Ordering for February Cheese Boxes is now open with delivery scheduled for ~February 25th within the Comox Valley, to Port Alberni and Campbell River. Special orders are available throughout the month from our "In Stock" selection and custom pre-orders from our February list. We are happy to deliver/ship outside of our regular cheese box delivery window within our regular delivery areas, however this may result in additional shipping fees. Pickup is available at the cheese deli at the Mustard Lady in Courtenay, BC.
Well January blew by so fast I didn't even get the Newsletter out last month. So this is the official January/February newsletter. The good news is that with January being over, we can all start eating cheese again. I know there were a few of you out there who "went off" the cheese after a particularly cheesy December. I'm of the opinion that cheese related New Year's resolutions are only meant to be done for January. Anything more is excessive and self-punishing.
A little clarification on the delivery change that was announced last month. I am still happy to deliver your cheese box orders. I know that is something that people enjoy, opening the door and there I am, the cheese lady, with your bag of awesome cheese. So if that is something you want to continue, that's cool! There's just an extra fee for it.
MONTHLY CHEESE REVIEW
Let's talk about cheese! We still have lots of cheese available in the deli fridge at the Mustard Lady. We are managing to stay well stocked which is what you want from your neighborhood cheese store! So if reading about cheese makes you hungry, be assured you can satisfy your cheese cravings there. Want to see what's available before you head down there....you can follow the handy "In Stock" link below to see what we have for you. If it's on the list there should be some in the deli. We only have a few French butters left, but more on the way.
So wayyyyy back last February, in our very first month, I brought in my first round of Grey Owl. The look of it was beautiful with an ashy grey, wrinkly rind. But it had the firm, chalky texture of young goat cheese. Not really my favourite. I like a riper, creamy texture for my soft goat cheese. I realize that this is not everyone's preference, but there are a lot of grocery store options for firmer goat cheeses if that's your jam. I've always tried to focus on the more exciting cheeses every month, stuff you can't get in the grocery stores. Because let's be honest, cheese is cheaper at the grocery store. If you are going to spend some extra money on cheese, it needs to be something special. Anyway back to the Grey Owl. This past month, I ordered a Grey Owl that came at almost peak perfection! So soft, so creamy, so oozy. It's essentially the texture that consistently sells me on the Pavé de L'Atelier, another goat cheese from Quebec. I think the latter is more likely to gain this texture quickly because it comes in smaller pieces. The Grey Owl this month was finger lickin' good! I haven't been to the deli recently, so it might no longer be mind-blowing because it's all gone. But what was there was perfection. The trick to this is allowing it to ripen in the round. It doesn't ripen the same way after it's been cut. The good news is that I have another round waiting in the back, aging and hopefully achieving that perfect texture and flavour. I'll be putting it in the deli over the next week or so when I've judged it to be supèrbe!
Another new cheese that we had this month was Amazing Grey which I discussed last month, before I had had an opportunity to taste it. I've been told it's running a close second to the Thea Sheep Cheddar. I think it is sufficiently different to stand on it's own. Though it is aged for 3 years, this cheese doesn't have a crumbly texture. It has a firm paste, but a bit on the creamier side. And it's sweet, not overpoweringly sweet, but the sweetness that comes from a well aged cheese. There is a little kick of goat at the end, but not so much that it would be compared to licking the barn floor. Not even close. I don't even know why I mentioned licking the barn floor, just thinking about it is probably a turn off for many of you. Just try it, honestly. Why would they name it Amazing Grey if it wasn't amazing?
And my favourite creamy cheese was the Vacherin! I love a good ooze. A soft, bloomy cheese, it has a wee bit of funk to it. Nothing over-powering, just enough so you know you're eating a European cheese. Similar to the Vacherin Mont-d'Or you can cut off the top and dip into it with a spoon or bread or your finger. But it's equally good as a wedge on a cheese board which is what you get at the deli. There are still some pieces in the deli fridge, so if you are hankering for something perfect, go grab a piece.
Lastly, Le Maréchel, similar to a gruyère with a firm but creamy texture. It is a savoury cheese, with a strongish aroma, firm rind and rich flavour. Made with cows milk, from Switzerland.
FEBRUARY CHEESE LIST
The February cheese is on it's way from Europe and Quebec. We will probably have a few additions before arriving, but the current cheese list is available online for pre-orders.
A new cheese this month is Cantal Entre-Deux. Made with raw cows milk, it is one of the oldest cheeses from the Auvergne region of France (~2000 years!). It is made in the same style as cheddar, typical of British hard cheeses, the only French cheese to be made using this method. And I think we can all agree that the UK does make some delicious cheddar style cheeses. It's name comes from the region it is made, but also the age of the specific cheese. Entre-Deux translates to "between the two", which refers to it's age being between the Cantal Jeune (aged 1-2 mths) and Cantal Vieux (aged more than 8 months). This cheese is aged for 2-8 months, and over the course of its development, it changes from a sharpish flavour to a more fruity, tangy buttery taste. Made with raw cow's milk, it is a star on a cheese board. Serve it with a Côtes d'Auvergne or a Cabernet Sauvignon. The melting texture allows it to be added to soups, potato dishes and fondue...yes, it's still fondue season...cause it's cold and wet and nothing warms the tummy like a belly full of melted cheese. The rind, which becomes pocketed and pitted with age, should be discarded.
I am always on the hunt for new aged goat and sheep cheeses for the many folks out there that can't eat cow cheese and long for
the flavours that come from a good ageing. This months cheese is the Peña Gorda, a firm cheese from Spain made from raw goat's milk. Spain and Italy do a really great job with their sheep and goat cheeses, so I am looking forward to trying this one out. This is said to be a strong, aromatic cheese. This is not a well known cheese, so we are bringing it untasted and untested. But hey, who doesn't like new experiences right??
And lastly on the soft side, Bons Mayennais Lingot. A popular soft cheese from France. It has a soft, bloomy rind and strong flavour. The rind will change color from white to orange as it ages.
To see what else will be arriving later this month, check out our February pre-order page. You can order directly from here for delivery or pick-up at the store.
That's about it for me this month. Short and sweet. Have a fabulous February everyone. Typing that out I realized that it's almost Valentines Day! I had really hoped to bring in some Coeur de Neufchatel, a soft heart-shaped cheese from France. Unfortunately, I am at the mercy of supply and demand in Europe, so no dice. But, you can still put together a beautiful basket of cheese and other delicious tidbits for your romantic partner, your best friend, your grandma or even your dog (dogs like cheese too), for Valentine's Day. Alone for Valentine's day and wanna love yourself? Pick up a half-bottle of bubbly, a piece of Vacherin or St. Marcellin, and a baguette and settle in with a movie or a bath. Want to be really sinful? Get yourself a little round of Brillat Savarin and don't share it with anyone! Special orders for Valentine's Day pickup must be submitted by Friday, February 10th @ 5pm. Unfortunately no deliveries or online special orders will be done/taken Febarury 11-21st. The deli at the Mustard Lady will still be open.
Keep it Cheesy!