Tag Archives: goat cheese

Welcome to Massacheesetts: Ruggles Hill Creamery

There are a number of reasons we love Ruggles Hill Creamery. If you’ve ever come in right after Michael Holland has dropped off one of their beautifully wrapped cake boxes filled with individually handmade and wrapped goat cheeses, we’ve probably told you, “you need to try this cheese.” I was very familiar with their cheeses, which ones were creamy, which ones were fudgy; the delicate Brother’s Walk, or the cider washed Hanna’s Awashed. But until I drove the hour and a half to the farm at the end of June, I was not yet aware of just how much heart and soul went into making these little lumps of deliciousness.

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A Wrinkle in Cheese

Have you ever gone up to a cheese counter, picked up a hunk of cheese, and asked the cheesemonger there “What is this cheese like?” Their responses try to tell you something about the qualities of the cheese – the taste, texture, type of milk – there’s common words and truths about taste that we rely on to describe cheeses. Words that most people can identify in their mind as a particular taste, and they know whether or not they like that familiar descriptor. Of course, the type of milk – cow, goat, or sheep – is a constant. Words like nutty or sharp have a distinct taste – they seem to be divergent. However, a cheese can be both nutty and sharp at the same time. It’s a peculiar paradox.

In Madeleine L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, the characters end up on a planet of beasts with no eyes. They’re gray furry blobs that communicate by thoughts and feelings – they don’t have the sense of seeing. The main character Meg tries to explain things like light or sight to the creatures, and putting these concepts into words eludes her.

Essentially, all cheese has the same basic starting points. Milk. Starter cultures. This is how yogurt is made, and ricotta, and mozzarella and aged cheeses take their first steps with these ingredients. It is how they are aged, in what kind of molds, as well as the starting point of the milk, that begins to diversify the flavors and bring about aspects of different cheeses.

It really is remarkable how wide-reaching and completely different cheeses can be with the same basic starting ingredients. These variances are owed mainly to terroir – a term used to attribute a cheese’s unique flavor profile to the environment in which the animal producing the milk feeds. The environment and what they are eating translates to the milk, which translates to the cheese.

So herein lies the difficulty of describing taste. We use specific words to describe them, but there is no one common perfected language used to describe each and every cheese. This in part is due to the fact that when you eat cheese it’s not only what you’re tasting that matters – it’s the way the cheese feels in your mouth. It’s how it interacts with what you’re drinking. For example, a chalky aged goat cheese tastes even better when it’s paired with a lightly sparkling white wine or a dry chardonnay. The wine brings out the richness and fruitiness in the cheese, so that it becomes an even better experience than enjoying just the wine or cheese alone.

So acknowledging all of that, where does that leave us? Terroir of cheese can tell us a lot – if the cheese is earthy, buttery – we know that the animal must’ve been eating something that lent it those aspects. But, as an animal is a living creature, it grazes and it goes to the next pasture and finds its next meal. So day to day, their milk is changing and those multitudes are going into the artisan cheese that you pick up and ask “What is this cheese like?” We can tell you – but the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to taste.

All photos taken by Hillary Anderson.

November Wine of the Month Club

With the holiday season upon us, we are leaning heavily on tried and true traditions for this wine box. For the complex meal that is the American Thanksgiving, it is a difficult task to match wine to each flavor and component…but we’re up to the challenge.

Starting with white, we’ve picked a classic Burgundian bottle, one that constantly challenges the preconceptions about Chardonnay, and continues to win itself adamant devotees. On the red side of things, whether you drink them with turkey or not, the cooler days in this month require bottles with depth and substance. A red Beaujolais for example, has enough tangy fruit to match any gravy, and at the Cru level, it is serious enough for chilly November evenings. The last red you’ll find doesn’t follow any wine handbook for this time of year, but we think its unique flavors and sultry body will make it your new holiday favorite!

Domaine Arnaud Chopin Cotes de Nuits Villages Blanc Les Monts de Boncourt 2008With the esteemed name of Arnaud Chopin and the noted tradition of white Burgundy as a perfect choice for the Thanksgiving holiday, we think we’ve found you a pretty killer bottle of wine. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, for whom the domaine is named, Arnaud Chopin has gained a respectable reputation for crafting classically elegant Burgundian wines on his family’s small estate. This 2008 Les Monts de Boncourt is entirely barrel-aged in new oak, but instead of dominating the wine like those California oak bombs most people think of when they hear Chardonnay, the oak aging here merely enhances the fruit concentration. Elegant and complex, this wine shows an impressive amount of freshness and acidity on the palate, which elevate the simple notes of toast and citrus.

Domaine de Colette Moulin-à-vent Vieilles Vignes 2012We thought it was appropriate for a traditional white Burgundy to be followed by a traditional red Burgundy. Instead of the famed Pinot Noir of this area, we choose a bottle from the region to the south of Burgundy: Beaujolais, in which the variety Gamay reigns supreme. This Cru bottle of Gamay comes from Moulin A Vent, one of the ten villages in which Cru Beaujolais can be made. Domaine de Colette is home to Jacky and Eveylne Gauthier who live in Lantignie, but own small vineyard plots in four of the ten villages. Jacky Gauthier is a 4th generation winemaker who started his career in viticulture at age 17. The Gauthier couple care greatly about the ecosystem in which they grow their wines, which is why they use only sustainable practices for their vinegrowing. Showing as a great example of its prestigious terrior this 2012 bottle is silky smooth, but well built with ripe fruit aromas of dark berries, dried roses, and musky forest floor.

Leonardo Bussoletti Brecciaro 2014The last bottle in this wine box strays from our traditional French path over to central Italy, where the mystery grape variety Ciliegolo is being revived. At the front of this revival is Leonardo Bussoletti, the ambitious winemaker who took control of his family’s small vineyard in 2009, of which he devoted 70% to growing Ciliegolo. Mostly known as a blending variety in Chianti, Ciliegolo’s roots date back to the 1200’s in Umbria, yet little of it is still seen in these parts due to the difficulty and care it requires to properly grow. Leonardo brings a certain elegance to his wines; one that could be compared to that of Burgundy – a region of which he is fond of. Brecciaro has the tart, cherry nuances akin to the other Chianti varieties, but its dark, silky body carries an air of sophistication that delights and lingers.

Edible Gifts

The Gracious Gourmet Dried Fruit ChutneyBecause a November box just wouldn’t be complete without a turkey pairing–let us introduce you to the Gracious Gourmet’s Dried Fruit Chutney. These days Nancy Wekselbaum’s company makes a dozen or so beautiful jams and spreads, but the operation began in her kitchen as a vehicle for Nancy’s signature homemade chutney. Made with dried apricots, cherries, dates, and cranberries as well as a bevy of Indian spices, this classic has become a pantry staple for us. It’s a natural pairing with virtually any protein, but we’re partial to enjoying it with cheese as well (put a spoonful on a dollop of fresh goat cheese for a perfect appetizer). Whether you dish it up next to the bird or save it for dessert, we think your guests will thank you.

Cocoa Sante Mocha Hot CocoaFounded by two Massachusetts mothers, Cocoa Sante was born of the need for a wholesome sweet treat. Not wanting to fuel her kids with the processed ingredients in store-bought cocoas, owner Jen experimented until she struck gold with the Nor’Easter recipe–the classic cocoa we use here at AP. The beauty of all Cocoa Sante blends (in addition to their ethical sourcing and organic ingredients) is that they contain milk powder so you can simply use hot water and mix – no saucepan required. The Mocha blend we selected contains a blend of organic cocoa powder and 100% Arabica bean coffee for just enough giddy-up to get you up and out the door.

La Casera NerinaThis Thanksgiving (and everyday, really) we’re thankful for La Casera, the Italian cheese shop that’s responsible for the export of so many of our lovely Italian cheeses. Much like Boston’s own Formaggio Kitchen, truly the granddaddy of all American cheese shops, La Casera expanded the family business from merely a storefront, to a cheese aging and international shipping operation. Second generation owner Eros Buratti purchases cheeses directly from local Piedmontese farmers to age under close observation in their cellars until they reach optimum ripeness. These little guys may look a bit spooky, but we promise they’re anything but. Nerina (literally “little black one”) are dusted in edible vegetable ash before aging just two to three weeks, developing a distinctive geotrichum rind. Made from cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk, Nerina’s flavors are creamy and tangy, with a fudgy texture, gooier at the rind. Decadent perfection with a smear of honey.

All photos taken by Caley Mahoney.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

July Beer of the Month Club

Summer lovin, we want things to be fresh, bright, crisp, refreshing… It is this major season in which we literally feel the heat; the heat that rejuvenates, invigorates, aaaand makes us sweat. We want to be outside catching the rays, which is why we need light, refreshing foods and drinks to balance the heat!


These beers are juicy, tart, full of zest and of joie de vivre! They are truly aestival, making use of summer ingredients and flavors. Ready to drink and enjoy now, these beers are choice refreshers for a hot day in the sun; ideal as cool accompaniments to crunchy summer cuisine. Speaking of cuisine, we’ve got you covered with these prime ingredients to create cool pasta salads and fresh fish dinners on the grill.

Beeahss

Almanac Brewery Hoppy Sour: MandarinaAlmanac Brewing has gained an impressive reputation as a producer of unique farm to barrel brews. Although Almanac brewers follow historically traditional brewing methods, they elevate their beers and truly represent Northern California with the addition of locally sourced fruit. Inspired by local cuisine and terroir, Almanac brewers create beers that support their environment by collaborating with farms in the area. This Hoppy Sour is a display of traditional methods, with the use of the Bavarian hop variety Mandarina; Germany’s answer to the bold varieties found in the West Coast. It combines the citrus aromas we expect from a California brew, but with the subtle spice of German varieties. Tart and funky, this barrel aged saison base shows notes of earth and oak, which are accented by the lime and tangerine-esque flavors from dry hopping! ABV {7%}

Kent Falls Brewing Alternate World GoseA personal favorite style for summer drinking is the historically traditional German created Gose. Though American breweries have had varying results with this style, Kent Falls can be labeled a success with their Alternate World Gose. Named after their home in Kent, CT, this brewery is yet another socially and sustainably conscious player in the beer world. Starting with the land they are on, (a former dairy farm that left them with super nutrient rich soil), Kent Falls is part of the Brewery Supported Agriculture association of the area. They make it their mission to support and collaborate with the farms in the area to conserve the land and eliminate fuel usage. So as you sip this uber refreshing, pucker inducing, lemon filled Gose with a wheaty finish, you can daydream about the bountiful, sunny world that Kent Falls is helping to preserve. ABV {4.6%}

SingleCut Beersmiths Mo Shuggie Soulbender IPAOur final spot for a sun filled sipper goes to Mo Shuggie, a super hazy IPA from New York brewery SingleCut Beersmiths. As a relatively new brewery to New England residents, the offerings we have received from SingleCut have all been consistently awesome and meticulously made. Started in 2012 by founder Rich Buceta, SingleCut is known for their IPAs, which are all high quality, but vary widely in taste due to the many different combinations of hops they use for each brew. The use of New York City tap water and their own secret strains of cultivated yeasts also adds to the quality and uniqueness of every SingleCut beer. Mo Shuggie Soulbender was amped up with New Zealand hops, which provide loads of tropical fruit notes – guava, tangerine, mango – all floating lazily in the hazy, soft textured body with a slight bite of bitterness. ABV {7.4%}

Backyard Bites

Consider Bardwell Farm SlyboroTo accompany the lively, tart beers you’ll find in this summer box, we wanted a soft cheese with a touch of sweetness. We think that Consider Bardwell’s washed rind goat’s milk cheese, Slyboro fits this bill quite nicely, with its paste-y texture and notes of bright grass and apple. Consider Bardwell Farm was founded in 1864 in Pawlet, Vermont as the first cheese-making co-op. A century later and you’ll find the same hand made small batch cheeses made from the milk of their Oberhaslis goat herd, as well as cow’s milk from neighboring farms. Not only are the cheeses at Consider Bardwell delicious and high quality, they are also made with milk that is completely hormone free and from non animal rennet!

The Chili Lab The Garden Blend Chili ButterThe fresh bounty of the summer season can be found in this Garden Blend Chili Butter from The Chili Lab. Based out of Long Island, NY, the Chili Lab uses spicy chili peppers to create products that help home cooks to easily explore their interesting flavor combinations and uses. By using diverse peppers from around the world, they discovered that aleppo peppers from Turkey are slightly fruity, round, and smell like sundried tomatoes, whereas dried guajillo chiles from Mexico are more sultry, deep, and earthy. It is the slightly sweet tomato flavors of the aleppo peppers that you will experience in this Garden Blend, along with soft roasted garlic and pepper spice. This addicting chili butter can be used to liven up a baked potato, as a sauce with grilled shrimp and polenta, or use it as a lightly spiced dressing on top of a cold pasta salad of basil reginetti from Sfoglini!

Sfoglini Pasta Shop Basil ReginettiSeasonal ingredients and practiced traditions both fuel the processes behind Brooklyn based pasta shop Sfoglini. Started in 2012 by Chef Steve Gonzalez and Scott Ketchum, Sfoglini Pasta Shop operates out of the country’s first Pfizer lab building, alongside many rockstar food artisans. The makers behind Sfoglini are determined to emulate the Italian traditions and spirit by using fresh, local ingredients from green markets and local farms in New York. The name Sfoglini, also pay tribute to the tradition of handmade pasta, as it is the word for generations of ladies in Bologna who make pasta by hand. Their pasta is extruded through a bronze die, a metal attachment not used in commercial pasta making, which gives it a distinct rough texture and porous surface that helps the pasta to cook more evenly, as well as allowing for the maximum amount of sauce to cling to each bite! This made in summer basil reginetti is begging to be served with juicy heirloom tomatoes and drizzled olive oil.

All photos taken by Caley Mahoney.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

April Beer & Wine of the Month Club

Spring is finally here, but it has not been an easy journey. The length of this winter has been brutal, not only on our cars and commutes, but also on our spirits. It is time to shed layers and sit outside in the grass or maybe even by the ocean! With spring comes fresh possibilities and rejuvenation. What better way to celebrate spring than with beers & wines chock full of bright flavors that will awaken our senses from their long winter slumber??

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With spring comes plans for patio sipping, picnic basket vinos, & all around outdoor drinking. We are craving sunshine to drink rose in, warm temperatures to cool off with crisp whites, & fresh foods to pair lively reds with. We’d like to believe that this box has met all of these expectations and more. We showcase two domestic superstars, who give their foreign counterparts a run for their money. As well as a classic Italian red with fruit that is begging to be shared and paired. The wine box will help you welcome spring with all the excitement and finery that it deserves.

To commemorate the bizarreness that was this winter and the transition into spring, we found beers that are a little out of the ordinary. These beers are invigorating for sure, but they also put your senses to the test, making sure you are fully awake and ready for this season. Lingering flavors of smoke and funk are a common theme, melding alongside of a whole bunch of tartness and fresh citrus!

The Libations

Siren Craft Brew Collaboration Limoncello IPAFrom three different breweries, this collaboration beer has bridged the divide between beer and liquor. Siren Craft Brew in the UK has called upon gypsy brewer Mikkeller from Denmark & Vermont local Hill Farmstead Brewery, to rethink the classic Italian beverage, Limoncello. Wanting to recreate the bright lemon citrus flavors & smooth mouth feel of Limoncello, this trio put the base beer through a 24 hr sour process, after which they added lactose for sweetness. Aggressive dry hoping of Sorachi Ace & Citra hops gives the beer its carbonation & skunky hop bitterness. This daringly citrus beer is begging to be sipped outside under the sun, but watch out for the carefully disguised alcohol percent. ABV {9.1%}

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Dollnitzer Ritterguts Original GoseA traditional German style beer, goses have been brewed for over a thousand years, originating in Goslar, Germany. This is a top fermenting beer; brewed with coriander & salt, as well as lactose bacteria that is added after the boil. With the rising popularity of the sour movement, the gose style is seen more frequently, but as the name states, Ritterguts’ Gose is an original; a solid example of the gose style that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Funky notes of mildew & sea salt will greet your nose upon opening this bottle. A hazy golden pour will boast flavors of lemon, herbs, & toasty grains. Low alcohol & funky tartness will certainly win you over, if the reliable balance & complexity of German brews hasn’t already! ABV {4.2%}

Birrifico del Ducato Brett Peat DaydreamYou might think you’re dreaming when you sip this concoction from the Italian microbrewery Del Ducato. Get your taste buds ready to be seriously confused, as well as delightfully surprised. Daydream is a mix of three different brews: a peated barley style ale, a rauch marzen partially aged in Scotch whisky barrels, & a Brett fermented ale. With that many factors coming into play, it is amazing how wonderfully balanced, complex, & simply tasty this beer is. On the nose there is smoke from the peat, funky earthy spice from the Brett, & a curious musky scent. From the first sip to the last there is a continuous collision of sour & smoky, tart & sweet, & fruit & funk. This is seriously one of the strangest beers we have ever come across, but we love it!  ABV {7%}

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Teutonic Sprockets White 2014From Portland, Oregon we have a white blend consisting of 50% Scheurebe, 25% Huxelrebe & 25% Pinot Noir. Teutonic Wine Company is the successful result of an intrepid couple, Barnaby & Olga Tuttle. Inspired by Riesling wines from the Mosel region, the Tuttle duo took the leap to start their own vineyard in Oregon in 2005, in order to recreate their beloved Germanic wine styles but with expressions of the local terroir. The long & cool growing season in Portland gives a great complexity to Teutonic’s vines. Complex & full of rich minerality, Sprockets will enchant you with fruity notes of orange zest, apricot, & spice all wrapped in a honey like texture.

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Matthiasson Rose 2014We couldn’t not include a rose in the wine box this month, as come spring, so comes ROSE season! Our shelves will soon be overflowing with rose wine, but this enticing bottle is in a class of its own. Matthiasson vineyard out of Napa Valley, CA is a family business run by Steve & Jill Klein Matthiasson & their two sons. With their sustainable approach to viticulture & traditional wine making methods, they have created some of the most graceful Rhone style wines in California. Their rose is a classic Rhone blend of grenache, syrah, mouvedre, & counoise. From this barely pink wine floats wispy notes of grapefruit & white peach, before washing over you with delicate acidity, bright floral blossom flavors, & a refined elegance. You don’t need sunshine to enjoy this gem, but of course we won’t say no to some rays.

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Cantina Del Clicine La Dormiosa 2008Rounding out the wine box, we wanted to find a red that would mirror the fresh possibilities that spring brings, as well as pair deliciously with our April offerings. A classic Italian grape, Barbera D’Alba is excellent for pairing with a wide range of food. From the small town of Neive, winemaker Roberto Bruno has created a Barbera that is vigorous in flavor, dry, & pleasantly tart. Following old local traditions, Cantina Del Clicine adds about 10% of Nebbiolo grapes to the Barbera during fermentation. This mellows the wine & enhances its bouquet. By law, the wine is aged at least one year, and we think this 2008 vintage still has enough bouncy fruit to find a place in your picnic basket.

The Snacks

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Neattle Meadow Three Sisters“Happy Goats. Great Cheese!” is the slogan on Neattle Meadow Farm & Artisan Cheese’s home page. We’d have to assume that the goats out there in Thurman, New York are mighty happy, because they do indeed make some killer cheese. In the case of this cheese, the cows & sheep must be livin’ it up as well, in order for Three Sisters to be made. This multi-milk soft cheese has a fresh & complex flavor profile, a bloomy rind texture, & is perfect for spring time meals. Crumble this cheese on a salad to liven up your lunch or spread it a baguette while you sip on the Limoncello IPA!

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Jacobsen Salt Co. Smoked SaltTo counterbalance the bright citrus flavors from the wines & food in this box, we decided to treat you to a more savory option. From the cold waters of Oregon’s coast, this pure sea salt is harvested by Ben Jacobsen, the proprietor behind the Co. The salt is slowly smoked over Oregan Cherrywood. This provides the petite chunks (and whatever you sprinkle it on) with an incredibly rich flavor. Embrace the inspiration that spring brings & pair this smoky salt with something tart or citrusy! Perhaps a lemon & smoked salt haddock is in the future for your summer menu. Or maybe some fresh slices of melon wrapped in prosciutto would beg you to sprinkle some Jacobsen salt on top & enjoy!

Bonnie’s Jams Raspberry Lime RickeyAnother great example of opposites melding into perfection comes in a jar of Bonnie’s Raspberry Lime Rickey jam. Locally made over in Cambridge, the raspberry lime rickey expertly marries the sweetness of raspberries with the tart bite of limes. Bonnie Shershow has been jammin since she was a little girl who helped her mother pick a plethora of fruit from around her home in Southern California. Her love for jams & preserves only grew as she traveled the world tasting different fruit concoctions from places like France, Peru, & even Shanghai! Bonnie suggests making breakfast smoothies with the Rickey jam or throwing it into the mix for an exciting mojito! She also loves to pair her jams with cheeses & we think that this jam with Three Sisters cheese (and Teutonic Sprockets?) would be a combination that Bonnie would approve of.

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Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club!