Some of you may already know this, but I think the mass majority is unaware
that I am, in fact,
And I’m not just talking about cheese. Sure, I’m a cheese nerd, but I also consider myself a nerd in the conventional sense of the word: I love comics and video games.
So anyway, my point of bringing this up is that this weekend, I will be leaving the great state of New Jersey for a video game convention in Boston. My boyfriend and I will, of course, be staying in at a hotel for a couple nights–which means snacks are in order!
Lucky for me, we just got in a new treat to the Vineyard Market: Di Bruno Bros. cheese spreads. Here in Glen Rock, I started out by bringing in two of the three flavors they make, and I’m so excited to tell you about them.
I feel like I get asked pretty often for some sort of a beer cheese or beer dip, so ladies and gents, the first flavor by Di Bruno Bros. is Smoked Gouda & Beer. A mixture of cheddar and gouda, this spread is rich and smooth with some pieces of pimento scattered throughout. I could definitely taste the smokiness from the gouda right away on my first bite, and then the beer presents a lovely end note. I could see this great with crackers or pretzels alike, or even melted into some mac and cheese. For all you smoked gouda-lovers out there, this is certainly an item you should check out.
Now, if you don’t know me yet, hi my name is Amber and I’m a chili-head. I love spicy food. The spicier the better really. So as you can probably guess, the other flavor I decided to bring in is a spicy one, called Abbruzze. This flavor has chili flakes, garlic, and herbs and is definitely not a spread for the fainthearted. If you really hate spicy food, this spread is probably not the one for you; however, if you can handle a little heat, I think it’s something you might really enjoy. This one is cheddar-based and has a really nice blend of spices in it making it rich and complex. The heat creeps up on you a bit, and in a range of “not spicy at all” to “it burns your tongue off”, I’d say this guy is on the medium-to-hot side.
Both spreads come in a nicely packaged resealable container, making them perfect for my mini-roadtrip this weekend. You can expect my boyfriend and I to be chowing down on these suckers before bed.
Have you tried Di Bruno Bros. spreads? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Is anyone else ready to stow away their winter sweaters already? I mean come on now, this nice weather is just such a tease! Unfortunately though, spring is still a little while away, and although my allergies are in full swing (anyone else?), winter is certainly still upon us.
So to brighten your day a bit, I’m here to tell you all about our new Cheese of the Month for March: Sour Cherry Bourbon Chèvre from Mackenzie Creamery.
Before I start drooling over this cheese, let me just start by telling you a little bit about the creamery itself. A relatively young company, Mackenzie Creamery was created in 2007 by Jean Mackenzie after she took a cheesemaking class while she was on vacation–and just like that a love and passion for cheese was born. In the few months that followed, Jean Mackenzie became licensed to produce goat cheese in Ohio and Mackenzie Creamery was created. Today, the business continues to be family-run, with Jean’s son overseeing operations as the company continues to grow.
What I love so much about Mackenzie Creamery (aside from the fact that their products are delicious) is
A. I think their packaging is unique, playful, and creative and
B. the company has great values.
Mackenzie’s products are all natural and hormone-free, and the Creamery has played a big role in boosting the local economy in their area. By expanding the local market for goat cheeses, Mackenzie Creamery has increased the demand for these products and thus created more jobs for local farmers.
“Our handmade artisan goat cheeses are produced from goat milk purchased from a local dairy located just three miles down the road. The milk is all natural and contains no synthetic hormones, antibiotics or chemical compounds. It is gently transported from dairy to creamery, one of the factors that contributes to its rich, smooth qualities.” –Mackenzie Creamery
We first debuted this creamery back during the holidays with their Fig and Cognac Chèvre cups–which were out-of-this-world delicious. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out we were getting another variety with sour cherries and bourbon.
Each 4.5oz cup is filled about 1/3 of the way with sour cherries soaked in bourbon, and then the cup is filled the rest of the way with Mackenzie Creamery’s award-winning chèvre (French for “goat”). The way you’re supposed to serve it is to let it come to room temperature (take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes ahead of time) and then flip it upside down onto a dish so the cheese/cherries pop out. If you’re having any difficulty, just take a butter knife and just run it along the outside between the cheese and the container.
But oh my gosh is it so good. One of my assistants here doesn’t even really like goat cheese and he thought it was fantastic. The goat cheese is just soooooooo creamy, and the bourbon cherries have just the right about of sweetness.
This wonderful delight is absolutely perfect slathered on a baguette and served alongside a glass of red wine and some salted mixed nuts for contrast.
Now available at your local Vineyard Market–grab it before it’s gone!
2 days left until the Super Bowl!!!
Anyone else as excited as I am?
I’m just such a sucker for all the game time snacks, as if you couldn’t already tell. The next snack idea I’ve got lined up is another that’s super easy, only requires 3 ingredients, and requires no cooking at all. And another perk? Following the same theme, all the ingredients you need can be picked up at your local Bottle King Vineyard Market!
Creamy Bruschetta Bites
This snack is easy to prepare and packs a punch of flavor in each bite. A unique twist on the classic mozz and tomato combination, these Creamy Bruschetta Bites have some richness from the burrata, followed by big flavor and some nice acidity from the bruschetta, all wrapped up and ready to eat on a crunchy piece of bruschettini.
What you’ll need:
- 2 bags Asturi Bruschettini (we used the Rosemary flavor, but any variety works)
- 1 container Santa Barbara Bruschetta
- 1 container Bel Gioioso Burrata
- optional: Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling
How to do it:
- Lay out your bruchettini on a serving dish
- Drain burrata from its container. Using a spreader or small spoon, scoop a dollop of burrata onto each bruschettini
- Layer a scoop of bruschetta on top of the burrata and bruschettini
- Optional but delicious, drizzle with a little bit of balsamic
* Recipe idea from the Vineyard Market’s very own Donna.
And we’re back for another round!
Hope you all got the opportunity to test out yesterday’s quick and easy recipe and, even more importantly, I hope you loved it just as much as I do!
As I promised you, I’m not stopping there. I’ve got a few more fun and delicious snack ideas lined up for the next few days leading up to the Super Bowl. So let’s jump right in to the next one!
Stuffed Peppadew Bites
These little gems right here are an absolute classic at my store. Every time I whip these up for sampling, people LOVE them. We used two different cheeses this time around: a goat cheese for a rich creamy feel, and a blue cheese for a slightly more piquant taste–plus, And the best part is they only require a couple of ingredients and they’re so easy to prepare.
* If you already have the ingredients from yesterday’s dip recipe, you might even have some leftover goat cheese to use for these Peppadew Bites!
What you’ll need:
- 1 jar Peppadew Peppers (mild or hot, to preference)
- about 8oz. softened goat cheese
- about 8oz. creamy blue cheese (try Cambozola)
How to do it:
- Take cheeses out of the fridge about 30 minutes ahead of time to let them soften
- Drain Peppadew Peppers from jar & pat off with paper towels
- One by one, begin taking a chunk of either cheese and stuffing it into each pepper
- When you’ve gone through all the peppers, place on a serving dish and you’re done!
- If you want to add a little extra oomph, drizzle with some balsamic vinegar
Okay guys, it’s February already–what happened to January?? Am I the only one that feels like the month just flew by? Anyways, I’ve decided that I’m okay with it for a few reasons:
- February is my birthday month
- we’re one month closer to the summer
- Super Bowl Sunday!
Now, for the record, I’m not much of a football fan nor am I much of a fan for either of the football teams playing in the Super Bowl this year; HOWEVER, that’s not going to stop me from watching the game! Or making a whole bunch of food. Because well, come on now, who do you think I am?
SO on that note, I’m super excited to introduce a blog mini-series: each day for the next 5 days, beginning today and leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to share a recipe with you that you can make for your own Super Bowl celebration. Majority (if not all) of the ingredients for the recipes are available right here at the Bottle King Vineyard Market! And each recipe is tested and approved by yours truly and the rest of the Bottle King staff.
Let’s jump right in!
Creamy Pineapple Habanero Dip
This first recipe is as easy as it gets & is always an instant hit! It requires only 2 ingredients (plus something to dunk in it) and has a nice creamy base with a mild hint of spice.
What you’ll need:
- 8oz. Capricho de Cabra (or sub goat cheese log)
- 1 jar Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple Habanero Dip
How to do it:
- Take goat cheese out of refrigeration about 40 minutes to an hour ahead of time and allow to come to room temperature (this will make mixing SO much easier)
- Place softened cheese in a mixing bowl or serving dish
- Combine goat cheese well with Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple Habanero Dip
- Serve with your choice of chips, bread, or veggies!
WOW. You know it’s going to be a crazy holiday season when I can barely find time to write on the blog (yikes!).
But don’t you worry, guys and gals, because you know I’d never return to you empty-handed. I may have taken a brief hiatus, but I’m coming back full-force with a delightful little gem of a cheese.
Say hello to our new Cheese of the Month: Mini Kunik!
Coming from a creamery that I personally love, Nettle Meadow, this cheese isn’t one to overlook. Appearing to be just a cute little wheel of brie, these little Kuniks are so much more.
Being a triple-crème made from a blend of predominantly goat’s milk with cow cream mixed in, Kunik is a sure choice for both goat-lovers and those on the fence about the usually-tangy milk because the addition of the cow cream really smoothes out that goaty flavor and adds an extra creaminess (no pun intended) to the texture.
One of the things I love about Nettle Meadow is that they’re a domestic and local company, hailing from just a short drive away in upstate New York. Weighing in at about 4oz. each, these mini wheels of Kunik are the perfect addition to any cheese platter or the perfect snack to split over a bottle of wine (or to eat by yourself over a bottle of wine…cough, cough…). For a killer pairing, enjoy Kunik alongside a nice bottle of bubbly with some fresh strawberries, or a freshly opened bottle of your favorite Belgian blond ale.
Now, I know what you’re wondering: you’re sitting there thinking, “Okay, so we’re just about at the end of this post and she still hasn’t told me what the heck a ‘Kunik’ is!”–don’t worry, the suspense would be killing me, too. The meaning is actually quite literal: the word “Kunik” translates to “snowball” in eskimo, which is a pretty close comparison for these pure-white, little cheese wheels.
And don’t think I’d let you down on the deals–Mini Kunik wheels are currently on sale for just $6.99 at your local Bottle King Vineyard Market. Grab yours before they’re gone!
*Availability may vary by store. Special pricing while supplies last.
Have I told you guys yet? I love Halloween. Probably one of my favorite holidays. Because who doesn’t love candy and all things pumpkin?
So ladies and gents, I hope you’re ready for a fantastically ghoulish cheese platter featuring all the Halloween-esque gourmet goodies we’ve got here at the Vineyard Markets!
Nettle Meadow Apple Cider Fromage Frais: I know what you’re thinking, apple cider in my cheese? Trust me, I was skeptical at first too, but this is something special. Coming from upstate NY, Fromage Frais is Nettle Meadow’s special blend of goat and cow’s milk, giving this cheese a nice fluffy, almost-whipped texture, and this particular variety has a lovely blend of spices mixed in to deliver a slightly sweet apple spice flavor–trust me you won’t regret trying this one.
Montchevre Goat Pumpkin: Again, I know what you’re thinking…but c’mon! A creamy goat cheese base with a little pumpkin added in–what could possibly go wrong with that? This cheese delivers the traditional textures of a goat log accompanied by a nice pumpkin flavor with a subtle spice at the end, sure to please all of your ghoulish guests.
Vampire Slayer: You didn’t think I’d forget this classic did you? If you’re not familiar, this cheese comes from not too far away in Pennsylvania from Calkins Creamery. A special cheese we only get around this time of the year, given its name, Vampire Slayer is a cheddar base spiced up by some garlic, onion, and paprika. Perfect for fending off unwanted fang-toothed friends on Halloween.
Terrapin Ridge Pumpkin Honey Mustard: While this one isn’t a cheese, it’s every bit as important to this cheese platter as the cheeses. A new item to our Vineyard Markets, this pumpkin honey mustard may sound a little bizarre (I know), but it’s honestly pretty darn delicious. It’s got a creamy texture and a great pumpkin flavor, followed by a lingering spice at the end that I can’t help but think of pumpkin pie.
Other accompaniments: Try adding some yummy dried fruit crackers, like Kii Natural Crisps or one of the Toasts for Cheese varieties by The Fine Cheese Co. (pictured). Another great choice would be some fresh-cut apple slices–spread on the cheese or dunk in the honey mustard!