Well here we are back in the swing of things as we start 2011. I have gotten back to the routine of my 5 farmers markets at the Central Coast. It feels good to have normalcy and routine. It is nice to see my customers and especially nice to see some sunshine.
I also got to stop by Cal Poly SLO to visit Chica and “thank” her for her Christmas gift to me…yes a gift from a cow. I got to tell her how much I love it and how special it is to me. I got to share with her all of the lovely compliments I receive every time I wear it. Everyone loves the beautiful pendant of Chica and I that is represented in my logo.
This thoughtful gift was made possible by Dr Kathy Swift owner of www.cowartandmore.com She is a dear friend in my social media world. Not only is she a large vet in Florida but she designs and makes agriculture themed jewelry. She also showcases and sells other wonderful artists work that is also cow and agricultural based. Check out her website and see all the wonderful items she has. I like to visit to be “WOW’d” by her talent and those of the artists she represents.
At the markets so many people ask me “What is Fromage Blanc”? I try to explain it as quick and easy as possible…”It’s a yummy, soft, spreadable, fresh cheese that you can eat with anything”. Below though, courtesy of New England Cheese Company, they share a much more detailed explanation. (Thank you New England Cheese Co.)
What is it?
Fromage Blanc is a fresh, easy-to-make cheese. Of French origin, its name simply means “white cheese” and it makes an excellent cheese spread with herbs and spices added to it.
It can also be used by itself as a substitute for cream cheese or ricotta in cooking. It can have the consistency of a cream cheese with a fraction of the calories and cholesterol. It can also be made to have the texture of sour cream or a thick drained yogurt. You can also make this with either whole or skim milk so you can make it as lean or as rich as you care to.
Yes, it is quite the versatile cheese!
Fromage Blanc compared to similar cheeses:
Fromage Blanc is prepared in much the same way as Creme Fraiche, but is made with milk instead of cream for a lower fat food. It is also more tart in flavor then Creme Fraiche and can be softer in texture so it can be used as a topping for soups and fruits and in other similar ways.
As mentioned above many folks compare Fromage Blanc to a drained or Greek style yogurt and often it is suggested as a replacement ingredient in recipes.
The fact is that these are very different from one another:
Fromage Blanc is made from bacteria working at low temperatures and with a bit of rennet added (included in our Fromage Blanc cultures). The milk for this never goes above body temperature so it is great for folks wanting to retain the good things from raw milk.
Yogurt on the other hand is made from a bacteria combo working at higher temperatures and no rennet is added. It also needs to be heated well beyond body temperature to 185-190F and thus destroying the natural flora and enzymes from raw milk. This is done to release the whey proteins which can then be used for better texture and food value in the yogurt.
Quark is another cheese quite often compared to Fromage Blanc. It is not so common in the US but in Germany and the rest of Europe it is easily found and quite popular. This is very similar to the Fromage Blanc and made at similar lower temperatures. The bacteria that are used for this are more aromatic and no rennet is used.