Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 62 of 207

CHEESE FOCUS "These cheeses are so good, so packed with flavor, that you don't have to do a lot of salesmanship," says Benjamin Roberts, cheesemonger at France 44 Cheese Shop in Minneapolis and St. Paul Cheese Shop in St. Paul, Minn. Focusing on small- volume Dutch producers, Roberts says he sells "heaps and heaps" of the raw-milk Wilde Weide, a 15-month-old wheel, and has seen a good response to Gouda Gris, a year-old wheel with an unwaxed rind, and Terschelling, a 7-month-old sheep's milk cheese. "It doesn't matter what the price is," says Roberts, who gets $38 per pound for Gouda Gris and Terschelling. Any eyes in aged Gouda should be pea-size, few in number and well dispersed. Most of these cheeses are tinted with annat- to, although Boerenkaas typically is not. Either way, the paste should have even col- oration, without too much darkening at the rind. Excess darkening could indicate that the aging room was too warm and the wheel lost moisture too soon, says Fromagerie L' Amuse's Koster. The finest wheels smell of roasted nuts and caramel and fill the palate with layered flavor. They should be creamy yet crys- talline, sweet but not candy-like. Koster remarks some producers use cultures that age the cheese too fast, yielding a pineapple aroma and one-dimensional sweetness. Creativity in Merchandising As with any cheese, creative display and cross-merchandising can help move more of these Gouda-style wheels. Build a Gouda display in the produce aisle, with apples or pears in the fall and dried fruits in winter. Put it in the beer aisle for Oktoberfest. Goudas make an excellent match for malty beers such as bocks, doppelbocks, stouts, porters and even spiced holiday ales. "Put a big wheel in the wine section with cut pieces on top," suggests Mark Roeland, a Netherlands native and manager for CheeseLand, a Seattle-based importer of Dutch cheeses. "Maybe shoppers weren't thinking about cheese, but then there it is." The deli department is another show- case opportunity for Gouda-style cheese. "We're seeing a lot of retail stores use these cheeses in prepared meals," says Tara Kirch, marketing manager for Best Cheese, Mount Kisco, N.Y. And they'll often brand the cheese, says Kirch: Old Amsterdam Gouda mac & cheese; smoked Gouda pizza; vintage Gouda omelet. |SFM| Janet Fletcher is the weekly cheese columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing and Enjoying. Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 1005 48 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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