When Jules plans and prepares a bread and cracker and cheese platter, diversity of appearance taste [Q: SCENT?/FRAGRANCE?] and texture is key.

While cheese from many countries is often part of the mix, our focus today is on fine artisanal New England cheese purveyed by Sid Wainer & Son of New Bedford, MA:

  • New England Camembert
  • Cave-Aged Cheddar
  • Mountain Gouda
  • Roquefort-Crusted Chèvre (all from L’essence du Fromage)–and
  • New England Mountain Blue from Southcoast Farms.
To learn more, we checked in with Colleen Hoey, Specialty Cheese Purchaser for Sid Wainer & Son.

Q: ARE THERE RULES OF THUMB RE: CHEESE SELECTION FOR AN APPETIZER VS. DESSERT PLATTER? PERHAPS TOUCH ON:

  • Diversity of types of milk (cow, goat, sheep)
  • Diversity of hard/firm/crumbly/soft/runny
  • Diversity for visual presentation (also touch on cheese boards/plates/knives)
  • Appetizer vs. dessert cheese platter

Q: RULES OF THUMB RE: BREAD/CRACKER PAIRINGS WITH DIFFERENT CHEESES?

  • Favorite cracker or bread cheese combinations with which type cheese–Provide a general rule of thumb and/or specific examples–e.g., camembert with ??  blue cheese with ?? Sliced baguettes with ??, etc.
  • Cracker selection considerations: flavors/textures of flatbreads, toasts, crackers, rye

Crackers not only provide a vehicle for cheese, they cleanse the palate

Q: BRIEFLY DESCRIBE SID WAINER RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOCAL DAIRY FARMS.

Q: BRIEFLY DESCRIBE CHEESE CAVE AND/OR ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH METRO-BOSTON FOODIES?

Q: IS IT TRUE THAT IT TAKES 10 LBS OF MILK TO MAKE 1 LB CHEESE?

BELOW, FOR NOW, ARE VERBATIM SID WAINER CHEESE DESCRIPTIONS, WHICH I’D LIKE TO ‘HUMANIZE’ WITH JUST A FEW DIRECT QUOTES. 

All-natural L’essence du Fromage New England Camembert “made with local pasteurized Holstein cow’s milk that is sourced from the area’s premier dairies. This cheese is molded in small rounds and aged gently over a period of weeks. The result is bloomy rind and delicate smooth interior. The mild sweet cream flavor of this cheese works well with the light white wines, paired with ripe melons or drizzled with Jansal Valley Honeys.”

Southcoast New England Camembert and L’Essence du Fromage Mountain Gouda sit front and center

L’essence du Fromage Mountain Gouda is made locally for Sid Wainer & Son in small batches. Our Mountain Gouda is a farmstead cheese, which means the entire cheese-making process is carefully managed by our artisan producer. Mountain Gouda is made using raw Holstein cow’s milk and aged for 60 days.”

We have New England Holsteins to thank for New England Camembert and Mountain Gouda

Southcoast Farms New England Mountain Blue is locally produced for Sid Wainer & Son. This cheese is made by hand, using raw Jersey cow’s milk and five types of inoculants (cultures and molds) and aged for 60 days. During the first two weeks, the cheese is turned twice a day by hand and then once a day until reaches its maturity. New England Mountain Blue is a creamy, soft blue with a mild spicy bite and a wonderful raw milk flavor.”

Southcoast Farms New England Mountain Blue is a creamy, soft blue with a mild spicy bite

Q: WHAT BREED OF COW PROVIDES MILK FOR THE CAVE-AGED CHEDDAR AND ROQUEFORT CRUST ON GOAT CHEESE.

Q: WHAT GOAT DESERVES CREDIT FOR THE (ROQUEFORT-CRUSTED) CHEVRE?

Thank you, Jersey Girls, for New England Mountain Blue’s raw-milk flavor!

L’essence du Fromage Roquefort-Crusted Chevre is handmade in small batches fresh for Sid Wainer & Son. Roquefort-Crusted Chèvre is made using pasteurized goat’s milk and cured for two weeks. This artisanal cheese is the perfect blend of spicy blue mold and creamy fresh goat’s milk. L’essence du Fromage Roquefort-Crusted Chevre ripens from the outside in. The paste just under the blue-green crust becomes soft as the middle of the cheese stays firm and creamy.”

NOTE TO ME: FIND MY PHOTO OF GOATS BEING MILKED  (FOR CHEVRE).

L’essence du Fromage Roquefort-Crusted Chèvre and Cave-Aged Cheddar

“Our L’essence du Fromage New England Cave-Aged Cheddar is made locally for Sid Wainer & Son. This traditionally made cheddar is hand-crafted from raw cow’s milk [WHAT BREED OF COW?] and cave-aged for one year. [ADD BRIEF EXPLANATION OF LOCAL CHEESE CAVE.] It has a firm, but creamy, paste and a full earthy flavor. This is a classic cheddar for any cheese board.”

Q: ANY RULES OF THUMB RE: OTHER ACCOMPANIMENTS TO CHEESE? PERHAPS TOUCH ON:

  • fresh and dried fruits such as apples, figs, dates, apricots
  • tangy or sweet or tart flavors to contrast with the cream and salt of the cheese.
  • raw or toasted? nuts
  • honey, balsamic vinegar/what else?
Q: WHAT ARE BEST-SELLING/MOST POPULAR NEW ENGLAND CHEESES? WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

 

Cheese in literature [I’M NOT SURE I’LL USE THIS]

Finally, because we so recently read Emile Zola’s The Belly of Paris, which is chock-full of multi sensory descriptions of food offered in and around Paris’ onetime great market Les Halles, we’ll close with excerpts from Zola’s  “cheese symphony.”

“They all looked at one another cautiously. And since they were breathing heavily, it was the Camembert they smelled. The Camembert had a scent like venison and had won out over less assertive smells such as the Marolles and Limbourgs….the Parmesan still periodically added a thin high note as from a panpipe while the Bries kept thudding like damp tambourines. Then the Lavarot smothered with its reprise and the symphony was held for an instant by the high sharp note of anise-seeded Gerome, suspended like the breating chord of an organ.” 

xxx

Photo Credits: Liz Muir