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.

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Paris Grocery News, 6/11 Saturday, Jun 12 2010 

They smile because they're thinking about all the delicious cheese at Paris Grocery!

Show your colors

Since Steve and Sharon are carousing around Spain and Portugal, some of us have (maybe) been using the computers to sneak in glances at the FIFA matches. We’re just trying to create an authentic atmosphere. Isaac even said he’d buy us a round if France beats Mexico next week. To lend some snazz to your festivities, we have stickers and French flags large and small. Don’t forget that le foot is always more fun with cheese, charcuterie, and a few glasses of wine! And yes, we have some recommendations for you.

Wine @ PG
Buy any six bottles and get 10% off!

2006 Mas de la Dame Les Baux de Provence “La Gourmande” ($15.99)
Mas de la Dame is a certified organic estate on the rocky slopes of the Alpilles mountains. The Faye family has been growing grapes and olives there for four generations, committed to preserving the natural beauty of the estate using techniques such as hand-harvesting. Equal parts Grenache and Syrah, “La Gourmande” is a full-bodied, rich, and layered wine. Smooth raspberry, blackberry, and vanilla flavors are anchored by tones of scorched earth and licorice. The finish displays delicious notes of cherry skin and spice. Mas de la Dame wines have become part of France’s cultural landscape, distinctive in their squat Calvados bottles, and mentioned by Simone de Beauvoir in her memoirs.

2009 Domaine Sorin “Terra Amata” Côtes-de-Provence Rosé ($10.99)
Robert Parker called winemaker Luc Sorin one of the most exciting in the South of France, and his wines are served at some of the finest restaurants in the Côte-d’Azur. They have gained a reputation for being smooth and appealing, excellent matches for many styles of cuisine. The Côtes-de-Provence rosé is their best-known wine, a lovely, dusky salmon colored wine. It is a blend of both red and white grapes, primarily Grenache (40%), with the five Southern Rhône reds and two local whites, Rolle (5%)and Orgi (5%). It is rich and fruit forward, full of strawberry and raspberry, with nice acidity and a hint of spice on the finish. Pour yourself a glass and you will feel like you’re on the Riviera!

2009 Domaine Sorin Bandol Rosé ($17.99)
Bandol, located right along the Mediterranean between Marseille and Toulon, is the spiritual home of Mourvèdre. The rosés from this tiny AOC have been lauded by the likes of Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch, and with Domaine Sorin’s blend of Mourvèdre (60%) and Grenache (40%), you’ll join in the chorus of praise. Produced in a much more limited quantity than the “Terra Amata”, this rosé is floral and peachy, with great verve and a seamless finish. It is perfect with summer fare such as seafood pastas, grilled fish with fennel seed and herbs, or vegetables with pistou.

2007 Domaine Sorin Bandol ($24.99)
A voluptuous red wine, the Bandol from Domaine Sorin is 85% Mourvedre, with Syrah (10%) and Carignan (5%). It is fermented in huge oak casks, and then transferred to barrels for a 16-month aging period. Blackberry, tobacco, and dark fruit are fused with earthy notes of leather, cedar, and a chewy finish. Spectacular with lamb and red meats, this wine is a favorite at Campagne Restaurant.

Cheese @ PG

Swiss, Swiss, French: three new cheeses we love.

Scharfe Maxx
A slightly smoky, deeply beefy, 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. A fantastic melting cheese! $6.75/quarter lb

Moser Brie
From the Swiss cheesemaker Moser in Switzerland. This bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese is washed with riesling-sylvaner wine, imparting notes of flowers and apples. Creamy, sweet, and earthy: you’ll love this little brie! $11.99/each

Bucherondin
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. Try thin slices layered on top of a summer vegetable tart and bake to toasty perfection. Bonus: check out the price! $3.99/quarter lb

Food @ PG

Cheese’s favorite cracker.

Feeling the need for a cracker that would make for delicious pairings with our wide range of cheeses, we looked around and finally chose the 34 Degree Crispbreads from Colorado. They’re baked without oil, delivering a light and airy cracker with delicate flavor. We’ve got tons of ideas for each flavor:

Natural: This neutral cracker is a pure flavor vehicle. Try it with sharp or pungent cheeses, such as Munster, Scharfe Maxx, and earthy blues such as Fourme D’Ambert. Also great for pâtés.

Sesame
: Adds a touch of nuttiness to buttery bries and triple creams, such as Fromager d’Affinois. Also great with semi-soft cow’s milk cheeses like St. Nectaire or Le Somport.

Cracked Pepper: Delicious with young and aged goat cheeses such as Pave de Jadis and Bucherondin. Also fantastic with our salami from Zoe’s Meats.

Rosemary: Calls out for fresh chèvre, such as Le Picandou or the herb-coated Fleur Verte. Would also bring out the grassy notes in one of our Basque sheep’s milk cheeses, such as Abbaye de Belloc.

Lemon Zest: Try it with Saveur de Maquis, a Corsican sheep’s milk cheese with a ricotta-like texture, or Tome Jacquin, a fudgy goat cheese with great complexity. Great with fresh berries.

Feed your Mind @ PG

Merde: The real French you were never taught at school

You’ll be able to properly insult your rivals and brag about your team with this book and its sequel, “Merde Encore”. They are the ultimate guides to French slang in all its colloquial glory.

Craves @ PG

Fentiman's Curiosity Cola

A naturally fermented soda, with ginger and herbal extracts.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery