April 2024 Newsletter

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Table of Contents
1. Welcome
2. Cheese News
3. Cheese Club Drops April 13
4. Upcoming Events
5. Cheese Tip of the Month: Moldy Cheese
6. A Cheesy Story: Into the Jumi-Verse


If April showers bring May flowers, then this weekend heralds a verdant spring. Yet fresh buds and tender grasses aren’t the only signs of new life around. At our local creameries, baby animals abound now that kidding, calving, and lambing season has kicked off. As we welcome those new babies, we look forward to fresh batches of local cheeses that won’t be far behind them.

If you’ve been following us on social media, you know we continue to plug along with our crowd-funding campaign toward opening a brick-and-mortar cheese shop. Somebody told us before we started that fundraising was the equivalent of adding on another full-time job, and they weren’t wrong! In addition to our regularly scheduled work and the constant Indiegogo bell-ringing, we have been out touring commercial real estate sites with our broker as we hone in on the future site of our shop. We’ve got some more locations to view before we start making offers—and we definitely have some more fundraising work to do.

The crowd-funding campaign is intended to help us raise money for the equipment needs our shop will have, especially good refrigerated cases to keep all the cheeses in top condition, and the construction costs that are looking increasingly inevitable. There are just 11 more days left in our fundraiser; you can learn more about it here. If you feel inclined to donate, we would greatly appreciate the support. And if you can’t donate, we understand. We hope you will help us spread the word by sharing our campaign with folks in your network who might be able to help invest in our shop.

Even though it’s been raining out, the future looks bright. We are looking forward to sharing more cheese and good company with you as time goes on.

Yours in Cheese,
Courtney and Tailor
Street Cheese Fundraiser on Indiegogo

Cheese News
April is a month of excitement in the shop. We are bringing in lots of great cheeses we haven’t had before, along with some new batches of old favorites. Here are some of this month’s highlights.

Jasper Hill Farm Alpha Tolman: raw cow’s milk cooked, pressed cheese aged 8-12 months, from Vermont. Inspired by Swiss Alpine-style Appenzeller, this cheese is made with bacterial cultures developed on-farm at Jasper Hill (as opposed to freeze-dried cultures from a lab). Alpha Tolman’s flavor ranges from buttery and nutty to meaty and oniony, depending on where it is in its arc of aging. This cheese has won numerous awards at the American Cheese Society Judging & Competition and the World Cheese Awards.

Helvetia Creamery Apfelheller: raw cow’s milk cooked, pressed cheese aged 10 months, from Oregon. Helvetia Creamery is a small farmstead dairy in Helvetia, Oregon, that milks just three Brown Swiss cows. We brought in this Gruyère style cheese for our Fondue & Raclette class at The Pantry this month. It is a firm, savory cheese that stands up on its own and does well as a cooking cheese in a variety of dishes.

Kaasboerderij ‘T Groendal Barista: pasteurized cow’s milk washed-rind cheese with coffee on the rind and inside, from Belgium. This cheese starts out like an Abbey-style washed-rind cheese, but it’s taken up a notch with an espresso twist. There’s a layer of coffee through the center of the cheese, which makes it look like a more caffeinated version of Morbier. Then, the outside of the cheese is rubbed with coffee, lending the cheese a rich, roasty aroma and flavor that permeate the cheese from the outside in. Pair it with your morning coffee, dessert cookies, or something spicy in between.

Acme Farms Cheese Camembert: pasteurized cow’s milk soft-ripened bloomy-rind cheese, from Deming, WA. We believe this is as close as you can get to the French classic without leaving the states. Mushroomy, earthy, and buttery, this cheese checks all the boxes you look for in a good Camembert de Normandie, which you can’t get in the US because that cheese is required by French law to be made with raw cow’s milk and thus doesn’t meet American age requirements for raw-milk cheeses. Acme Farms Cheese specializes in making just Brie and Camembert, so they have really nailed it.

Fresh Chèvres from Lost Peacock Creamery: pasteurized goat’s milk soft, fresh cheeses in three flavors: Whipped (plain), Smokin’ Salt & Pepa, and Thai Garlic, from Olympia, WA. Have we mentioned lately that it’s fresh cheese season? To celebrate Tailor’s favorite time of the year, we have brand new batches of all three of this local creamery’s fresh chèvres – and they are as fresh as can be! Cook with them, bake with them, or spread them on bagels, toast, cookies, or even chocolate.

Estrella La Peral: pasteurized cow’s milk natural-rind blue cheese from Spain. This is a very approachable blue cheese that is worth trying. The flavor is grassy, herbal, and buttery, with very light hints of mineral and earthy notes. What it lacks in classic “blue cheese” flavors, it makes up for with textural oomph and other types of flavor complexity. Put it on a cheese board, cook with it, or crumble it in a salad. Whatever you do with this cheese, you win!

We also just picked up the promised wheel of Neal’s Yard Dairy Spenwood that we announced last month (it arrived a bit late), and we still have wheels of Jasper Hill Farm’s special-edition Maple-Washed Willoughby in beautiful shape (still a bit young and mild, but ready to ripen to perfection). In addition to that, there’s lots of tasty stuff in stock right now, and we’ll announce the cheeses in our April cheese club after the initial drop happens next weekend. In the meantime, check out our web store to see what’s what.
Street Cheese Online Store

Cheese Club Drops April 13
In case you want to join before this month’s official drop, our April Cheese of the Month Club will release on Saturday, April 13, during our next Pop-Up Cheese Shop at Discover Burien (3-6pm). As a reminder, cheese club members get first crack at a selection of new and exciting cheeses we bring in just for the club, and they also get the first chance at new batches of old favorites.

There are two options to choose from:

“Just the Cheese”: each month, receive 5 different cheeses (over 2 pounds).
“Cheese & Cheese Accessories”: each month, receive 3 different cheeses (roughly 1.5 pounds) plus 3 accompaniments intended to complement the cheeses.

You can sign up for a one-off box, for a three-month subscription, six months, or a full year. When you sign up, you’ll be added to the club list, and then you will receive an email each month letting you know what the pick-up options are so you can select the one that is most convenient to you.

As always, if you need to find an alternative date or location, please email us as early as possible at StreetCheeseSEA@gmail.com to make sure we can accommodate you before you place your order.
Sign Up For Cheese of the Month Club

Upcoming Events

Here are the opportunities to get cheesy with us over the next month, and a sneak peak at our early May offerings: Burien Uncorked Wine Walk: Friday, April 12, from 4-8 p.m. in Downtown Burien. We’ll be located inside Miller Paint (636 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166); if you’ve been to the wine walk before, you’ll know that’s really where the party is! We’ll be serving some small plates with cheese as the main component, and we’ll have a selection of cheese and accompaniments for sale with us. Tickets for the wine walk are $40 each, and are available through Discover Burien’s website
Discover Burien – Wine Walk Tickets
Pop-Up Cheese Shop: Saturday, April 13, from 3-6 p.m. at Discover Burien in Downtown Burien (611 SW 152nd St). We will be set up to sell cheese by the wedge or wheel, charcuterie by the chub or sliced-to-order, and accompaniments. If you order the Cheese of the Month Club, you can pick up your first release during this window. To place a pre-order, head to our web store. The next pop-up shop after this will be on Saturday, May 11, also from 3-6 p.m.
Street Cheese Online Store
Swiss Fondue and Raclette Class: Monday, April 15, from 6-9 p.m. at The Pantry in Ballard (1417 NW 70th St). This hands-on cooking class will take you through the steps for making traditional Swiss Fondue, a riff on the original, and Raclette—along with all the fixings. There will also be lots of education, tips, and eating. Tickets are $140 each and are available through The Pantry’s website.
The Pantry – Fondue & Raclette Party
Beer & Cheese Pairing Class: Friday, April 26, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Bickersons Brewhouse Ballard (1514 Leary Wy NW, Seattle, WA 98107). We’ll be helping our friends celebrate their Ballard location’s second anniversary with this class, featuring 5 of Bickersons’ beers paired with 5 cheeses. Tickets will be available shortly; please check our website events page for updated details soon!
Street Cheese Events Calendar
Wine & Cheese Pairing Class: Saturday, April 27, from 4-6 p.m. at fruit wine co in Bellevue (1950 130th Ave NE, Suite 1). What happens when you pair a sommelier and two professional cheesemongers? You get an evening filled with education as you taste through 6 wines paired with 6 cheeses, learning as you go why they work together and what makes each partner special. Tickets are $60 each and are available through fruit wine co’s website.
Get Tickets From fruit wine co
Beer & Cheese Tasting: Thursday, May 2, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Skål Beer Hall in Ballard (5429 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107). We are partnering with Silver City Brewery on this tasting event, which will feature 5 cheeses paired to 5 of Silver City’s beers. Tickets will be on sale through Skål’s website soon.

Wine & Cheese Tasting: Saturday, May 4, from 2-4 p.m. at Bacovino in South Seattle (3225 South 116th St, Suite 169, Seattle, WA 98168). Our second class with Bacovino will explore more of their locally crafted wines paired with 5 cheeses.
Get Tickets from Bacovino

Cheese Tip of the Month: Moldy Cheese

Bacteria, mold and yeast are integral to many cheeses. Because of that, it can be confusing to understand whether surface mold is good or bad when it comes to cheese. While the best way to find out is (seriously) to snap a pic and ask your cheesemonger about it with some details about the type of cheese and how long you’ve had it open, we’ve prepared some guidelines to assist you in some at-home cheese-drawer triage. Soft, fresh cheeses: orange, yellow, blue, green, or fuzzy white flecks are all bad. Throw it out! Because of the high moisture content of fresh cheeses, they are considered more dangerous when mold is growing on them. With these styles, it’s best to exercise caution and pitch it. If your cheese gets a creamy beige or orange bloom of something that doesn’t quite look like mold, that’s usually yeast growing on the cheese—another reason not to eat the cheese. Brie-style cheeses or soft, washed-rind cheeses: little fuzzy black spots on the rind are called mucor, or cat hair, and are a normal part of the cheese’s microbiome; those are safe to keep and eat. White mold growing on the cut face of the cheese paste can be cut off and the cheese can continue to be consumed. If the cut face starts growing green or blue molds, or has any neon-colored growths, it’s best to throw the cheese away. Again, this is because of the high moisture content of these types of cheeses. Semi-firm, firm and hard cheeses: blue, green or white molds growing anywhere on the cheese can just be cut off of cheeses with a lower-moisture content that puts them in the semi-firm, firm, or hard cheese categories. You don’t have to worry about mold beneath the surface unless the cheese is very holey, because mold needs oxygen to grow; if there’s no air inside the cheese, the mold can’t grow there and the rest of the cheese is fine. We recommend cutting about 1/4” slice off the cut face of the cheese to remove the mold. Blue cheeses: naturally, blue cheeses are supposed to be mottled with green, blue, and grayish molds. If the cheese starts growing black mold on the rind, that’s typically bad. Neon-colored growth on the paste of the cheese is also not a great sign, and indicates that you should throw the cheese away. (That said, some neon coloration on the outer parts of some blue cheeses—like Stilton or Gorgonzola—is totally normal.) Some white mold growth can be OK to just cut off of blue cheeses, too. And what about shredded, grated, or crumbled cheeses? You should throw away the entire bag or container if there are any moldy clumps in there. We do know lots of people who are fine to throw away the moldy part and keep eating the rest, but technically, because these cheeses have so many cut faces from the process of making them shredded, grated, etc., it’s possible mold is already on those faces and it’s only a matter of time before it starts growing, as well.

By and large, mold on cheese is not dangerous. In some cases where there was contamination in the supply chain, mold can be a counterpart to more serious pathogens that you can’t see in the cheese. That’s why we exercise more caution with molds on soft or high-moisture cheeses that can be more susceptible to pathogenic growth.
A Cheesy Story: Into the Jumi-Verse
Last month, we wrote about Courtney’s stint competing in the Concours Mondiale du Meilleur fromager in Tours, France, last September. After the dust had settled from that adventure, we set off with a group of our cheesemonger friends on a journey through Central Europe in search of inspiration and the way to the Slow Cheese festival in Bra, Italy. Our first stop was Switzerland, after a terrible travel day that started at 3 a.m. and included us missing our connection in Paris by 1 minute. We had to spend an additional $800 on new train tickets to Geneva, where we hoped to make it in time to pick up our rental van. When we got to Geneva, we set off for Gruyère, where we visited the historic Gruyère castle, hiked up a steep mountain in dusk to eat Fondue at an Alp with cowbells tinkling below us, and then toured Fromagerie Le Crêt—affineur of the Gruyère 1655 we sell. Then we entered the Jumi-verse.
The Jumi-verse—pronounced “Yoo-me” in the Swiss German way—is the network of creameries, farms, aging facilities, and shops outside of Bern that carry the Jumi name or support it with cheese and milk production. The name Jumi comes from the names Jurgen and Mike, the company’s founders. While this might make it sound like Jumi is a huge company, it’s not; the company calling their network a “universe” is meant to show the inter-connected sphere of influence a cheesemaking operation has on its community and region through sourcing milk, making cheese, aging cheese, and selling it. Thanks to our importer friends at Maker to Monger in New York and our distributor friends at Cowbell Fine Cheese in Portland, we have been able to sell Jumi’s Grossvätu Raclette Naturale, Basil Smash Raclette, Aarewasser, and the Belper Knolle that they age for a nearby cheesemaker. (When our brick-and-mortar shop is open, we’ll have the opportunity to bring in even more of their cheeses, as well!)
We first stopped in gorgeous Bern, where we ate lunch overlooking the Aare River as we dined on a hearty menu of Rösti and hamburgers that included some of Jumi’s cheeses. After Bern, we hit up the little town of Belp and Fromagerie Glauser, the creamery and cheese shop where Belper Knolle was created. We even got to help make fresh balls of black pepper-coated Belper Knolle while we visited the adorable shop. The creator of Belper Knolle was there, and he had us try aged versions of their Blue Brain cheese at varying stages of ripeness and over-ripeness, including one that was straight-up foul. (He even offered us a palate cleanser because he knew it was a rough one.)
Boll was our final destination for the night, and we got to tour Jumi’s facility in Vechingen, Boll. They had the most amazing cheese vending machine out front, but that was just the beginning of our inspiration in the heart of the Jumi-verse. Our hosts, Simon and Leuku—whom we affectionately refer to as “The Jumi Boys”—took us on a tour of the warehouse’s stockrooms for cheese and meats, showed us where meat is butchered and cured for Jumi’s European operations, and then showed us where some of the soft cheeses are made, and where cheeses are cut and packaged. This facility provides the clearest example of holistic cheesemaking, because animals must be born for there to be milk, and at some point—just as we do—they must die; Jumi uses the whole animal, not just milk, to complete the cycle. (They do also have meat from animals that aren’t milk producers.) There are freshly butchered cuts of meat and charcuterie processed and stored in some parts of the factory, whereas other parts of the factory make, process, and store cheese. Our tour finished with a spectacular Raclette dinner in the family room just outside the Jumi office.

We should note that all of the staff at Jumi break bread together regularly: the entire staff eat breakfast and lunch together, and sometimes they have dinners, too. Staff even take turns cooking meals in the shared kitchen. All the while we were in the family room, workers would come in to say goodbye to Simon and Leuku before they headed out for the day. It was clear that Jumi is committed to treating their employees well and building community throughout the team in an environment where people feel like they are equals; where they want to work and be part of what’s happening.
The amazing dinner that they had prepared for us started with a beef tartare that Leuku made right before us, and then went on to a meal of Raclette featuring the many flavors they make (the basil smash was our favorite – and anyone who got to try the case we special ordered this winter knows why!), melted over individual tea lights and served with their own charcuterie and pickles, as well as potatoes, bread, and wine. Many of their other cheeses were there for us to sample, too, and we were all stuffed by the end of the night.

Most importantly, Simon and Leuku confirmed that yes, a serving of Raclette should be one pound of cheese per person. They said if you can’t eat that much cheese, it’s because you’re eating too many other things with the cheese—and they proved it by melting the cheese and eating it with a fork and knife, not with any potatoes, bread, pickles, or anything: just the cheese. And although they kept our glasses full of wine, they also taught us that to truly enjoy Raclette, you should accompany it by drinking hot tea to keep your stomach from getting upset later.
The next day, we visited Jumi Eyweid, their creamery in Eyweid, as well as two nearby farms where the creamery’s milk comes from. One of the farms had this amazing underground cellar with cheeses aging totally naturally underneath the stone foundations of a house. The other farm had baby cows that we got to say hi to. Then we toured the Eyweid creamery, watching the workers make a wild garlic Raclette and some younger cheeses, and then seeing where they brine and age the massive wheels of Emmentaler that the creamery makes. We toured the creamery’s cavernous aging facility and saw where so many of the cheeses we order come from. We even got to see the little Belper Knolle balls from Fromagerie Glauser resting in their dark room, waiting and aging until they are ready to be wrapped in muslin and sent off for sale.
And then we got to explore the cheese shop at Eyweid, which was outfitted with custom cheese coolers made from old cabinets and dairy equipment. It was rustic and groovy and so, so cool. There were so many local goods for sale that were made in the nearby area by food artisans, including the largest selection of yogurt we’ve ever seen and some really tasty chocolates, Swiss merengues, and hand-made greeting cards, along with the dairy products, cheeses, and cured meats made by Jumi. They even had locally distilled Kirsch and hot sauce. The Jumi Boys packed us a lunch to take with, and like that we were off on our way to Italy.
During nearly three days in Switzerland, we saw the most gorgeous lakes and valleys, stunning mountain landscapes, beautiful farmland, and some of the coolest cheese shops around. The people were kind, generous, and funny. Switzerland was great, but our biggest takeaway was that it’s clear they’ve created something really special at Jumi, and not just the delicious cheeses.

As we look forward to our own cheese shop, which will someday have a small team not just of ourselves, we hope we can replicate the feeling that we experienced at Jumi: a feeling of being part of something powerful and significant, carrying out influence on the food people eat and on the lives of the people who make it, all for the greater good. We may not have the strength of the Swiss economy behind us, nor the European cultural sense for work-life balance, but we do know that we don’t have to be tied to doing things the way they’ve always been done in retail in the U.S. We may not be able to age our cheeses underneath a house or serve raw-milk butter, but we can absolutely cultivate an environment where people care and feel cared for.

Now, when we take a bite of Grossvätu Aged Raclette or Aarewasser, or shave some Belper Knolle over our plates, we think about the ecosystem where those cheeses came from and what it all means to them locally, and that they have our support a world away. We can support our local producers with passion and influence, and we can still have space in our case for thoughtfully crafted exemplars of good cheese from abroad.
Until next time,

Courtney Johnson and Tailor Kowis
Co-Owners, Street Cheese LLC