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May Cheese of the Month – Sartori Black Pepper

I know, guys, I know.

WHERE HAVE I BEEN???

I know I’ve been MIA for the past couple weeks, and for that I do apologize.

BUT.

With great absences, come great new things to the Vineyard Market! We’ve been getting some exciting new things into our stores, as well as bringing back some cult-favored oldies–and I cannot wait to share it all with you in the coming weeks.

For now, however, I’ll ease you all back into it with one new item that I’m sure some of you have anticipating since May 1st: our newest cheese of the month! While it’s a bit of a late reveal this time around, the cheese is still just as amazing. Say hello to Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano.

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If Sartori is sounding familiar to you, you may recall all of our past blogs featuring this wonderful creamery. Started by Paolo Sartori and Louis Rossini is 1939, Sartori brings authentic Italian traditions to Wisconsin-made cheeses. A family-run operation to this day, the company has produced classic cheeses with a twist–such as their Asiago with Basil and Olive Oil–as well as created their own unique cheese called BellaVitano.

BellaVitano is Sartori’s original creation: a pale yellow-cream color, this cheese is crumbly, yet creamy, and so full of flavor. Sort of like a Cheddar-meets-Parm, BellaVitano is the base for many of Sartori’s flavored cheeses, including Merlot and Espresso.

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Now enter: Black Pepper BellaVitano, our May Cheese of the Month. This time around, Sartori has started with their delicious and unique cheese and then added cracked black peppercorn for a delightful little bite. While the flavor is most pronounced on the actual rind, it is nicely imparted throughout. Each piece of this cheese is super moist, creamy, and savory with that hint of a little something else (you know, black pepper).

Black Pepper BellaVitano would make a fantastic addition to any cheese platter–I just added it to mine the other night! My boyfriend loves snacking on it with some Dalmatia Fig Spread and an IPA. I personally love it with some crusty French bread and a glass of Pinot Noir, but hey, potato-potahto right?

How do you love to eat this month’s Cheese of the Month?

Sartori Citrus Ginger BellaVitano – July Cheese of the Month

Summer, summer, summer! That’s exactly what you’ll be thinking when you try our new cheese of the month for July. Another great hit from the Sartori company (you might remember the addictive Sartori Montamore as our cheese of the month last September), their Citrus Ginger BellaVitano starts with Sartori’s BellaVitano Gold base–what we think of as a mix of a Cheddar and Parmesan–and gets rubbed down with a blend of spices to impart a combination of savory South Pacific-inspired flavor.

Sartori Citrus GingerGo ahead and just add it to the list of the other amazing Sartori products we’ve got to offer in our Vineyard Markets (read about a few HERE, HERE, and HERE); this one is sure to be a unique crowd-pleaser. Try it grated on your burger at the next cookout or just cube it up for a tasty snack alongside some nuts, smoked meats, and crusty bread. Don’t forget your favorite brew or bottle of wine!

Sartori Montamore – September Cheese of the Month

This post comes to us today from Amber, the Cheese Lead in the Livingston Bottle King.

CL_montemoreAs the summer months come to a close, the fall months are rapidly approaching. September is here, and with it brings a new love and new cheese to be featured: Sartori Montamoré. Located in the great cheese state of Wisconsin, the Sartori Cheese Company was started in 1939 by Paolo Sartori and is now a fourth-generation family owned and operated creamery. In over 70 years, Sartori has created 30 varieties of cheeses and, in just the last few years alone, has won over 180 domestic and international awards.

You may have seen the line of Sartori cheese wedges in our Vineyard Market fridges before, but the Montamoré is a new addition to be excited about. At first glance glance, the pale cream color of the Sartori Montamoré is already inviting. The first bite of the Montamoré has a gentle sweetness to it, followed by the satisfying tanginess reminiscent of a cheddar. As the winner of the 2013 International Cheese Awards, Sartori Montamoré is sure to make a lovely impact on your next cheese platter. Whether you love red or white wine, this cheese goes well with Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs alike and can be complimented by some crusty artisan bread and dried pineapple or nuts.

August Cheese of the Month – Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan

sarvecchio2Another new month, another new, yummy featured cheese!  Please welcome your August Cheese of the Month, Sartori’s SarVecchio Parmesan!  This cheese is a must try not only for Parm-lovers, but turophiles alike!

Many consider Parmigiano-Reggiano to be too salty to eat by itself, while others find it in a new recipe only to discover the dish did not turn out the way it was expected (Thanks Parm for not melting the way my recipe said you would!).  SarVecchio is the solution to both of these dilemmas!  This American Parmesan is aged for a minimum of 20 months before being released, as opposed to the 24+ months Reggiano is aged.  While SarVecchio still has the aged, nutty flavors and salty crystals found in Parm, it is slightly creamier in texture and not as strong as Reggiano–making it a delicious option to snack on, and much easier to melt into recipes calling for Parm.  I find SarVecchio to have deeper notes of caramel and much fruitier flavors than a general Reggiano has, which makes pairing options a little broader.

Try some SarVecchio with your favorite Chianti or even a Port, some pineapple slices, grapes, or even chocolate for a sinful snack.  Making a baked pasta dish?  Try substituting in SarVecchio–you won’t be disappointed!

Sartori Mediterranean Fontina

sartori med fontinaThe more cheeses I’m introduced to, the bigger my favorites list becomes.  In fact, the term “favorite” has begun to lose value with me. They’re all my favorite!  There is, however, one creamery that I can’t stop gushing over, and that is Sartori Cheese.  My love for Sartori rivals my love for books–something those close to me will tell you is borderline insane.  Sartori’s cheeses are not just delicious, they’re so unique that there isn’t much to compare them to!

In our July/August edition of Bottle King’s in-store flyer, you’ll find one of our featured cheeses is Sartori’s Mediterranean Fontina.  This is a delicious cheese we discovered back in the beginning of the year while meeting with one of our distributors, who is also a big Sartori fan.  We all instantly fell in love with the Mediterranean Fontina and knew we had to share this delicious cheese with all our customers.

This smooth Fontina is a little sweet and full of flavor.  The outside of the cheese is rubbed with olive oil and earthy herbs, such as garlic and thyme.  Aleppo pepper is what gives this cheese just a hint of heat that will leave you wanting to eat the entire wedge in one sitting.  Pair this delectable cheese with light red wines or Chardonnay (I quite enjoy Lockwood Chardonnay), some crusty bread, and olives. Mm-mmm! Now I’m craving some Sartori cheese!  Excuse me while I go devour some…

Sartori Basil & Olive Oil Asiago – June Cheese of the Month

sartori asiago basil evooSince we were introduced to Sartori cheeses a a year or two ago, it has quickly become one of our favorite creameries here at BK’s Vineyard Market.  In the past we’ve had BellaVitano Gold be a popular cheese of the month, and have built a following around BellaVitano Espresso and BellaVitano Merlot.  This month, we’re bringing you another winner from Sartori for our featured cheese of the month–Sartori’s Basil & Olive Oil Asiago.

Aged for a minimum of six months, this Asiago is hand rubbed with olive oil and basil to create a unique and delicious flavor combination that instantly transports you to Italy.  This is the perfect cheese to sit and munch with some olives, crusty artisan bread, and a glass of Santa Silvana Chianti Classico 2009. Likewise, grate this cheese over some angel hair pasta tossed with some olive oil.

Sartori Basil & Olive Oil Asiago will be featured for the month of June at your local Bottle King Vineyard Market.

 

It’s gettin’ hot out here – Spicy Cheeses

It’s been a hot couple of weeks here in North Jersey. Hot and humid. But what’s summer without a little heat?–both in temperature and in spice!

And with that thought I decided to share with you guys some oldies and some newbies to the spicy cheese family at the Vineyard Market. Spicy foods seem to be a recurring theme this year, and cheese has been no exception–and if you know me well, you know I love spicy. In my opinion, everything tastes better with a little hot sauce, right?

SO. Without further ado, let’s hop right into it.

Image-1 (5)Sartori Chipotle – First up on the list is the mildest in spice. From a company I’m a very big fan of, Sartori has done it again, taking their original BellaVitano cheese and rubbing it down and infusing it with chipotle peppers and spices. For me this cheese is very low on the heat scale but very high in flavor; it’s rich with robust warm smoky flavors throughout. A lovely change of pace and a great choice for summer BBQs.

Fromager D’Affinois with Chili – Next up we have another creamery I’m a big fan of. Fromager D’Affinois produces some of my favorite creamy cheeses out there, and this Chili Pepper version has certainly made it on my list of favorites. With the same classic rich creaminess of the original Fromager D’Affinois, the addition of peppers adds so much more flavor. The paste is a soft muted red hue and is filled with a red bell pepper flavor with a slight bit of mild spiciness at the end. Seriously delicious.

Image-1 (1)Chevoo Chili & Lemon – Chevoo is a newer brand that specializes in producing marinated goat cheeses (Meredith Dairy Marinated Feta anyone?). My current favorite flavor, of course, is their Chili & Lemon: goat cheese is blended with chili peppers, formed into cubes, and then marinated in lemon-infused olive oil. Each bite has a surprisingly refreshing taste at first, and the spiciness creeps up a bit on the back note. My favorite on some crusty French bread.

Image-1 (4)Kindred Sweet Fire Mango Jack – You might remember Kindred Creamery from last week’s post with our new Cheese of the Month. While that cheese was not spicy, Kindred also makes a variety of spicy delights, including their Sweet Fire Mango Jack. Certainly a unique cheese, this Jack is a combination sweet mangos and spicy ghost peppers in just the right way. I know ghost peppers sound scary but this cheese makes them quite approachable with the help of the refreshing bits of mango in every bite. If you’re feeling adventurous, this cheese is definitely worth the try.

Image-1 (2)Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing – An oldie but a goodie, this cheese by Yancey is definitely at the higher end of the spice scale. With a cheddar cheese base, this cheese gets its heat from a combination of habanero, jalapeno, and cayenne peppers. With a super creamy mouthfeel and a punch of flavor, this cheese is incredible to nibble on by itself as well as melted on top of, well, everything. It’s truly a classic spicy option for me.

Image-1 (3)Kindred Ghost Pepper Colby Jack – And at the end of the list we have the spiciest of them all. Another hit from Kindred Creamery, this Ghost Pepper Colby Jack is not for the faint of heart. I’m a spicy-lover myself, so I need you to believe me when I tell you it is very spicy. The Colby Jack base is firm yet slightly creamy, and the addition of Ghost Peppers adds a nice flavor, accompanied by a lot of heat. Like if we were rating these cheeses on a scale of 1 to 5 peppers, this would be a 5. A great choice for my chili-heads out there.

And that wraps it up! What’s your favorite spicy cheese?

You’ve goat to try these!

Anyone else appreciate my punny title as much as I do?

So as I’m sure you’ve figured out already, this week I’m going to be sharing with you some new goat cheeses we’ve recently brought into the Vineyard Market! The three items I’m going to tell you about are really some fantastic cheeses and have even managed to make their way into my favorites.

First up, from one of my favorite creameries, is Vermont‘s Coupole. The word “coupole” in French translates to “dome”, representative of the cheese’s round snowball shape. With a thin, geotrichum (wrinkly) rind, this cheese is easily identifiable as a Vermont original. Made entirely with goat’s milk from family farms, Coupole starts out pretty dense in the center with a fresh yet distinct goat-y taste, but as it ages this cheese ripens from the outside-in and soon turns into an ooey-gooey delight throughout. My boyfriend’s new favorite cheese (alongside some Sartori Black Pepper)–he loves eating this one with a touch of real maple syrup and a double-IPA or saison.

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This next cheese is a new one all around: new cheese & new creamery! A local cheese, Blackbert is made by R&G Cheesemakers in Troy, New York and is the perfect choice for someone looking for something a little different. Blackbert begins its life as an ash-ripened Image-1 (22)Camembert-style goat’s milk cheese. Cut it open to see a line of vegetable ash through the center, making for a striking presentation. Similar to Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog, this is a beautiful cheese and a must-try for any goat-cheese lover. A slightly dry texture but with bold flavor, this cheese is great alongside a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a fruity Pinot Noir.

 

Last but certainly not least is Fromager D’Affinois Florette. The original Fromager D’Affinois was one of the first creamy cheeses I ever fell in love with–sort of like Brie on crack. The rest of their flavored versions never disappoint, and this one certainly doesn’t fall short either. Florette is Fromager D’Affinois made with goat’s milk. Made using the same ultra filtration methods as the original, this version is rich and silky with just the right amount of goat-y taste. A great choice for long-time goat cheese lovers, as well as a great start for goat newbies, Florette is fantastic on some Waterwheel wafers and a glass of Champagne.

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Have you gotten the chance to try any of our new goat cheeses? What’s your favorite?

With Love, the Perfect Cheese Plate

Love is in the air!

Gosh time is flying this year. Didn’t we just finish arguing with our next door neighbor about who was going to win Super Bowl 50?

Annnyyyyway…

Valentine’s Day is so very close–only a couple of days away! So I’m here, of course, to give you some tasty suggestions for a cheese platter that will knock your socks off!

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mini brillatMini Brillat Savarin: This is an incredible triple-crème from France. It’s super creamy and luscious and has a fairly mellow flavor profile–an unbelievable pairing with your favorite bubbly for you and your loved one. Produced in miniature wheels weighing around 7oz. each, these make a great presentation on your platter.

montchevre goat w. honeyMontchevre Goat Log with Honey: If you haven’t had honey on your goat cheese before, you’ve been sorely missing out. With just a little drizzle, the tanginess from the goat cheese gets the perfect compliment from the rich sweetness of the honey-because who doesn’t want a little something sweet on Valentine’s Day? And this gem from Montchevre creamery does all the work for you! Each 4oz. log comes premixed with honey already, so all you need to do is unwrap and indulge.

marinated mozz ballsMarinated Mozzarella: Great for sharing with your Valentine’s Day partner, made by Formaggio, bite-sized balls of fresh Mozzarella are marinated in a blend of olive oil and herbs, resulting in a tasty and savory bite. And even better yet, the leftover olive oil makes for an amazing snack on some crusty artisan bread alongside a bottle of wine.

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Sartori with Cognac: This is a very special, limited release cheese that we get in for very special occasions. Sartori’s original Bellavitano cheese is aged for a minimum of 18 months before being steeped in a bath of Remy Martin Cognac for 7 to 10 days, resulting in an unforgettable and flavorful taste that’s sure to make for a memorable night.

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champ grand noirChampignon Grand Noir: Well now, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a little spice at night, right? I give you one of the richest and most decadent blues I’ve had. The creaminess of this cheese cuts through some of its pungency, though still leaving enough for even the most hardcore blue fans. Even people on-the-fence about blue cheese seem to fall in love with this guy!

This cheese plate is scrumptious on its own with some crusty bread or thin wafer crackers (like my favorite Waterwheels!), but feel free to dress it up with some fresh red grapes, pumpernickel bread, and salty mixed nuts.

Feeling a bit sweeter? No problem! We’ve got a great selection of chocolates and other sweet treats at our Bottle King Vineyard Markets to satisfy all of your heart’s needs.

What’s your favorite way to get cheesy on Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day Cheese Plate

I know this may sound sappy but I really look forward to Valentine’s Day. Any excuse to devour chocolate I am down for. Throw in a bouquet of flowers, you have made my day. That being said, my ideal Valentine’s consists of some cheese, a bottle of wine, and an all-out Netflix binge with my other half. Here is my Valentine’s Day inspired cheese plate for a nice cozy evening at home:

Valentine's Day Cheese Plate

*Sartori MontAmoré: A sweet and creamy semi-firm cow’s milk cheese from Wisconsin that you will absolutely fall in love with.

*Fromager d’Affinois with Truffle: A rich and buttery cow’s milk cheese from  France enhanced with black truffles. Not much more I can say other then this cheese is irresistible.

*Président Brie with Rothschild Tart Cherry and Pomegranate Preserves: The mild brie flavor compliments almost any fruit spread you pair it with. The 8oz Président Brie is the perfect size for carving into a heart shape. If you are having trouble with the heart, you can always use a cookie cutter to form the shape.

*Also pictured: Mitica Dark Chocolate covered Figs, Moyer Razz M’Tazz fruit and nut mix, and Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps.

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