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August Cheese of the Month – Smoked Bourbon Gouda

As far as liquor is concerned, I tend to stick towards more of the lighter stuff: vodka, gin, light rum… The dark stuff has just never sat well with me (yeah, whiskey, I’m looking at you). But somehow, someway, my boyfriend has convinced my tummy to accept a golden-colored friend: bourbon.

Bourbon and I got off to a bit of a rocky start, but now we very much enjoy each other’s company. Even more so alongside the right snacks; enter salted nuts and our new Cheese of the Month.

Image result for red apple bourbon goudaThis month’s featured cheese comes to us from Red Apple Cheese, a company well-known for their variety of apple smoked cheeses–you may have seen their Apple Smoked Gouda or Apple Smoked Cheddar floating around our stores. This new unique cheese is gently hickory-smoked, for just the right amount of smokiness, and infused with bourbon. Although semi-firm in texture, each bite has a super creamy mouthfeel and tastes of a mild smoked Gouda at the start but finishes with a punch of rich bourbon flavor.

Try this cheese melted on a burger or panini with caramelized onions, in drunken mac and cheese, as a fun addition to fondue, on top of tomato bisque, or in a dip for some freshly made pretzels. For all my bourbon-lovers out there, just cube this baby up next to a glass of your favorite bourbon and enjoy!

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July Cheese of the Month – Forage Mushroom & Scallion Jack

Helloooooooo, everybody! How are we all doing on this gloomy, rainy day?

Well, I’m about to make everything better–with a new cheese!

This month’s Cheese of the Month takes us in a direction that I’m pretty hit-and-miss on: cheese with stuff in it. What I mean by that is any cheeses that have things added to them, besides cheese–for example Havarti with Dill or Stilton with Cranberries. Oftentimes, I’m a purist. I like to taste my cheese just on its own without any stuff in it; however, there are some exceptions such as Pepper Jack–and this new Cheese of the Month: Forage Mushroom & Scallion Jack!

Coming from Kindred Creamery in Wisconsin, each cheese produced is of the best quality. The Creamery practices sustainable production and implements a “Cows First” methodology; cows are treated like family and given no growth hormones, ensuring the highest quality milk and therefore the highest quality cheese. Our new Cheese of the Month is no exception.

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A Jack base, this Forage Mushroom & Scallion cheese begins its journey as a mild and creamy delight. Once the mushrooms and scallion are added, however, the cheese becomes full of yummy flavor. I’ll admit I was pretty skeptical when we first received this cheese. I mean, I’m not much of a mushroom fan myself so…

BUT. One bite off a piece of this cheese and I was in love. The flavor is bold but not overpowering. It’s semi-firm and has a creamy texture. The first taste is definitely onion, thanks to the scallions in it, but it’s quickly rounded out by the rich earthiness of the mushrooms–I swear, it just works. This is seriously a match made in heaven. There are so many ways to enjoy it too:

  • Serve on a cheese platter
  • Melt into a panini with caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms
  • Grate into hot mashed potatoes
  • Add to quiche
  • Melt onto burgers or portobello mushrooms on the grill
  • Mix into fondue for a zesty bite

Get creative! Go crazy! The list is endless. AND to make things even better, we’ve got this cheese available in Bottle King Vineyard Markets for an incredible price of just $3.99. Stop by your local Vineyard Market this weekend for a taste & grab yourself a piece!

A Dutch Masterpiece is back

For those of you that have been following this blog for a while, you may already know that I have a special place in my heart for Aged Gouda.

Do not be fooled by the word “Gouda” in the phrase–Aged Goudas are a totally different class of cheese compared to their much younger counterpart. I can even remember a couple of customers that swore to me they hated Gouda and then quickly changed their minds after trying the Aged Gouda I was sampling. As with most aged cheeses, Aged Goudas become harder in texture, stronger in flavor, and develop some little crunchy bits throughout.

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And again, if you’ve been following me long enough, you might be familiar with one of my favorite Aged Goudas: Rembrandt–and I’m excited to tell you that it’s back in full swing, baby!

For those of you unfamiliar to Rembrandt, let me introduce you to him. He’s the cool guy at the party; he’s a smooth talker with a bold yet unoffensive personality. He may potentially be a bit older than the rest of the crowd, but he gets along with just about everyone–this cheese is a real crowd-pleaser.

Now if I just confused you with my crazy analogy, let me give it back to you in cheese terms. Rembrandt is an extra-aged Gouda, aged for over one year to develop a gorgeous light orange tinge. Even with this aging, however, this cheese is rich a creamy with a few crunchy tyrosine bits throughout. Its flavor is bold, yet incredibly approachable, with subtly sweet and caramel-y notes.

Every year, Bottle King usually partners with Rembrandt’s company, Jana Foods, to do a promotion and bring you all a fantastic-tasting cheese at an unbelievable price. I’m here to tell you that it’s that time of year again, and this time we’ve got a special contest and prize to offer, complimentary of Jana Foods! It’s easy to enter, and the prize is a stunning gift picnic basket, filled with wine, glasses, a Bottle King gift card, cheese, and other snacks. Check out the details below, and be sure to pick up some Rembrandt at your local Bottle King Vineyard Market so you can participate–and devour it!

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How to Enter:

  1. Bring home a wedge of our delicious Rembrandt Extra Aged Gouda.
  2. Take a picture of yourself enjoying our cheese–get creative!
  3. Post your photo to the Jana Foods Facebook with a fun caption–make sure to tag @bottlekingnj in your post*
  4. We’ll choose our favorite post and deliver the grand prize to the winner’s local Bottle King!**

More Details:

  • Contest will run 06/30/17 until 07/30/17
  • One (1) grand prize winner will be notified via Facebook chat by 08/06/17

* limit one post per person

** must be 21 or older to enter and claim

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!

June Cheese of the Month – Paradiso Vintage

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

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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?

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