from the next cheesemonger. My advice: when possible, make the line your friend. Discuss your selections with others; share recipes; tell jokes. If all else fails, this is a great time to meditate (about cheese).

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GREAT cheese!

Filed in: Blogging

Check out our new platters!

Choose Your Cheese PlatterAllow our expert cheese mongers to select the best combination of cheeses for your platter – we’ll never steer you wrong. Of course, please let us know if you have any special requests. Order Online Today!

Each beautiful platter comes ready-to-serve with:

  • hand-selected cheeses, each labeled with name, country of origin and milk type
  • sweet and savory accompaniments (dried apricots, marinated olives, cornichons, seasonal jam)
  • cheese-friendly crackers

Small platter has 4 cheeses and serves 10
Medium platter has 5 cheeses and serves 20
Large platter has 6 cheeses and serves 30

 

 

Filed in: Uncategorized

Cheesetique is Closed Today – Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you the healthiest and happiest of holidays! See you Friday for our regular hours.

Filed in: Blogging

We’re Hiring Servers & Cheesemongers!

Cheesetique is hiring Cheesemongers for our cheese shops and and Servers for our restaurants (all three locations). This is your chance to join a thriving local business that LOVES its people, products, and visitors.

A Cheesemonger is a special person, sharing lots of cheese info with our retail guests while helping them take home the perfect selections. You must be quick, super-pleasant, and patient. Don’t know much about cheese? No worries – we can teach you that!

Our Servers are ambassadors of Cheesetique, educating our restaurant guests and making sure they enjoy every part of their dining experience. You must be cheerful, quick on your feet, and cool as a cucumber.

Click here to fill out an online application. OR pop into any of the shops in person!

Find us at these addresses:
Del Ray: 2411 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301
Shirlington: 4056 Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA 22206
Ballston: 800 North Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203

We look forward to hearing from you! And LONG LIVE CHEESE!!!

Filed in: Blogging

Taste with us… every day!

14485070_1300318360003045_6970719961585455823_nAt Cheesetique, we know there’s no better way to choose than by tasting first. As always, you can try any of our cheeses, meats, and wine list wines. But now we have a daily featured cheese and wine in the retail shop for your sampling pleasure. Come by and test drive your new favorite!

Filed in: Blogging

All Locations Closed Sunday Night 9/25

IMG_3546Once a year, we close all of our stores in order to celebrate our amazing Cheesetique team (and their families). We will be seating in the restaurant until 2:00 on Sunday (join us for Brunch!) and will be closed for dinner. Thank you!!

Filed in: Blogging

Cow vs. Buffalo Mozzarella

One of the most delicious and versatile cheeses on earth is fresh mozzarella. Things can get a little confusing, though, when we are forced to choose between cow and buffalo versions. Here’s a little guide to help you out.

mozzboth-smallerCow milk (left): While still very tender and mild, this mozzarella has a slightly tighter, springier texture. Its flavor is more mild than buffalo milk, and it will hold up better to cooking.

Buffalo milk (right): This version is more succulent and lacy in texture. Its flavor is more robust, which makes it great for eating at room temperature. When heated, it will liquify more easily, making foods like pizza soggy.

Once cut, the texture differences are even more obvious. The cow (top) has a tighter paste while the buffalo (below) is more lacy.

Each version has benefits. When cooking, I choose cow milk. When eating in a salad or with fresh tomatoes, I choose buffalo.

P.S. “Buffalo” here is not American bison. It is water buffalo, a cow-like critter which won’t crush you to death when you try to milk it 🙂

Filed in: Blogging, Cheeses