Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine kicks off its 10th anniversary season with new picnics, sandwiches and salads, plus small production wine and beer pairings that have all been thoughtfully selected and created to celebrate summer in Chicago. Pastoral’s new summer offerings are available at all three store locations and also include cheese and charcuterie plates-to-go, plus a selection of handcrafted sides, sodas, locally made sweets, confections and accompaniments which can all be enjoyed on-the-go or at Pastoral’s al fresco dining patios open now throughout the season. Pastoral’s picnic offerings are ideal for two people to share, and designed with Chicago’s summer concert season and outdoor festivals in mind.
“This summer marks Pastoral’s 10th anniversary in business, and we took this milestone as a chance to create our favorite summer menu to date—picnics, sandwiches, salads, cheese plates, drink pairings and more that showcase some of Pastoral’s most delicious offerings and favorite culinary producers that have worked with us since we opened in 2004,” said Greg O’Neill, Co-founder and Co-proprietor of Pastoral and Bar Pastoral. “Every menu item reflects our commitment to bring customers the best small production and specialty products available from the most wonderful and talented culinary producers near and far. We want guests to taste this effort in every bite and sip from Pastoral this summer.”
Pastoral’s new picnics are designed for two people to enjoy together, and all include a wine or beer pairing recommendation from Pastoral’s team of experts. New picnics include:
Decadent Picnic (Heirloom Tamworth Prosciutto (Iowa), indulgent Brillat Savarin triple crème (FR – cow), smooth and seasonal Snowfields (Wis. – raw cow), rich and complex 5-Year Gouda (NL – cow), pate de fruits Jugglers (Ill.), rich and fair trade Madecasse Mini Bar (MG), handmade caramels from Katherine Anne Confections (Ill.), plus soft and delicious cookies house-made at Pastoral);
Bavarian Picnic (tangy house-made pimento cheese featuring two Wisconsin cheddars (cow), fresh and creamy Quark (Wis. – cow), Alsatian-style Saucisson d’Alsace salami (Ore.), La Fournette Bakery’s original recipe soft Bretzel (Ill.), plus Pastoral’s house-made toastettes, pickled cauliflower and grainy mustard);
Francophile Picnic (country-style Pig and Fig Terrine (Ind.), buttery Spring Brook Raclette (Vt. – raw, cow), herbed Prairie Fruits Farm chevre (Ill. – goat), fruity and bright Zingerman’s Manchester (Mich. – cow), single varietal Ames Mini Honey (Minn.), Pastoral’s house-made artichoke tapenade, cornichons and grainy mustard);
Quesophile Picnic (buttery Spring Brook Raclette (Vt. – cow, raw), Pecorino Fioretto (IT – sheep), tangy Clock Shadow Creamery chevre (Wis. – goat), Salemville Blue (Wis. – cow), smooth and seasonal Snowfields (Wis. – cow, raw), traditional and award-winning 1655 Gruyere (SZ – cow, raw), Pastoral’s own house-made spiced almonds and fig preserves);
Taste of the Midwest Picnic (Borsellino Salami (Iowa.), silky smooth Mortadella from Smoking Goose (Ind.), creamy and slightly funky Aged Widmer’s Brick (Wis. – cow), subtly smoky Marieke Smoked Cumin Gouda (Wisc. – cow, raw), tangy Clock Shadow Creamery chevre (Wis. – goat), shallot confit and dried Michigan cherries);
Carnivore’s Feast Picnic (dry-cured Salametti (Calif.), spice-cured aged Coppa (N.Y.), intense and rich Jamon Serrano (SP), silky smooth Mortadella (Ind.), Pastoral’s house-made pimento cheese featuring two Wisconsin cheddars (cow), cornichons, pickled vegetables and grainy mustard);
Grand Picnic (smooth and silky Prosciutto San Daniele (IT), Dodge City Salume from Smoking Goose Meatery (Ind.), fruity and complex Prairie Breeze (Iowa – cow), buttery and rich Brabander Gouda (NL – goat), bold and nutty Maxx Extra (SZ – cow, raw), smooth and lemony Driftless (Wisc. – sheep), single varietal Ames Mini Honey (Minn.), sweet and salty Effie’s Mini Oatcakes (Mass.), Pastoral’s house-made spiced almonds and a duo of handmade truffles from Chicago’s own Katherine Anne Confections.
Vegetarian options are available for select Pastoral picnics. All picnics are $39.99 with the exception of the Grand Picnic which is $69.99 and features some of Pastoral’s most indulgent products.
All Pastoral’s picnics are eco-friendly with biodegradable packaging including plates and utensils made from potato starch, recyclable paper bags and napkins. Additionally, many of Pastoral’s wines, beers, ciders and spirits focus on organic, biodynamic or sustainably produced selections that are both food- and earth-friendly.
The Pastoral team is available to help customers pair a bottle of small production wine, craft beer or cider with their picnics from the shop’s thoughtfully-selected collection of wines, beers, ciders and spirits. Pastoral’s beverage director, Mark Wrobel, has selected his favorite bottles for summer 2014, most of which feature a screw top or champagne-style stopper⎯no corkscrew required⎯making these selections ideal for summer concert and festival season.
Karoun Dairies is promising that the new Blue Isle’s Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads will provide a healthy and delicious choice for consumers who love their cream cheese but would prefer a lower-fat and lower-calorie option. America has an obsession with cream cheese. From countless recipes shared on Pinterest to the popular Twitter #foodporn hashtag commonly linked to #creamcheese, there is no doubt that Americans love their schmear. Grocery sales reflect these sentiments. A 2009-2011 Mintel study of US retail sales shows that cream cheese spread is the fastest-growing segment with 8.5 percent growth.
However, America’s growing waistline has driven consumers to choose healthier alternatives to comfort food favorites, which has something to do with why The Wall Street Journal coined “permissible indulgence” as the big food industry buzzword for 2014. Popular examples of this phenomenon include gluten-free, Greek yogurt, kale chips, and quinoa cookies.
Keeping up with the demand and offering a healthy solution for cream cheese lovers with the added benefit of probiotics, Blue Isle’s Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads is the latest innovation to hit the dairy aisle this summer. Samples will be available at booth #566 during the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.
“We use hand-crafted traditional methods of blending, aging, and fermenting all of our probiotic rich yogurt spreads,” states Rostom Baghdassarian, COO for Karoun Dairies. “This year, we are delighted to introduce Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads, as we’ve seen a major demand for healthier, Mediterranean-style spreads. Blue Isle is a fresh, tasty, and health conscious alternative to traditional cream cheeses.”
Blue Isle’s Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads offer nutritional balance and taste. Today’s cream cheese category is limited in both selection and brands and the goal of Blue Isle’s Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads is to raise the bar in the retail cream cheese category with superior flavors, functionality and nutrition.
Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads are made from the healthy goodness of yogurt, including live cultures, probiotics, and calcium but with no added sugar. With only 60 calories and 6g of fat per 2 tbsp serving, Blue Isle has nearly 40 percent fewer calories and total fat than the leading cream cheese. All natural and kosher have both been reported as important factors in consumers’ purchase choices, and Blue Isle is both natural and OU Kosher certified.
While the health benefits of Blue Isle are clear, the delicious flavor and mouth-watering texture are the real factors for this category innovation. Blue Isle is the over-achieving cousin to traditional cream cheese. Creamy, rich, and comforting, Blue Isle is a product that needs to be experienced. The spreads can be used as an alternative to cream cheese spread, a dip, in cooking, or as an exotic “good for you” treat.
Blue Isle is available in the following flavors:
Blue Isle will be available soon in the following US stores: Harmon’s, Mollie Stone’s, Central Market, Fiesta Mart, The Fresh Market, New Seasons, H-E-B, Lucky, Fred Meyer, QFC, at natural food stores and better supermarkets nationwide. Suggested retail price is $3.29 for an 8-ounce tub.
Blue Isle is distributed by Karoun Dairies, Inc., a second-generation family business with multiple awards for excellence in the cheese and dairy industry. Accolades include World Cheese Awards, World Championship Cheese medals, U.S. Championships, American Cheese Society medals, and California State Fair awards to name a few. Karoun produces some of California’s finest specialty cheeses; using century-old and handmade methods. All 130+ SKUs are made from ultra-premium ingredients, including premium milk from cows that are free of artificial hormones, BGH/rBST, and are Real California Milk certified.
Visit booth #566 at the Summer Fancy Food Show June 29 -July 1 at the Jacob Javits Center, where Karoun Dairies will showcase many delectable cheeses and yogurts as well as offer samples of Blue Isle’s brand new smooth and creamy Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads.
Jarlsberg® can now be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Jarlsberg Minis elevate grab-and-go snacking to a gourmet level with their premium quality and mild, mellow and nutty flavor.
Jarlsberg Minis come packaged in eye-catching 100g bags containing five 20g Minis, for easy deli merchandising. Each Mini has been dipped in wax and wrapped in cellophane – replicating the popular Jarlsberg wheel.
Jarlsberg Minis perfectly suit the needs of today’s busy consumer with hectic schedules who snack more frequently but want healthier options. All natural and just 70 calories per piece, Jarlsberg Minis are a good source of calcium and protein.
The product will have full in-store merchandising support plus an ongoing multi-faceted marketing program. Visit www.jarlsbergusa.com to learn more.
Few desserts are as timeless and quintessentially American as the frosty ice cream cone. However, with specialty food companies today crafting everything from riesling and poached pear sorbet to doppelbock bacon ale ice cream to ice pops infused with kiwi, avocado and spinach puree, it is clear that the world of frozen desserts has gone positively gourmet. Check out these companies putting their unique spins on American classics.
1. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops. Forget your traditional frozen fruit bar. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are made with only three simple ingredients: fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar. They are all-natural, free of dairy, fat and gluten, non-GMO and have only 13-15 grams of sugar per serving. At just 60 calories, Chloe’s Pops are guilt-free fun on a stick.
2. Denali Flavors. Michigan-based Denali Flavors, Inc. is one of the leading inventors and marketers of specialty flavors for the ice cream industry, including its signature flavor: Moose Tracks®. Today, the product line consists of more than 30 flavors, including Caramel Caribou® (toffee ice cream with caramel) and Bear Claw® (dark chocolate with cashews).
3. Graeter’s. Artisan ice cream company Graeter’s is the only commercial enterprise to make all of its ice creams using a traditional small batch French pot process. The result is an irresistible creaminess. The company’s attention to detail even translates to the packaging process where nearly 20,000 pints are carefully packed by hand each day.
4. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The team at sofi Award-winning Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has truly elevated ice cream to an art form. The company’s product line incorporates a slew of unique ingredients, including rosemary, whiskey, lavender, goat cheese, sweet potatoes, cedarwood, cardamom and more. Jeni’s also offers signature sauces, ice cream sandwiches and gravels (crunch condiments).
5. Ruby Rocket’s. Ruby Rocket’s fruit and vegetable ice pops are a refreshing, all-natural snack. These healthy pops are gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO. With less than 35 calories and 2 grams of sugar per pop, these treats are a healthier and delicious way to satisfy any summertime sweet tooth. Ruby Rocket’s are available in three delicious flavors.
6. Salt & Straw. Based in Portland, Ore., the team at Salt & Straw pride themselves on supporting their local community and celebrating Oregon in their flavors and ingredients. The company’s unique product line includes one-of-a-kind flavors such as Lumberjack Stack (blueberry pancakes with maple syrup), honey balsamic strawberry with cracked black pepper and Oregon pear with blue cheese.
7. Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto. Talenti® recently announced the launch of three delicious new gelato flavors that reinvent classic American desserts: caramel apple pie, fudge brownie and raspberries and cream. Talenti’s newest additions to its growing line of gelatos remind us that America’s favorite sweet treats are just as good enjoyed as delicious frozen desserts.
8. TEA•RRIFIC! ICE CREAM. The goal of TEA•RRIFIC! ICE CREAM is to craft the finest all-natural tea-infused ice creams using only the best ingredients sourced locally and from around the globe. The company keeps it simple, while delivering a distinctly delicious ice cream experience that is flavorful, creamy, finishes clean off the palate and leaves you wanting more.
9. Velvet Ice Cream. Family-owned and operated, Velvet produces more than five million gallons of ice cream every year from its Ohio headquarters. The company celebrates its 100th anniversary on May 1. Velvet honors old fashioned tradition with its classic ice cream products and flavors, such as Buckeye Classic, peach cobbler and Italian spumoni.
10. Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt. Made with only natural ingredients, Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars feature real Greek yogurt, rBST-free milk and natural sweeteners, Yasso is a great low-calorie frozen treat filled with protein and containing little to no fat. Yasso currently offers bars in 11 delicious flavors, and products can be found at major grocery and club stores nationwide.
By Zach Calvello
Frozen desserts experienced a 28.2 percent increase in sales over the past two years, making this the third-highest category for growth within the larger specialty foods industry. This is according to The State of The Specialty Food Industry, an annual report from the Specialty Food Association. Louise Kramer, Public Relations Director for the Specialty Food Association, attributes this rise in the popularity of frozen desserts to the amount of innovation being displayed by those involved in creating new frozen desserts. “There are many new and interesting products being released in the category of frozen desserts, such as non-dairy desserts, vegetable pops, soy-based products and indulgent desserts,” said Kramer.
Jerry Hancock, founder and CEO of Sub Zero, and Scot Rubin, co-founder of Nitropod, not only share in the benefits of this growth within the larger frozen foods industry, but the pair are also both somewhat responsible for the innovative thinking that is stimulating the trend. This is because both Sub Zero and Nitropod make ice cream using a unique, specialized process that involves freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Along with a small, select group of ice cream vanguards, including Iowa-based Blue Sky Creamery, Washington-based Flash Freeze Dreamery, California-based Smitten Ice Cream, Chicago-based iCream Café and a few others, Sub Zero and Nitropod have been working to transform the world of ice cream as we know it.
The process of flash freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen results in a truly unique product. With a temperature of minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit, liquid nitrogen freezes ice cream mix in less than 15 seconds. Since this flash freezing process happens so quickly, milk molecules stay very small, and ice crystals do not have time to form. This results in the smoothest and creamiest ice cream possible. In addition, the process also preserves more of the natural nutrients in the finished product.
Neither Sub Zero nor Nitropod were the first to use liquid nitrogen to flash freeze ice cream. This honor belongs to culinary pioneer Theodore Gray. “Theodore Gray’s article made the possibilities known. However, our uniqueness lies in our process,” says Hancock. Instead of combining liquid nitrogen and ice cream mix in intervals, Sub Zero combines everything at the same time. This creates what Hancock calls “the lake effect,” allowing Sub Zero to cut each layer of ice cream, one by one, as it freezes.
Nitropod’s Rubin praises flash frozen ice cream for its particularly smooth and creamy consistency. He delivers liquid nitrogen ice cream to his loyal Los Angeles-based customer base in a specialized ice cream truck. Rubin believes liquid nitrogen is an important element that helps him to create a truly premium product, although he argues that it takes a deft touch to ultimately master the frozen dessert. “Liquid Nitrogen is great,” he says. “It makes for smoother and creamier ice cream. But it can’t be the only factor in making great ice cream.” Rubin counts Nitropod’s chef-inspired flavors and ingredients sourced from local artisans as two additional factors compelling his company’s success.
One of the benefits of freezing ice cream on the spot is that each customer has the option of including or excluding every element that makes up the final product. This sort of customization allows ice cream producers to cater individually to each customer’s dietary needs. “It starts with the milk, where we have low-fat, almond and non-dairy choices,” says Hancock. The company even lets customers bring in their own ingredients to add to the mix, making for a fun and individualized ice cream experience.
Rubin looks forward to eventually bringing liquid nitrogen-frozen ice cream to retailers. “Retailing is phase two of [Nitropod’s] plan,” he says. The ice cream entrepreneur thinks he will eventually be able do this without changing his company’s current flash freezing process. “There are those that love to watch the ice cream being made, and then there are those who just love it for the taste,” he says. “Sometimes there is a substantial wait time at Nitropod, so we want to be able to provide for people that just don’t have time for that.”
Still, despite how decadent the final product is, it is the science behind flash frozen ice cream’s production that is often the first thing to draw consumers to sample the product. And it is the science that ultimately inspires the team at Sub Zero to innovate the frozen desserts industry. “Science is the driving force behind our product,” says Hancock.
Click here for more companies who are blazing new trails in frozen desserts.
MouCo’s Ashley is at it again! On March 20, Fort Collins, Colo’s favorite ash-covered cheese earned a silver medal at the 30th Biennial World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wis. Previously, the Ashley snagged a blue ribbon in the soft-ripened category at the American Cheese Society Conference both in August 2012 and August 2013.
MouCo Cheese Company is owned and operated by Birgit Halbreiter and Robert Poland in Fort Collins. The pair incorporated their company in November of 1999. Back then, their specialty was Camembert—a soft, buttery cheese with a mild nutty flavor. In the last several years, MouCo has introduced four additional varieties of cheese, including the award-winning Ashley in July of 2012. MouCo regulars can’t get enough of this creamy, mildly sweet cheese with its distinctive vegetable ash rind. Ashley’s sweet undertones are best complemented with a salad of bitter greens, a dollop of pepper jelly, or a glass of dry red wine.
Ashley starts the way all MouCo cheeses start: with fresh, local cow’s milk. The cheese curd is gently moved into forms that give the cheese its shape and size. Before the two-week aging process, a mixture of culture and edible vegetable ash is applied to the cheese to aid the development of Ashley’s special rind characteristics. The vegetable ash rind acts like a natural preservative, keeping the cheese extra creamy and mildly sweet. When it’s ready, this natural-rind cheese will be an ashy color with a slight white finish.
The World Championship Cheese Contest was founded in 1957 and is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. This year, the event drew over 2,000 entries from 22 different countries; the entries were tasted and scored by 50 judges from all around the world. Ashley earned a silver medal in the open soft-ripened category, but she wasn’t the only one turning heads: MouCo’s ColoRouge, and PepBert both placed in the top ten in their respective categories at this year’s contest.
The former Malpica residence, a 19th century mansion in Manzanares (Ciudad Real, Spain) is to house the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to one of Spain’s gastronomic treasures: Manchego cheese. According to Ignacio Barco, President of the Manchego Cheese Designation of Origin, and the latest generation in a long dynasty of master cheese-makers, “This initiative started out with the aim of safeguarding the tremendous gastronomic and cultural heritage that this cheese represents. We want to make sure that we never lose the expertise and tradition that make Manchego cheese such a unique and inimitable product. The best way of preserving this heritage is to spread the word so consumers know how to appreciate the real thing and reject any imitations.”
His cheese factory, which was founded at the same time as the Regulating Council in 1840, is one of the leading producers of artisan Manchego cheese and even produces its own milk. It shares this reverence for tradition with all the other cheese factories under the umbrella of the Designation of Origin.
With a production output of over 26 million pounds of cheese per year and growth of 20 percent in the last five, the devotion the D.O. cheese-makers feel for the genuine values of their tradition is quite impressive.
According to Barco, “As an artisan cheese-maker, I’m often saddened by the public’s general ignorance about our product.” This lack of information is even more evident among international consumers. “The Americans, who are real Manchego cheese lovers, are less familiar than Europeans with the Designation of Origin system. For this reason, companies that do not belong to the DO take advantage of the reputation of Manchego cheese to introduce imitations to the U.S. market which have absolutely nothing to do with the genuine article.”
But how do you differentiate an authentic Manchego cheese from a fake? “It’s very simple,” says Barco. “Every cheese certified by the Regulating Council of the DO Manchego Cheese has a double label. Firstly there’s the identifying label on the outside of the cheese, and secondly, there’s an exclusive serial number engraved in the cheese itself; these guarantee that each piece is unique.”
A characteristic flavor that visitors to the world’s first museum devoted exclusively to Manchego cheese will be able to appreciate, not only within the walls of the former Malpica mansion itself but also outside them, in the local taverns and restaurants. Manchego cheese never ceases to delight thanks to its countless culinary facets and uses.
“As the new generation of Manchego cheese-makers, we have the obligation to continue communicating and expressing who we are, what we do, the tradition we represent and the flavor of our cheeses, all of which have given us national and international renown. We need to be out there making sure that our legacy will endure,” Barco says.
Castello® cheese, maker of creatively crafted cheese available at grocery and fine food stores nationwide, will celebrate the art of cheese with its New York City Pop-up Store, open today through July 6 at 462 West Broadway in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.
Over the next nine weeks, Castello will offer visitors a selection of premium cheeses; interactive tastings; elegant, made-to-order Premium Cheese Layer Cakes for celebrations; mini seminars about entertaining with cheese; experiential evenings centered around cheese; and in-store sculpting demonstrations transforming premium cheese into works of art depicting New York City landmarks. Plus, cheese lovers have the opportunity to win access to an exclusive Castello Pop-up Store grand opening party on May 14 with Chef Michael Symon, James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, restaurateur, television personality and author.
“For more than 120 years, Castello has been the source of the finest creatively crafted cheeses, bringing innovation and tradition to the art of cheese making,” said Susan Burris, Castello Brand Manager. “We pride ourselves in offering traditional regional recipes and our own uniquely crafted cheeses, always made with natural ingredients. This attention to detail comes to life in our Castello New York Pop-up Store, where food lovers can experience the true art of cheese, whether it’s for personal enjoyment, entertaining or life’s many celebrations.”
Win your way to an exclusive epicurean evening
Twenty-five food lovers and one guest will win access to a private party on May 14 to celebrate the store’s grand opening with cheese and wine. Winners will have the chance to meet Symon and will witness the unveiling of a specially commissioned sculpture of the New York City skyline, carved by renowned food artist Jim Victor entirely out of Castello Alps Selection Hirten cheese.
Cheese lovers age 21 and older can enter to win by sharing a photo that shows cheese is a work of art using the hashtag #CastelloArt by May 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be drawn at random and notified on May 12. Full legal rules are available at facebook.com/castellousa.
Ongoing experiences for cheese lovers
From May 2 through July 6, the public is invited to visit the store, which will offer a wide selection of Castello cheeses for sale, including many available only for a limited time in the United States. In addition, store visitors are invited to participate in the following opportunities and activities:
A store that elevates cheese making to an art: Food lovers who visit the Castello New York Pop-up Store will find a variety of items for purchase that celebrate the art of cheese. Varieties include Castello extraordinarily tangy and distinctive Danish Blue cheeses; buttery, nutty and irresistible Havarti cheeses including Creamy, Aged, Light and gourmet flavors; exceptional Alps Selection cheeses crafted in the Alpine tradition; and super-premium Unika collection handcrafted, uniquely styled artisan cheeses. Many items to elevate the enjoyment of cheese are also offered, including flatbreads, fruit pastes, fig spreads, chutneys, jams and jellies, as well as cheese preparation and serving utensils.
To learn more about Castello cheese, find delicious recipes and more, visit castellocheese.com.
The family owned and operated Springfield Creamery announced today that its legacy brand of Nancy’s Organic Dairy products is now Non-GMO Project verified through the Non-GMO Project – making the Nancy’s brand one of the few Non-GMO Project verified organic yogurts with national distribution. Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Kefir and Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Cultured Cottage Cheese are the first Non-GMO Project verified kefir and cottage cheese currently on the market.