Paris Grocery News 5/14 Saturday, May 14 2011 

Manzanita, from Oregon, is a dry goat's milk cheese with a molé-spice coating and an eye-catching shape.

Cheese @ PG

This weekend, it’s the Seattle Cheese Festival at the Pike Place Market! Take a break from the madness upstairs and come visit us and our sister store, the Spanish Table. We’ve stocked our case with tons (seriously, TONS) of cheeses. Here’s a list of some of our freshest wheels, organized by type, which I find is a great entry point for learning about cheese and figuring out what you like.

For more information about all the cheesy happenings, go here.

We just cut into a new wheel of gorgeous Tome de Bordeaux! Picture from Culture Magazine.

Goat’s milk, aged:

Tome de Bordeaux

This goat cheese from the caves of Jean d’Alos wears a coat of fennel, rosemary, and thyme, with a starburst pattern of juniper berries, white peppercorns, and bird’s-eye peppers. The cheese is soft yet compact, with an enticing aroma and a clean, sweet, and earthy flavor. Taste the rind for some texture and powerful herbal flavor! $32.99/lb

Pave de Jadis: goat's milk cheese with an ash rind.

Goat’s milk, young, ash rind:

Pavé de Jadis

So named because of its shape: a pavé is a small paving stone. This goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley is dusted with vegetable ash and has a fudge-like texture. The taste is very clean, mild, and lemony. $16.99/lb

Sheep’s milk, blue:

Roquefort Coulet

This raw sheep’s milk cheese from Pascal Coulet is a superlative example of Roquefort. A  perfectly crumbly and moist texture, with a gorgeous snow-white interior and elegant green veining. The flavor begins slightly mild, then sweet, then smoky, and fades to a salty finish. Wow! $34.99/lb

Sheep’s milk, semi-hard:

Brique Agour

This award-winning Basque sheep’s milk cheese is renowned for striking an ideal balance between sweet and salty flavors. Slightly firm in texture, with a nutty, complex undertone and notes of Parm. Try it with a black cherry spread and a medium-bodied red. $24.99/lb

Samples of Cremeux de Bourgogne on Raincoat Crisps. Something you may just see this weekend at the shop.

Cow’s milk, triple cream:

Crémeux de Bourgogne

A cow’s milk triple-cream cheese from a small family of producers in Burgundy. Rich but not overwhelming, with hints of fresh butter. A fantastic cheese with champagne and fruit– at dessert or any time. We love them on crackers with nuts and fruit, like Raincoat Crisps. $16.99/lb

Cow’s milk, soft, washed rind:

Langres

This cow’s milk cheese from the Champagne region has a dense texture and a rich, creamy flavor with distinct notes of sour milk and a long finish. Unlike many pungent washed rind cheeses, Langres is milder and more delicate. Pairs perfectly with French bubbly. $12.99/each

Cow’s milk, washed rind:

Le Maréchal

Le Maréchal is a semi-hard raw cow’s milk cheese, made by hand in a tiny dairy in the small Swiss town of Corcelles-Aux-Payernes. It owes its rustic flavor to the herbes de Provence that are rubbed onto the cheese during the aging process. Named for the cheesemaker’s great grandfather, the village blacksmith (le maréchal-ferrant), this cheese, like the man, has a robust tough-skinned exterior concealing a rather warm heart. $25.99/lb

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

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Paris Grocery News 4/15 Friday, Apr 15 2011 

A cheesemonger's wedding cake.

Cheese @ PG

We’ve brought in some specially-priced wheels of our favorite cheeses.

Fleur Verte

Absolutely one of our best-selling cheeses, now at 5 dollars less a pound. This fresh goat cheese from Périgord is adorned with thyme, tarragon, and pink peppercorns, and it has a dense and cake-like texture. The flavors are lemony and boldly herbaceous. A beautiful cheese to look at and to eat—I call it the “wedding cake” of cheeses. ($24.99/lb)

Chistou: du vache et du brebis.

Chistou

Istara is well-known for their sheep’s milk cheeses from the Basque region. This one’s fun for being a mix of 50-percent sheep’s milk and 50-percent cow’s milk. It’s semi-hard, with a creamy texture. We found it slightly piquant, with equal notes of grassiness and nuttiness. ($15.99/lb)

Tomme de Savoie

A cow’s milk cheese from the mountainous Savoie with a distinctly raw milk flavor: beefy, hazelnutty, and pleasantly milky. With about 30-percent fat content, this is the most creamy “low fat” cheese out there. Enjoy with liver-stoked pâtés and light red wines such as Beaujolais. ($9.99/lb)

Can't go wrong with Camembert.

Camembert le Pommier

Earthy, buttery, and aromatic, this classic cheese from Normandy has a tender crust that crumbles when spread. Small production, high quality milk from family farmers, and superior ripening by affineur Herve Mons make this a superior Camembert to the many mass-market varieties out there. ($7.99/each)

Books @ PG

Two of my favorites from our latest shipment of new releases and new sale books.

Patricia Wells: food legend and cookbook factory.

Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells

After a long winter of hot, fill-me-up dishes, a Big Salad for a meal sounds just about right. There’s a lot going on in this book beyond the obligatory frisée aux lardons recipe; I spot influences from specific French regions, Europe, Asia, and California spa cuisine. There are plenty of meat and seafood-based recipes, along with a few soups, starters, and even a section on bread and other accompaniments. And I have a weakness for cookbooks that don’t skimp on the colorful photos—I often copy the gorgeous plating ideas, even if I’m just cooking for one!

Adam Gopnik: If Molière had been born in Philly.

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, author of the New Yorker‘s “Paris Journal” from 1995-2000. One of my absolute favorite books, and certainly one of the most wry and tender books on living in Paris (in a crowded and sometimes mediocre field of rosy-hued memoirs). Brand new, but only $9.99!

“The chronicle of an American writer’s lifelong infatuation with Paris is also an extended meditation—in turn hilarious and deeply moving—on the threat of globalization, the art of parenting, and the civilizing intimacy of family life. Gopnik’s insights are infused with a formidable cultural intelligence, and his prose is as pellucid as that of any essayist. A brilliant, exhilarating book.”  —Francine du Plessix Gray

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 3/5 Saturday, Mar 5 2011 

Venerable wines from Maison Louis Latour.

Wine @ PG

Selections from Maison Louis Latour.

Louis Latour Marsannay Rouge 2006 ($18.99)

“Lean and solidly built, despite its ripe cherry notes up front. Tannins and acidity dominate now, but this has a stony character and length, with loads of mineral on the aftertaste. Best from 2010 through 2020.” 90 points Wine Spectator. We loved this earthy and complex Marsannay; it really smoothes out on the finish.

Louis Latour Beaune “les Vignes Franches” 1er Cru 2009 ($40)

2009 was a magnificent year for Burgundy. The vines enjoyed ideal conditions during the entire cycle. They basked in the sunshine throughout the maturing phase, resulting in grapes of extraordinary quality. This Beaune Premier Cru is incredibly concentrated, with delicate white pepper notes.

Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé ($18.99)

Simonnet-Febvre is the only producer who uses grapes from Chablis in their Crémant de Bourgogne. Chablis is the closest part of Burgundy to Champagne, so you get the same bright minerality that comes from the soils of Champagne without the high price tag. Aged for 3 years, this crémant offers powerful aromas of red currant and raspberry. Round and smooth in body, it’s elegant and toasty with fine bubbles and a huge finish.

Cheese @ PG

Wheels of cheese both tasty and adorable.

Revisiting the clean, grassy flavors of Basque cheeses.

Izarou

Our new favorite cheese. This pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region is deliciously buttery, creamy, and mildly sweet; it pairs perfectly with summer fruits. One customer swore it tasted like movie popcorn, but most people just exclaim superlatives. Made by acclaimed cheese maker Gabriel Coulet, who also produces one of the best Roquefort cheeses on the planet. $27.99/lb

Vallée d’Aspe Chèvre

This aged goat cheese epitomizes an authentic chèvre from the French Pyrenees. Complex and delicate nuances:  fruity, tangy, and a little salty. It finishes with an irresistible caramelized nuttiness. $30.99/lb

Brique Agour

This award-winning Basque sheep’s milk cheese is renowned for striking an ideal balance between sweet and salty flavors. Slightly firm in texture, with a nutty, complex undertone and notes of parm. Try it with a black cherry spread and a medium-bodied red. $24.99/lb

Cooking @ PG

The Blue Ribbon Cooking School on Fairview along Lake Union holds popular cooking classes every Monday night. They’re fully interactive, and of course, you get to sit down and eat what you make. In the next month or two, Blue Ribbon will be hosting a few French-themed cooking classes that we thought you’d like to know about. Sign up on their website; space is limited!

March 7: Culinary Destinations: Classic French Bistro with French Wines.

March 28: Fabulous Food Fast and Easy: Jacque Pepin’s Way with French Wines

April 4: Essential Techniques: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 8/26 Tuesday, Aug 31 2010 

If you’re in the downtown area this weekend, particularly near the Convention Center, you may notice that the conventioneers are just a little bit different than usual. Not to cast aspersions on the techie, giftie, and anime crowds, but these folks are just a bit more steathily chic, a tad more rumpledly intriguing. For they are Cheese Nerds. Yes, the American Cheese Society is hosting its annual Cheese-A-Topia here in our own illustrious Gotham-Lite. Whether or not you’re joining in the festivities, we hope you’ll come see us at Paris Grocery for all your (French) cheese needs.

*Update: Since press time, the list of winners has been announced. We often carry products from multiple winners Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery and Rouge et Noir!

Cheese @ PG

This week we’ve decided to share with you our staff favorites. It was quite illuminating to force all my compatriots from next door at the Spanish Table to come down to Paris Grocery and reassess their favorite French cheeses. While we’re all cheese lovers, I don’t know if we could all be said to be cheese nerds; most often, the cheeses selected as new favorites were tried-and-true “yum factor” cheeses that have been made the same way for ages and remain perfectly delicious, thank you very much. I can promise you that selecting a staff favorite- or selecting several for a cheese plate, for that matter- will not disappoint.

Roll call, staff favorites:

Steve, aka El Jefe: Abbaye Ste-Mère

For the boss, only a true “dude” cheese will do- wash this one down with a Belgian ale. This traditional monastery cheese from Normandy has a creamy yet firm texture. Made with raw milk and washed in brine, it has a fruity, mild, and slightly sweet flavor.

$18.99/lb

$4.75/quarter lb

Sharon, aka the Wine Nerd: Tomme Corse de Chèvre

Sharon has been in love with this cheese since we opened! This rustic tomme from Corsica shows off the flavor of the rough mountain diet of the goats. It has a semi-smooth, textured paste, a fiercely herbaceous flavor, and a wonderful chèvre tang on the finish.

$31.99/lb

$7.99/quarter lb

Isaac, aka El Jefeito: Le Berger Basque

Isaac is so loyal, he couldn’t stray too far from the Spanish border to select his favorite. This rustic Pyrenees cheese is made from raw sheep’s milk in the Basque region. Nutty, earthy, and herbaceous with a wonderfully tangy finish. Pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir.

$30.99/lb

$7.75/quarter lb

George, aka Jorge: Scharfe Maxx

A true cheese nerd, George loves the aromatic cheeses that announce themselves from a few feet away. This is a sweet, barnyardy, and immensely tangy cheese from Switzerland. Aged for 6 months, this thermalized cow’s milk cheese is washed with brine and herbs, giving it a powerful and sharp (scharfe) flavor and a dense, creamy texture. When you need to up the ante on your ham and cheese, give this one a try.

$26.99/lb

$6.75/quarter lb

Priscilla, aka the Thrilla Killa: Bucherondin

Priscilla is a known snacker, and this one flakes every time you cut it, leaving her no choice but to sample it yet again. This tangy and slightly savory cheese from the Loire Valley is like two cheeses in one: next to the rind it’s buttery and smooth, while in the center it’s light and creamy. Amazing with Loire whites and delicious as is or melted.

$15.99/lb

$3.99/quarter lb

Jeff, aka Muscles: Delice de Bourgogne

Jeff may prefer the silence and solitude of the warehouse, but he’s actually a total softie. This delicious triple cream cow’s milk cheese has a lively, piquant flavor that nicely balances the buttery mouthfeel. Try this cheese at the end of the meal with fruit for a truly decadent dessert.

$16.99/lb

$4.25/quarter lb

Abigail, aka the Scholar: Tomme de Hyelzas

This is one you have to think about, with beautifully complex flavors: which describes our recently- left-for-grad-school friend perfectly. This is a stunning raw sheep’s milk cheese from a cooperative that works with eleven producers and shepherds. The rich milk offers flavors of the Causses plateaus: wild thyme,  blue grass, juniper, and lavender. A dense, smooth texture and a super clean finish: absolute heaven!

$29.99/lb

$7.49/quarter lb

Rachel, aka Barbra : Bleu des Basques

I swear, this cheese really sings with a dollop of citrus marmalade- a blue to eat all year. It’s one of our most requested blue cheeses. This sheep’s milk cheese comes from a cooperative in the Pyrenees, has fine indigo veining, and a clean brebis taste. Creamy & crumbly with a faint nutty sweetness. Extremely well-balanced & less salty than most blues.

$26.99/lb

$6.75/quarter lb

Wine @ PG

Louis Picamelot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut ($12.99)

A dreamy sparkling wine from Burgundy, made of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Bourgogne Aligoté. It is produced in the tradition method, like a Champagne. Bottle-aged for nine months with the lees, the wine has toasty, nut-laden aromas and a creamy mousse. Fresh apple on the palate and a pleasing length. It is ideal as an aperitif, complementing shellfish, cheese plates, nuts, and fruits.

2008 Dom. Raymond Dupont-Fahn “Chaumes des Perrières” Bourgogne Blanc ($32.00)

This Chardonnay is a steal if we’ve ever seen one! The incredibly talented winemaker uses grapes from 40-year old vines in the parcel of land adjoining his Mersault vineyard. The soil in the vineyard was deemed just a hair too shallow to be classified “Mersault”; had the decision gone the other way, this bottle would easily be twice the price. Barrel-fermented, it has a lovely weight, an opulent mouthfeel that is tempered by an elegant chalkiness. Peach, apricot, and spice on the finish.

2009 Château de Ségriès Côtes-du-Rhône ($13.99)

This bistro-style Côtes-du-Rhône is irresistible! Half Grenache and blended with Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault, it’s a young, fruit-forward red with peppery notes and a rich finish. Father and daughter work together in the vineyard and in the cellar to make this food-friendly wine.

2007 Domaine de Font-Sane Gigondas ($22.99)

This luscious Gigondas has been racking up high scores in all the wine publications. The Grenache-based blend comes from 50 year-old vines, and is aged in large oak tanks before bottling. A limited number of cases were imported, and we were able to get  a few bottles at this amazing price!

” Very ripe and fleshy, featuring lush blueberry, fig and boysenberry fruit layered with dark cocoa and black tea flavors, with a lingering pastis note. Long and rounded, with nicely buried grip holding the finish together. Drink now through 2015. 174 cases imported.” 92 points Wine Spectator.

Craves @ PG

Laguiole Cheese Knife Set

A real cheese nerd wouldn’t just hack away at their delicacies with any old knife. Those in the know use Laguiole, immensely attractive knives crafted from high grade stainless steel. We have two 3-piece cheese knife sets: the one pictured ($30.00), as well as a 100 percent biodegradable set from the Natura line ($55.00).

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins

George, our resident Cheese Nerd at The Spanish Table, has taken this mildly weighty tome along with him everywhere in the world. He wielded it as a defensive weapon on troublesome New York City subway rides. He slept on it as a pillow on early morning Seattle bus rides. And he used it as a wedge to stop the ancient cannonball from crushing him while searching for a historically relevant cheese. He always gets out alive when he’s got this classic cheese nerd bible.

Paris Grocery News 5/13 Friday, May 14 2010 

Ready, set, fromage!

I’ve been hungry all morning. Rachel has been unwrapping, cutting, rearranging cheeses all day, forcing samples into my not-so-unwilling hand every so often. There is a cacophony of aromas billowing behind the cheese counter: piquant bleu notes; musty, earthy, straw-laced pitches; and diva-like, nutty sopranos. As we taste through some of our special orders in honor of the Seattle Cheese Festival, we marvel at how interesting and delicious these cheese are, even though we’ve had hundred of cheeses, hundreds of times. We are lucky to be omnivores, says Rachel, and I couldn’t agree more. What would life be without the astounding complexity of the Tête de Moine, herb-and-nut of the Tomme de Hyelzas at its peak, or the unadulterated creaminess against the spicy-salty bleu of the Roquefort Coulet? We’re glad we don’t have to know. We hope you enjoy the buzz of the Seattle Cheese Festival, and when you’re ready for a break from the crowds and other kinds of cacophony, come down to Western Avenue and see us. We’re here 360 days a year, happy to let you taste anything and to talk about the good things in life.

Wines @ PG
Buy any six bottles of wine and get 10% off!

A French Six-Pack!

At Paris Grocery, we always offer a discount on six or more bottles of wine. Since you might get thirsty tasting cheeses galore this weekend, I’ve put together a cheese-friendly six pack of wine for you!

2008 J. Lourat Collection Blanc VdP Loire ($12.99)
A beautiful blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. With vibrant white fruit aromas, a silky mouth feel, and a crisp, mineral-accented finish, this wine is perfect with just about any cheese.

2008 Lucien Albrecht “Cuvée Balthazar” Alsace ($13.99)
This unoaked Pinot Blanc comes from a family owned winery in Alsace. The excellence of their vineyards is immediately apparent. Rich, harmonious fruit and ripe apple notes, with a lively finesse. Well-suited for washed-rind, creamy cheeses such as Munster or Tomme du Berger.

2005 Chateau Saint-Sauveur Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise ($26.99)
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise is an AOC used exclusively for sweet, fortified Muscat wine, a wine that has been praised since the time of Pliny the Elder! Unctuous, with fig, almond, candied citrus, and a stylish balance. Particularly good with bleu cheese. 90 points Wine Spectator

2008 Antech “Émotion” Cremant de Limoux Rosé ($14.99)
Made in the traditional method from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac, and a touch of Pinot Noir, this rosé sparkler is aged for 15 months before release. Incredibly elegant, with a delicate pink hue and a fine, firm mousse. Rose petals, white flowers, and strawberry on the nose, followed by cherry and a subtle nuttiness on the palate. The finish is fresh and utterly delightful. Excellent with triple-creams, bries, and other rich cheeses.

2006 Albert Bichot Savigny-les-Beaune ($29.99)
With warm aromas of pie cherry, this Burgundy Pinot Noir has heft on the palate. Black cherry flavors accented with pepper fill the mid-palate. An elegant and dry Pinot Noir, it is a great wine for semi-firm to firm cheeses, such as Comté and Tomme d’Aquitaine.

2007 Yannick Pelletier “L’Oiselet” St. Chinian ($15.99)
From a small appellation in the Languedoc, this is an unoakedblend of Cinsault and Grenache Noir, with little bit of Syrah and Carignan. The producer works biodynamically and ages the l’Oiselet for 10 months in vats before bottling, allowing all the flavors to come together. Fruit-forward, juicy, and smoky, it’s a full-bodied wine for full-bodied cheese. Try it with Abondance, Tomme Corse, or Cantal.

Cheese @ PG

The most difficult question for a cheesemonger is, “what’s your favorite?” It’s impossible to answer, and my usual response is just to open the cheese case and start cutting samples, trying to find your new favorite. After a marathon cheese case stock-and-spruce-up this morning, I am even more excited for the Cheese Festival this weekend so I can share all my new favorites.

Tomme de Hyelzas

Olivier brings us stunning cheeses from all over France, but the cheeses from Corsica and from southwestern France thrill me with their herbaceous vivacity, clean acidity, and rustic textures. Just back in stock is Tomme Corse de Chèvre, a goat’s milk tomme with a dreamy snow-white interior and a herbal, goaty tang. Saveur de Maquis is a classic Corsican sheep’s milk cheese; it’s covered in a wild smattering of herbs and has a creamy, ricotta-like texture. New to the store is a young Tomme de Hyelzas from the Causses: raw sheep’s milk, full of flavors from the limestone plateaus of juniper, lavender, and blue grass. Tomme Haut Barry, a sheep’s milk cheese from Larzac, is at a great stage– the bright flavors and floral aromas have had some time to age and get super earthy. Olivier chooses his cheeses and has relationships with the cooperatives, so I always know I’m getting a great wheel.

Cone du Port Aubry

Olivier’s cheeses have a special place in my heart (and belly), but we also have many great cheeses from other sources that have reached go-to status. If you love raw goat’s milk flavor, you have to try Cone du Port Aubry, a Herve Mons cheese from the Loire Valley– I’ll tell you the story of how it got its name if you can’t figure it out from its distinctive shape. Fleur Verte is a fresh chèvre dressed in fresh tarragon and pink peppercorns. The texture is unbelievable; I’d recommend this beautiful cheese for a wedding cake. Tête de Moine is from Switzerland- not French, we know- but this dense, nutty cow’s milk cheese has to be tried for your next fondue. Lately, my suggestion for a great “snack” cheese has been Bethmale, a cow’s and goat’s milk washed-rind cheese that is delicious with a plate of olives and charcuterie. Finally, we can’t forget our blues, which may sound too intense for the approaching spring. But Bleu des Basques, a sheep’s milk blue with a nutty sweetness and a clean finish, really sings with a dollop of orange marmalade: I swear, you’ve got to try this!

I could go on and on about our cheeses. Come taste, savor, and learn this weekend at Paris Grocery!