My, my, my-it has been a while hasn’t it? With a Cheshire Cat grin, I’m glad I give the proviso this is an almost monthly newsletter. Summer is officially in descent and we are in full swing training our new hires, getting these newbies ready for the holiday season. In April, I made my yearly pilgrimage to Michigan to fish the fierce Muskegon steelhead, and I caught (and released!) some mighty big fish. And I mean some serious whoppers. But I concede the best trip award to Brie and her journey to England. She visited some of the region’s most renowned cheese artisans, placed an order live and in person at Neal’s Yard Dairy and got to experience traditional UK cheese making in action. But more on that below. Here’s what else I think you may find interesting…..
Brie in Camelot
Cheese Journeys is a new travel firm catering to old and new cheesefans alike by hosting region specific tours of cheese-making. They approached me about joining their inaugural trip to southern England. Given my upcoming family vacation to Italy, and Brie’s ever-growing breadth of knowledge and experience as a cheesemonger, it seemed the perfect choice to send our cheese buyer on such an adventure. She had an extraordinary time and has regaled us with stories and informational tidbits galore. She even wrote a great article about her trip, which appeared in The Concord Journal and the Gourmet Retailer. You can indulge in her reflections here.
The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming
To share in our love of cheese! On the heels of Brie’s triumphant voyage across the pond, we are preparing for the honor of hosting a few of England’s most accomplished and prominent cheese personalities. On the 18th of June, Simon Jones, the cheddar genius behind Lincolnshire Poacher visits and chats. And hot on his heels, July 3rd (rather funny timing eh?), will be Sam Holden, maker of Haford, and Joe Schneider, maker of the raw milk blue beauty Stichelton. Please come by to meet and make welcome these talented gentlemen. We’re feeling so lucky and nearly giddy at the prospect of their presence.
The Chef’s Plate, a local program from Derry, NH based WBIN TV came by in early April to film a little segment and I thought it came out rather well. Here’s the link so you can give it a look-see.
Why, yes, I do teach an introductory cheese class! This fall I will once again be offering my introductory course on cheese, “The Art of Cheese”, through Middlesex Community College. It’s a lively evening of eating and education, and we’ll taste and talk about over a dozen cheeses. Current dates are October 8th and 23rd and I’m flattered to say they usually fill up quite quickly. To sign up: call MCC at 1-(800)-818-3434, 1-(800) -818-3434 or venture online to their website, search for “Cheese”, the course number is PER617.
New Folks, New Faces
This is the time of year we break in new folks for the upcoming fall and holiday season, so we’ve got some bright new faces in the shop. Give your warmest greetings to our new ladies and one gent: Meike (MIKE-uh), Sarah, Sonia (SUN-yah) and Jack. Meike and Sarah have finished their freshman years at Smith and UMass Amherst respectively, and will train through the summer to visit us again at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sonia is our new full time deli gal and joins Jen in the “tall girl department”. Jack is about to be a senior at CCHS and you’ll find him running around a few afternoons a week. All four of our new hires are stellar and we’re so grateful to attract such smart and energetic people.
Effies and Empire
We’ve got some new finds among our gourmet goodies. All you fans of Effie’s Oatcakes will be eager to hear we’ve got two new varieties on the shelf in addition to the original and pecan: ryewalnut and cocoa-coconut. Just the right amount of crunch and the perfect ratio of sweetness to nuttiness, I would encourage you to give your tea time a new kick with a new biscuit.
More up my alley though, is our selection of flavors from Empire Mayonnaise. Straight outta the foodie heartland (Brooklyn, NY), Empire is the first mayo to be made without GMO oil and is crafted by hand from bottle to box. As a man proud of his own happy chickens, I am happy to say this snappy condiment is made with NY local cagefree and pasture raised eggs. The bacon version is my favorite (of course) but the sriracha and white truffle flavors are mighty tasty too. Try them in this summer’s BLT’s!
Loss to the Family
In early May, Armine’s dear mother passed away at the age of ninety. Alice was the epitome of tenderness and grace. We are blessed to have her daughter with us, and our hearts go out to Armine in feeling the loss of her Mom. Long considered part of our extended family, this wonderful woman will be missed by us all. She gave us Armine, and for that, we owe Alice the world.
Friday Night Menu
Last month, we tried something different. Every week featured beef tenderloin, our most popular offering each month. Well, it was not the hit we thought it would be, so this month we are back to the creative drawing board. I am most excited about the lamb on the 20th. Its gonna be great! But if you have never tried it, you should treat yourself this summer to a wonderful night in, with a terrific meal and a bottle of wine. Check out the MENU.
Between our mini UK dairy invasion, new trainees and assorted summer activities, I have a feeling September’s breezes and colors will be here sooner than I can swipe a cheese plane. I am going to try to savor these June/July nights though, with my favorite summer pleasures: patio time, a cold glass of rosé and gazing at my contented chickens. In such an uncertain world, I am grateful for the graceful way the world offers just enough warmth and later sunsets to let us reflect on how lucky we are to be alive right here.