The Lady visited a newer, independent and family owned grocer in the Vancouver area, Chuck’s Produce and Street Market. It opened last fall but The Lady rarely heads that way when she runs errands or shops. In truth, The Lady hates shopping; a trait I understand is rare in humankinds of the female persuasion. But on this particular day, she had been training a new Cheesemonger at another store in her chain and Chuck’s was on her way home to the manse… one more cynical than I might call this “spying” on the competition…
First a bit about Chuck’s. This is a really cool store. Spacious with lots of open areas and easy access to the products it sells. Lots of organic and local produce at reasonable prices. The store is clean and there’s an old flatbed Ford, which is cool, sitting in the produce area merchandised with items sold in the store… I wonder if that flatbed Ford ever drove by my corner in Winslow, Arizona?
The store is closed on Saturdays for “Family Day” – what a cool thing to do… The store has an amazing meat and seafood counter but sell no pork products and no shellfish. The ono and tuna are sushi-grade quality; the ready-to-cook chicken dishes are mouth-wateringly beautiful: flattened chicken breast wrapped around asparagus with herbs and fat-free cream cheese – The Lady was glad she wasn’t hungry… a terrible time to food shop. The bakery and the deli offer freshly baked goodies and prepared dishes with competitive prices. Did I mention that this is one cool store??? They also have a huge bulk food area loaded with interesting natural and organic selections.
Of course, The Lady was there to see the cheese area. The store has a very respectable selection and she had a chance to chat with their cheese specialist, a friendly and helpful cheesemonger named Jodi. Jodi had just cracked a new wheel of Fontina Val d’Aosta and had The Lady sample it… rattus, one more time I was not in the right cheese place at the right cheese time… The Lady says that Chuck’s doesn’t allow pets… what’s up with that??? Another “feline restricted” establishment… but I digress…
Chuck’s also has a kitchen and classroom area where they offer free classes and events. This Tuesday, May 17th, Jodi will be conducting a class about lesser-known Italian cheeses from 530pm to 630pm. The Lady has it on our “cheese calendar” and plans to attend. The following Tuesday (May 23rd), Jodi will discuss “Bargain and Value Cheeses” from 530pm to 630pm. Again, you will most likely find The Lady there. That class sounds similar in concept to The Lady’s “Everyday Cheeses”. Other classes/events offered at the store include “Vegetarian Picnic Foods” (May 25th) and Healthy Snack Foods for Kids (May 31st – taught by Dr. Kate).
I give Chuck’s Produce and Street Market 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got). If you live in Vancouver, Washington, you really should check out this store…
The first cheese we tasted today was Alpenhorn, a young hybrid cheese made by Unikaas, a respected Dutch Gouda cheese manufacturer. It is a marriage between a Dutch Gouda and a Swiss Emmenthal; younger and softer than the aged version of its “parents”. (BTW, Uniekaas also produces another cheese that we simply crave around the manse, the sublime Parrano.)
This cheese has a rich, deep yellow color (ingredients include annatto, a derivative of the achiote tree, used to produce a yellow to orange food coloring) with lots of well-formed baby eyes. It has a creamy texture and mild taste. While it works well on a cheese plate, I think it would do better paired with a nice juicy slice of Foster Farms’ Gallus gallus between two slabs of crusty bread and grilled to perfection with Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter…
I give Alpenhorn, the cheese and not the musical instrument, 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: As listed above, use it in a grilled cheese. The Lady also thought it would be a great choice for fondue because of both its mild flavor and creaminess. I suppose, but I always burn my paws when I join in the “fondue fun”.
Wine Suggestion: The Lady thinks this cheese would be well served by a glass of Tawny Post.
Beer Suggestion: Helles
Source: Pasteurized Cow’s Milk
Cahill’s Irish Cheddar with Whiskey
Vegetarian-Suitable (as are all Cahill Cheeses)
The second cheese The Lady snagged at Chuck’s made The Man seriously swoon… I mean seriously swoon… Cahill’s Cheddar with Whiskey. The Lady and I have previously reviewed another Cahill’s Farmhouse cheese: their Original Irish Porter Cheese (another swooner… if you get my drift…).
Marion Cahill and her family have been making their cheeses for three generations and even though known around the world, they still craft them in the same old-fashioned way: handmade in small batches with great attention to the process. They haven’t sacrificed tradition for commercial venture. Many of their cheeses have won awards including this one we are reviewing here.
This cheddar is laced with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and you can smell the whiskey when you slice this cheese. The taste is more subtle than the scent; but it’s there and brings an extra dimension to an already creamy, full-flavored mature cheddar. The nutty flavor of the cheese combines with the whiskey to deliver quite a tasty savory finish. Of the two, The Man liked this one better and it was mano-a-feline to get a fair share… The Man simply doesn’t understand the concept of sharing… sheesh…
We have always been fans of Mary Cahill and her cheeses and this just solidifies our love for her cheeses all the more.
Serving Suggestions: I think this cheese should be served “Naked” to do it justice. Just pop it on top of a 34° Natural Crispbread Cracker and you’re good to go.
Wine Suggestions: This time, you gotta go with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and forget the vino…
Beer Suggestions: Why not Guinness and call this an Irish Cheese Boilermaker???
Source: The Cows on the Cahill Farm in County Limerick, Ireland…
Which brings to mind…
There is an Irish lassie named Marion
Who makes wondrous cheese; all vegetarian.
Quality cheese that’s handmade; then skillfully purveyed.
To eat her cheese, I’d gladly give up fresh carrion…
(The Lady has since visited Chuck’s a second time and picked up a wedge of Fiscalini’s San Joaquin Gold, a cheese I had begged her to buy… a review will follow soon…)
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