Archive | 6:33 pm

Belle Chevre Goat Cheese from Alabama

11 Jan


My first exposure to Belle Chevre Goat Cheese was the above article which appeared in the December 2008 issue of Garden & Gun magazine. Great magazine — and really great  cheese. Intrigued by the article, I contacted Belle Chevre’s lovely owner Tasia Malakasis and asked her to send us some samples for review. The package arrived a couple days back and we have been thoroughly enjoying its contents.

The first cheese we tried was the Moroccan Gold spread, which is a deliciously smooth blend of goat cheese, honey, curry powder, and cranberries. The slightly sweet spread tasted just terrific on top of a Ritz cracker. We were also extremely impressed with the Chevre de Provence, a fresh tasting goat cheese soaked in extra virgin olive oil with herbs de Provence. It truly blows store–bought goat cheese away … especially in terms of freshness. Just amazing stuff!


Can’t wait to try the rest — those reviews will follow in the coming days. Meanwhile, we suggest you read Tasia’s story below and take a brief tour of their very well constructed web site. Keep up the fine work, Tasia. We are pleased to welcome you to the inner circle.

Twenty years ago, an Alabama woman named Liz Parnell visited Paris with her husband. The romantic sights of the city captivated her, but it was the cuisine with which she truly fell in love. Especially the chèvres. After her first bite of goat cheese, she knew she had to find a way to get the same great cheese at home. That lead to the creation of Fromagerie Belle Chèvre. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, all four of Belle Chèvre’s distinct chèvres have won numerous awards for taste, quality and authenticity. We’re recognized as one of the best chèvre creameries in the United States, and arguably the world, by the American Cheese Society and The American Goat Dairy Association. Even internationally-acclaimed cheese expert Steven Jenkins calls our cheese an “American Treasure.” 

This year, Belle Chèvre’s legacy of excellence is being passed to Tasia Malakasis, who comes from a successful career in high-tech marketing software. Why the switch from a fast-paced, no-nonsense world to a slow, careful one? One word: passion.

Tasia’s interest in creating fine food led her down many paths, including a stint at the Culinary Institute of America. It was during this time that she discovered Belle Chèvre’s cheese at Dean and Deluca in New York City. Impressed, Tasia wound up contacting Liz, convincing her to teach her how to make cheese –– and, after gaining her trust over time, to lead the business.

“I am pleased to be passing the business I built on to someone with passion and the desire to bring fine, hand-crafted cheeses to the market,” said Liz Parnell, Owner Emeritus.

“It was fateful, I believe, that out of all of the grand cheeses in that store I would pick up one from a creamery that is just 20 miles from my home in Alabama. It was love at first bite,” said Tasia.

Stretch Island Fruit Leather

11 Jan


Now I know you might be just a bit hesitant to stick something called leather in your pie hole. However, this may be one exception to consider. The fruit chews made by Stretch Island in the Pacific NW (Grapeview, WA) are delicious and quite healthy for you.

I’ve enjoyed every flavor I have tried — and the choices are endless. In fact, I’m knawing on a Harvest Grape strip as I write this piece. Apple, cherry, mango, coconut, pomegranate, apricot, raspberry … they have you covered. It’s just pure fruit puree concentrate — no artificial ingredients or added sugars/corn syrups.

Here’s a little history on the company … pulled from their web site:

We came together with the goal of making life simpler, sweeter, and healthier. We put our hearts and minds into crafting all-natural fruit leather, and after a time, the Stretch Island Fruit Company™ was founded in a humble laundry room on Stretch Island, Washington. That was 1976, and while we’ve long since outgrown the laundry room, our values remain the same.

We at Stretch Island Fruit Company™ have made a simple, pure promise to make it easy for people to enjoy fruit every day.

The world has changed since the company was founded, and we think that in this busy new world of endless choice and easy fixes, the nutritional needs of children need more attention. So we created FruitaBü®, the, delicious, and nutritious Organic Smoooshed Fruit™ foods that bring the goodness of real fruit to children so that they can enjoy it anywhere, any time. or shop for them at Wal-Mart or Whole Foods Markets in your part of the world.