Vineyard Market Staff Goes to Beecher’s Creamery in NYC
On October 14th, a couple of members from our Vineyard Market staff were invited to take a tour of Beecher’s Creamery in Manhattan. Amber, the Lead in Livingston, shares her experience and Donna, our Cheese Queen, contributes a recipe using their Flagship Cheddar:
“A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Beecher’s Creamery in NYC. Being one of the newest additions to the Bottle King Vineyard Market team, I had never been to a creamery before, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to finally go. In a group with three other Vineyard Market members, we headed into the city on a gorgeous and sunny October day.
Located at 900 Broadway on the corner of 20th Street, the creamery was fairly easy to find. Upon arriving, the first thing that caught my eye was the refrigerated case filled with all different cheeses available for the public to purchase. Along with the cheeses, the creamery had a variety of gourmet chips, snacks, and jams to choose from—I almost couldn’t stop myself from buying a jar of some Habanero Strawberry & Basil preserves.
After our group got situated, we were offered a tour of the facility, specifically in the production area. Since there is cheese actively being made at all times, we had to cover up in lab coats, hair nets, gloves, and booties before we were allowed to go into the room. As soon as we entered, I was overwhelmed by the movements of the workers, the amount of milk and cheese that was being handled, and the smell! Now let me say I’ve dealt with a few stinky cheeses in my time, but the smell inside of a creamery is another one entirely!
The smell aside, seeing all of the work that gets put into the cheese is simply awesome! We were able to observe every step of the cheese making process. They showed us how the cheese begins its life as milk that is placed into giant vats where it is then cultured and tended to. Then we saw the aging room where wheels of cheese are left to mature until they are at their ideal age to be eaten.
When we finished the tour, our group was treated to lunch at “The Cellar”, which is a restaurant located just below the creamery. Beecher’s has converted their once dirt-floored basement into a great dining spot where you can also see some of their cheeses aging right in the walls as you eat your meal. And the food….my mouth is watering just thinking back on it! If you ever get the chance to go, be sure to try one of their Mac and Cheese dishes, I swear you won’t be disappointed.
All in all, the visit to Beecher’s Creamery was a great experience. For a cheese and food lover like me, it was definitely a fun trip that I hope to repeat again soon.”
Donna’s Almost Famous Cheddar, Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Casserole:
1 cup uncooked rice (white, long-grain)
1 cup milk
2 10.75 cans condensed cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
¾ tsp. salt
3 large (or 4 small) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8oz Beecher’s Flagship cheddar cheese, grated
Salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 12oz bag frozen broccoli florets (or about 3 cups fresh)
Cooking spray or butter
Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray (or rub with butter); set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, soup and ¾ tsp. salt until smooth. Set aside 1 cup of the soup mixture and 2 oz. of the shredded cheddar cheese. To the remaining soup mixture, stir in uncooked rice and 6oz of the shredded cheddar. Then pour mixture into greased baking dish.
Cut chicken breasts into 1 ½ inch pieces then season with salt, pepper and garlic. Arrange chicken pieces on top of rice mixture.
Arrange broccoli florets on top of the chicken.
Pour reserved soup mixture evenly over broccoli. Sprinkle reserved shredded cheddar over top. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes.