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Brooklyn Brine Barbecue

Anyone else feeling a little bit of summer-fever?

It’s graduations-galore, Father’s Day, and a crazy heat wave is upon us. You know what that means. Barbecue season is finally here! And you know I’ve got some goodies to share.

Not only do we have Brooklyn Bangers back in stock, we’ve also got some new pickles and sauces to go along with them! Introducing Brooklyn Brine Co. here at the Glen Rock Bottle King Vineyard Market. We’ve got 2 new types of pickles and 2 new condiments for all your sandwich and BBQ needs.

First up is Brooklyn Brine’s Maple Bourbon Pickle chips. We’ve got them in both Spicy and Bread & Butter varieties, and let me tell you, the flavor is unbelievable. There’s no strong alcoholic flavor like you might expect from the word Bourbon in the name, just a slightly sweet and complex flavor. The spicy variety has just the perfect amount of heat, I’d say about a medium-spice, and the bread & butter isn’t overly sweet either, just the perfect balance. I just may have found a new favorite pickle…

The condiments don’t disappoint either. Right in line with the Maple Bourbon Pickles, we’ve also got a new Maple Bourbon Mustard, and it’s so good. It’s definitely on the courser side as far as mustards go–I’m a big mustard seed fan, so I love the consistency of this one. It honestly almost reminds me of honey mustard because of the slight sweetness it has–but so much better. I could see myself putting this on sandwiches, burgers, some Brooklyn Bangers, or even just dunking pretzels in it like a dip.

The last new item I have to share is Brooklyn Brine’s new Secret Sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff is really something else. When I said the pickles had a complex flavor, it may have been an understatement compared to this sauce. It’s sweet, tangy, and acidic all in one bite–there is seriously just so much flavor going on. Just like the mustard this sauce would be great for any BBQ food. I think it would even be amazing on a Reuben instead of Russian dressing.

And that wraps it up, folks! I’m so excited for you to stop in and try some of these new item this weekend. Have you tried Brooklyn Brine Co. before? Let me know what you think in the comments section!

Paradiso Vintage – June Cheese of the Month

And just like that, another month has gone by. Does it feel like 2017 if just flying by for anyone else?

Well folks, this month we’ve got another new cheese for you–you didn’t think I’d let you down, did you? Many of you may be familiar with our beloved friend Paradiso, an Italian-style cheese with an aged Gouda sort of feel. This month’s cheese of the month is Paradiso’s cousin: Paradiso Vintage.

Image-1.jpgAlso produced by Beemster, Paradiso Vintage is differs in quite a few ways from its counterpart. While the original Paradiso has a slightly more crumbly texture and robust and tangy flavor, the Vintage version is ironically much more creamy and smooth. Paradiso Vintage is coated in black wax instead of the original gray and its paste is a softer shade of orange with a few more holes dotted throughout. It has a more semi-firm texture and every bite is super rich and buttery with a subtle tang that lingers. And the plus? Just like the rest of Beemster’s cheese range, Paradiso Vintage is naturally lactose free!

This cheese is super versatile as well.

  • Thinly slice and add Paradiso Vintage to your turkey or salami sandwich
  • Serve alongside fruit spreads for a heavenly bite
  • Enjoy with salted nuts for contrasting textures and a little bit of salty & sweet
  • Add to your next cheese platter for a selection everybody will love
  • Taste with a more tannic red wine to smooth everything out
  • Eat with a glass of white wine to enhance its flavors
  • Pair with just about any and every beer

Stop into your local Vineyard Market for a taste of Paradiso Vintage today!

* Please check with your local Bottle King for availability.

Beer & Cheese, a love story

I think one of my favorite things about working, not just in a food department but in a food department within a liquor store, is that I get to taste so many different things. And then I often get to taste them together.

Wine and cheese pairings was such a huge interest to me when I first started working in the Vineyard Market. I thought it was just so neat how two seemingly different things could taste so good together, or how they could bring out such different flavors in one another. At this point, wine and I get along pretty well and I feel that I have a pretty decent understanding of general pairings among wine and cheese. The next step? Cheese and beer–a whole new world for me.

Beer has always sort of been an enigma for me. I totally understand why people love it, and once in a while I could maybe sorta enjoy it myself

BUT I have to say that most of the time, I would rather just…not. And I was totally thinking that I just hadn’t found my deep down connection with beer yet.

Last weekend, however, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting Brooklyn Brewery with some of my co-workers. And let me tell you, my view on beer has been forever changed. I had the opportunity to try quite a few of their beers on tap, and for the first time while drinking a beer, I imagined all the cheeses that might taste good with it.

One that I distinctly remember is Brooklyn’s Naranjito: a lovely Pale Ale brewed with orange peels. This beer has a lightness to it, enhanced by its citrus flavors–immediately upon tasting this beer I was craving a bite of some fresh chevre. Unfortunately, this particular Brooklyn beer is unavailable for purchase in the U.S. (I’m just as sad as you are), but I’ve also found that if you’re looking to pair some fresh goat cheese, Brooklyn’s Greenmarket Wheat has a similarly light and refreshing taste to it that I think would do really well alongside the tangy creaminess of goat cheese.

Here are some other pairings that I’ve found to be successful:

  • Brooklyn Lager with Gruyere
  • Brown Ale with 3 Month Manchego
  • Defender with Black Diamond 5 Year Cheddar
  • Summer Ale with Wyke Vintage Cheddar
  • Sorachi Ace with Shepherd’s Way Big Woods Blue

These pairings are not set in stone by any means. You might try one of the combinations above and decide you don’t care for that particular beer and cheese together at all–and that’s okay! The greatest thing to me about cheese and beverage pairings is the diversity of it. What I find to be delicious, you might not, and vice versa.

Food and alcohol pairings are meant to be a fun adventure. Not sure what goes well with the beer you have? Experiment! Pick your favorite cheese, crack open that beer, and give it a go. You never know what combinations you’ll fall in love with.

Have you tried a beer and cheese combo that you absolutely loved? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Grilled Cheese-ter!

Get it? Because

Cheese

+ Easter

= Cheese-ter! Right???

Aaaaanyway. For those of you that may not have been aware, this past Wednesday was a day very near and dear to my heart: National Grilled Cheese Day!

Of all the foods I love to eat, grilled cheese holds a special place near and dear to my heart. I can recall eating grilled cheeses as far back as I can remember; they were always my go-to snack when I was growing up. They’re super easy to make, there’s an unlimited number of variations you can do, and come on now, it’s buttery toasted bread with gooey melted cheese–where can you possibly go wrong with that?

And so in honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, I thought I’d give you some inspiration to make your own cheesy grilled concoction! And the bonus? It’s the perfect meal to whip up for any picky little eaters you might have on Easter (like my nephew, oh boy).

  • Comte with Anna Mae’s Smoky Mustard
  • Gruyere, caramelized onions, & mushrooms
  • Smoked Cheddar with honey mustard & cornichons
  • Swiss with prosciutto & pickles
  • Mozzarella, tomato, basil, & a touch of balsamic vinegar
  • Yancey’s Fancy Buffalo Wing cheese, fresh jalapenos, & pulled chicken
  • Gouda with apple slices
  • Brie with Raspberry Preserves
  • Brie, bacon, & apricot

As you can see from just those few combinations, there are so many ways you can go with this! Grilled cheese is so fun because you can pretty much just take whatever you love to eat and press it between two slices of crispy buttery bread. Excuse me for a moment, my mouth is watering…

To top it all off, ladies and gents, I’m also going to share with you a recipe that my friend Karen sent to me the other day that really got me excited to do this post


Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Casserole

What you’ll need:

  • For Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
    • 16 slices sourdough bread
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • one 5.2-ounce container of Boursin cheese (or other soft, spreadable cheese)
    • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 8 thick pieces
      • try Lioni Fresh Mozzarella
  • For Tomato Soup
    • One 14-ounce can tomato sauce
    • ⅓ cup tomato paste
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 eggs
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To Finish
    • ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese

grilled_cheese_casserole_728.jpg

How to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. MAKE THE SANDWICHES: Butter one side of each slice of bread with ½ tablespoon soft butter. Flips the slices over and spread 1 tablespoon Boursin on 8 pieces of the bread. Place 1 slice of mozzarella on top of the Boursin and then finish with one more piece of bread, butter side up, to close the sandwiches.
  3. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the sandwiches on the hot griddle and cook until both sides are toasted, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the sandwiches aside.
  4. MAKE THE SOUP: In a medium pot, whisk the tomato sauce with the tomato paste until smooth. Heat over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Stir in the cream and thyme.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Pour about a third of the hot tomato mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to combine.
  6. Return the mixture to the pot and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. MAKE THE CASSEROLE: Pour half of the tomato mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Arrange the sandwiches inside the dish and then pour the remaining tomato mixture on top.
  8. Sprinkle the cheddar evenly over the casserole. Bake until the tomato mixture is bubbly and the cheese is melted, 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving warm.

** Recipe from HERE


What’s your favorite way to make grilled cheese?

Beemster’s back!

Image result for beemster logoSpring is my favorite season. Fall is definitely a close second, but you can’t deny the awesomeness that is blooming trees and flowers. And the smell of rain? Oh yeah. Totally.

So now that the warmer weather seems to be finally upon us, it’s time for one of our yearly cheese features: Beemster is back, baby! Well, not that it ever really went anywhere, but all of the Vineyard Markets recently received their large shipment of Beemster cheeses, all at special discounted pricing!

I realize I’m using a lot of explanation points. Forgive me. I just love Beemster. If you didn’t already know, Beemster happens to be one of my favorite creameries for a number of reasons:

  • Products are made by small family farmers
  • They’re a founding partner of Caring Dairy
  • They raise free-roaming, grass-fed, happy cows
  • Their high-quality cheeses are hand-crafted and traditionally made
  • Their cheeses are naturally lactose-free
  • Their Gouda is the preferred choice of the Royal Court of the Netherlands
  • They’re eco-friendly & energy-conscious
  • No growth hormones or pesticides used
  • Their cheeses are JUST SO TASTY, how can you not love them?!
    • For more info on Beemster, check out my previous post HERE.

A familiar name for many, Beemster is well known for their Goudas, especially their aged Goudas. Currently, Bottle King’s Vineyard Markets are all carrying three main Beemster cheeses: Classic, XO, and Paradiso.

Image-1 (17)

Beemster Classic in all its glory

Beemster Classic is aged for about 18 months and is signified by its black, red, and beige wax. While on the surface, this cheese seems to be very hard, it actually has a super creamy mouthfeel. If you’re expecting this to be anything like your run-of-the-mill Red Wax Gouda, you will be in for a big surprise. Beemster Classic tastes rich and nutty with some slight caramel-y notes.

The next cheese on the list is Beemster XO. The XO is short for “Extra Old”, and this cheese is signified by its monochrome beige wax rind. Similar to the Classic, this guy is aged for 8 more months than its counterpart, making XO a 26 month-old aged Gouda. The extra aging time further develops that rich flavor and results in a more robust cheese with butterscotch and whiskey notes.

Image-1 (18)

Crumbly yet rich and creamy Beemster XO!

Don’t be surprised if you get a little crunchy bite every now and then! Both Beemster XO and Beemster Classic are dotted with tyrosine crystals thanks to their aging process; a sign of their expert cheesemaking.

Lastly–but certainly not least–is Paradiso, Beemster’s Italian-style cheese. The youngest of the three, Paradiso is aged for just 10 months, yet somehow is still full of little crunchy crystallized bits throughout–yum! This cheese is still creamy, though I feel it’s slightly less creamy than the Classic and XO, and the texture does almost remind me a little bit of Parmigiano Reggiano. The flavor is nicely balanced: slightly sweet and nutty yet mildly tangy all at once. An easy crowd-pleaser.

Image-1 (19)

You’ll be in paradise with some fig spread spread on chunks of Paradiso

All three of these cheeses would safely do well alongside a Cabernet Sauvignon, but could do equally well against a Chianti or some dessert wines such as Port or Sauternes. Beers could go so many ways. Try an IPA with the Classic and Paradiso and perhaps a darker beer with the XO. Fresh fruit and fig jams for all! And don’t stop there: shred on your pasta, grate into your salad, and eat by the chunk!

What’s your favorite Beemster cheese?

January Cheese of the Month- Beehive Fully Loaded Whiskey

Are you all ready?

Because I’M BACK. (cue parade)

I first need to just say some apologies for my disappearance from the blogging world for the last few weeks. No matter how hard I try, the holidays somehow always take over at the Vineyard Market and leave little to no room for other activities.

But don’t worry- the new year is here, full of new cheeses and new posts! The first of which being this one, about none other than our newest Cheese of the Month.

Beehive Cheese Co.
This special cheese comes from a company we’ve featured before: Beehive Cheese Co. You might recall their unique take on cheese, winning us over with oddly delicious classics such as TeaHive and Barely Buzzed.Well folks, I’m happy to say they’ve done it again. This time we bring you a drunken sort of cheese; Beehive’s original cheese creation soaked in High West Whiskey.

Image-1.jpgThe base cheese, called Promontory, is Beehive’s own invention made in Utah from Jersey cows’ milk. An Irish-style cheese, I’d say it sort of reminds me of a firm cheddar mixed with a little bit of Parm–where you could go wrong with such a delicious combo? And then to top it all off, Beehive Cheese Co. infuses their Promontory cheese with High West Whiskey for a still-buttery and tasty base followed by a flavorful bite from the whiskey.

For both non- and whiskey-lovers alike, this cheese would make a great addition to any table. Snack on it alongside some salted nuts and honey. Wash it down with a bold red wine, an IPA, or–of course–a nice glass of whiskey!

Get your piece of Beehive’s Fully Loaded Whiskey now at your local Bottle King Vineyard Market, on sale for just $7.99 $4.99!

* Check with your local Bottle King for availability.

December Cheese of the Month – Mini Kunik

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.

(Drumroll please….)

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.

mini-kunik

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.

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