Sunday, October 18, 2015

@NYCWFF Day 3: On LOCAL Scene, Nuttiness, Spiciness, Creaminess and Craft Business at 'Fromage Fete' and 'Cigars & Spirits'

From Nettle Meadow Farm and Cheese Company, kunik with bacon and apple. Photos by Yours Truly.

SOMEONE’S palate is getting a gentle massage. The masseuse is a cheese made from the milk of a goat and the cream of a Jersey cow.

The semi-soft/semi-hard cheese has many unidentifiable flavors. They are well-balanced however, and the end result is a deliciousness that has a smooth finish.

The Kunik (white rind and tangy, buttery flavor) from Nettle Meadow Farm and Cheese Company is a winner. In fact, it was the 2010 Triple Crème Blue Ribbon Winner at the American Cheese Society’s annual North American cheese contest. (

The Kunik is one of a dozen or so cheeses on offer at Fromage Fete at Norwood, (the private club for creative types in Chelsea.) A part of the LOCAL series that focuses on craft and artisanal creations, the cheese-tasting is one of the new events at NYCWFF this year.

LOCAL, as it regards Fromage Fete, means both artisanal and regional. The cheeses are produced within a narrowly defined radius of New York City. Nettle Meadow is based in the southern Adirondacks, while Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse is located in New Jersey. (

Like all of the cheesemongers here at Fromage Fete, Bobolink makes product that is free of harmful additives and preservatives. Its Jean-Louis, named for the late Jean-Louis Palladin, is slightly tart and made from 100 percent raw cow’s milk cheese. (See video below).

This Breecher's Handmade Cheese is a combination of two bold varieties.

Owned by Nina and Jonathan Livingston, Bobolink also raises animals for their meat and makes bread, such as the cranberry walnut they are pairing with the Jean-Louis. According to NL, many people who have problems digesting bread do not have that experience with the Bobolink brands. The breads are made from tall grains and organically grown, locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.

Ensconced in a corner nook on the second floor of Norwood are a couple of cheeses from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. What are some words to describe these varieties from Holstein and Jersey cows? The company has shops in both Seattle and New York City.

Cheese No. 1 has many subtle flavors that are well-balanced. No. 2 cheese, a mixture of cheddar and gruyere, is bodacious. The cheddar leads with a sharpness that is tempered in part by the nuttiness of gruyere. A dynamic duo. (

Elsewhere, on the third day of NYCWFF is another item on the menu of the LOCAL series, “Cigars & Spirits.” A spirited conversation took place with Bill Paley about his La Palina Cigars. The company was built by his grandfather under the name of Congress Cigar Company near the turn of the 20th century and revived by BP under the new moniker in this current one. (

Bill Paley's La Palina Cigars have a surprising backstory.

Just as interesting as the La Palina “Pasha” (mild-to-medium body, with well-balanced flavors that go toward spicey and sweet. Country/Territory: Bahamas; Wrapper: Ecuador or Costa Rica; Binder: Costa Rica; Filler: Honduras and Nicaragua), for instance, is the cigar company's role in another remarkable American discovery.

BP’s father, William, armed with a Wharton MBA and a love jones for radio, sponsors a Philadelphia radio show that spawns increased sales of La Palina cigars. Then, WP buys several Philly radio stations. Said radio stations were operating when a new medium – television – was born. His radio stations are the antecedents of the Columbia Broadcasting System aka CBS. Yes, BP (William Jr.) is the son of the William S. Paley!

This calls for a drink, and Alexei Beratis obliges with his favorite, Small Batch, from the Four Roses Bourbon suite. (

Alexei Beratis and his beloved companion, Small Batch.

“Small Batch” is a bold, saucy little thing. It sucker punches the palate, gliding smoothly away, until the next sip. Then it does it all over again. AB describes it more elegantly: It is redolent of caramel, berries, spice and has a soft, smooth, long finish. Precisely. Think of it, too, as a favorite rollercoaster ride. Each trip is the same – exhilarating and thrilling.

Of course, both should be undertaken in moderation.

Other goodies on tap today, Last Day of 2015 NYCWFF: Justin Warner’s Laws of Cooking…And How to Break Them, Joseph Carr Wines: The Best Value in Napa, Grand Tasting, Roast Chicken Master Class hosted by Jonathan Waxman, Whiskey Wisdom with Allen Katz, My Portugal: A Portuguese Cuisine and Beer Pairing, Master Sushi Rolling Class with Morimoto and Mixology Masters

Visit to learn more about the 2014 Food Network Wine & Food Festival, including schedule, tickets and venue.

Visit to learn more about Food Bank For New York City;

Visit to learn more about Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign.

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