Tasting Lab: Recipe: Fromage Fort with Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider

Fromage Fort, French “strong cheese” is usually made with bits of leftover cheese, the more variety the better, and moistened with dry white wine, chicken stock, or leek broth.

Tasting Lab: Our version of Fromage Fort is made with cider instead of dry white wine.

We selected Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider*, collected the assorted cheese scraps we had on hand, chopped them into a fairly fine mince, smashed 3 small garlic cloves, filled our jar with the garlic and cheese, splashed in about 2/3 cup of Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider, leaving more than enough cider enough to enjoy a glass or two. We skipped the salt and pepper as our blend contained many already flavorful cheeses, and figured we could add seasoning later if needed.

There are more detailed recipes, but this is not one of them.

Our Strong Cheese with Cider is “maturing” the refrigerator. You can eat this right away as a mild spread on toasted bread or crackers, and a few moments in the oven or under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese is often recommended. Contemporary recipes suggest a whirl in the food processor, but we went traditional and chopped with a knife – giving us a better sense of the types of rind bits we were incorporating.

Note: Remove cloth or wax rinds – we left all other rinds intact, because we like cider and we also like cheese, and rinds are very important part of the cheese flavor experience. You of course, are welcome to trim your rinds, if that is to your taste. (If your cheese has odd bits of uncharacteristic mold – you should trim those off).

Traditionally you age the Fromage Fort, and most modern recipes suggest the mixture can mature for a week or two (if it lasts that long).

For an interesting read see  Turning Leftover Cheese Into a Classic from The 1989 New York Times series, The Purposeful Cook, by Jacques Pepin. If you are interested in foodways, Jacques Pepin’s style of storytelling, sharing personal food history, and teaching culinary methods while explaining a recipe, is enlightening.

Purposeful indeed – with a happy frugality, appreciating that abundance is not to be squandered, scraps are to be saved, transformed and savored.

And for a complete different take on ‘Strong Cheese’ read Fromage Fort: The Cheese That Tried To Kill Me by Francis Lam at Salon.

* we topped our mix off with a bit of Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider.

Cider Review: 1626 New Amsterdam Dinner at The Farm on Adderley: Cider In Context

New Amsterdam Dinner at The Farm on Adderley: Cider In Context

Before New York Was New York: A Culinary History of New Amsterdam, 1626

New-Am-Flier

Venue: The Farm on Adderley restaurant and event space.

What: Dinner – A curated and contextualized meal inspired by early Dutch settlers in Nieuwe Amsterdam and the Lefferts’ family cookbook. The Leffert’s were early Dutch settlers with a stronghold of land in the Flatbush (“Vlacke Bos”) area of Brooklyn.

Context Provided By: Historic Gastronomist, Sarah Lohman, founder and author of Four Pounds Flour Historic Gastronomy blog.

The Seasonal Menu: included: house-made bread & butter with dried fruit and cheese, kale & bread “sop”, salted beef, corn “panne­koeken”, a “koolsla” of cabbage, butter & vinegar, and for dessert – apple crullers and salted caraway “koeckjes” with quince preserves.

The Farm on Adderley’s well-curated drinks list features several cider and mead options which were the recommended pairings for the evening.

Ciders on offer included: Breezy Hill Farmhouse Cider, Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider, and Sylboro Old Sin.

Cider #1: A glass of Breezy Hill Farmhouse Cider – A fresh, unfiltered, alive and lively apéritif. The perfect breakfast cider, also well matched to the bloomy rind cheese, dried fruits, beer jelly, and creamy, homemade butter.

Cider #2: A bottle of Slyboro Old Sin – Enjoyed throughout the meal. Well paired with the cured and roasted meats and exceptional when paired with the various root vegetables and bitter winter greens.

An emerging idea, noted in several of our upcoming American cider reviews: American craft ciders express an extremely strong affinity with raw, cooked, and pickled, root and cruciferous vegetables, especially – but not exclusively – greens. Brussel sprouts, cabbages, kales – this is where American cider parings seem to really express terroir. The humble, practical and sustaining greens are elevated by the cider and the straightforward pleasures of a well made cider are intensified when consumed with roots and greens. American agrarian character as part of a distinct American terroir or taste of place, is clearly expressed through the apple, the vegetable, and the cider maker’s craft.

These American ciders paired with humble roots and hardy greens lead to a deeply satisfying sense of well-being. The transporting quality of these pairings remind us of the pleasures of enjoying the “fruits of one’s own labors” at the table, as discussed in David Buchanan’s book Taste, Memory.

Cider #3: A glass of Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider – with the koeckjes and crullers. A dry, crisp, compliment to the caraway, salt and spice of the sweets. Not an obvious choice as it deviates from the conventional sweet with sweet notion, but this mix of sweet, spice and ultra dry cider was, to our tastes, a very fine and refreshing ending to a most enjoyable meal.

Menu

This idea of a regional and historical meal in context is an interesting way to present ciders – and could easily inspire makers and purveyors to create their own locale and time specific cider dining or tasting event.