What Time is it? Time for Cheese!

It's been an interesting time in the culture du fromage round these parts. No more than one year ago while researching an article I came across the word affinage. There was very little out there in the common food and wine magazines to learn more about the art of aging cheeses. 

I'm thrilled to share some of the best news in cheese, and a recipe - sort of - you know how my recipes are...

Cheese News

Cheese clock photo courtesy of Artisanal website/blog.

Introducing the Cheese Clock. One of the best new cheese blogs is that put out by Artisanal. I discovered it while researching an article about a week ago. Interviewing Chef Matt Jennings who shares my love of cheese and of heritage pork, I was reminded of this tool introduced by the folks at Artisanal. The Cheese Clock is a diagram which helps one choose a selection of cheeses and pairings using the face of a clock as a visual guide. 

Terrance Brennan pretty much introduced us to the the cheese cart at Picholine his gorgeous NYC restaurant. More recently, he developed Artisanal Premium Cheese which he sold in 2007. While he still sources from Artisanal Premium Cheese, the shop and the bistro are separate entities now. Still, both are showcases for perfectly aged cheese, as one might expect. Artisanal also publishes a blog which is well worth putting in the rotation if you are a lover of cheese. It's really tiny bites of cheese musings, nothing too onerous or time consuming, but you will find the occasional post like the one on the cheese clock that is a revelation. 

It's ironic that one of the dismissive descriptors of blogs of a certain nature is "the cheese sandwich blog" meaning a blog which is a tedious re-telling of someone's daily food intake. "Today I ate a cheese sandwich." Why on earth would anyone think that interesting? Well, this might be the only blog that could share that "news" and make it actually newsworthy. You can bet they'd be telling us about some incredible cheese we'd never heard of, or some new way of preparing it, or a specialty version of it...Check out Artisanal.

NEW YORK, NY 10016
On 32nd Street, between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue

Reservations: 212 725-8585
Or visit ArtisanalBistro.com

Cheese Paper

Formaticum Cheese Paper has arrived just in time. We are maturing as a cheese loving public and we are also in tough economic times. What could be better than a product that enables us to enjoy our new found cheese favorites, keeping them fresher, longer?

Knowing when to serve which cheese to ensure you are tasting it at the right point of aging enhances the enjoyment of cheese. Finding that info has gotten much easier, thanks to resources like Murray's, Artisanal and sites like Cheese-by-Hand. Good thing, because getting it wrong ensures disaster. Many of us can recall an ammoniated brie that was past her prime, or the equally offensive rubbery puck of underage brie.

Formaticum cheese paper is like the cheese paper the best cheese shops use. Light kraft paper with thin wax coating glued to an inner lining of ultra thin polyethylene. These materials are porous and allow our precious "living" cheese to "breathe". The environment created by these layers simulates the caves in which cheeses are aged.

Formaticum Cheese Paper arrived just in time for us, too. A beautiful cheese selection from Dean & Deluca arrived just prior to my cheese papers. Thanks to Formaticum, we've been able to keep and enjoy the cheeses longer. 

At left, half a chunk of cheese wrapped and stored in Formaticum Cheese Paper. At right, the same cheese, other half, wrapped and stored in wax paper. See the dark edges? That's the poor cheese on the right drying out.

The Formaticum Cheese Paper site includes tips for cheese storage and an assortment of cheese knives, boards, and tags.

For $9.00 you get 15 sheets (11x14) and 15 labels. Sheets can be cut to size. Free your cheese! Save your money!