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Archive for the ‘Cheese Making’ Category

State Fair Silver!

In the second year of the North Carolina State Fair’s Cheese Competition, we entered five cheeses with high hopes.  After waiting with bated breath for a over a week since the fair began (we couldn’t make it to the fair to check ourselves!), we finally found out that two of our cheeses won medals!  We won a silver medal for our fresh Mozzarella and we won another silver medal for our Spicy Pimento Goat Cheese.  We couldn’t be happier (OK, well, gold would have been nice, but there’s always next year)!  There were a total of 95 cheeses from 23 cheese makers from NC, Texas, Maine, Tennessee and even Australia, so competition was pretty stiff.  The panel of five judges was exceptionally tough on all the entries, awarding only three gold medals among all the cheeses entered (two for hard cheeses and one for unflavored chevre).  We are extremely lucky to be able to do something we love, and getting a little pat on the back feels so good!  But, we never could do it without all of our awesome customers and fans!  Thanks to all of you for all of your tasting, comments and support; you helped make it happen!  Next year, we’re going for the gold!

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Portioning some Jalapeño Chevre for market

 

Our figs are coming in strong!

 

We stretch our fresh mozzarella by hand every week.

 

All photos taken with Instagram.

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The American Cheese Society has a great new video about the chemistry behind the process of cheese making. Check it out:

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We have a few fig trees next to the cheese kitchen and in the past couple of weeks they have just exploded with juicy, ripe Brown Turkey Figs. Its all we can do to keep with the picking! For those of you who’ve bought fresh figs before you know how quickly they can spoil, so in addition to selling fresh-picked figs at our farmers’ markets we’ve begun to extend our fig harvest by making a seasonal fig chevre. This is a wonderfully sweet and delicious chevre that is perfect on crackers or would even make an excellent substitute for cream cheese in a cheesecake. You can find it at market the next few weeks, and come early because we almost always sell out!

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The June 22, 2011 Dish! issue of the Independent Weekly was all about cheese, and they sent some folks out to film a day in the life of Hillsborough Cheese Company.  Check out this video for some behind-the-scenes insight into how we get our cheese to you, and why we do what we do.

Making Cheese from Independent Weekly on Vimeo.

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We’ve cut some special wheels of aged cheese for our markets this weekend, including a raw blue cheese and a two-year-old sheep’s cheese that is like a nuttier, funkier version of parmesan! We’ve been ramping our aged cheese production over the last year and we’re finally starting to see some exciting results. Follow us on twitter, @HCheeseCo, to find out exactly where you can buy some of these special selections.

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Located right down the road from Hillsborough Cheese Company, Maple View Farm enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a top-notch local creamery. For years Maple View has been known throughout the Triangle and across North Carolina for their delicious milk products and incredible ice cream. We are so excited to announce that going forward all of our cow cheeses will be made with Maple View milk! This is another step in our journey to creating a more local, sustainable company, and we’re so happy to invest our money right in our own backyard.

Stay-tuned for more news on our continued partnership with Maple View Farm.

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For a while now we’ve been wanting to offer a “cheese of the month” special, but we felt it would be a cop-out to just slap a new price on one of our regular cheeses and call it a day. We wanted to give our customers something new, something fresh, something delicious! Well, after a little experimenting we’ve found it – our new line of fromage blanc spreads.

Fromage blanc is a creamy, spreadable cow’s cheese, with a nice blank palette that just begs for delicious flavors. Starting in February we will be offering a new flavor every month, starting with our Orange Marmalade Fromage Blanc. Other flavors will include Raspberry, Dill, and my favorite, Curried Cranberry. These cheese spreads are perfect for a snack or as an appetizer.

We’re so excited to share these new flavors with our customers, so come find us at one of our farmers’ markets and have a taste!

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You’d be amazed how easy it is to make mozzarella in your own kitchen! We make fresh mozzarella by hand every week, but if you want to give it a shot yourself, check out this easy recipe from Instructables: How To Make Great Fresh Mozzarella Cheese.

(If you do make your own, come visit us at one of our farmers’ market booths and give us a taste! Or better yet, buy some of our mozzarella and set up a taste test!)

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Go to your local supermarket and buy a tub of ricotta and I can guarantee you that it will read “whole milk ricotta”. While it most certainly tastes great, it is not real ricotta. Its fake ricotta, forced ricotta, a ricotta that never got to live up to its full potential.

True ricotta, while common in Italy, is hard to find in the United States. You see, ricotta cheese is traditionally made from the whey leftover from the process of making mozzarella. While it is a great way to eke some extra product out of the milk, it has an incredibly low yield (less than a 1/4 cup of ricotta from 3 gallons of whey usually) and is therefore not cost-effective to make on a commercial-scale.

Most ricotta you find in the grocery store is what I like to call “forced” ricotta – in that they use an enzyme to force the separation of the curds from the whey and then drain it to the desired spreadable consistency. Here at Hillsborough Cheese Company we make real ricotta from our mozzarella whey, and while it takes a little extra time, once you taste it you’ll never go back to the fake stuff!

Check out this page from one of my favorite sources for cheese information, Fias Co Farm, for more information on ricotta and instructions on how you can make the real (and the fake) ricotta in your own kitchen!

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