Monthly Archives: January 2010

Cheese Class & Beer vs. Wine Pair-off!

Marcelli Formaggi Sheep

Marcelli Formaggi Sheep

Been aching to take a sheep’s milk cheese class or attend a Beer vs. Wine Cheese Pair-off for SF Beer Week? Do I even need to ask that question? If you’re in the San Francisco bay area, free Wednesday night or Saturday day and want to come and check out an event I’m teaching or co-hosting, please do! I feel the fromagic in the air already.

Wednesday, Feb 3rd

Sassy, Spicy, Seductive, Sheep’s Milk

There is a fabulous world of sheep’s milk cheeses out there beyond Manchego just waiting for your love. Hold my hand, and we’ll explore it together, spicy slice-by-slice and surprisingly creamy bite by bite. The score: pecorinos galore, Torta la Serena, Bellwether San Andreas, Cave-Aged Marisa, Ewe’s Blue, Abbaye de Belloc, smoked ricotta, served alongside two wines and a sheep-friendly beer. Sign up, and be put in the running to win a free month of the “It’s Not You, it’s Brie” cheese club.

7:30 pm,  $40 Reservations required.

Buy tickets online, or call Solano Cellars at 510.525.9463


Beer vs. Wine

Beer vs. Wine

Saturday, Feb 8th

Beer Vs. Wine Pair-off

It’s SF Beer Week and the beer drinkers are talking smack about wine and vice versa. So we’re going brother against brother.  Grains against grapes. And we’re going to pair the living crap out of 3 different cheeses.  Certified Cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski is standing up to Fromagatrix Kirstin Jackson in a pairing challenge to see which booze makes the moves. Duvel vs All the Wine in the World.  The cheeses: Vermont Butter & Cheese Bonne Bouche goat, Pecorino Toscano Reserva aged sheep’s milk, Sweet Grass Dairy Grill Hill creamy cow’s milk. Which beers and wines? That’s top secret. Sounds like a fair fight to me!  Bring your judge’s regalia and be prompt!

$18 for tickets online, or call Solano Cellars at 510.525.9463

(sheep above provide the milk for the Marcelli family in Tuscany, whose cheese will appear in the Wednesday class)

Cheese Class: You Don’t Know Chevre!

Redwood Hill Goat Kid

Redwood Hill Goat Kid

Spots are still open in the goat cheese class I’m teaching at Solano Cellars this Wednesday. Check out the write-up below, and spread the chevre love like a wildfire! I’d love to see some readers there!

The Cheese Lover’s Trinity: A Tri-Milk Summit

Join Kirstin, instructor at the San Francisco Cheese School and author of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” blog for a series of classes devoted to the holy cheeselover’s trinity (and wine pours!). Stimulating the cheese lover’s palate through tasting, the class will explore the unique characteristics and temperaments of each cow, goat, and sheep’s milk to consider what makes up some of the best cheeses around so damn good.

Wednesday, Jan 27th, 7:30 pm

Goat’s Milk: You Don’t Know Chevre!

You love goat cheese; you just don’t know it yet. Get ready to warm your goat-loving heart and to be surprised by the miraculous and varied nature of chevre. By the way, goats wag their tails when they’re happy.

Buy tickets here: Solano Cellars, or call the nice people at Solano Cellars, 1580 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94707 at 510.525.9463.

And the upcoming sheep’s milk cheese class:

Wednesday, Feb 3rd, $40

Sassy, Spicy, Seductive, Sheep’s Milk

There is a fabulous world of sheep’s milk cheeses out there beyond Manchego just waiting for recognition. Hold our hands, and we’ll explore it with you, spicy slice-by-slice and surprisingly creamy bite by bite.

Lincolnshire Poacher: All Hail a Cheddar King

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheddar

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheddar

Like buttered bread sprinkled with sea salt, béchamel lasagna, bone marrow with brioche, a crackling fire, and Pat Benatar, cheddar consistently supplies comfort without asking for anything in return. Except for you to upgrade to the good stuff.

I’m all for mixing the high with the low, and when it’s time to make a potato gratin for a family of twelve, it’s okay to buy cheddar a little lower than $20 a pound. But when it’s time to whip out the cheese plate at the end of the night and there’s a bottle of stout calling your name in the fridge or a Bordeaux looking pretty on the counter, that’s when you want to go big.

Go Lincholshire Poacher.

One of my favorite cheddars, crafted by two robust cheesemaker brothers in the British countryside, is Lincolnshire Poacher.

Made from the milk of 230 Holstein cows eating organic grasses and grains in Lincolnhsire, east England, this cheese sets a high bar for the cheddar world. Although the Ulceby Farm producing the cheese has been in the Jones family since the early 1900’s, cheesemaking didn’t fully kick off until the nineties, after a Jones son went to agricultural school and played around with a Welsh cheesemaker with a little bit of rennet.

Lincolnshire is a beefy, sometimes sharp and spicy cheese with buttery tones. Although blessed with a little more funk than some, it is similar to other cheddars of nearby regions that are also made in small batches, and will get bolder as it ages. It is exported by Neal’s Yard Dairy and can be found at Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, and Cheeseboard and the Pasta Shop in Berkeley.

As far as its favorite drink, well, Lincolnshire is kind of a cheap date. It likes to party and would only slightly turn up its nose at a Long Island tea. However,  it favors dark beers, dark red wines like Cabernet blends and Zinfandels and as far as whites, loves full-bodied Chardonnays and Viogniers. And whiskey and scotch and bourbon.

And that pretty little fruity thing in the ramekin next to it is Frog Hollow peach chutney. Lincolnshire Poacher appreciates a little spunk in its sweet acoutrement, so a number with onions, chile and sugar does it up well. Fresh, tart apple slices- also delicious.

What’s your favorite cheddar? British? Born in the U.S.A or New Zealand?

Cheese Lover’s Trinity: A Tri-Milk Summit

Cheeseplate

Solano Cellars Cheese Class

Join Kirstin, author of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” blog and instructor at Solano Cellars and San Francisco Cheese School for a series of three classes devoted to the holy cheeselover’s trinity. Each class will examine the characteristics, bounty, differences, and unique temperaments of cow, goat, and sheep’s milk through tasting six cheeses that illustrate the glories of each milk genre in order educate and stimulate the cheese lover’s palate. Prepare to learn, to be surprised, and to taste through some of the best cheeses available of each type. Time to test your cheese boundaries.

Wednesday, Jan 20th

From Triple Crèmes to Alpines –

Cow’s Milk, Redefined

Wednesday, Jan 27th

Goat’s Milk: You Don’t Know Chevre!

Wednesday, Feb 3rd

Sassy, Spicy, Seductive:

Sheep’s Milk Like you’ve Never Tasted Before

7:30 pm,   $100 for all 3 or $40 each

* Reservations required. *

Solano Cellars, 1580 Solano Ave, Albany, CA (510) 525 9463, kirstin@solanocellars

photo taken by Stephanie Stiavetti, former student & wasabimon author