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& Sons, a Sommelier’s Ham Bar, Opens in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 11, 2020 - 4:53pm
The restaurant in the Brooklyn Museum is changing its personality; the Mermaid Inn gets a fourth location; and more restaurant news.
Categories: Food

Tejal Rao’s 10 Essential Indian Recipes

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 11, 2020 - 12:50pm
Our California restaurant critic, whose taste was shaped in family kitchens far from the subcontinent, picks dishes that show the cuisine’s many facets and techniques.
Categories: Food

Dinner in French!

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 11, 2020 - 10:30am
Melissa Clark has a delicious excerpt, and four recipes, from her book, including a Campari cake that may just transport you to Aix.
Categories: Food

Last Meals on Death Row, a Peculiarly American Fascination

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 5:54pm
Researching his book on final-menu fantasies, the critic Jay Rayner came across an unsettling body of work about the choices of the condemned.
Categories: Food

A Chicken Biryani Recipe That Brings People Together

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 5:26pm
For the writer Aatish Taseer, a childhood staple has taken on new resonance in light of Delhi’s citizenship protests.
Categories: Food

Japanese Snacks Inspired by Mom’s at Rice & Miso

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 5:21pm
This petite counter-service restaurant in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, serves comforting rice balls, bento boxes and soups.
Categories: Food

A Pork Noodle Soup Pulled From Your Pantry

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 12:43pm
Alison Roman wants cooking to be unfussy and flexible, and this brothy, spicy dish, full of ingredients you probably already have on hand, is just that.
Categories: Food

A Vintage Bash for All Things Burgundy

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 12:05pm
For 20 years, La Paulée de New York, modeled after a French harvest party, has paralleled Burgundy’s rise as the world’s most influential wine region.
Categories: Food

Where Pastrami on Rye Rubs Elbows With Falafel and Baklava

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 11:27am
When Pastrami Masters, a new deli, moved into its space in Brooklyn, it kept the previous tenant’s Lebanese menu.
Categories: Food

Stocking Your Pantry, the Smart Way

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 10, 2020 - 6:27am
Here’s what you really need to keep on hand.
Categories: Food

This Festival Brings the Funk

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 5:07pm
The Brooklyn Cider House hosts a fermentation festival with pickles, kombucha, sake and, yes, cider.
Categories: Food

Corned Beef, Hold the Beef

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 4:43pm
A new vegan deli product mimics the flavor of the Reuben staple.
Categories: Food

Chicken, the Thomas Keller Way

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 4:32pm
Monday night is fried chicken night at the TAK Room, where the chef is serving his Ad Hoc dish.
Categories: Food

A Permanent Home for Mochi

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 4:17pm
Mochidoki is opening its first storefront, in SoHo.
Categories: Food

For a Faster Old-Fashioned …

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 4:01pm
Jarred orange twists from Italy add flavor to cocktails, cakes and savory dishes.
Categories: Food

Food Is the Subject of This Art Show

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 3:55pm
Food Show, from SFA Projects, features works by more than a dozen artists.
Categories: Food

Here We Go Again

Planet Cheese - March 9, 2020 - 2:00pm

Photo: Kral Photography

For the second time, a team of expert judges has voted Michael Spycher’s Gruyère the World Champion Cheese. It’s a head-spinning achievement given the size of the field: 3,667 entries from around the world. If you think of Gruyère as an ordinary sandwich cheese sold in every supermarket—well, this ain’t that.

To understand Spycher’s “special sauce,” I spoke to Joe Salonia, the U.S. sales rep for Gourmino, the Swiss company that ages and markets Spycher’s cheeses and others. He has visited the creamery a couple of times. “I didn’t think it would be possible,” he told me about the Gruyère’s repeat win. “It’s the Tom Hanks of cheese now.”

World Champion Cheese is a biannual competition held in Madison, Wisconsin. This year’s record number of entries came from 26 countries, including Croatia, Brazil and Japan.

What distinguishes this contest is that the 62 judges are, with few exceptions, technical experts—dairy-science professors, professional cheese graders and quality-control specialists who spend their workdays tasting cheese for defects. Other major competitions typically include judges who are cheesemongers, distributors and others on the selling end of the business. These folks tend to focus more on aesthetic features and less on the flaws—like a soft spot or slits in the interior—that consumers don’t notice.

Here are the top three finishers and note the closeness:

Gourmino Le Gruyère AOP (score: 98.81)
Gallus Grand Cru from Hardegger Käse (score: 98.70)
Lutjewiinkel Noord Hollandse Gouda PDO (score: 98.66)

Phot0: Kral Photography

Spycher gets his milk from a dozen dairy farms, all within four kilometers of the creamery. He makes the cheese just like every other Gruyère producer, following the procedures required by the AOP (appellation law). Still, his cheese is different, Salonia believes, citing notes of consommé, sautéed leeks and vanilla. “It’s assertive but balanced,” says the sales rep, “with so many notes playing at once.” Many factors could separate his cheese from the pack: the microflora on the dairy farms or in his caves; his handling techniques in the cellar; or his skill in selecting the perfect wheel to submit.

As a media guest, I had the opportunity to taste the final round alongside the judges. My own notes describe the Gruyère’s aroma as “brothy; roasted onion,” echoing Salonia’s. “This is a star,” I wrote. Not everyone agreed. I spoke to one judge post-results who thought the Gruyère was too grainy. Although judges taste blind, you can’t mistake a Gruyère; the name is on the rind.

Two-time winner: Michael Spycher

Spycher has been making cheese since he was 15; he’s now 53. He also produces the fabulous Hornbacher. The 80-pound wheels of Gruyère spend their first four months in his cellar, then move to Gourmino’s mountain bunker where affinage experts tend it for the next few months. The winning wheel was 13 months old and Spycher, not Gourmino, selected it.

Salonia compares Spycher’s Gruyère to that racehorse that hangs back until the last stretch. “It takes off at the 10-month mark,” he says, “and starts getting its own flavor profile.” For retail sources, click here.

Want to taste this two-time world champion? Join me on Wednesday, April 15, in Napa, for a cheese class devoted to some of the world’s finest raw-milk cheeses, including Michael Spycher’s Gruyère.

Categories: Food

Your Next Great Meal

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 9, 2020 - 10:30am
Treat yourself to a pastelón, a Puerto Rican lasagna of plantains, cheese and picadillo, dotted with raisins. It’s a dish to dream about.
Categories: Food

What to Cook This Week

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 8, 2020 - 10:30am
Start off strong with a creamy turmeric pasta, move into a Tater Tot hot dish, and round out Friday with chicken paprikash.
Categories: Food

Red Space Lettuce Might Feed Red Planet Astronauts

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 8, 2020 - 9:19am
Leafy vegetables grown by astronauts aboard the International Space Station were as healthful as lettuce on Earth, a study found.
Categories: Food