Food, Food Artisans

The City Goat from Zingerman’s Creamery

July Cheese of the Month

We make these soft, creamy, fresh goat cheese rounds with the best milk we can source from small Michigan goat farmers. Over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to build relationships with some pretty incredible goat dairies, people who are passionate about the health and long-term sustainability of their herds, and this kind of dedication to the animals really comes through in the quality of the milk we receive from them. In order to preserve as much of the depth of flavor in that awesome milk, we use low-temperature pasteurization, a method much gentler than the more prevalent short high-temp pasteurization that a lot of modern cheesemakers utilize.

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After that gentle pasteurization is complete we allow the goat’s milk to “set” overnight, which draws out even deeper and more complex flavors, maximizing its intensity. Once the resulting curds have reached a perfect consistency we do something a little different here at the Creamery—hand ladling. Each City Goat is hand ladled into separate perforated forms, which allow whey to drain at a consistent rate, and this painstaking and time-consuming process gives this cheese an amazing, evolving texture, from light and airy when very fresh to firm and perfect for crumbling when more aged.

More recently, we found a great way to package these cheeses. Back in the day we’d wrap them in translucent deli paper and set them out to continue draining, since wrapping them in plastic would lead to a less desirable texture over time. In our quest to find the best way to present our cheeses, we started packaging these tasty goat rounds in a small plastic container with a sealed top, The cheese features a very bright, clean, and slightly citrusy taste that pops in a variety of presentations.

For an easy appetizer, roll in freshly chopped rosemary, tarragon, basil, or any fresh herb you fancy. The citrus notes of this cheese are a perfect accompaniment to a number of charcuterie or crudités. Slice a city goat in half lengthwise, then stuff with roasted red peppers and pesto. For a Mediterranean experience, try it with honey and toasted almonds. When the City Goat is a little older and firmer, it is wonderful crumbled over salads or in any rich, tomato-based sauce.

The City Goat is available at Zingerman’s Creamery and Zingerman’s Delicatessen

See you soon! 

Food, Food Artisans

Season Kick-Off Dinner at Cornman Farms

Spring has sprung!

…and that means the dinner season has begun out at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms!

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Great Lakes Cheshire

Join us for the Fromage in the farmhouse Dinner on Sunday, May 3, 4pm, as we commence our popular farm dinner series with a special feast revolving around farm-fresh produce and the great cheese made by our very own Zingerman’s Creamery. Each of the five dishes will include cheese components lovingly prepared by the experts at the Creamery, and they’ll be in attendance to tell us about how they make each cheese.

As an added bonus, we’ll visit the Cornman Farms goats who contribute their milk to the goat cheese making operation at the Creamery, and learn how they’re milked and cared for. The whole experience will be informative, interactive, and full of delicious dairy. We’ll also throw in a special beverage pairing with each course. If you’re a cheese-lover, you won’t want to miss this!

Reserve your seat here

 

Fromage in the Farmhouse

See you there! 

Food, Food Artisans

Val Talks Zingerman’s Gelato

I scream, you scream, we all scream for gelato!gelato drawing

Gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream. It is to American ice cream what Gucci is to Levi’s. Most Italian towns have at least a few gelaterie, tiny shops that sell nothing but gelato. Big cities will have dozens of them. They’ll usually have at least a dozen flavors prominently displayed, everything from sexed up standards like super dark chocolate to more exotic flavors like Marron Glacé (candied chestnut) or Torrone (nougat). When you pick a flavor, they’ll pile it into a cup or cone using a paddle that looks more like a spatula than a scoop. You eat it with a brightly colored, shovel-shaped spoon that’s as long as a toothpick and as wide as a cheap emery board. But before you pick a flavor and dig in, you have to pick which gelateria to visit.

There are a few factors to pay attention to when choosing a gelateria. Avoid gelato with DayGlo colors. Stay away from gelato mounded six inches above the tub, it probably has tons of stabilizers to help it keep that shape. Don’t go for the spot that has little jars of Nutella or tiny plastic fruits stuck in the gelato to show you which flavor is which. If the menu tells you where ingredients come from, like having IGP hazelnuts from Piedmont or DOP pistachios from Bronte, you might have found a good one. But the best indication of all is a long line—or, since this is Italy, a big, disorganized crowd.

The crowd knows. Those people waiting understand that a particular gelateria makes ice cream with luscious texture and big, bold flavors. And that’s the thing about gelato: when it’s really good the flavors are more direct and pure than American ice cream. The hazelnut tastes like freshly toasted hazelnuts. The strawberry sorbet tastes like fresh, ripe strawberries. I’m sure if Zingerman’s Creamery were tucked away on some narrow, cobbled, Italian alley, it would have a crowd stretching around the corner.

Gelato is made with only four major ingredients so you can’t skimp on any of them and get great flavor.

Zingerman’s gelato maker Josh starts with milk from Calder Dairy, located about an hour down the road from Zingerman’s Creamery in Carleton, Michigan. Calder has a herd of 113 cows that are known by names, not numbers. They’re never given any hormones or subtherapeutic antibiotics. The milk is gently pasteurized and not homogenized, a process that agitates the milk to distribute the cream more evenly rather than allowing it to rise and separate. The result is that Calder produces a richer, creamier, sweeter milk.

To the milk, Josh adds cream from Guernsey Dairy in Northville, Michigan—the same source our Bakehouse uses for the sour cream they stir into every Sourcream Coffeecake. Then he mixes in demerara brown cane sugar. He adds pinch of stabilizer to help the gelato maintain its texture when frozen for a few weeks, and then all that’s left is to add the flavor. And oh, those flavors! His peanut butter gelato is made with Koeze’s atonishing Cream Nut Peanut Butter from Grand Rapids, Michigan. His dulce de leche gelato is made with a super thick and creamy dulce de leche caramel we get direct from Argentina, its home base.

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In spite of great variety, Josh’s vanilla gelato is probably my favorite. “Before I started making gelato, I thought vanilla was just white and sweet,” Josh confessed to me the other day. I’d say that’s a pretty apt description of a lot of vanilla ice creams, but not so with Josh’s. He uses Madagascar Bourbon vanilla—and lots of it!—and the result is a rich, earthy, woodsy flavor that lasts and lasts.

What’s the gelato maker’s favorite flavor?

Burnt Sugar. That’s not because it’s the easiest to make—in fact, Josh calls it “a thorough pain in the ass.” He loves it because it takes sugar, one of the three base ingredients of gelato, and transforms it into an entirely different flavor. He starts with white cane sugar and cooks it with water in a big pot. Over the course of an hour, the water boils off, the sugar melts, and then just as it starts to burn he pulls it off the stove and adds additional water to make a syrup and keep it from hardening into a sticky hard caramel mess. “I put on gloves, and I should probably wear goggles too. Then I yell to get people out of the way. It’s so hot that when I add the water it boils upon impact. It’s like this insanely hot exercise of sweating and trying not to get it on your skin while it cools in the sink.” The burnt sugar syrup tastes like the top of a crème brûlée. The gelato flirts with the line between sweet and bitter. It’s sugar utterly transformed, and the end result is super smooth and creamy with an autumn orange-yellow color and a complex, intriguing flavor.

– Val

You can find our amazing gelato at Zingerman’s Creamery, and the Zingerman’s Deli Next Door coffeehouse. We can also ship gelato through Zingerman’s Mail Order.

Add some sweetness to the winter chill!  

Food, Food Artisans

Beer, Wine, Cider, & Mead at Zingerman’s Creamery!

Your southside connection for fine beverages

Did you know that when you stop into the Zingerman’s Creamery for our award-winning cheese and gelato, you can also pick up your favorite Riesling or IPA? Michigan is lucky to have so many great craft brewers and winemakers, and the Creamery cheese shop carries some of the very best. We’ve got beer from Short’s, Founders, and Oddside, meads from B Nektar, wines from Fenn Valley, and Left Foot Charley, and cider from Vander Mill. We also have a knowledgeable staff that loves the stuff, and will happily guide you to our favorite beverage and cheese pairings!

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The Fenn Valley estate is a 240 acre farm located five miles from Lake Michigan, just south of Holland, Michigan. It is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery established in 1973, and their goal has always been to produce world-class wines from grapes grown along the shore of Lake Michigan. Due to their proximity to the Lake, they experience a delicate weather balance referred to as “the Lake Effect.” They’re close enough to enjoy a moderation of winter temperatures and far enough away that the summer months we bring a mild cooling effect. A look at an atlas of the world will show that the major viticultural areas are almost always located near a large body of water that serves to moderate the climate in some manner. California, Washington, Oregon, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, and Michigan all meet this criteria. The wines they make are incredibly approachable, perfect for the dinner table, or a gathering of friends. Here are a couple of their wines we currently carry at the Creamery.

Capriccio – This big, soft, red wine shows the right balance between fruitiness and dryness. A big, jammy, berry fruit flavor with a subtle backbone of tannin, it is designed so you do not have to wait five years to enjoy a great glass of red wine. Serve this wine with chicken, red meats, pastas, and blue cheese.

Meritage – The name (merit+heritage) was coined by a small group of American winemakers to identify handcrafted wines blended from the traditional noble Bordeaux grape varietals. In January, as the winemakers at Fenn Valley were preparing red blends for the coming year, they noted that a blend of these three varieties was superior to any of the wines by themselves. The Cabernet Franc contributes a black cherry fruit flavor, the Cabernet Sauvignon gives a it black pepper quality, while the Merlot brings a light, earthy, fruit character. As expected, no one variety stands out; they all work together to create a harmonious blend of flavors that complement each other. We paired this wine with our Brûléed Manchester and the results were delicious.

Vino Verde – Literally, it means “green wine.” It is made from the Seyval grape variety harvested about two weeks early. The resulting wine is dry, crisp, and refreshing,, with low alcohol and a touch of natural carbonation. It is a fun wine, not to be taken seriously – perfect to serve over ice on a hot summer day. When thinking about cheeses to serve with this wine, think goat. Our Lincoln Log and Little Napoleon cheeses are perfect partners with the Vino Verde.

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See you soon!

Food, Food Artisans

The Bridgewater Log

September’s Cheese of the Month is a new take on an old favorite.

This month marks the 12th anniversary of our Bridgewater cheese, so we’re celebrating this event with the launch of the Bridgewater round’s sibling, the Bridgewater Log. This is technically the same cheese, but in a larger two-pound log. The log has less of a cheese to penicillium rind ratio, and it’s more convenient for buying as much or as little as you need. Slice it thick or thin to top crostini, salads or pasta.

The Bridgewater has come a long way since its rather inauspicious beginning and remains, to this day, the only cheese we’ve created purely by mistake. One morning at the original Creamery location in Manchester, MI, we walked into the dairy and discovered three bags of cream cheese curd that we’d missed from the day before. The curd had over-drained and was too dry for cream cheese, so we added some fresh-cracked pepper, formed it into rounds, and covered the surface with the same penicillium used for Brie cheese. Within about ten days, the cheese was covered with the fluffy, white penicillium mold and we had our first batch of Bridgewater.

The next challenge was, “Would anyone like it?” So, I went to the Deli to have the cheese buyer, Carlos Souffront, taste it and give his feedback. Unfortunately he was out of town, so back I went to the creamery. About two weeks later, my daughter asked me why the car smelled funny and that was when I discovered the now-aged Bridgewater in the trunk of my car. I again drove to the Deli and had Carlos taste the cheese (I probably should have mentioned that the cheese rounds had been sitting in my car for two weeks). He really liked the flavor, and we started making Bridgewater that week. We also found a better place to age it.

The Bridgewater remains one of our most popular and versatile cheeses. When young, the paste is velvety and milky, with the earthiness of the fresh cracked Tellicherry pepper and the mushroom flavor of the penicillium rind. When it’s aged well, the cheese becomes more dense and the pepper flavor intensifies, creating a great accent to cooked pasta or served over a summer salad.

The new Bridgewater Log

The new Bridgewater Log

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Food, Food Artisans

Help Us Celebrate Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week!

Stop by Zingerman’s Creamery for samples of great local beers!

Since we started selling beer, wine and mead at our shop at the Zingerman’s Creamery, we’ve met a lot of Michigan’s amazing brewers and tasted a lot of great Michigan beer! We are incredibly lucky to have so many great homegrown brews here in the mitten!

So, we’re helping celebrate the great craft beer culture in Michigan by hosting a series of tastings in conjunction with Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week!

The brewfest lasts August 1-9, and we’ll be giving out samples of great Michigan beer, along with samples of of great cheeses to go with that beer! Stop in for the cheese, stay for the beer!

See you soon!