Dec 23, 2009

The Man in Red...last minute checklist.

CheeseB would like to thank Santa Claus from dropping in while checking his lists before his big day. Even though there is plenty to look at in the store--its hard not to be jarred by a man in a red suit to bring the jolly's.

From the staff at CheeseB
Happy Holidays to all and to all a good-night!

Dec 20, 2009

The Tenor Mouse

Final bars of 2009, the Xmas accenting is at a symphonic peak and CheeseB was running on a high note with frenzied customers on Saturday....hmmmm, perhaps that line of musical perfunctory isn't translating well that this was no ordinary weekend.
John MacMaster, Tenor

Internationally renowned Tenor, John MacMaster, gave a surprise performance for midday customers. John's voice filled the room with good tidings where everyone enjoyed a first row seat to one of the best voices that Canada exports. CheeseB was delighted of the honour to have him perform.The set included a mix of festive carols and some classic Arias such as Nessum Dorma with a performance that extended over an hour. Like matured cheese, Opera has a way of connecting with the soul. It's textured, melodic, powerful and expressive... and having a front row seat as I did makes a fan out of all.
Accompanying John was Melody McShane, a top conductor, keyboard and coach with a long history working locally with such personalities as Andrea Martin, Gino Vanelli, the late Gregory Hines and Mickey Rooney to name a few. Melody was delighted to rejoin with John at CheeseB from the last time that they worked together in Phantom of the Opera.
Xmas, Cheese, Opera singing....something is needed....Sparkling Wine! Colio Estate Wines were in attendance sampling CEV Lily 2008—Sparkling Wine.

With the last week before Xmas...there will be another guest checking in to greet customers, especially the little ones to do last minute checklists of gifts before the big outing...try to catch him from 1 to 3 pm, Dec 22 & 23.

(Note to self--a video camera would have been a better medium to share with you all this enlightened and entertaining performance--I'm going to look to Santa on making that possible for 2010)

Dec 10, 2009

Ilir goes to Italy, attends Slow Food's Terra Felix event


Recently Ilir Pristine travelled to Campania, Italy, where he was representing CheeseB on a food-centric excursion of touring and tasting.

Highlights: street vendors selling mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, face-to-face meetings with the Buffalo that produce the Bufala Mozzarella, convenience stores that are more like Cheese Boutique than 7-11, even a factory tour of the Gragnano Pasta we've been so excited about lately.

But the main event and primary purpose of the trip was to attend Terra Felix:
Terra Felix is a promotional event which aims to promote the Campania Region amazing food products. It also aims at spreading the incredible delicious flavours of the whole Regional food and wine sector; it promotes traditional local products environment friendly and organic products from Campania agriculture businesses hoping to help agriculture businesspeople meet foreign qualified food experts, organize formative and informative courses in order to improve the knowledge of Campania agrifood excellencies.

Terra Felix basically means "Happy Earth". How fitting that Carlo Petrini, pioneer of the Slow Food Movement, was the keynote speaker. Representatives from around the world were selected by the Italian Chamber of Commerce-- and we extend our thank-you to them for inviting Cheese Boutique.

Dec 9, 2009

Media Event at Langdon Hall

On Sunday night, CheeseB was at Langdon Hall as one of a handful of featured suppliers showcasing our product: Cheese! Langdon Hall was the grande finale stop on a whirlwind media tour of Central Canadian Cuisine from Quebec through Ontario.
This was true gastronomic indulgence. The guests were led through different environments on the grounds, with each environment highlighting a different course to sample. Starting with charcuterie in the greenhouse...to the fish market meeting room...to a full course menu prepared in the dining room while CheeseB closed the evening with Ontario ice wine.

Guests sampled CheeseB exclusives such as 4 year aged Thunder Oak Gouda and the Pristine’s family guarded recipe of caramelized olives, among a few other evening treats. Ontario’s best was definitely elevated that night judging by reactions-- and of course, the second and third round helpings...or maybe that was just me :-)
Executive Chef, Jonathon Gushue, Langdon Hall/Afrim Pristine, "CheeseKeeper"
If you happen to note an influx of our neighbours South of the border on a food pilgrimage here in the coming months—now you know why.


PS. I ate like the king of kings that night, under the category of “intellectual cuisine” because of Executive Chef, Jonathan Gushue’s thoughtful fusion of senses . This past year at Langdon Hall can do no wrong by me—memorable place, memorable food-- I'm looking forward to further experiences in 2010!

Dec 7, 2009

Pasta feast at CheeseB on Saturday

Via Allegro's Chef Marco Zandona took over the pasta room (our Little Italy) at CheeseB on Saturday:

Afrim, Marco and the feature presentation: Gragnano pasta

Several kinds of pasta were prepared on-site, in the kitchen, for patrons to sample


"A spicy meatball"


Spaghetti, Bucatini, Linguine, Scialatielli al limone... a variety of formats with good sauce such as tomato ricotta. All served with yummy meatballs. Each version was prepared in literally minutes, as the cooking time for this caliber of pasta is quite fast, and the sauces were delicious simplicity itself.

In fact, after all of this inspiration, Oreagano and friends concocted a Gragnano pasta of our own shortly thereafter. Calamarata rigata (calamari-shaped rings), Cheese Boutique cheese, tender veal sausage, and a sauce made from cherry tomatoes-- a dish thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Dec 1, 2009

The Road to Happiness is Paved with Pasta and Cheese


Via Allegro Ristorante courtesy of their Gallery

We announced a few days ago that this Saturday, Via Allegro Chef Marco Zandona is coming to Cheese Boutique. Today we put this fine establishment in the spotlight.

Via Allegro translated means “road to happiness.” Specifically, we can say that the road to happiness might be the Queensway-- it leads us to CheeseB and to Via Allegro Ristorante.

With its surprising location and unassuming exterior, maybe it doesn't appear to be what many call one of the best restaurants in the city. Of course, at CheeseB we know that when you possess a treasure you can get away with an unorthodox locale.

Via Allegro offers treasures a-plenty. Wine-- over sixty available by the glass, a 20,000 bottle showcase mid-room, and an award-winning Sommelier team. Food-- authentic (avant-garde) Italian that has critics singing praises, and places them at number four in Toronto Life's Top Ten Restaurants.
Cheese Boutique at Via Allegro, 2007. Sometimes we go to them.

Read a great review with lovely descriptions at Taste T.O. It's not the most recent, but quite comprehensive. Platinum Beef and Italian Stallion, Lamb Trinity, Bison... Oh look, CheeseB is mentioned too-- where else would the kitchen find five year aged parmigiano-reggiano?

Here is a great chance to meet Chef Zandona, at Cheese Boutique: Saturday, Dec. 5, from 12-4pm. Featuring the Gragnano Pasta of Napoli, and more.

Speaking of Napoli, CheeseB's Ilir Pristine has announced that he is off to Naples for what he calls a "Food Excursion." Sounds very interesting-- everyone who works in CheeseB lives in a perpetual food excursion, so this has got to be good. One of his stop-overs will be a Pasta factory in Gragnano-- We look forward to the pics and updates he'll send from his new Twitter Account.

Nov 26, 2009

Gourmet Gift Baskets


Cheese Boutique is brimming with Holiday goodies right now, and gift baskets of various sizes and themes can be found all throughout the store. Select a pre-made basket or have it custom-made with goodies for your foodies.

A perfect opportunity to view the baskets will be on December 5th for our pasta party with Via Allegro, enjoy the Christmas splendor (it's a big epicurean Gingerbread house) and sample some undoubtedly delicious authentic Italian pasta. I have a hunch cheese will be involved, too.

Nov 18, 2009

Get Neopolitan with Cheese B and Via Allegro


Saturday, December 5th, from 12-4pm:


Via Allegro Ristorante Chef Marco Zandona will be at Cheese Boutique, for a delicious showcasing of the fine pasta of Napoli.

Gragnano Pasta, a superb import exclusive to Cheese Boutique, will be expertly prepared for all to taste.


We have featured this unbeatable product in previous posts, and now we invite you to come and try it for yourself.

Nov 16, 2009

County Gourmet at Cheese Boutique

Thanks to all who attended County Gourmet on Saturday-- CheeseB was hopping, and we could not have asked for better weather!

Here are some photos from that afternoon:

Cheese-keeper Afrim Pristine

Fifth Town's Petra Cooper


Perched atop haybales, some of the wares from Funktional Art & Design:



Savouring the award-winning Cape Vessey paired with Norman Hardie's Pinot Noir, amongst other cheese samplings such as Counting Sheep, Isabella, Nettles Gone Wild, Wishing Tree, and more:
Fifth Town Founder and President Petra Cooper, and Fifth Town Sommelier/Chef Andrew Laliberte


Norman Hardie and Afrim Pristine.


Fifth Town cheese smoked by fragrant apple-wood


Chef Juan serves up the melted, smokey cheese, on crostini with a gherkin:




We don't know if this little cutie got to taste anything, but he seemed very excited to be there anyway:
Cheese Dog

Nov 13, 2009

Spotlight: Norman Hardie Wines

Tomorrow, from 12-4pm it's your chance to sample Norman Hardie wines at Cheese Boutique!

It's all part of our County Gourmet celebration... we bring Prince Edward County to Toronto and you get fine wine paired with great food (not to mention sunny, warm weather, according to the forecast).

Want an inside view to the winery? See a short movie "Community Harvest at Norman Hardie Winery" at Behind the Wine.

And on this blog there is a slideshow of gorgeous photographs of the harvest on location at the vineyard. Clearly a beautiful place-- sample its results in-store tomorrow afternoon. Hope to see you there!

Nov 12, 2009

Spotlight: Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

It's almost time for County Gourmet-- a celebration of Prince Edward County food and drink, this Saturday from 12-4pm.

We will be featuring Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, the county's renowned producer of several award-winning goat and sheep cheeses.

Their cheese Isabella was just named Grand Champion Goat Cheese at the Royal Winter Fair Cheese Competition 2009. Full details here.

Fifth Town describes Isabella as follows: Firm texture with a slight nuttiness and subtle goat cheese flavours accented nicely with slight briny notes.

Come and try it for yourself on Saturday-- there will be tastings of Isabella and other Fifth Town cheeses.

Nov 11, 2009

Crafted Dinner: Mt.Vesuvio Mac and Cheese

On Monday, in front of the Breakfast TV cameras, Chef Juan Salinas cooked up his "Mt. Vesuvio Mac and Cheese". It's a delicious take on the old classic. And everyone wanted the recipe-- we posted it, but now here is the elaborated version, with pictures and a variation or two.



I happened to have some of CheeseB's house-made breadcrumbs kicking around. This worked out very well--mixed thoroughly with a little melted butter it acquires a good crumbly texture for sprinkling on top. It browns perfectly during baking. I think it also protects that added layer of Mimolette underneath, as cheese can overcook easily.

Mimolette, described by CheeseB as follows:
An unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Normandy, France. It’s aged in-house for four
years and has a beautiful orange colour with a nice salty and nutty bite. This cheese was
a happy accident! The cheesemaker was trying to make a Dutch Gouda style cheese
but ended up making one of the better French offerings in the cheese elite.



I slowly mixed the finely grated cheese (grated in-store) directly into the flour/cream mixture, on low heat as it was thickening. The result was an intensely rich and flavourful sauce.



The Gragnano pasta is ideal, just be sure it is on the firmer side of al dente, as it will also cook more in the oven. I would recommend reserving some of its starchy water (1 cup or so ) from boiling, and mixing all that along with the cheese sauce and peppers. Put it into the baking dish and layer on more cheese, then top with breadcrumbs that have been mixed with a bit of melted butter.

I cooked it for about 2o minutes at 350 F, then gave it a few minutes of broiling until nicely browned on top.


A good cheese and quality pasta make all the difference here. And the Roland's Fire Roasted Red Peppers (with dill, garlic and a touch of oil) are among the best jarred variety I have tasted--good value, and great in this Mac and Cheese dish.

Here is the full original recipe:

Mt.Vesuvio Mac and Cheese
by in-house Chef, Juan Salinas
Yields 6 servings

Ingredients:

• 1 x 16 oz bag of Vesuvius Pasta (Pasta Di Gragnano brand*)
• 3 tbsp butter (Cheese Boutique’s fresh farm butter)
• 2tbsp all purpose flour
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 2 cups of whole milk or coffee cream
• 2 large roasted red pepper, chopped (Roland’s fire roasted red peppers)
• salt
• freshly cracked black pepper
• grated nutmeg to taste
• 1 cup of grated cheese Mimolette Cheese
• extra grated cheese mix for serving

(Bread Crumb topping optional: CheeseB's house-made breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter)

Directions:

1. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions.
2. Sauté onion in butter in a large skillet for 3 to 4 minutes, add garlic and flour, then mix until blended.
3. Remove from heat, add milk and stir to dissolve lumps.
4. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and cook for 2 minutes, then set aside.
5. Drain pasta and toss with roasted peppers and cheese mix.
6. Adjust seasoning and add some extra cheese mix if desired. Transfer to a medium baking dish brushed with melted butter.
7. Sprinkle the top with extra grated cheese mix, brown the top under a broiler and serve.


* New Cheese Boutique import from Napoli, Italy


Nov 10, 2009

Nov 9, 2009

Breakfast Television at Cheese B!

Did you catch it live?

Breakfast Television's Jennifer Valentine was up early at Cheese Boutique. Segments included a 10 kilo Panetone...Cheese samplings and a pasta dish with a gourmet twist with Chef Juan.

Mt.Vesuvio Mac and Cheese
by in-house Chef, Juan Salinas
Yields 6 servings

Ingredients:

• 1 x 16 oz bag of Vesuvius Pasta (Pasta Di Gragnano brand*)
• 3 tbsp butter (Cheese Boutique’s fresh farm butter)
• 2tbsp all purpose flour
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 2 cups of whole milk or coffee cream
• 2 large roasted red pepper, chopped (Roland’s fire roasted red peppers)
• salt
• freshly cracked black pepper
• grated nutmeg to taste
• 1 cup of grated cheese Mimolette Cheese
• extra grated cheese mix for serving

Directions:

1. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions.
2. Sauté onion in butter in a large skillet for 3 to 4 minutes, add garlic and flour, then mix until blended.
3. Remove from heat, add milk and stir to dissolve lumps.
4. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and cook for 2 minutes, then set aside.
5. Drain pasta and toss with roasted peppers and cheese mix.
6. Adjust seasoning and add some extra cheese mix if desired. Transfer to a medium baking dish brushed with melted butter.
7. Sprinkle the top with extra grated cheese mix, brown the top under a broiler and serve.

* New Cheese Boutique import from Napoli, Italy

Thanks to Jennifer and the BT morning crew!