All from The Cheese Iron
This morning I joined Dawn at the The French Press Eatery in Westbrook for some coffee and doughnuts. I went there on a single mission, their Maple Bacon Doughnut. Now, mind you, these plans were made the previous Saturday while we were eating at Nosh. Correction.. While we were eating multiple variations of pork at Nosh(five to be exact). How I am not dead or struggling for breath at this moment is beyond me. I do know, however, that I ate half of the Maple bacon and a few forkfuls of the other two(Elvis-pb, banana and chocolate and Boston Cream) at 10 am and I am still full.
Words cannot describe how f’ing good these are. The base of the doughnuts are dense, without being heavy and the outsides are crunchy, yet not greasy. To say that these are the perfect doughnut would not be an exaggeration. Then add on the toppings and you are well into the realm of pure gluttony. The epitome of that fact came when Dawn took her first bite, into Elvis, and was thoroughly covered in peanut butter and chocolate. For a moment she looked like a child diving into an ice cream sundae. Fingers, lips and chin completely smeared with sugary goodness.
The Boston Cream was filled with a balanced vanilla pastry creme that didn’t come off as cloying. Topped with the same ganache as the Elvis it was the best play on a flavor that I usually pass over.
The Elvis was as much overkill as you would expect, with peanut butter running out off the sides and stuffed with thick slices of banana. It was so rich that it was almost too much, but it was so good that it was hard not to keep picking at it.
Now, I had a lot of high hopes in the Maple Bacon after Dawn’s rave of it and thankfully it did not fall short of any of them. Like the pastry creme, the maple glaze was just sweet enough and the salt, lent from the bacon, helped eek a bit more sugar out of it.
We picked them over, and finished off 2 french presses, during the course of 2 1/2 hours and still couldn’t finish. I’ve never been defeated by food and this was a first for me. I bow to the Brothers Tranchemontagne, and their family recipe, for creating one of the most beautifully sinful things I’ve ever eaten.
And thank you Dawn for showing me the light.
The Food Section listed the Semi-Finalists for the James Beard Awards. While this isn’t the final list, it’s nice to see a few new names representing Maine. Fingers crossed that at least one of them makes the final list when it comes out next month.
BEST CHEF: NORTHEAST
Mike Andrzejewski, Sea Bar, Buffalo, NY
Lara and Steve Atkins, The Kitchen Table Bistro, Richmond, VT
Stephen Cavagnaro, Cavey’s, Manchester, CT
Penelle Chase, Phoebe Chase, Megan Chase, and Ted Lafage, Chase’s Daily, Belfast, ME
Dante de Magistris, Il Casale, Belmont, MA
Krista Kern Desjarlais, Bresca, Portland, ME
Gabriel Frasca and Amanda Lydon, Straight Wharf Restaurant, Nantucket, MA
Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit, ME
Gerry Hayden, The North Fork Table & Inn, Southold, NY
Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden, ME
Steve Johnson, Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge, MA
Peter X. Kelly, Xaviar’s at Piermont, Piermont, NY
Michael LaScola, American Seasons, Nantucket, MA
Michael Leviton, Lumière, West Newton, MA
Tony Maws, Craigie on Main, Cambridge, MA
Marc Orfaly, Pigalle, Boston
Guy Reuge, Mirabelle at Three Village Inn, Stony Brook, NY
Bruce Tillinghast, New Rivers, Providence
Sai Viswanath, DeWolf Tavern, Bristol, RI
Eric Warnstedt, Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, VT
Just about three weeks ago the cheese making community in Maine lost one of it’s biggest contributors as Jennifer Betancourt, founder and co-owner of Silvery Moon Creamery, quietly walked away from the cheesevat that she manned for the past seven years.
Last December, Jen was featured in Liam Crotty’s updated “Freedom From Want”, based on the original from Norman Rockwell, photo that showed many of us, for the first time, some of the best of Maine’s food community.
Before Pineland Farms, now the biggest cow’s milk cheese producer in the state, there was Silvery Moon Creamery to lead the pack. Jen and her staff gained 5 American Cheese Society Awards–the Oscars of cheese for the geeks out there–and had recently published a 56 page study she conducted on aging options for cheese makers.
While she started with the basics, brie/camembert, cheddar and curds, she had recently moved on to lavender, vegetable ash(like an aged Morbier) and had even produced an aged raw milk cheese washed with Allagash beer. And then, what seemed to be overnight, it was all done.
I can sit here and speculate a million different theories or rumors as to why she left but my grandmother would remind me that it’s not my place, so I won’t. I know that Smiling Hill is suppose to be making their own cheese, though of the more mass produced variety and may or may not be doing so under the Silvery Moon label, but it won’t be the same. Luckily, though, you can still find some of the aged cheeses, that Jen had a hand in making, around at Whole Foods, Rosemont and K hortons.
Hopefully, as it’s been told to me, she won’t be keeping herself from the cheese vat for long. Here’s to hoping she decides to fill the void of a Maine produced sheep’s milk cheese.
Just weeks after saying they would go on a hiatus, Ferran Adrià has decided to permanently shut downEl Bulli in 2011.