Peek behind Philadelphia’s largest and oldest cheese counter for a lively guide to pairing cheese with everything from beer and cocktails to olives and charcuterie. Madame Fromage brings to life 170 of the world’s greatest artisanal cheeses, drawing on stories and knowledge from our third-generation owners, cheesemongers and friends.
Kimchi and cheese? Take that puzzled look off your face! It’s not any more bizarre than drizzling balsamic vinegar on a wedge of Parm. Or tipping back a fermented beverage, like beer or wine, with pizza. Or, at least that was our premise when Amanda Feifer and I presented KIMCHEESE! for the Philadelphia Science Festival. Sixty […]
A couple recipes from the evening will be in your hands soon – the Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese book comes out in just three weeks! Until then, you’ll have to wing it as you crack open your first Hopfish, your first Exit 16 (made with wild rice, and just glorious!). As I read through my hasty tasting notes, a few favorites jumped out. I am writing them here for you – but also to commit them to memory myself, as a summer mantra.
This spring, I’ve had a love affair with brainy goat cheeses. They appear this time of year – wrinkly, rumpled, as if they’ve just rolled out of bed – which may explain why I adore them for breakfast. Put on a pot of tea, grab the honey, pop in some toast, and prepare to be awakened with a rise-and-shiny little cheese.
“Puits d’Astier,” Rocco whispered. It sounded like a new frangrance. Pwee d’awz-tee-eh. And it might as well be. Since Saturday, I’ve been patting Puits d’Astier on the insides of my wrists, and wherever I go in the world I leave the aroma of sweet sheep’s milk and hazelnuts. It’s true. Riders of SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transit system, know me and thank me. Expect men who peddle scented oils from duffle bags to pursue you with bottles of faux Puits d’Astier soon.
March brings the Flower Show to Philadelphia, and with this year’s “British Landscapes” it seems only proper to offer you a selection of Britain’s best wedges. Should you overdose on the smell of hyacinths, you may wish to pop into Di Bruno Bros. for a sniff and nibble. (Di Bruno Bros. will be a vendor at the show, but the flagship store at 18th and Chestnut is within walking distance.)
The theme of today’s visits centered on the combination of the Italian approach to tradition combined with innovation. The quote, “L’innovazione e’ la traduzione riuscita bene,” or “Innovation is the result of well managed tradition,” came from Mirella Galloni, the daughter of the founder of Fratelli Galloni. Our fourth day in Italy ended in Parma with a visit to one of the Galloni prosciuttifici (prosciutto crudo plants.)
Nothing puts me in the mood for love like mushrooms. I know, I know – they’re a far cry from oysters or caviar, but aphrodisiacs rely on individual appeal and I happen to be mad for forest smells: wet earth, moss, the vaguely cabbage-y smell of tree rot. These are what led me to a special Valentine’s Day threesome: roasted mushrooms stuffed with Nancy’s Camembert and a spot of Brussels sprout relish.
I had a “kid in a candy store” moment when I noticed cylinders of cheese wrapped in paper among the traditionally shaped Parmigiano Reggiano wedges. “Questo e’ il cuore? (Is this the heart)?” I asked the chef. Yes, he confirmed. They cut the heart of the wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano out, shaped in small cylinders and sell them separately. Since the heart ripens faster, it’s always the most delicious part of the wheel – something commonly overlooked.
A few months ago, we sent our Imports & Exports Procurement Manager, Scott Case, on an Italian trade mission to Italy. Along with representatives from several other specialty retailers from around the USA, he scoured local markets and shops for new products and visited with several producers of authentic Italian specialty products. This effort was to bolster trade with Italy and to ensure that the word is getting out about the great work these small, artisan producers are doing.