Our Cheeselog

In Defense of Free Trade: Roquefort $20/pound!

My mouth dropped open this morning while reading the Washington Post. No, it wasn’t over the section about the proposed Buy American stipulation requiring that all new stimulus projects be completed using only American goods and equipment, though I’m sure Thomas Jefferson, owner of the illustrious words, “The exercise of a free trade with all parts of the world [is] possessed by [a people] as of natural right” and Ronald Reagan, who said, “Our trade policy rests firmly on the foundation of free and open markets. I recognize … the inescapable conclusion that all of history has taught: The freer the flow of world trade, the stronger the tides of human progress and peace among nations”, rolled over in their respective graves.

I was shocked and awed not by that cavalier attack on our broad free-trade liberties, but by the specific violation featured prominently on the front page (albeit below the fold): little old Roquefort is under attack! That sublime product of lactation, coagulation, and fermentation has always held a special place in my heart, despite its high price tag and limited availability. Not only do I have a particular affection for Roquefort, but so do Cheesetique’s discerning customers, who marvel at its romantic story of creation, rustic approach to production even today, and exclusive availability. Your love of raw milk Roquefort has made it a staple in many of my cheese classes and one of the most popular and consistent sellers at Cheesetique. Since opening our doors more than four years ago, we have never been without Roquefort Papillon (I prefer this brand above others, though we have also carried Carles, which is outstanding). We have sold hundreds of pounds of Roquefort despite its title as the most expensive cheese consistently carried at Cheesetique.

To sum up today’s article on Roquefort, the Bush administration recently imposed a 300% tariff on the importation of this rare cheese as a form of retaliation against the EU’s refusal to import America’s hormone-laden meat. Obviously, Roquefort is a TEENY TINY portion of imported food in the US, so why pick on this poor little cheese and, by association, the 600-person town of Roquefort? It’s called symbolism, my friends. Roquefort, like foie gras and truffles, simply says, “France”.

Why do I focus today on this seemingly insignificant example of protectionism at it worst when there are such large-scale issues to consider in our tumultuous time? For that reason exactly. There are so many huge examples of economic policies gone awry, totaling billions and trillions of dollars, and for that very reason, I point out this easily identifiable, but no less extreme violation of the American ways of free choice and trade.

As our own form of culinary protest, Cheesetique will continue to carry Roquefort until it is no longer available, which I assure you, will only be a matter of time. Not only will we continue to carry it, but its price will never exceed that which we pay for it. We encourage those of you that might have shied away from this pricey perfection in the past to come in and pick up a piece of one of the most historically significant and perfectly created foods in the world – at $20.00 per pound. Yes, you read correctly. $20 per pound.

Remember: Protectionism is bad. Roquefort is good. Long live the latter!

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Do you have to be so darn… Mature???

The jolliness has now arrived! The first snow of the season is always a joy to behold. We did remember a wonderful lesson at Cheesetique yesterday. Kosher salt is a GREAT de-icer in a pinch. Our doorstep was ice-free all day!

Cheesetique is just chugging along with all sorts of new additions lately. I was most excited about our new cheeses brought in to celebrate this month’s Inauguration. My husband and I are huge Calvin Coolidge fans, so when I realized that President Coolidge’s family has a cheese factory in Vermont, it was a no-brainer that we should get their products. We chose two: a cider-washed Cheddar and a “Mature Cheddar”. The cider-washed Cheddar is yummy. Smooth, slightly tangy raw-milk cheddar rinsed in local apple cider. It’s just cidery enough without being tacky. The “Mature Cheddar” should instead have been named, “Really Really Really Farmy-Smelling and Cow-Tasting Cheddar”. I don’t mean to overplay its farminess, but OH MY GOODNESS! You can smell this cheese 10 feet away. And unlike most cheeses, whose taste is milder than the aroma, this cheese has bark AND bite. I love anything raw, so kudos to the cheese maker for keepin’ it real. But WHOA… you have to be a SERIOUS farm-flavor fan to enjoy this one. Don’t believe me? Trot on in and take a taste…

Uddwina Rating for Cider Cheddar: Four Teats
Uddwina Rating for Mature Cheddar: Two Teats

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Charlotte’s Trip to Zingerman’s

Charlotte Hirst, our Assistant Manager, tells of her travels and cheese discoveries in Michigan. Come into the shop and try many of the Zingerman’s cheeses now!

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I spent my Thanksgiving out of the cheese shop visiting family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Ann Arbor is a funky college town and home of Zingerman’s.  Zingerman’s started as a Deli in 1982 and has expanded to include a restaurant, bake house, and creamery.  I took the creamery tour on my recent visit and brokered a deal to offer their cheeses in our store!  This makes Cheesetique one of only two places on the east coast that carries Zingerman’s cheeses!

The creamery started in 2001 on a farm outside of Ann Arbor and moved to a more industrial location in Ann Arbor in 2003.  They started the creamery because they wanted the best cream cheese and were unable to find a cream cheese up to their standards.  This inspired them to make their own.  They have expanded to goat cheese and recently started making a hard cow’s milk cheese which will be available in the spring.

Zingerman’s makes all their cheese by hand and hand ladles their curds. 

What I love about Zingerman’s is their milk!  They get their raw cow’s milk for one dairy, Calder Dairy, a family run dairy since 1946 in Carleton, MI, which still does home milk deliveries. Zingerman’s receives 300 pounds of milk a week from Calder Dairy. Zingerman’s gets their raw goat’s milk from Old MacDonald’s farm. No, seriously, that is the name of the goat farm outside of Grand Rapids, MI. 

After Zingerman’s receives their milk, they heat treat the milk to 150 degrees for 30 minutes.  This is the lowest temperature for the shortest time allowed by law for pasteurizing milk used in fresh cheese making.  This is why their cheese tastes so delicious!  I hope you will stop in to Cheesetique and try some the Zingerman’s fabulous cheeses!

Uddwina’s rating: Four Teats!

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Say hello to my little friend Uddwina

I’d like to introduce you all to the newest member of the Cheesetique team. Her name is Uddwina and she is the spokescow for our new Cheesetique rating system, affectionately referred to as the “teat system”. Did we taste something icky? It gets no “teats”.

Something uncommonly excellent? A full SIX teats (rarely seen in nature).

So, join us as we post more frequently about new additions to the shop and rate each one with the corresponding udder. It’s udderly fabulous!

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Cheesetique in Washingtonian AGAIN!

Cheesetique is featured TWICE in the November issue of the Washingtonian magazine. One page 141, they talk about (and have a cute picture of) our new “Holiday Bucket”. On page 142, we are included in the “Grilled Cheese Goes Glam” section for our outstanding grilled cheese sandwich. Thank you AGAIN, Washingtonian!

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12 Bottles of Wine = 20% Off!

Get any 12 bottles of wine and you will receive 20% off each one! Of course, this counts for full cases of the same wine (which we can special-order).
So, have a ball! Pick 12 wines and revel in your discount!
Good through Thanksgiving… Happy Holidays!

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Cheesetique is “Good to Go” in Washington Post

Check out the Washington Post this morning (as if you weren’t already). Our very own Cheesetique is featured prominently in the Food Section’s “Good to Go” column. If you don’t have a printed copy, you can check out the article here Thank you, Washington Post!

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Welcome Holiday Bucket!

Introducing the newest addition to the Cheesetique gift family: the Holiday Gift Bucket!

A charming collection of Wensleydale with Cranberries (1/2 lb.), wheat crackers, Chianti or Pinot Grigio salami, hand-made shortbread, a cheese spreader, and three chocolate fig truffles!
Only $40!

Check out all of our gift options, including platters, custom buckets, and gift certificates here.

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It’s getting cool outside and on our menu!

Just this week we launched our new Autumn/Winter menu at the Cheese & Wine Bar. When I say the new features are rich and satisfying, I mean YUM! Our mac and cheese is over the top (hello truffle oil!) and our new sandwiches and salads are wonderful reflections of the season. Even the dressings are bold yet cozy. Check out the details here.

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Adios, Burrata!

As the weather turns cool, the time of the burrata is quickly passing. Don’t fret – that lovely creamy gem will return next spring. Until then, we’ve got buffalo mozzarella and cow milk mozzarella to hold you over. If you’re a true burrata hound, hurry over the grab one from our final batch. Help burrata go out with a bang!

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