Say Cheese!

June Cheese sm

Often people will use the phrase "say cheese" as a cue to enter their final pose and to smile. Here at Michael's On East we "say cheese" because we love the new selections we get from our friends at the Artisan Cheese Company!

We have a fabulous choice of meats and cheeses in our Made in America Charcuterie dinner starter!

While supplies last, we are featuring these three amazing cheeses below with La Quercia Prosciutto, Smoked Speck, Nduja Americana, Creminelli Salami Calabrese flavored with Garlic & Wine Sopressata, Grain Mustard Fruit Chutney, Teardrop Red Peppers, Greek Olives & Mini-Baguettes:

Located in Thurman, New York, near the near the Adirondack Mountains, Nettle Meadow Farm is owned by Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase. The origins of the farm started in 1993 when Raynald Hebert and his wife Laurie Goodheart transformed an old farmstead, developing a small cheesemaking facility and enough acreage to support approximately thirty goats. The name “Nettle Meadow” was a reflection of the presence of wild nettles and herbs that made up the goat’s diet. Twelve years later in 2005, the farm was sold to Sheila and Lorraine, both of whom had been living in California and were wanting a complete change of direction. Since 2005 they have worked extensively to expand the farm and its operation. Now spanning 50 acres, it is home to over 300 Alpine, Nubian, Saanen and mixed breed goats, several dozen Icelandic and East Freisian sheep and a variety of other farm animals. In 2012, estimated cheese production will be about 125,000 pounds of cheese. 

From the makers of the award-winning cheese Kunik, Nettle Peaks is a handmade, mold-ripened, black ash drizzled, 100% goat's milk pyramid. It is infused with flavors of nettle tea and other herbs, not because these ingredients are added to the recipe by the cheesemaker, but because this is what the goat's eat on the farm. Each pyramid is hand-wrapped in waxed paper so that its bloomy rind can gain access to the air it needs to stay fresh and white.  The taste is mild, and surprisingly lacks the expected tang of a goat cheese, rather it is smooth, and gentle. 

Origin:  Nettle Meadow, NY
Milk:  Goat    Age:  2 months
Feel: soft, pillowy
Smell: milk
Taste: earthy, mushroom
Pairs well with: Champagne or a dry Sauvignon Blanc.
Tastes good with: Honey, strawberries, bread, meats 

Ossau Iraty is a wonderful sheep’s milk cheese produced in a specific area of the French Pyrenées. The name is derived from the production area that includes two neighboring provinces: the Ossau Valley, located in the Bearn and Iraty, a forested area in the French Basque Pyrenées. Ossau Iraty is one large family of sheep’s milk cheeses from this general region that includes Abbaye de Belloc, Valle d’Aspe, Istara and several others. Milk for production comes from the local breeds of sheep, the Manech and Basco- Bearnaise. The practice of transhumance is still very much a feature of these regions, whereby the shepherds take their sheep to the upper mountain pastures during the summer months to graze on the rich summer grass and flowers. During this time, milking and cheesemaking take place in the mountain huts known as“cayolar,”where the shepherds live during the summer. In the autumn the sheep are brought back down to the lower slopes and kept closer to the farm. Cheeses made during the summer are traditionally prized above those made during the winter for their superior flavor. Ossau Iraty was granted AOC (name protected) status in 1980.  The texture of Ossau Iraty is uniformly smooth, close and dense and yet remains supple. Flavors are sweet and nutty, with pleasant notes of earth, cellar - especially with the cheeses made during the winter - and flavors of grass, flowers and savory vegetal notes from the summer cheeses.

Origin:  France, Bern & Iraty, Agour
Milk:  Raw Sheep  
Age: 5 mos
Look: Firm, Natural Rind
Feel:  smooth and close in texture, and then melting on the mouth
Smell/Taste: sweet and rich with hints of hazelnut, grass, and honey.
Pairs well w/: IPA, whiskey, sauvignon blanc
Tastes good with: mustard, pickles, cured meats

As farmers and ranchers, the Giacomini family have had a presence in Point Reyes for many decades. A descendant of Italian mountain dairy producers, Bob Giacomini began milking cows on his Point Reyes dairy in 1959.  Over the years, Bob and his wife Dean, together with their four daughters, Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill, developed a shared vision of producing an all-natural farmstead cheese. This dream was realized in August, 2000, when they founded Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company and produced the first vat of Original Blue. Milk comes from the Giacomini’s own closed herd of Holstein cows that grazes the pastures overlooking Tomales Bay.  

The piercing of the cheeses with stainless steel needles allows the air into the cheese, where it reacts with the enzymes and bacteria and causes the development of the blue veining. Finally cheeses are transferred into the the aging room where they are left to mature. Bay Blue are aged aerobically, exposed to air, while Original Blue matures in a sealed bag. As a result, Bay Blue progresses faster - it’s released at three months - and develops a thin, almost imperceptible rind.  The brand new Bay Blue, the third in their cheese line up, delivers earthy sweetness with a fudgy texture. 

Origin:  Point Reyes Farmstead, California
Milk: Cow    
Rennet: Vegetable
Age:  3-5 months
Feel: semi firm
Smell: candy, mineral, earthy
Taste: toasted walnut, caramel, brown butter
Pairs well with: Walnuts, Pinot Noir
Tastes good with: salami, raspberries

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