It’s not often that you get a farmer, a brewer, a chef, and a cheesemonger to join together for dinner. The farmer has her animals to milk in the evenings. The brewer has beers to pour. The chef usually stays in the kitchen, and the cheesemonger…well, you know where he’d rather be. In the cave, of course.
I headed out to Chester County to visit two new cheese makers at a farm Di Bruno’s has been working with for almost two years. Amazing Acres goat Dairy was the project of Cheese Maker Debbie Mikulak and Farm Manager Fred Bloom. They made a variety of delicious fresh and soft ripened cheeses from their flock of Nubian Goats. We loved them, as did a lot of other people, and the demands the farm proved to be quite a bit to handle as new customers continued to emerge, requiring more cheese and more goats to care for to keep up with demand.
Stoudt's Brewery, 7th Heaven Farm and Di Bruno Bros. present: An Evening with The Brewer, The Farmer, The Chef and The Goat. On Tuesday September 20th 2011 - World renowned Stoudt's Brewing Company and local livestock farm, 7th Heaven Farm, will come together with culinary master Chef Rob Sidor of Di Bruno Bros. to honor THE GOAT - in all its glory - nose to tail.
On appearance, Scamorza (ska-MORT-sa) is one of the ugliest cheeses. It looks like the belly button of a giant baby – dried out, pale, and slightly waxy. For years, I avoided it. No one I knew ate it, and the only person I ever saw order it in the cheese line was an old man with very large ears.
Very few meals remind me of my childhood as much as a tuna melt. My mother was the primary chef in our household, and she excelled (still does) in all areas of Italian cuisine. On the rare occasion that my father cooked, my brother and I were treated to distinctly American dinners.
Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the greatest inventions. For me, it’s always been the cashmere socks of the cheese case. It can dress up anything, even an egg. I like it plain, too, to suck on after a good meal. Those caramel notes are all the sweetness I need, and I like the way Parm crumbles like rock candy.
If you're the type of cheese enthusiast who takes their love of cheese beyond the shop and starts to do a little research of your own, there's a pretty good chance you've seen the word affinage thrown around a bit. Affinage translates as refining and it refers to the crucial last steps in cheese making that deliver a huge reward for a little extra time and attention. It is a process that requires more than a passing knowledge of cheese and takes years to perfect.
Leftover pizza dough is a wonderful thing. It is so great because you can use anything in your refrigerator and prepare a delicious, impromptu pizza from start to finish in less than half an hour. This week I showcase four of my favorite “Franken-zas”, made using extra dough and whatever I have lying around.
For Rocco (center), the highlight was meeting Sister Noella, the cheese nun – a microbiologist and Benedictine who set up her microscope in a conference room and invited cheesemakers to come in for a rind tutotorial. Rocco picked up a few tips from her presentation on “Growing Molds Gracefully” which he plans to implement in the aging cave back on Chestnut Street.
On July 8, 2011, Di Bruno’s own Zeke Ferguson competed in the ultimate battle of curds: The Cheesemonger Invitational. He placed 4th in this epic battle of cheese mongers from around the world, returning to Philadelphia proud. Check out this new video where Zeke, from our 9th street store, recap’s the battle, talks about his favorite cheeses, and shows off his cheese tattoos!