Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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2015 is about to arrive and I, for one, am very much looking forward to it!- Saturday, December 27, 2014

It has been a wonderfully hectic holiday season and it has been so rewarding to see all the loyal families who have supported our store for years, and in many cases over generations. In addition to that, however, we are starting to see lots of new faces each week as new shoppers are discovering our store for the first time. The feedback we have been receiving from comments in the store, on our website and on social media pages has been most encouraging, and it’s been gratifying to realize that you are recognizing many of the things we have recently introduced as being positive additions while not losing any of the old fashioned charm and customer service Prisco’s has been proud of for almost 90 years now.

I’m excited about the future of the Prisco Family Market and I know that I made the correct decision to take an active role in the business and help transition it eventually from the third generation to the fourth. Working side-by-side with my mom, sisters, uncle and aunts has been a very rewarding and valuable experience -- one that I’d never be able to experience out in the corporate world.

Blending the third and fourth generations along with occasional input from my retired Grandpa Tony has worked well from a number of perspectives. It has given me a solid understanding of what it takes to be a business that is also a community leader, one that is grounded in fair labor practices, offering only the finest, freshest food to customers, and always with a healthy dose of great customer service and a friendly smile. At the same time the older generation has embraced things that my sisters and I have introduced to the business, like becoming the craft beer capital of the westerns suburbs, the home to a wide array of gourmet cheese offerings that my Grandparents would never have believed could be sold in a grocery store, and the notion of social media and electronic coupons.

Please stay tuned and pay close attention because after the calendar page turns and the holidays are behind us for this year, I’m going to be rolling up my sleeves and to start working on several new concepts and product launches. I can tell you that things will be changing at Prisco’s Family Market in 2015, but have no fear: the only changes will be improvements. We plan to add lots of new products, especially locally made, healthy and sustainable food items, and we plan to expand the variety of items we carry and promote. We also want to expand educational food and beverage related programs like the ever popular cooking classes that Prisco’s has been famous for over the years. As a store team we have lots of ideas of things we want to at least consider trying, but it would be great to hear from you, our loyal shoppers. What types of products or new services have you seen offered elsewhere that you would appreciate having available at your favorite local food market? My Uncle Rob and I and other key members of the staff would really appreciate your feedback, so don’t be bashful: tell us what is on your mind and what you would like to see us do to make your shopping for groceries easier, and your choice of where to shop a no-brainer.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Andy Guzauskas – General Manager – Prisco’s Family Market

Tags :  New Year
Something worth serious consideration in 2015.- Saturday, December 27, 2014

[Info courtesy of webmd, healthyeating.sfgate.com, fitday.com & livestrong.com]

Salt is a very common seasoning in most foods; in fact, here in America, we pretty much take it for granted. Just about every pre-made or pre-packaged and/or processed food item contains some salt, with a number of very common -- and commonly used -- foods and ingredients containing it large quantities. Soups, broths and gravies, soy and other sauces, salad dressings, bacon and other cured meats, cheese, a huge variety of snack foods such as pretzels and popcorn, and pickled foods all boast unusually high salt content. To be precise, it's not the salt in and of itself that is the problem: it's the sodium component of salt. Salt is sodium plus chloride. Both are minerals. Salt is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride and it's that 40% that causes so much concern among modern doctors.

Of course, the human body requires some salt. Sodium is an essential nutrient required by the body for maintaining levels of fluids and for providing channels for nerve signaling. However, many people consume many times their recommended daily allowance of 1.5 grams per day.Too much salt can have a negative impact on the body, resulting in anything from hypernatremia, or an imbalance of the amounts of salt and water in the body, in the short term, and increased blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis in the long term.

How to reduce your intake of salt/sodium

[info courtesy of kidney.org]

There are a number of ways you can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, including the following --

  • Use fresh, rather than packaged, meats. Fresh cuts of beef, chicken or pork contain natural sodium, but the content is still much less than the hidden extra sodium added during processing in products like bacon or ham. If a food item keeps well in the fridge for days or weeks, that's a tip off that the sodium content is too high.
  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables as well, since they are very low in sodium. Canned and frozen fruits are also low in sodium.
  • When buying frozen vegetables, choose those that are labeled "fresh frozen" and do not contain added seasoning or sauces.
  • Begin reading food labels as a matter of course. Sodium content is always listed on the label. Sometimes the high sugar content in a product like apple pie can mask the high sodium content so it's important to check every label for sodium content.
  • Compare various brands of the same food item until you find the one that has the lowest sodium content, since this will vary from brand to brand.
  • Select spices or seasonings that do not list sodium on their labels, i.e. choose garlic powder over garlic salt.

 

Tags :  salt health sodium
A few simple tips to make your Christmas dinner party memorable and enjoyable for all.- Friday, December 19, 2014

1. Plan ahead - Be careful not to choose too many dishes that need a lot of last-minute attention. Put some thought into planning your menu. It is better to prepare a few different dishes well rather than to spread yourself too thin. Quality over quantity!

2. Pre-order Christmas meat - Christmas is a busy time of year and you don’t want to be caught short with limited choices. Call our meat department (630) 264-9401 several days ahead of time to order your beef roast, ham, pork roast, or turkey.

3. Remember your non-meat eating guests – Be certain to have a number of non-meat and non-dairy options available to satisfy the needs of your vegan and vegetarian guests.

4. Get creative with your Christmas table - One way to add color and personal touches is with napkins - and you don't need to be an expert napkin-folder. Simply roll napkins and wrap with contrasting ribbon in satin, velvet, lace, sequined elastic, or brightly colored wool. Visit craft or fabric stores to find something unique. For a final touch, add a sprig of holly, bells or candy canes.

5. Cook the day before - Prepare as many ingredients ahead of time as possible – desserts can usually be made the day before, and the same is true of several side dishes.

6. Enjoy the day - Remember, Christmas is a time to celebrate and have fun with family and friends. Pre-plan where you can, stick to your budget, get everyone involved and make this the best Christmas ever!

 

Greetings to all our wonderful friends, neighbors and customers!- Friday, December 19, 2014

As the curtain falls on this, our 88th year of serving Auroraland, I want to take a moment to thank you, and all of our wonderful customers for your continued good will and support in 2014. It is so vital to the health and well-being of our community that small businesses (who are the primary job generators in this country) continue to grow and flourish. And if this past year is any indication, Prisco’s is on track to log another 88 years providing you with great food and great service.

I would also like to express my appreciation for your enthusiastic support of our two holiday food drives. The November drive in support of the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry was very successful and concluded on a high note with a record number of donations. We’re now working on our December Food Drive. This drive is in its 21st year and has helped thousands of local folks by distributing through our local churches and schools. Purchasing a premade bag when you visit the store helps this effort. We will aid over 380 families this year.

So from the Prisco family and the entire Prisco team, I want to wish you and your family a very joyous and merry Christmas, a wonderful Holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

 

Rob Prisco

Where did the stocking gifts of oranges and nuts in a shell come from?- Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I remember as a child growing up that every Christmas Eve when we were fast asleep, Santa Claus would pay us a visit and leave behind an assortment of wrapped toys for each child, and filled each of our stockings with oranges, tangerines, assorted nuts in their shell, and some wrapped hard candies and chocolates.  While I was eager to make short work of the candy I never paid much attention to the fruit and nuts.  I remember once asking my parents why Santa would think that giving us groceries (fruit and nuts) was such a good idea.  Although I don't remember their exact answer, it went something like this:  "Santa has been leaving fresh fruit, nuts and candy in children's stockings for hundreds of years.  Long ago, these items were considered wonderful treats because in earlier times there was no way to get fresh fruit and nuts all over the world year-round.  For all but the very wealthy children who might live near a big city, this Christmas gift was the only fresh fruit or nuts that they would get to enjoy all winter and well into the spring."

In doing a bit more research it appears the custom actually began in the 1880s with the advent of the cross continental railway system.  By the twentieth century, Santa Claus, working with the local seasonal availability of fresh oranges around winter time, made it possible for most American children to get a fresh orange, tangerine or Clementine at the bottom of their stocking on Christmas.

OK, so that explains part of the tradition, but just where did the idea of putting fruit in a stocking originate?  For that answer we need to go back a bit further to St. Nicholas, the precursor of jolly old Santa.  Born in a village on the shore of what is now part of Turkey, he inherited a fortune but spent his life helping the poor and the persecuted, and eventually became a bishop in the new Christian church.  As the story goes, Bishop Nicholas learned of a poor man with three daughters who had no dowries and hence could not find suitors to marry them.  The next night Nicholas returned and tossed three bags of gold for the daughters' dowries through the chimney, which happened to land in the stockings of the three maidens which they had hung to dry in front of the fireplace.  The bags of gold turned into balls of gold which are now symbolized by oranges.  Bishop Nicholas is often portrayed in pictures wearing the red ceremonial robes and miter (or headdress) and holding the staff of a bishop, as well as holding three gold balls, gold coins, or pieces of fruit.

Don't forget Mom & Dad, stock up on fresh fruit and nuts and candies, and leave the stash somewhere Santa (St. Nick) can find it because that sleigh has only so much room... Every little bit of help is greatly appreciated.

 

I'd love to create a personalized food basket just for you. - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas is getting closer every day and for many of the people I ask, they have most but not all of their holiday gift shopping complete. In many cases they simply don’t know what to get for one or two people on their list. If you face the same dilemma I’d like to make a suggestion: Consider the gift of food and beverage. It’s one gift that everyone can use and appreciate.

There are several ways that we can fill your food and beverage gift needs. The simplest and quickest way is to purchase a Prisco’s gift card for any amount that suits you. Think of this as good solution for the postman, a school teacher, your baby sitter, or the scout master -- people that you want to recognize with a holiday gift, but just don’t know enough about their personal tastes to be comfortable picking out something specific.

For the person who loves to cook we’d like to suggest picking up a copy the newly released Prisco’s Family and Friends Cookbook, containing over 300 recipes contributed by members of the Prisco family and dozens of our customers, neighbors and friends. We’ve been selling the books for about three weeks and about half of the books are gone, so if you would like one or two for Christmas gifts shop the display in the front of our store.

For the past few Christmas holidays I’ve been tasked with being Chief Christmas Elf, maker of food gift baskets extraordinaire. Each year as I gain more experience, I try to find ways to improve upon what we offered the previous year. As in the past we will offer several premade baskets at a wide range of price points, available for you to simply pick up and purchase between now and Christmas Eve. I’m also very happy to create a custom made basket and fill it with any item that we sell in the store.

To make things even easier, this year we are offering a Create-a-Gift-Basket program offering three set price points for baskets where you purchase the baskets contents and my team of gift basket elf’s and I will build out your basket and make it just right for you and the person you are gifting it to. For example, do you know someone who enjoys craft and imported beers? Our store now offers over 800 beer varieties so I guarantee that we can create a beer gift basket that will be loved by any beer aficionado. Maybe you know someone with a passion for cooking or baking: consider a basket of our new line of all organic Spicely spices along with a mixture of imported specialty foods. Please keep in mind that if you want us to build you a custom made gift basket, depending on the amount of traffic when you visit, we may need to ask you to select your basket contents and leave them with us to create your basket for later pick-up.

If you have someone on your gift list that seems to be hard to shop for please think about the gift of food and beverage. Stop in the store and visit our gift basket center at the front. We are here to help make this Christmas a breeze when it comes to gifts of food and drink.

 

Jacquie – Prisco’s Chief Christmas Elf & Gift Basket Maker

 

 

The story behind some traditional holiday desserts- Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving is now behind us, but with Christmas swiftly approaching, there's not much time in to relax. Whether you are preparing to entertain a large number of family and friends, or just your immediate family, trying to decide what to serve can be tricky -- especially when it comes to dessert. Christmas in particular is one of those holidays that emphasises the after-dinner offerings more than the main course; when people think of Christmas foods, candy and cookies and pies often come first, followed by the traditional roast beef or ham. Case in point: How many people do you know who decorate their homes with candy canes, along with those garlands and wreathes and the occasional bunch of mistletoe?

There are plenty of traditional desserts, or desserts commonly associated with the holidays, that are well worth serving your guests. Some of the most notable are gingerbread, stollen, fruit cake, "yule logs", and a huge variety of cookies. Everyone is acquainted with some or all of these foods, but why are they so popular? What is their significance?

Gingerbread

Cakes of all shapes and sizes (including smaller items such as cookies) have been part of festive holiday rituals long before Christmas. Ancient cooks prepared sweet baked goods to mark significant occasions. Many of these recipes and ingredients (cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds, dried fruits etc.) were introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages. They were highly prized and quickly incorporated into European baked goods. Christmas cookies, as we know them today, trace their roots to these Medieval European recipes. Dutch and German settlers introduced cookie cutters, decorative molds, and festive holiday decorations to America. German lebkuchen (gingerbread) was probably the first cake/cookie traditionally associated with Christmas.

Recipes:

Gingerbread Cookies

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

Stollen

The history of the Dresden type Christmas Stollen goes back to the 15th century. The Stollen was designed to symbolize the infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. But the original Stollen was not the delicious masterpiece we have today. Stollen is thought to have originated in Dresden in the 1400s. However, at that time the Catholic Church, as part of the fasting rules in preparation for Christmas, forbade the use of butter milk during Advent. Thus, the stollen of the middle ages was a somewhat tasteless pastry. In 1650 Prince Ernst von Sachsen at the request of bakers in Dresden, successfully petitioned Pope Urban VIII to lift the restrictions on the use of butter during Advent. The restrictions were lifted only in Dresden and thus began a baking tradition that continues to this day.

Recipe:

Christmas Stollen

Fruit Cake

The ancient Romans made a mishmash of barley, pomegranate seeds, nuts and raisins as a sort of energy bar; however the modern fruitcake can be traced back to the Middle Ages as dried fruits became more widely available and fruited breads entered Western European cuisine. But variations on the fruitcake started springing up: Italy’s dense, sweet-and-spicy panforte (literally, “strong bread”) dates back to 13th century Sienna; Germany’s stollen, a tapered loaf coated with melted butter and powdered sugar that’s more bread-like in consistency, has been a Dresden delicacy since the 1400s and has its own annual festival; and then there’s black cake in the Caribbean Islands, a boozy descendant of Britain’s plum pudding where the fruit is soaked in rum for months, or even as long as a year.

The tradition of making fruitcakes for special occasions such as weddings and holidays gained in popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries and due to the cost of the materials, it was a grand indulgence. But, as with many traditions, how this confection came to be exclusively associated with Christmas season is a mystery. - [info courtsy of blogs.smithsonianmag.com]

Recipe:

Holiday Fruitcake

Yule Log

The history of the Yule log cake stretches all the way back to Europe’s Iron Age, before the medieval era. Back then, Celtic Brits and Gaelic Europeans would gather to welcome the winter solstice at December’s end. People would feast to celebrate the days finally becoming longer, signaling the end of the winter season. To cleanse the air of the previous year’s events and to usher in the spring, families would burn logs decorated with holly, pinecones or ivy.

With the advent of Christianity, the Yule log tradition continued, albeit on a smaller scale. Families may have burned a log on Christmas Eve, but smaller hearths became the norm so huge logs were impractical. Those small hearths, however, were perfect for baking cakes. We don’t know who exactly made the first Yule log cake, but judging from the individual ingredients it could have been as early as the 1600s. Marzipan and meringue decorations, two of the most popular choices for Yule logs, appeared on many a medieval table. Sponge cake, which often constitutes the base of the log, is one of the oldest cakes still made today. -[info courtesy of history.com]

Recipe:

French Yule Log

Cookies

Modern Christmas cookies can trace their history to recipes from Medieval Europe biscuits, which when many modern ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds and dried fruit were introduced into the west. By the 16th century Christmas biscuits had become popular across Europe, with lebkuchen being favoured in Germany and papparkakor in Sweden, while in Norway krumkake were popular.



The earliest examples of Christmas cookies in the United States were brought by the Dutch in the early 17th century. In the early 20th century, U.S, merchants were also importing decorated lebkuchen cookies from Germany to be used as presents. In Canada and the United States, since the 1930s, children have left cookies and milk on a table for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, though many people simply consume the cookies themselves. The cookies are often cut into such shapes as those of candy canes, reindeer, and holly leaves. -[info courtesy of wikipedia.org & theculinarylife.com]

Recipes:

Turron de Almendra

Anise Pillows - Pfefferneuse Cookies

Butterball Santas

Raspberry Limoncello Linzers

Eggnog Sparkle Cookies

Mojito Jammies

Rolled Sugar Cookies

You can count on Prisco’s when you want only the best quality in Holiday Roasts.- Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It’s a crazy time in the meat department at Prisco’s. We just put Thanksgiving week in the history books and it’s time to start all over again as our customers begin to make plans for their Christmas parties and holiday meals. Every year we hear from hundreds of loyal customers who call in advance to order their special meat needs, but unlike Thanksgiving where the only decision to make is “how big a turkey to order?”, the main course, center plate decision for Christmas is no slam dunk. It’s a big decision, and more so than any other serve-at-home-meal, it’s a large investment in time, work and money. We know that you want to make the correct decision and you want your meal to be a huge success that every participant remembers fondly.

If you are struggling, not certain just what to serve or perhaps how to prepare your center plate meat, perhaps I can help with some general information regarding some excellent choices for your holiday meal.

How much should I buy?

Here are guidelines of serving sizes for an adult for various popular entrees:

Beef Roasts – For boneless roast like a tenderloin, figure four servings per pound. For a rib-eye roast you will get three servings per pound, and for bone in roasts like a standing rib you will get between two to two-and-a-half servings per pound.

Pork Roasts and Hams – Pork Crown roast, very popular for Christmas, will yield about 3/4 up to one serving per pound. A five pound roast will consist of 10 t 12 chops, serving six people. For a center cut, boneless pork loin, you will get 3.5 servings per pound, and if it’s a bone-in roast that drops to 3 servings per pound. For hams, you can get 4.5 servings per pound if it's boneless, or 3.5 per pound with a bone-in ham.

Turkey - A turkey will produce approximately one serving per pound, and if you serve a bone-in breast you will get two servings per pound.

Once you have decided what you want to serve and determined how much you need to serve your quests, the hardest part is behind you. All that’s left to do is put it in the oven, right? Well, there are some important preparation steps no matter what you decide to cook, but the one thing that separates the great home cooks from the pretenders is knowing when to take the roast or bird out of the oven. Undercooked meat is not only a health risk but it looks and tastes unappetizing. On the other hand, too much time in the oven and, to a lesser extent, not enough time resting the meat out of the oven, are both big problems that will only lead to disappointment to you and all of your guests.

How do I avoid ruining my roast or bird?

The answer is all in temperature control. Any good chef’s most trusted tool, after his/her knives, is their temperature probe (quick read thermometer). Cooking meat to the correct internal temperature is the best way to assure a great tasting dish. As the Geico commercial says, “Everybody knows that”. True no doubt, but I’ll guarantee that if you are honest most people never use a meat probe thermometer. In fact most home chefs don’t even own one. What a shame! Anyone can buy a professional model meat probe thermometer for around $10 and it will last for years, but the sad truth is we just don’t consider a meat thermometer a must have kitchen tool.

Good news Prisco Shoppers…… You don’t need to buy a professional probe meat thermometer because, as our gift to you in the hopes that you will use it often to cook many delicious Prisco roasts in the years to come, we are giving you one FREE. Simply purchase any beef, pork roast, ham, or fresh Ho Ka Turkey over the next ten days and the $9 thermometer is yours FREE -- just pay Uncle Sam the tax.

So, now that you know that the secret to a great roast is to cook it to the correct temperature, what is the correct temperature you ask? Great question. Here is your answer.

 

Finally, we'll try to make it easy for you to find excellent recipes to use for the holiday. You will find these and thousands more on our website.

Rice-Stuffed Pork Crown Roast

Beef Wellington with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Standing Rib Roast

Balsamic Rosemary Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

Glazed Roasted Ham

Apricot Herb Glazed Turkey

 

Well, that should give you all the knowledge necessary to be an outstanding chef this holiday. All you need to do now is give us a call at (630) – 264-9401 and give Lee or Dan your holiday meat order!

 

Happy Holidays,

Margaret Prisco – Meat Manager

 

Pistachios are heart healthy & a tasty snack- Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanks to their “hearty” nutrient profile that includes antioxidants, unsaturated fats and various vitamins and minerals, pistachios make a heart healthy snack.

We all need some fat in our diet. Fat adds flavor which makes any snack a satisfying treat. The trick is to choose foods that contain good fats (unsaturated) as opposed to bad fats (saturated). Pistachios are a great choice of snack because they contain almost 90% unsaturated fat, i.e. the good stuff. So the next time you consider ordering French fries, choose a healthier, crunchier snack of pistachios instead.

The Skinny on Fats.

Most Americans take in much less than the recommended 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories. As a good source of fiber, pistachios can help meet this goal. A serving of pistachio nuts provides 3 grams of dietary fiber, or about 12% of the Daily Value.

The Weight-Wise Nut

Known as the Skinny Nut, pistachios are one of the lowest calorie and lowest fat nuts around. The good news about pistachios and weight management just keeps adding up.

In-shell Snack May Slow Consumption

According to James Painter, PhD, RD, Chair of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University, the “Pistachio Principle” is caloric reduction without calorie restriction. It is one of the many ways we can alter our environmental cues, allowing us to become more mindful and satisfied with our food choices.

Dr. Painter has conducted two preliminary behavioral nutritional studies: In the first study, people who consumed inshell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories than those who consumed pistachios without shells. This suggests that empty shells may be a helpful visual cue as to how much has been eaten – thereby potentially encouraging reduced calorie consumption.

 

Some great cheeses to consider for your upcoming Holiday parties.- Tuesday, December 2, 2014

With the party season coming into full swing, I thought this might be a great time to share a bit more about some of the things we’ve learned about fine cheese. It’s a very good idea to have some variety of cheese on hand any time, but for the next month or so it would be a shame not to be prepared for guests. Here is a list of some surefire winners to have on hand, all available in our specialty cheese shop across from the deli case.

Brie

Brie is the best known French cheese and has the nickname "The Queen of Cheeses". Brie is a soft cheese named after the French region Brie, where it was originally created. Several hundred years ago, Brie was one of the tributes which had to be paid to the French kings.

True French brie (for French consumption) cannot be exported to the US. Considered by purist to be the finest Brie, it is made with raw cow's milk -- and that's why these cheeses are unavailable in the United States. They don't meet our government's 60-day aging requirement for raw-milk cheese.

Brie that is exported to the US is produced from whole or semi-skimmed cow's milk. Rennet is added in to raw milk and heated to a temperature of 98.6°F to obtain the curd. The cheese is then cast into molds; several layers of cheese are filled into a mold and then kept for around 18 hours. After this the cheese is salted and aged for minimum of four weeks. Check this week’s ad for three featured brie cheeses, all worth having on your cheese platter.

Brie cheese is slightly pale in color with a grayish tinge under a rind. Its flavor varies depending upon the ingredients added while producing the cheese. In order to enjoy the taste fully, Brie must be served at room temperature.

Wines and Beers to pair with brie: Champagne, Montrachet, and Corton-Charlemagne. Beer lovers will enjoy wheat beers from Belgium and Germany, usually called weissbier or hefeweizen.

Cotswold

Cotswold is named after the picturesque region in southwest England, known for its rolling hills and lush pastures. Similar to Cheddar, it has a creamy, smooth texture that melts in the mouth. Chive and onions are added giving it a distinctive flavorful enhancement that melts well. Cotswold goes well with grilled meats, especially burgers, and on baked potatoes. Cotswold is served in pubs in England on toast or rustic bread.

Suggested Pairing: Brown Ale or Shiraz

Blue D’Auvergne

Produced in the mountainous region of Auvergne, this cheese tends to be milder, creamier, less salty and more approachable than other French blue cheeses. Aged for about four weeks, it has a natural rind, often with some white surface mold. Typically buttery and moist, the flavor is spicy, but not sharp or biting. Hints of grasses and wild flowers prevail on your tongue. Serve atop a burger or in salads. Bleu d’Auvergne is wonderful warmed in a mushroom cap or crumbled on a meatloaf.

Suggested Pairing: Red Bordeaux or Porter

Mimolette

A Hardy French Gouda, The Mimolette is a most unusual cheese, spherical like an Edam but with a rough, moon-like surface and a bright orange interior. It resembles a melon when cut open. The texture is firm and oily and the color a vivid orange. With ageing it slowly hardens and dries and the color changes from carrot to orange-brown. It has a firm texture with a very nutty flavour and a thick brown-gray crust.

Suggested pairings: Chianti and Sangiovese and Port, Acme Brown Ale

Huntsman

Huntsman is the combination of two British cheeses: Double Gloucester and blue Stilton. It is a trademarked name, owned by the Long Clawson Dairy, which is located in Nottingham. The cheese is made by alternating layers of these two classics. The layering is done by hand and is a very labor-intensive process. The result, however, is a striking combination of fudgy, rich, tangy and earthy sensations. Because of its layering, the appearance is gorgeous on a cheese tray.

Suggested Pairing: Nut Brown Ale or Shiraz

Wensleydale with cranberries

Pasteurized cow’s milk is used in this handmade cheese. Drawn from cows that graze on sweet limestone pastures around the Yorkshire area of upper Wensleydale, the cheese is young, mild and clean, with a honey aftertaste. Wensleydale with Cranberries uses only all-natural ingredients. Great for a sweet dip, stuffed in phyllo dough, or on a beautiful cheese plate. This would also be delicious on a turkey sandwich. Wonderful crumbled in a salad with balsamic dressing.

Suggested Pairing: Lambic beer or fruit-based wines

 

Have a very “Cheesy” holiday season.

~ Bridget