Food, Food Artisans

Cheese of the Month: Detroit Street Brick!

$5 off during November at  Zingerman’s Deli and Zingerman’s Creamery

Throughout November, we’ll be featuring one of our all-time favorite soft-ripened goat cheeses. A recipient of American Cheese Society Awards in 2006, 2007, and 2012, the Detroit Street Brick is quickly becoming a fan favorite in restaurants and shops throughout the Midwest and along the West Coast.

Detroit Street Brick

Detroit Street Brick

This velvety bit of goaty goodness gets its start from some of the very best regional mixed-herd goat dairies we’ve had the pleasure of working with. After a very gentle low-temperature pasteurization, we allow the milk to set for hours and hours, so this subtle and complex goat’s milk imparts as much flavor as possible to the resulting curd.

Whereas the majority of cheesemakers still use comparatively less expensive calf rennet (from cows) to make their goat’s milk cheese, we opt for kid rennet (from goats) which remarkably alters and enhances
both the flavor and texture of the finished cheese.

While subtle, there is an immediately recognizable note of citrus in the paste of this cheese, and over time we’ve come to use whole and freshly cracked green tellicherry peppercorns to tease this citrusy essence out even further. The balance of this cheese is astounding, and it always brings a smile to our faces to pull one out of our aging room, cut through its fluffy rind, and taste the interplay of some very intriguing flavors.

Honored by Cooking Light as one of its favorite cheeses for the holiday season, we feel that the Brick really soars in the Fall, thanks mainly to the comparative richness of autumn goat’s milk. As the temps start to drop, we see a marked increase in both the butterfat and protein content of our goat’s milk, and richer milk translates directly into richer cheese. The Brick pairs wonderfully with all sorts of late season root vegetables and squashes, but our favorite way to enjoy this cheese is one of the simplest: get a baguette from Zingerman’s Bakehouse, put a thin slice of Detroit Street Brick on it, grab a bottle of your favorite olive oil, drizzle away, and enjoy!

Food, Food Artisans

Signature Sandwich Swap

Signature Sandwich Shop

What’s this about swapping sandwiches?

Five award-winning sandwich shops across the U.S. are banding together in the Signature Sandwich Swap to give their guests a tasting tour of the country’s best, and to raise awareness for childhood hunger. Each week, Zingerman’s Deli will join other participating sandwich makers to feature a different signature sandwich from shops in New York, South Carolina, Texas, and Oregon.

For each signature sandwich sold, we’ll donate $1 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which strives to end childhood hunger in America. The Signature Sandwich Swap begins Monday, November 2nd, and continues through November 29th.

Here’s the schedule and what we’ll be serving each week:

11/2 – 11/8: BBQ Pulled Squash Sandwich, from Butcher & Bee (Charleston, SC).
Butternut squash, Butcher & Bee BBQ sauce, smoked slaw, cilantro vinaigrette, B & B pickles on a hoagie roll.

B&B Pulled Squash a

BBQ Pulled Squash Sandwich

11/9 – 11/15: Zucchini Parm Sub from No. 7 Sub (New York, NY).
Breaded and fried zucchini, onion puree, pickled jalapeños, fontina cheese, BBQ potato chips on an Italian roll.

Zucchini Parm 1

Zucchini Parm Sub

11/16 – 11/22: Oregon Albacore Tuna Melt from Bunk (Portland, OR).
Oregon wild troll-caught Albacore tuna, Cheddar, mayo, Dijon, pickles on ciabatta.

Bunk Tuna Melt

Oregon Albacore Tuna Melt

11/23 – 11/30: Seared Beef Tongue Sandwich from Noble Sandwich Co. (Austin, TX).
Beef tongue in a corned beef brine, red pepper relish, smoked green onions and fresh garlic mayo.

No. 7 Seared Beef Tongue

Seared Beef Tongue Sandwich

Zingerman’s Deli is sharing our #67 Jon & Amy’s Double Dip.
A generous stack of Zingerman’s corned beef and pastrami, Switzerland Swiss and Wisconsin muenster cheeses, HOT and regular mustards on pumpernickel & rye breads.

Zingermans #67

#67 Jon & Amy’s Double Dip

So stop by Zingerman’s Deli during the month of November, try a delicious sandwich from your neighbors in New York, Oregon, Texas or South Carolina, and help all of us end childhood hunger in America.

See you at the Deli soon! 

Food, Food Artisans

Celebrating Beef at Zingerman’s Deli

A special event With Nicolette Hahn Niman

We’re very excited to welcome author Nicolette Hahn Niman to Zingerman’s Deli  on Sunday, September 13, 6pm, for an exciting night of dinner, drinks, and a discussion of sustainable agricultural practices. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Slow Food Huron Valley.

In her book Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman, an Nicollette Hahn Nimanenvironmental lawyer-turned-rancher, does exactly as the title suggests by proclaiming everything that can be great about beef if it’s managed properly. Her book discusses sustainability (with a focus on soil health, carbon sequestration, and water conservation), as well as the nutritional benefits of beef, and the positive impacts of biodiversity, managed grazing techniques, and animal health.

Deli Chef Rodger Bowser and his team have created a unique menu for this event that celebrates American beef and dairy cattle. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour that includes a diverse selection of cheese pairings from a small number of U.S. pasture-based dairies. We’ve hand-picked some of the best, including a soft, luscious spreadable young cheese, a fine blue cheese, and some well-matured aged hard cheese.

The main course will feature perfectly cooked, pasture-grazed and -finished beef, as well as side dishes and salads that highlight the best of the season’s offerings.

Menu Highlights:

  • Bone Marrow with grilled garlic crostini and a parsley, caper, red onion and frisée lemon salad
  • Gaucho-Style Beef BBQ shoulder and tri-tip with grilled sweet corn with Calabrian chili butter, pecorino and chives
  • Bean Ragout made with Rancho Gordo cranberry beans, green beans, wax beans, tomatoes and basil, and Zingerman’s Bakehouse Westwind bread served with butter from Vermont Creamery
  • Individual-Sized Concord Grape Pies with Roadhouse Vanilla gelato from Zingerman’s Creamery

Courses will be served with tasting-sized beverage pairings (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well as water. Additional beverages will be available for purchase.
**Because the menu is based on fresh, seasonal products, some selections may be slightly different on the night of the dinner.

$100 per person (price includes one copy of Defending Beef)
$190 for 2 people (price includes one copy of Defending Beef)

Reserve your seat here

See you soon! 

Food, Food Artisans

Coop’s Hot Fudge

Summer sale goodie!

A friend and I went to the grocery one evening in search of ice cream and hot fudge. The ice cream part was easy; we picked a good one right away. The chocolate sauce was another story. We spent a lot of time reading all of the ingredient lists looking for the one with the fewest (and most pronounceable) ingredients. The one we finally settled on was okay, but nothing to write home about.coops_hot_fudge-copy

When I asked Marc Cooper—who goes by Coop—what he was looking for when he created his hot fudge , he told me he wanted something all natural. There’s no legal definition of “all natural” but Coop’s personal definition is that there are no chemicals used in any part of production, and all of the ingredients are processed as gently as possible.

Let’s start with the chocolate.
Cocoa powder is simply ground up, roasted cacao beans with most of the fat (in the form of cocoa butter) removed. To get “natural” cocoa powder, that’s all there is to it. The flavor ends up being very bitter and pretty acidic, much like cocoa beans themselves. However, around 90% of all cocoa used today is alkalized (also sometimes called Dutch processed, because it was invented by a Dutch guy). Alkalized cocoa has been treated with chemicals to make the cocoa less acidic. It has a milder flavor and darker color. Alkalization also makes cocoa more soluble, so it’s easier to mix it into liquids, making it especially popular for use in ice cream and with dairy products.

Coop uses a natural, unalkalized cocoa powder to avoid that chemical processing. Each new harvest of cacao beans is a little different from the one before due to weather and processing conditions, so periodically he’ll test out new cocoas to make sure he’s got one that gives the rich, complex, chocolatey flavor he wants. He’s opted for a cacao from Ivory Coast which is processed into cocoa powder in Holland. When he tried making his hot fudge with cocoas from Central and South America a few months back, he found it created a more fruity flavor that didn’t have the richness he wanted.

Besides the chocolate, there are only four other ingredients.

The first two are cream and butter. It took Coop a while to find the dairy products he wanted. Most commercial dairies these days pack the cows in tightly and then either feed them antibiotics to prevent disease or ultra pasteurize the milk to kill off any pathogens. (Take a look the next time you’re picking up milk at the grocery; nearly all organic milk, which comes from cows that haven’t received preventative antibiotics, is ultra pasteurized.) Ultra pasteurization is different from regular pasteurization in that it heats up the milk much hotter for a shorter period of time. The process can make the milk shelf stable for months, but it changes the flavor and texture of milk. In particular, it can alter the whey proteins that give milk its creaminess, requiring the addition of congealing agents like guar gum or carrageenan to achieve the original texture. Coop uses cream and butter from a local Massachusetts dairy that pasteurizes more gently. There are no congealing agents, nothing added, nothing removed.

The last two ingredients are white cane sugar and brown cane sugar (which is actually just white sugar with some molasses mixed back in). Coop prefers to use cane sugar rather than beet sugar since all beet sugar in the US is GMO. He’s also careful to only use sugar that is processed in the US because a lot of the cane sugar processed in other countries is treated with charred cow bones (which help to take out the natural tan color of sugar to make it snowy white; American-processed cane sugar uses charcoal instead). Most chocolate sauces contain corn syrup (either instead of or in addition to sugar) which helps to keep them from recrystallizing and becoming grainy; Coop uses the molasses in the brown sugar to achieve this effect.

Coop is a poster child for small batch production.

A while back, one of those TV shows about how things are made gave Coop a call. They were interested in featuring his hot fudge production in an episode. “They like to see a lot of production lines and machinery,” Coop told me. “When I told them all I have is two vats that each produce about four gallons of hot fudge at a time, they decided not to come and film us.” Coop and his three employees produce three or four double batches of fudge per day, four days a week—that adds up to about 1,200 jars weekly. On the side of each jar you’ll find the hand-written initials of the person who made that particular batch.
Coop’s hot fudge business was actually an off-shoot of the ice cream shop he opened a few decades ago. “I wanted to be able to keep my staff busy in the off-season,” Coop told me, so he started playing around with a hot fudge recipe. His plan worked, and the hot fudge became so popular that about five years ago the fudge production split off from the ice cream shop to become its own business.

And how does it taste?

Coop’s hot fudge is thick, luscious, intensely chocolatey. It’s insanely good heated up—microwave the whole jar or a smaller bowlful for a minute or less and you’re good to go. And then what to drizzle it on? “Our hot fudge will make any ice cream better,” Coop told me proudly. Then he added, perhaps a bit apologetically, “even Zingerman’s gelato.”

There are a lot of products we sell that I’d say you could eat on a spoon out of the jar. This one tops that list; I never put the spoon in the sink without licking it first. I’ve drizzled it over coffeecake and strawberries. It’s killer slathered on toast. Or chocolate covered pancakes?!


Coop’s Hot Fudge is part of our big Summer Sale at Zingerman’s Deli and Zingerman’s Mail Order through July 31. Try this chocolate wonder today! 

Food, Food Artisans

Ari Talks About Greek Mountain Tea

What’s in your cup?

Sitting in a café in the town of Metsovo in northern Greece many years ago, I innocently ordered tea. I was expecting the usual uninteresting bag of commercial black tea that I’ve come to expect almost everywhere in Europe. But before the waiter could leave the table, my late but much-loved friend Daphne Zepos (see the Epilogue in Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading. Part 3 for much more on this amazing woman) asked me if I wanted “regular tea or mountain tea?” Never having heard of the latter, but ever the inquisitive eater and drinker, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Why not? I’ll try mountain tea.Greek-Wild-Tea-copy

A few minutes later it arrived—a bouquet of long light green stalks with tiny flowers and buds attached steeping hot water. Its aroma was excellent—a little sweet, a touch of mountain meadow. It has light amber color and a compelling, sweet perfume and a lovely, light, naturally sweet flavor that hints of thyme, lemon and anise.

In Greek, the mountain tea is known as tsai tou vounou (“TSAH-ee too voo-NOO”). After literally months of trying to find out the English name I’ve gotten that what they serve is called Diktamus. Others have said it’s actually called Sideritis or ironwort. It’s a hardy, flowering perennial that’s well suited to survive with only minimal water and rocky soil. Whatever it is, it’s worth trying if you’re looking for an herbal brew to experiment with. To brew it, you simply break up the branches, then boil them for about 5 minutes in water, then strain and serve. Like some green and oolong teas, you can get more than one brew from each bunch of buds.

Our terrific Greek mountain tea is coming through our new-found food friend, Vivianna Karamanis, who’s got an eye and a palate for extremely excellent products (try some of the roasted pepper-tomato sauce we’re getting from her at the Deli). This wild Greek Mountain tea is from the Pindos mountains in northwest Greece, where it’s gathered by hand over 3000 feet up. Only the flowers and the small bit of the most tender stems are used. More commercial brands will include much longer pieces of stem which also tend to woodiness and are less sweet.

It brews up into a light golden liquid that has a naturally sweet flavor. In Greece it’s consumed as much for health as for pleasure. It’s an old school remedy for colds, muscle pain, and more. Wild grown herbs like this are generally acknowledged to be more potent in that regard—the cultivation of plants doesn’t quite replicate what happens when nature is left to her devices. The high altitude growth tends to concentrate essential oils even further. Vivianna’s mountain tea is also certified organic. Many Greeks like to add a bit of thyme honey to sweeten it further but I drink it as it is. Great with a bit of a biscuit from the Bakehouse or some toast and jam.


Food, Food Artisans

Honey Tasting with Slow Food Huron Valley

Join us and “Bee” Social!

Slow Food Huron Valley (SFHV) andAnn Arbor Backyard Beekeepers (A2B2) will be hosting a potluck on Tuesday, July 14, 530p – 9pm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

From SFHV: 

Slow Food Huron Valley (SFHV) and Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers (A2B2) are joining forces for a potluck from 5:30 until 6:45pm. This will be informal and will allow for those who cannot make it before 6:15 or so to join when you are able to come. Bring a salad, main dish, or dessert that incorporates honey or is seasonal.  You’ll have a chance to view the hives in the apiary if you wish.  
Introductions will follow at 6:45pm, then at 7pm, Zingerman’s Deli managing partner Grace Singleton will lead a honey tasting, exploring several varieties of unique honey from bees near and far.
A2B2 members are invited to bring a jar of honey to include in the tasting; members are also invited to bring their bee-related wares to sell (tables will be available).

This event is FREE and welcome to all members and non-members!


Lovely honeycomb

For more information, please visit theSlow Food Huron Valley (SFHV) or Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers (A2B2) websites.

See you there!