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, 6/17 Saturday, Jun 19 2010 

Things Your Dad Likes

Lambic and Orval Goblets, so dad can drink like a (Belgian) king!

Maybe your dad has been glued to the TV at odd hours this past week, watching the World Cup. Or maybe he’s been rushing to the golf course as soon as the sun peeps out from under the June cloud cover. Or maybe he’s been working his way through a new favorite cookbook. Whatever he’s been up to lately, we can assure you he does NOT want to be forgotten this Sunday. So show him love, get him something he pretends he doesn’t want, but will be so happy when he gets it.

Shameless Promotion Alert: Our friend Mike Force, a talented jack-of-all-arts in Brooklyn, created this hilarious site. Check out this field guide to the rare species of American Dad!

Blockbuster Wines

Summer is the time to let your dad indulge in the “bigger is better” mantra. Let him have (or think he has) the biggest grill with the biggest rack of ribs on the block, and give him a blockbuster wine to go with it!

2007 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras ($29.99)
The 2007 vintage was seminal in the Rhône, with a warm, dry summer marked by strong winds that preserved that crucial acidity in the grapes. The fruit was ripe, concentrated, and balanced, and resulted in exceptional rich, layered wines, like this Vacqueyras. The estate’s 4ha are lovingly tended by Michel Maret and his two daughters, who harvest by hand. The wine is Syrah (60%) and Grenache (40%), aged in large oak casks for 6-8 months. The father-daughter team triumphed in this vintage, with a smoky, full-bodied wine with flavors of blackberry, mineral, and licorice fusing into a finish that is pure velvet.

“Vivid red. Powerfully scented nose displays fresh raspberry, flowers and minerals. Light in body and refined, with sweet red fruit and candied floral flavors and a silky texture. Fine-grained tannins arrive on the long, sappy finish. This elegant wine is balanced to age but you could drink it now for its sexy fruit and floral qualities.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer


2005 Ferraton et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Le Parvis”
($34.00)
Before 2007, there were the 2005s. This vintage was lauded for producing extremely well-structured wines suitable for aging, and luckily, it is now time to test out those promises. Father and son Ferraton give the Marets a run for their barrels with this elegant Grenache. The wine is blended with small percentages of Syrah and Mourvèdre, and aged for 12-18 month in oak casks. Their biodynamic farming practices reflect their passion for the terroir and uncompromising standards.

“Nice garrigue-driven style, with tobacco, loam, mesquite and plum sauce flavors pushed by a ripe, tarry, mouthfilling finish. Drink now through 2016.” 90 points Wine Spectator

2007 Domaine des Soulanes VdP Côtes Catalanes “Cuvée Jean Pull” ($19.99)
This is another estate that has been handed down from father to son, until Jean Pull sold it to his friends and co-vitners Daniel Laffite and Laffite’s stepfather. Today, young Daniel Laffite and his wife, Cathy, run the estate located near the border of Spain. Carignan thrives in the arid, rocky soil of “Les Fenouillèdes”. This blend of Grenache and Carignan is a plucky charmer, with ripe fruit balances by spicy tannins. Delicious with grilled and barbecued meats, sheep’s cheese, and peppery saucisson and paté.

“Intense kirsch, red plum and raspberry flavors give this southern French red real character and power. The finish is spicy, with plenty of finesse to the black licorice notes. Grenache and Carignane. Drink now through 2012.” 89 point Wine Spectator

2005 Chateau Preuillac Médoc
($19.99)
In Bordeaux, 2005 was also kind to winemakers. This 75-acre estate extends over the excellent gravelly soil of the Médoc appellation in Bordeaux. The Mau family acquired the 200-year old estate a little over a decade ago, driven by the desire to bring the well-placed vineyard up to its full potential. Their hard work and investment is apparent in this under-priced wine, which is one of the best the estate has ever made. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) with Merlot (44%) and Cabernet Franc (4%).

“A classic, balanced wine, with a twist of richness. The black currant flavors are almost jelly-like in their sweetness, although these flavors are well balanced with acidity and a firm layer of dry tannins.”
90 points Wine Enthusiast

Other 90+ notables in stock and previously reviewed: 2007 Domaine Alary Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($27.99), 2007 Domaine des Escaravailles Les Sabliers Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($14.99), 2008 Terres Dorées Beaujolais “L’Ancien” ($16.99), 2005 Château Bibian Listrac-Médoc ($24.99), 2007 Domaine des Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb Syrocco ($17.99), 2005 Vieux Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($32.00), 2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV ($16.99).

Cheese @ PG
We Want The Funk

Everyone knows and loves the blockbuster cheeses, such as Brie, Roquefort, or Comté. But there’s a great big world out there (of cheese), and lately I’ve been wanting to talk about some less well-known or understood categories of cheese. Since we’re talking about Father’s Day this week (um, call your dad/stepdad/grandfather/mentor who’s like a dad to you, please), I thought I’d discuss washed rind cheeses. These are the dudes of cheese: they pack a powerful punch, they’re funky, and yes, they’re often stinky. Yet the aromatic exterior often belies a creamy, mild interior: really, they’re teddy bears. Aww.

Washed rind cheeses can be made from any type of milk; most of the famous ones are made with cow milk , but we have some amazing goat milk options, too. The rinds are washed throughout the aging process in any combination of brine, herbs, wine, or spirits, giving the cheese a pungent aroma. Washed rind cheeses present a wide range of textures, from dense to spongy to creamy to pure ooze. I love these cheeses because they offer a complex mix of flavors; they’re fruity, meaty, and tangy, yet tempered with earthy and nutty notes.

Here are some of our favorite funky cheeses, along with some beer pairing ideas. Beer and cheese go naturally together; both have their origins in grains and grasses. You can match complexity with complexity, or mix-and-match for some flavor juxtapositions. Also, the carbonation in beer refreshes the palate.

Munster d’Alsace
A dense, washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a creamy texture and a fried-egg aroma. The flavor is sharp, beefy, and nutty.
$6.25/quarter lb
Try it with: Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic

Pont l’Evêque

A creamy, washed rind cow’s milk cheese made in Normandy. The flavor is buttery, milky, and savory with a long finish of tangy and fruity undercurrents.
$5.49/quarter lb
Try it with: Lindeman’s Faro Lambic

Abbaye Ste-Mère
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. A sure crowd-pleaser.
$3.99/quarter lb
Try it with: Chimay Red

Morbier
A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a famous line of ash in the center, historically to separate the morning and evening milkings. This washed rind cheese has aromas of freshly mown grass and appealing flavors of fruits and nuts. An intensely earthy and meaty cheese– a classic.
$4.49/quarter lb
Try it with: St Landelin La Divine (bière de garde farmhouse ale)

Bethmale
Louis VI’s favorite cheese. This luscious cow’s and goat’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees has been in production since the 12th century. Smooth and buttery, with flavors of grass and mushroom with a mild washed rind tang. Try it with a snack plate of ham, olives, and rustic bread.
$6.99/quarter lb
Try it with: Orval Trappist Ale

Tête de Moine

A washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a milky, beefy, and nutty flavor. Invented over 800 years ago by the monks of the Jura region in Switzerland, this dense yet creamy cheese has an excellent melting capacity.
$7.25/quarter lb
Try it with: Brasserie Lebbe L’Amalthée (Belgian wheat beer)

Feed your Mind @ PG

Pork & Sons by Stephane Reynaud

A third generation butcher and pork-lover delves into his family’s and village’s history to bring you the recipes and lore of France’s love affair with porcine creatures.

Craves @ PG

Fee Brothers Bitters

Don’t make your dad drink a Manhattan or Martini without Fee Bros. Bitters!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery