T Minus 11 Days and Counting…
“T Minus” is to remind The Lady of an Air Force/NASA Junket she took to Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center a few years back. While studying her Cheese Junket schedule, she told The Man it was reminiscent of the NASA trip – action-packed from early morning to late night. The NASA junket is one of her favorite memories…let’s hope this cheese making trip will become another favorite memory for The Lady with 1000 wheels of cheese for the Cheese Stewards to sell this coming Christmas…let’s hope that The Lady takes me along…
This trip is being sponsored by three quality cheese producers and in my continuing effort to suck-up to The Lady in hopes of joining her on the trip; I wanted to educate her and my loyal readers on the cheeses her hosts make.
There are four Crave Brothers: Charles, George, Thomas and Mark who began farming together in 1978 in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin milking 57 cows on a rented farm. In 1980 they purchased their Waterloo dairy farm. It is a family operation with the wives and children making a career of making quality cheese.
Today the milk from their 600 Holsteins is piped directly from the dairy farm to their 6000 square foot cheese factory. They make artisan, farmstead cheese and practice sustainable farming. (In case you don’t know, “farmstead” means that the cheese is made on the same farm where the animals live and are milked.)The Crave Brothers make specialty cheeses on the farm with fresh, quality milk. The cheeses are crafted with care, using old world techniques. Their two licensed cheesemakers have over 45 years of cheesemaking experience.
In 1999, Farm Magazine awarded the brothers second place in the “Best Managed Farm” Contest and in 1993 they received Dairy Farm Family of the Year.
Their cheeses have won more than fifty awards, which I will enumerate as I discuss the individual cheeses.
Crave Brothers Mascarpone
The label states “Take me home and taste the difference” and what a difference this mascarpone makes. Mascarpone is used primarily in desserts; one of which is The Lady’s favorite dessert, Tiramisu, which in Italian means “pick-me-up” no doubt from the espresso. If The Lady is in an Italian Restaurant, you can lay down a bet she’ll order Tiramisu – well, you could have laid down that bet prior to The Diet…seventy-one pounds and counting…or losing…
This is a delicate, fresh mascarpone, smoother than Johnny Depp in Don Juan de Marco, a favorite film of The Lady. This Mascarpone is so good you can lick-it-off-the-spoon and have had the best cheese dessert in months…
I must digress to share a moment that just occurred here at the manse…The Lady and The Man are watching Two and A Half Men. Morgan Fairchild was a guest star. The Man asked The Lady, “How old is that woman? She must be at least seventy…” The Lady asked me to look her birthday up on Google and I reported her birth date as February 3, 1950. The Lady started laughing while The Man sat there with a silly grin on his face (not an untypical grin, I might add); then The Lady said, “You are so dead…” It turns out The Lady was born ten months after Morgan Fairchild…The Man swears that Ms. Fairchild must be lying about her age…and I quote… “After all, she is an actress; it’s her job to lie, especially about her age.” The Lady is NOT particularly amused…
Back to Mascarpone…
This feline foodie gives the Crave Brothers Mascarpone 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: In tiramisu; spread it on a wafer or mix it with whipping cream to make a dip for strawberries, pineapple, raspberries. It goes well with poached pears.
Wine Pairings: Combine Mascarpone with a sweet liqueur. Serve with a sweet
wine or champagne for an elegant dessert.
Beer Pairings: Oatmeal Stout – a suggestion from The Man’s BFF, Gary…
Source: 600 Holstein Cows
Awards: 15 Awards since 2003 including First Place, Open Class for Soft Cheese Category,2008 Wisconsin State Fair, West Allis, Wisconsin
Crave Brothers Farmstead Fresh Mozzarella
The Lady loves Caprese Salad which she makes with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil from the Aero-Garden she and The Man have on the island in the kitchen. She combines it with fresh mozzarella; sprinkles it with fresh ground pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Did you ever wonder how something could be “extra” virgin…is that like “more” unique?
The Crave Brothers Mozzarella is oh so creamy and milky that it takes Caprese Salad to new heights. It is a “pasta filata” cheese which means it is kneaded and stretched during production and then formed into logs or balls. The Crave Brothers offer Ciliegine (cherry size), boccocini (ball size), ovoline (egg size), eight-ounce balls, one-pond balls and one-pond logs.
Once more The Crave brothers receive 4 Paws out of 4 Paws for their Fresh Mozzarella (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: In a salad, marinated with EVOO (there’s that “extra virgin” thing again…), on a pizza, or with your favorite pasta dish. The Lady makes an asparagus and fingerling potato pizza and uses fresh mozzarella mixed with some Parmagiano-Reggiano. The pizza also has shallots, fresh garlic and red onions – she calls it her favorite “white pizza” because she does not use any tomatoes and/or tomato paste. Skewers of mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes make a colorful appetizer.
Wine Pairings: Any Sangiovese- based wine.
Beer Pairings: Rich, dark lager
Source: The same 600 bovine as Mascarpone.
Awards: Seven Awards between 2002 and 2008
Crave Brothers Rope Mozzarella
This cheese just cries out for kids. My bet is this cheese would be a hit with that “posse” that invades the manse every Tuesday to hang out with The Lady and weave…sheesh…I hate 3pm on Tuesday…I am so tired of hiding under the bed when those screaming kids coming charging through the door. But they make The Lady happy…her standards are so low at times…
This is a deli-style mozzarella shaped into a rope that forms “strings” when pulled apart.
I give this cheese 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: Salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizza.
Wine Pairings: Chianti, Cabernet
Source: Yep, those 600 Holstein Cows
Awards: 13 Awards between 2003 and 2008
Crave Brothers Les Freres
To reflect their Irish heritage, theCrave Brothers developed Les Freres, a European style cheese that is a semi-soft washed rind cheese. It has an earthy, fruity flavor with a nutty aftertaste. The best age for the young version is 3 weeks. As it ages it resembles an Alsatian Muenster. The Lady compares it to the Chaumes that she sells at the Kiosk.
I give Les Freres 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: Serve it with crusty bread and fruit and nuts.
Wine Pairings: Prosecco or Pinot Grigio
Source: Pasteurized Cow’s milk from a herd of 600 tired but happy Holstein…surprise…
Awards: Seven Awards between 2003 and 2008.
For More Information, visit the Crave Brothers website.
Up next: Roth Kase Family of Cheeses.