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Kala NyxKala Nyx finds the science and romance of cheese fascinating. "As Market of Choice's Cheese Merchandiser, I work with amazing people from all over the Northwest and the world to find the finest products for our foodie customers," she says.

IMG9504771 resizedIMG9504821 resizedOne of the best things about going to a big food show, like the January’s Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, is the amazing people you meet.

I was on my way to check out a shiny, red phone booth at the Somerdale Cheese booth when someone asked me, “Would you like to meet Mary Quicke?” The question stopped me in my tracks, and the fastest “Yes, please!” jumped out of my mouth. Up until that moment, I’d only tasted the fantastic British cheddars that Mary has made on her family farm for the last 29 years, and I was already a fan.

If you look at Mary’s heritage—she’s the 14th generation to live on the 450-year-old Quicke family farm—that’s pretty impressive all by itself. Her father, Sir John, built the dairy 40 years ago, where their cheddars are handmade, clothbound and naturally matured.

While some cheeses are “encouraged” to age quickly to meet shipping deadlines, Quicke’s cheddars are allowed to naturally mature. Mary routinely tastes and selects them when they are ready to be released to market. They are the largest British cheddar maker to produce naturally matured cheeses and also one of the UK’s leading award-winners at competition.

Mary was kind and delightful, leading the happy group of cheese fans I was with through a tasting of her world-famous cheeses and a couple new cheddars she’s working on bringing to market. She referenced the heritage starter cultures that give the cheese the slightly chewy texture that the brand is famous for. We all enjoyed chatting with her and snapped a couple photos before her next round of fans stepped up to the cheeseboard.

If Mary didn’t have enough on her plate with the farm and keeping the cheddar lovers of the world happy, she’s also a regular on the judging circuit at competitions. And although she’s in high demand at cheese competitions, Mary also judges other agricultural competitions and shows. I even found her listed as a judge for a short story competition! With her monthly blog, called Mary’s Dairy Diary, she provides fans updates on how things are shaping up at the farm with the weather, crops, cows and cheese. She tops off the blog with a recipe that is so tempting, I think to myself, “Dinner with Mary?—Yes, please!”

20150529 163747 resizedEDITEDThere’s nothing as wonderful as summer in Oregon – the great festivals, the fresh berries and other amazing produce coming in from local farms, and the fresh air! Speaking of fresh air – who doesn’t love riding a bike with the roses blooming and the sun shining?

Right now, in your Market Cheese Shops, we’re displaying three fantastic Dutch Gazelle cruisers to be given away! These bikes will go to three lucky customers on June 11th, when we hold our drawing. So now is the time to visit your Cheese Steward and sign up!

While you’re there, be sure to taste the amazing Dutch Goudas that are featured in our current issue of Savories, including Rembrandt, Vincent and Vermeer for $2lb off the everyday price. These cheeses are firm enough to take on a day trip and soft enough to break apart for a savory, crystal-studded bite of nutty, caramel toned goodness! The fantastic flavor of these cheeses will prove why this is called the “Master’s series!"

So hurry in, and don’t miss the chance to win a bike and take these masterpiece cheeses home at a great price!


The Inn at the Commons in the heart of Medford, Oregon, was the place to be for great food, wine and beer as part of the Cheesemaker’s Benefit Dinner on Friday March 13th, the evening before the 11th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival.

Eagar to check out this special event for the first time, I was excited to see some of my favorite people from the world of cheese and find out more about the fantastic menu I’d been teased by on the Oregon Cheese Guild’s website.

I immediately ran into Francis Plowman, marketing manager of Rogue Creamery, as well as owner David Gremmels, who ushered me toward an amazing spread of fantastic Oregon cheeses, fresh fruit and nuts. While in the line for the cheese table, I met Katie Bray and was thrilled to learn that she has been named executive director of the Guild, which has always been made up of and managed by volunteers and cheesemakers, who can’t break away from their operations to attend to Guild business during certain times of year.

For anyone who might wonder what in the world a Guild is, it’s an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal. The four major goals of the Oregon Cheese Guild are:
1)    Increasing awareness of Oregon artisanal cheeses.
2)    Education of its members.
3)    As a platform for sales opportunities.
4)    As a forum to interact with other cheesemakers.   

Organizations like this don’t run on passion alone, they need cold, hard cash! Annual fundraisers for the Guild include the Oregon Cheese Festival, held every March at Rogue Creamery in Central Point, and The Wedge, Portland’s Celebration of Cheese. The Cheesemaker’s Dinner kicks off the Festival in a fantastic way, for a lovely start to a weekend of eating well. So, let’s talk about this dinner!

The appetizer hour was fantastic. In addition to Oregon cheesemakers, other fine folks representing California (Peggy & Sue from Cowgirl Creamery) and Vermont (Allison from Vermont Butter & Cheese and Jeremy from Springbrook Farm) were in attendance, as were other retailers, such Gordon Edgar cheese buyer extraordinaire for Rainbow Coop in San Francisco and Sheri LaVigne from The Calf & Kid. There were distributors from New York to the Northwest looking for great new eats to bring to markets.

20150313 193630It was exciting to hear the cheesemakers talk about their new creations, like the cows’ milk washed rinds from Briar Rose in Dundee, known for its fantastic goats’ milk cheeses. Then there was Cheesorizo, a new project of Pholia Farm that’s made with cows’ milk instead of goats’ milk. This is a cheese “sausage” kind of a ricotta with fantastic spices that’s great when cooked in a skillet and added to, well, everything!

My table was a fun mix of Chelsea from Rogue Creamery, a distributor from New York named Dimitri, Lisa Carlson from DPI Specialty Foods, who was my lovely host and car pool partner for the night, Sheri from the Calf & Kid, and two fantastic cheese enthusiasts who are long-time Market of Choice shoppers! Dinner was four courses of fabulous pairings with local fare, cheese and wine beautifully assembled by Chef Chad Smith from Lark’s Restaurant.20150313 200120

Course 1 (above): Confit Organic Chicken with Blackeyed Pea “Risotto” with OSU Beaver Classic Cheese, Tomato-Viognier Sabayon and Watercress. Amazing! The chicken nearly jumped off the bone, and the cheesy “risotto” had the most fantastic texture and lovely balance of salt. What a way to start dinner!

Course 2 (right): Rare Seared Peppercorn-Crusted Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with Shaved Ancient Heritage Hannah Cheese, Dijon Vinaigrette, Fried Capers and Diakon Radish. Holy moly this was good – the contrasting  texture of the ahi and the cheese was delightful, and the peppercorn against the fried capers were so bright and zingy!

20150313 202836Course 3 (left): Braised Kurobuta Pork Cheeks with Bing Cherry-Infused Pan Jus, Arugula and Hazelnut Oil, Grilled Ciabatta and Face Rock Creamery Mozzarella Curds and Fromage Blanc. The combination of pork cheeks and the cherry pan jus was almost enough to make me fall off my chair, but then I tried the Face Rock Mozzarella curds that had been warmed and stretched into a spiral around the Fromage Blanc – that was some genius at work, the way the mozzarella’s salt and structure contrasted against the fresh milkiness of the Fromage. I’m recreating it the next chance I get!

Course 4 (right): Olive Oil Sponge Cake with White Chocolate Sea Salt Mousse, whipped Fern’s Edge Chevre Chantilly, Orange Marmalade and Honey Caviar. I may have said some indecent things when this plate was set in front of me; it’s all kind of a blur at this point. There were moans coming from every table in the room, as we tasted the bliss of this airy sponge cake in combination with the Chantilly and its brush of sea salt that made my head spin – incredible! I’m still a little weak in the knees just thinking about20150313 205913 it.

Punctuating the fantastic food was some great speaking moments by Oregon cheesemakers, vintners, brewers and the sparkling and informative John Greeley, who has experienced an amazing amount of American artisanal cheese history and has the stories to prove it! This evening was so much more than I could’ve hoped or expected.

It was a truly special opportunity to be near people who are doing great work in the wonderful state in which I live, along with guests from near and far who appreciate everything these producers are working so hard to offer. This may have been my first year at this dinner, but it will definitely not be my last!    

For more info about the Oregon Cheese Guild and its members, go to
141016HarvestCheeseSale-smMaybe it’s the beauty of the leaves turning colors, or the crisp air and return of the rain after a long summer, but to me one of the best things about October is the Harvest Cheese Sale!

Come visit your Market Cheese Shop from October 16-19 to taste some new favorites, and take a shot at the Guess the Weight of the Wheel contest. The grand prize this year is a mini BBQ, a football helmet fondue pot and one of each of the Harvest Sale items.

I’m always thrilled to gather amazing items for the Harvest Cheese Sale. Being able to find tasty things at fantastic prices is your Market Cheese Shop’s way of kicking off the holiday season. This year’s sale features a fun variety of textures and flavors.

Among our cheese selections are a variety of textures and flavors made of cows’ milk. Choose from Marinated Feta from Australia, creamy Joan of Arc Brie, or Rogue Creamery Blue Heaven, a powdered blue cheese that can also be sprinkled over popcorn.

We also have great goats’ milk cheeses available. Look for tangy chèvre and another version of the same spreadable treat rolled in herbs from Vermont. For the goat cheese lovers that like to slice and snack, try Billie’s Goat Cheddar from England.

That’s just a few of the cheeses you’ll be able to snag at great prices, while supplies last! There will also be a couple of fun, non-cheese items on the sale: Columbus Salame from San Francisco and adorable mini toasts from Three Little Pigs.

Mid-October’s shift in the weather is also a get excuse to have your first Raclette dinner of the season! In the 10/17 issue of Savories, our two-week circular, your Market Cheese Shop features three amazing flavored Raclettes from Emmi Roth USA. These cheeses are perfect over a plate of oven-roasted veggies, or melt them easily on a rustic pizza. Emmi Roth USA is a proud partner of the No Kid Hungry campaign, which is dedicated to ending child hunger in America by access, education and awareness. Learn more about No Kid Hungry at

For Halloween, our Savories ad offers no tricks, just great prices on some of your favorite cheeses! Parmigiano-Reggiano, Cave-Aged Gruyere and Emmentaler Swiss will all be discounted $2 lb, just in time for fondue, French onion Soup and pasta dinners.

Enjoy the glory of October with all the fun features at your Market Cheese Shop!

140725KalaNyxCheeseBlog2Used by ancient Egyptians as currency and Native Americans to preserve fruit, honey has a wide range of applications, including being used for thousands of years as a base for folk medicinal recipes.

Its long history of being sought after and harvested is ever-present today, with people installing bee hives in their back yards to encourage the growth of honey bee populations and to produce more balance in the local environment, as well as more honey in local markets.

How do people use it? Some fellow Oregonians consume this sweet stuff daily for immunotherapy against allergens, embracing the theory that eating local honey produced by close-to-home can build up, in tiny amounts, the pollen spores within the body, reducing or eliminating allergic reactions people have to the same pollen during allergy seasons.

While I love the history and the fact that honey has lots of healthful, healing and environmental benefits – the truth is, I just want to eat it! I love it in my coffee, drizzled over fresh nectarine slices to top a wheel of Brie, and mixed with spicy, seedy mustard to glaze chicken. Sometimes, I even like a straight spoonful as an afternoon lift. The range of flavor intensity is as stunning to me as the color of a piece of honeycomb paired with great cheese and charcuterie. And it’s the perfect way to top cool yogurt on a hot day.

At your Market Cheese Shops, we are proud to feature honey from around the corner and around the world. Come by and taste a few and bring a little sweetness to your summer!
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