Over the past few years I have received several emails asking me to review products, everything from beef jerky to cars. I tend to ignore most of them as they don’t have anything to do with cheese, but when I was sent an email about Ten Thousand Villages and asking me to review some of their products I said yes. Why you ask? They are a nonprofit Fair Trade Organization that help Artisans in developing countries to get their products to markets through fair trade. It is summed up in their “about us” section on their website:
Ten Thousand Villages is the oldest and largest Fair Trade organization in North America, selling artisan-crafted personal accessories, home decor and gift items from around the globe.
Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit program of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the relief and development agency of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in North America. Ten Thousand Villages has its roots in the work begun by Edna Ruth Byler in 1946.
Ten Thousand Villages is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), a coalition of handicraft and agricultural producer organizations, and Fair Trade organizations from both the North and the South.
Our Mission Statement
Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.
A handmade card, Olive Oil and Za’atar from Palestine, a cheese knife from India and a lovely plate from Vietnam.
So when this package arrived the other day I was really excited.
As you may or may not know, I have taught Introduction To Cheese Making Classes for Metro Continuing Education in Edmonton. Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching my first “Advanced” class, Camembert. I always talk about how the quality milk is important and all brands are not created equal; but at the same time I talk about how decent cheese can be made from bog standard store milk. Thanks to past student of mine, who got me in contact with the Manager, Scott, of Blush Lane Organic Market in Edmonton, this class had the opportunity to use some amazing milk. Blush Lane Organic Market sponsored the milk for my class, by providing 32 Litres of Organic, Grass-Fed, Low Heat Pasteurized, Non-Homogenized Vital Greens Milk from Picture Butte, Alberta. I wanted to publicly thank Scott and Blush Lane Organic Market for their generous donation, it was greatly appreciated by everyone.
The milk and some coupons for the Store.
But how did the cheese turn out you ask? Well the proof is in the pudding or curd in this case.
I have been pestered…er…asked for a few years now to make Blue Cheese, as you know I have resisted until recently. My first attempt was nice and blue, but a salt-lick. My second attempt resulted in some pretty looking cheeses, but no blue in sight. My third attempt was a little more successful.
Hey, that looks like some blue in that there cheese!
I am often asked why I make cheese, to which I answer “why not?” I know that is not much of an answer, but neither is “It makes me happy.” The truth of is, I am not sure why I make cheese other than I have a passion for it. It is my quest for “Cheesetopia” started as a witty sub-title for the website, but over the years it has become an actual quest and after almost 7 years in, there is no end in sight but I feel I am closer than before. How do I know? I guess it would depend on my definition of Cheesetopia – which is a place where my daily life (including work) intersects with cheese making. Not too much to ask right? (more…)
For the last few weeks I have been busy preparing for Cheese Making Classes and making some cheese for my wife. I know…My wife requested some cheese for a meeting she was going to. I was quite happy to make it for her.
So much that I took this curd selfie.
But more on that later, including a recipe. I have a Camembert class coming up so I have made practice batches, quite a few of them. I could not resist tweaking the recipe a bit to create the CamemBrains. (more…)
I was having a conversation with a cheese making friend a few months ago and he mention that he wanted to increase his “Cheese Cred”. At the time this made me laugh, as I had never thought of one’s Cheese Credibility, a riff on Street Cred (Credibility); as being an issue. I have thought about it over the past few months, I even asked people on the Facebook page for the website about what they thought.