Cheese of the Week: Seehive from Beehive Cheese Company


Still toiling away in graduate school but couldn’t miss this opportunity to tell you about Seehive!

photo courtesy of Beehive Cheese Company

From the Beehive Cheese Co. website “…..is hand rubbed with Beehive wildflower honey and local Redmond RealSalt. The honey is harvested from a local farm where the bee’s visit wildflowers and fruit orchards. The salt is from an ancient sea bed near Redmond, Utah and contains unique flecks of color that are the result of more than 50 natural trace minerals. This cheese is shaping up to be one of our best experiments yet and is a true expression of our local flavors”

This interesting specimen is now available here in StL.  Buzz on over to The Wine Merchant and ask Simon for a taste. You won’t go home empty handed!

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Kunik…it’s all the craze. Cheesemaker of the Week: Nettle Meadow Farm


If you have been reading The Novice Foodie or my Twitter posts then you may have some idea about Kunik. Kunik is a triple cream cheese made in Thurman, NY by Nettle Meadow Farm. Owned by Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan, Nettle Meadow Farm is nestled on a cozy 50 acres just below Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks.

Kunik is a white-mold ripened cheese made from goat milk  and jersey cow cream. It has a delicate bloomy rind that smells sweet and grassy…but the inside yields a unctuous and buttery cheese with gracious tang.  Perfect on a slice of baguette topped with fruit chutney….or just slathered graciously on a toasted bagel.

Best at room temperature (like ALL CHEESE), Kunik has a permanent space on our kitchen counter.  Delicate and powerful…Kunik is by far becoming the favorite cheese of us here in St. Louis.  It is by far, my current obsession….delivered in small dreamy little rounds it doesn’t last long once cut into.  To be honest…I don’t think we have ever failed at finishing off the round once we got started.

The current batch at cheese counter at The Wine Merchant is by far the best we’ve had in Missouri……and that is saying a lot because ever subsequent batch and been perfect.

Find us on Twitter!!


Both The Cheesemonger and I have Twitter accounts. My tweets are merely jovial…but The Cheesemonger keeps everyone up to date on what is coming into the shop…what he wants to see in the shop and special cheese events in St. Louis!  Look us up!

@MerchChzmonger

@Chzmongerswife

Happy Tweeting!

Full Moon Feast


Simon and I were invited to attend an installation of Full Moon Foodies Dinner.  Full Moon Foodies is a monthly late-night dinner event hosted by Wes Johnson, Chef de Cuisine and Brendan Noonan, Executive Sous Chef at Eclipse in the Moonrise Hotel.  Each month, a melange of St. Louis food enthusiasts and culinary professionals are invited to partake in a themed meal on the night of the full moon.  This month’s full moon landed on a Friday night and a vegetarian feast was on the books.

Dinner guests included a who’s who of the St. Louis’ professional  food-writing community, chefs and local food enthusiasts, including Mathew Rice, Sara White, April Seager and my new friend Gilberto Pinela.  Our evening began with cocktails at the bar.  Packed in on the ground level of the restaurant were loads of patrons vying for a spot on the rooftop.  The wait was over an hour when we arrived.   With spectacular views, perfect weather and tasty drinks, that was enough to lure the crowds high above the street.  But, we were looking forward to a small intimate dinner in the cozy corner of the restaurant, so the rooftop would have to wait.

As guests arrived, we took our seats and began to anticipate the bounty for which we were gathered.  The meal was based on a video game played by Brendan.  Harvest Moon, a Japanese farming-simulation game was developed by Yasuhiro Wada.  The object of the game is to maintain a farm over a period of time, tending the crops and livestock through the seasons, while befriending the nearby townsfolk and getting married in some games.  With this in mind, Wes and Brendan focused on local (when appropriate), fresh vegetables for the meal.

To start out the meal, we nibbled on spiced roasted nuts.  Crunchy, spicy and sweet…they accompanied our cocktails perfectly.  Secondly a serving of warm herbed olives…with a great underbelly of heat. Simon offered up a new concoction he devised earlier that afternoon at The Wine Merchant.  Local goat cheese, whipped with mango honey and scotch bonnet peppers was coined The Goat Fire Ball.  It was another delicious nibble that brought the spice and heat.

And thus the feast began!  Bowls of pickled wax beans cooled your palate.  Along with watermelon dressed with pickled carrots, there was vast platters of fresh vegetables.  Plates of heirloom tomatoes with Koren melon dressed in a balsamic reduction, tempura of Ozark Forest mushrooms, okra, poblano and red bell peppers.   Knowing that some dinner guests were of the vegan persuasion, the tempura was executed san eggs.  Even with the egg omittance, the tempura was crispy and perfect.  Heaping bowls of Ozark Forest mushrooms were served. Maitake, Lobster and Hen of the Woods were sauteed with butter and thyme.  One bowl was sauteed with olive oil for our vegan guests.  A  rich carrot and potato curry was the main course.  The curry was hearty, with warm spices that satisfied.  A dollop of the Goat Fire Ball gave a second layer of flavor and heat that was genuinely scrumptious.  Fresh figs with cracked black pepper were piled high in a bowl.

Cocktails, such as Lemon Lime Gin & Tonic infused with sorrel were consumed…along with Champagne/Elderberry flower liqueur concoctions.  On a sweet note: Brendan found some “sweet crunchy sticks” at the local Asian Market. And that was the literal translation, folks.  There were rice sticks covered in a fine sugar from what I could tell.  The package was brought out and  in a hilarious twist of fate…fitted right in with the video game themed meal!  I never got a chance to read the actual ingredients…all I heard was that they were vegan so they were OK for all at the table.  Finally, a meringue topped with local peaches were the final course.  The meringue was light, sweet and fluffy.  The peaches, although local and fresh, were a tad under-ripe.

All in all, the Full Moon Foodies dinner was an amazing experience.  Food enthusiasts and professionals gathering together to enjoy good food, make new discoveries, exchange ideas and just have fun is a wonderful concept.  A giant thanks to Wes and Brendan for being such gracious hosts and putting together a delicious vegetarian meal!

I can only hope I am lucky enough to be invited back for another Full Moon Foodies Dinner!

The Wine Merchant closes Creve Coeur Location


From John Nash:

Greetings,
“The world is coming to grips with the most serious economic downturn since the second World War and many economists are expecting a slow recovery. Our lease is up for renewal at our Creve Coeur store and we’ve made the tough decision to close this location. Our Clayton shop remains vibrant and continues to grow as we enter our 17th year of business. Highway 64/40 is now open for business and getting to Clayton has never been faster. We appreciate the many years of patronage and support in West County. We’d like to invite you to visit our Clayton store where we will continue with our commitment to value, selection and great customer service. Our Clayton store is open every day (Sunday too) and we have free, excellent parking on the North and South side of our building. We’re closing out our remaining inventory in Creve Coeur this week at Clearance Sale prices. You’ll save big on our entire store stock. Shop early for the best selection. See below for details. Cheers!”

-John Nash, The Wine Merchant, Ltd.

Claverach Eggs are now availalble at the Wine Merchant in Clayton


For all of you sad folks that took it hard when Living Springs Farm stopped production of the best eggs ever….cheer up!  The Merch is carrying Claverach Eggs now!  If you have had a micro green in St. Louis….I bet it came from Claverach Farm.  And lucky for you….they are selling eggs….so go by the Merch and pick up a dozen.  I bet you’ll never want to eat another egg again.

Someone ship me a dozen…thanks.