Month: April 2018
Food Tourism Destinations To Inspire Your Next Trip
Food tourism is becoming one of the biggest trends in travel today. We absolutely love traveling to experience different foods and will regularly decide where to go based on the delicious dishes that can be found there. Whether you’re traveling within the US or further afield, we’ve put together some of the top food tourism destinations that are sure to have your mouth watering.
Portuguese food is really exciting: a fun mix of seafood and decadent desserts. If you’ve ever had a Pasteis de Nata, a traditional custard tart, then you’ll know what we are talking about. These originate from Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon, which is a must-visit for any foodie traveler. Bacalhau is another national dish of Portugal. This dried, salted cod is served in a variety of ways. It might be a bit of an acquired taste but it’s certainly something to try.
The home of pizza, this is a must if you love a slice. Don’t expect a deep dish or something smothered with sauce, though. The Italian approach is all about fresh ingredients and a less is more style. Think thin crusts, fresh tomatoes, basil, and oozing mozzarella. Naples is also right by the sea, so it’s certainly a food tourism haven for seafood lovers. Try a spaghetti vongole for a fresh dish packed with flavor.
Whilst some supposed food tourism destinations are criticized for serving watered down versions of their favorite dishes to tourists, this is certainly not something people say about Japan. In Tokyo, you’ll find traditional dishes alongside brilliant innovative techniques and twists on classics from around the world. You can also try Japanese whisky whilst you’re there, which is some of the finest in the world.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In 2014, the Markthal opened in the center of Rotterdam. A huge, arched structure housing 96 food stalls and restaurants, this is a great food tourism destination for a city break. The walls of the market contain a huge artwork called the Horn of Plenty, leading some to refer to the Markthal as the Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam. Here you can try plenty of Dutch cuisine as well as foods from around the world.
Of course, we had to include our own state! We love getting visitors from around the world here at Shisler’s Cheese House. Ohio is renowned for its cheeses and amazing fruits and vegetables. Pop in and you’ll find a huge range of local cheeses including Ohio Swiss Cheese, alongside locally made maple syrup, Troyer’s Trail Bologna, Tony Packo’s pickles, Amish peanut butter, and Uncle Mike’s Beef Jerky. You could even head to the original Tony Packo’s over in Toledo while you’re in the state.
We hope you enjoyed our food tourism ideas. There are so many places to explore but hopefully, this will inspire you to start planning your next trip. Where would you most like to visit? Let us know in the comments!
How to Create a Beautiful Table Setting
Whether you’re entertaining a large group, having your neighbors over for a weeknight supper or simply cooking at home, sometime you want to add some sparkle to your table. That’s where we come in. Read on to find all of our tableware and table decoration tips for a great table setting.
- Fresh flowers
Flowers make a huge difference to a table. Buy seasonal flowers for extra color. Place a large bouquet in the centre of the table or create small posies around the table. Mix complementary colors and consider the color scheme of your home when choosing.
Whilst traditional confetti might not be amazing for the environment, you can create a beautiful effect on a table with natural or reusable confetti. Try dried flower petals or felt confetti. If it’s a holiday, find something that fits with this. Sprinkle it across the table before you put anything else down.
- A Centrepiece
This really depends on the season and occasion, but putting something in the centre of the table can really draw the look together. You can use flowers or foliage, or something less natural. You could create something rustic yourself or buy something ready made. You might have a family centrepiece that you always use or you could create on that represents your family. You can even use fresh fruits and vegetables to create a beautiful look, especially during harvest season.
Great candles not only add a great look to your table, but they provide romantic lighting. You want to use tall dinner candles on candle holders or a chandelier, so that your guests don’t need to reach over a hot flame. Choose unscented candles, as you don’t want the scent to affect your dining experience.
- A table cloth or table runner
A table cloth will cover the whole table, whereas a table runner covers the centre of the table. This is great if you’re going to put dishes on the table for people to help themselves from as it provides a layer for them to sit on. Both will protect your table but they can also look great. Consider picking a color scheme and working to it.
You’re going to need glassware on the table, so why not make it part of your table setting look? You don’t always have to use clear glassware, so it could fit with your color scheme. You can put out several glasses for each person. Ensure that they have symmetry at each place setting so that it looks beautiful.
We hope these tips will help you to set a table that takes your dinner to the next level. As a general rule, try to pick a color scheme or seasonal theme and run with it. Don’t be afraid to mix up your glassware and plates to create an original look.
How do you decorate your table? Let us know in the comments!
21 Cheese Street: 21 Interesting, Unique and Mind-blowing Cheese Facts
Cheese is one of the most loved and consumed foods around the world. Its a general term used to describe various milk-based products. Here are some facts that you may not know about cheese.
There is no exact information regarding the origin of cheese, archaeological studies have shown the origin of cheese dates as far back as 6000 BC. Studies also show that during that era cheese was made from cow’s milk and goats in Mesopotamia.
There are more than 2000 varieties of cheese available worldwide, mozzarella is the favorite around the globe, and the most consumed.
People of Greece are the largest consumers of cheese worldwide. An average person from Greece consumes around 27.3 kg of cheese every year, about ¾ of which is feta cheese.
Pizza Hut is the largest cheese-using fast food giant, it uses approximately 300 million pounds of cheese annually, mostly on pizza.
Cheese production around the globe is more than the combined worldwide production of coffee, tobacco, tea, and cocoa beans.
The first cheese factory was established in Switzerland in 1815, however successful mass production began in 1851 in the United States.
Contrary to popular belief cheese, eaten in moderate quantities, is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus. It’s saturated fat content is responsible for its bad reputation.
In the United States the month of June is National Dairy Month and the last week of June is National Cheese Week.
Cheese can be produced using a variety of milk including cow, buffalo, goat, horse, and even camel.
A whopping 20 million metric tons of cheese is produced worldwide each year and production is increasing with growing demand.
Approximately 10 pounds of milk is required to make one pound of cheese. If it wasn’t for cheese a lot of milk would have been wasted.
Cheese is kept for a period of time before its ready to eat. Some varieties of cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola, and brie are exposed to mold which helps them age properly.
During the Roman Empire large Roman houses had separate kitchens for manufacturing cheese only, they were called careale.
Some varieties of cheese like mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss and American, help prevent tooth decay. It promotes the flow of saliva which leads to elimination of sugar and acids from the mouth.
Another benefit associated with cheese is that it helps protect tooth enamel and has an antibacterial effect. If consumed in moderate quantities it has various health benefits.
Cheesemaking has been around for nearly 4,000 years, according to the International Dairy Foods Association.Though no one really knows who made the very first cheese, historical records indicate that travelers from Asia brought their technique of cheesemaking to Europe before the Roman Empire.
Today, there are over over 2,000 varieties of cheeses.
As a country, the U.S. produces the most cheese in the world annually.
U.S. per capita cheese consumption is about 34 pounds per person—that’s more than one full ton of cheese during the average lifetime. The French eat the most cheese, putting away an average of 57 pounds per person a year.
Mozzarella cheese is the biggest-selling cheese variety in the U.S., followed by Cheddar.
The world’s most expensive sandwich is Serendipity’s “Quintessential Grilled Cheese” made with Caciocavallo Podolico cheese, a rare Italian variety made from the milk of free-ranging cows fed a diet of fennel grasses and wild strawberries, with a truffle spread and gold flakes. It retails for $214.
Check out “Amazing Facts about Jaggery”
Want more cheese history, facts and tastes, stop by Shisler’s Cheese House to get all the latest 101 on everything cheese!
Hiking? The Snacks to Take Along With You
As the weather warms up, we know that some of you will be heading into the outdoors for some hiking. Whether you’re tackling a gentle walk or your nearest mountain, we’ve got the snacks to keep you fueled up.
1. Trail Mix
The clue is absolutely in the name. When you’re on the trail, eat trail mix.
Our original trail mix is packed with nuts and dried fruit. Our diet trail mix is great if you’re hiking to get fit. Buggy trail mix has butter toffee peanuts, honey roasted sesame sticks, cheddar crackers, pretzel nuggets, and wheat crackers. They’re sure to keep you walking even when the going gets tough.
We also offer a banana split mix which contains cranberries, banana chips, almonds, chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate drops, pineapple tidbits, raisins, yogurt covered peanuts, peanuts, and yogurt drops. You could also try Mikey’s Mix which is packed with nuts and chocolate treats in case you need an extra incentive to keep hiking.
If you’ve got time, you could try making your own trail mix. Check out our gourmet foods section and pick your favorite things to mix up.
2. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a great source of energy while you’re hiking. We especially love dried strawberries, kiwi, banana chips, and pineapple.
We also offer Think Fruit Dried Fruit Snacks in a variety of flavors, packaged up and ready for you to take out on the trail.
Jerky is full of protein which makes it perfect for hiking. Try our Uncle Mike’s Beef Jerky, which we offer in Mild, Hot or Teriyaki flavor. It’s easy to pack and pull out as you’re walking.
We have a great range of nuts including peanuts, pistachios, and cashews. They’re a healthy source of protein and fats. You can even create your own mixes of them or take along sachets of nut butter to snack on.
5. Energy bars
There are loads of different energy bars out there, but most of them are great for keeping you on the go. Take your favorites along with you hiking and remember to pack a few for your friends as well.
We hope that these ideas will help you to plan your next hiking trip. Remember to take plenty of water along with you to keep hydrated. Make sure that you plan your route and take along a map to keep you safe. Appropriate footwear, layers and waterproof clothing will keep you warm and dry – we know that the weather can be unpredictable sometimes!
Where is your favorite hiking spot? What snacks do you like to take along? Let us know in the comments!
10 Uses for Jams and Jellies
Whether you love trying different jams and jellies, or you have made lots yourself, sometimes you need to find a way to use some up. Especially at this time of year, when you’ll be thinking about making new jams with all of the lovely summer fruit.
Read on to find out some of our tips and tricks for using up jams and jellies.
You don’t always have to use strawberry or raspberry jam to sandwich cakes together. Try out different flavor combinations and find your favorites.
This might sound a little odd, but trust us: it’s delicious. A little sweetness can go a long way to turning a good gravy into a great gravy. Add a teaspoon at a time and keep tasting; you don’t want to overpower it.
Stir jams and jellies into plain yogurt to create a delicious and easy dessert. It’s perfect for when you’re craving something sweet but you don’t want to leave the house.
4. Salad Dressings
Sometimes you might add a little sugar or honey to a salad dressing for sweetness. Try jam instead! Make sure you taste it before pouring it over your salad to make sure that you’ve got the flavors right. A great tip is to take a leaf or veggie from your salad and dip it into the dressing to taste. This way you get to try the flavors together, instead of tasting dressing on its own.
5. Grilled Cheese
We’ve mentioned this before, but jam or jelly can take your grilled cheese to the next level. We especially love this with cheeses like ricotta or mascarpone, but hard cheeses like gouda work well with fruit as well.
As the weather warms up and you start to think about cooking on the barbecue, try using jelly as a glaze for meats. Mix your jelly with a little water and heat over a low heat until it is a brushable glaze. Then simply brush it onto the meat.
Any cocktail that is shaken can have a spoonful of jam added to it. We especially love apricot jam in a mojito, but this is definitely something to experiment with. Make sure that you give everything a good shake before serving.
Pop jams and jellies on the table when you’re serving pancakes and watch them get eaten up! This is especially good with whipped cream.
Oatmeal with a dollop of jam on top is a true joy. Try different flavors to find your favorite. You’ll never have a boring bowl for breakfast again.
Sandwich biscuits together with jam or even add a little to the batter to create an added sweetness. This is a quick and easy way to add excitement to your baking. It’s also a fun way to get the kids involved in the kitchen!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list. If you need some jam or jelly to try out these ideas, we’ve got you covered. Which will you try? Let us know in the comments!
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How to Create a Charcuterie Board
We’ve shown you how to create a balanced cheeseboard before, but today we want to help you create a great charcuterie board. Add a bottle of wine, and you’ve got a party! Read on to find out about all of our tips. We hope that it will inspire you to host your family or friends and treat them to a selection of your favorites.
- Think about colors and textures
You want to make your charcuterie board as vibrant and interesting as possible. Try to include a variety of colors and textures that will entice your guests. After all, they do say that we eat with our eyes first. Arrange the board so that the colors create contrast and draw you in.
- Create abundance
Try to make your board look as full as possible so that it seems like there is a real abundance of fantastic food on offer. If you’re serving a small group, use a smaller board so that you can still pile the produce high. Try layering each item up so that there is enough for all of your guests. You want them to be able to try everything instead of holding back.
- Include a variety of flavors
This is probably the easiest part of the process. Select some of your favorite meats, but try to think about your guests as well. Include both smoked and non-smoked meats, as well as sausage styles. Check out our selection – you’re sure to find something for every palate.
4. Add seasonal fruit
This is a great way to add color and flavor to your board. It will also give your guests a chance to experiment with different flavors. Classics would be apples or figs, but we know that you’ll find something original to try.
5. Find great jams, pickles, and preserves
We love adding pots of delicious preserves to a charcuterie board. Simply serve the jar and a spoon to encourage your guests not to be shy to try them. This will look much more elegant than trying to spoon it onto the board. Check out our Jams & Jellies and Pickles & Peppers sections.
6. Try something unexpected
Everyone has seen a charcuterie board with some simple cheeses and meats, so try to add an element of surprise. You could try nuts, crackers in unusual flavors or other snacks to add crunch to the board. You could even serve some chocolate for your guests to try. Experiment with your own ideas and see what your guests love.
We hope that you have enjoyed our charcuterie board tips. As always, try out different things to find the ones that you and your family love. Remember, if you pop into the store we are always on hand to help you pick out brilliant pairings. We can also recommend wine to drink with your charcuterie and cheese.
What would be on your perfect charcuterie board? Let us know in the comments!
Peanut Butter: The Perfect Addition to your Baking
We love finding new baking ideas and we also love peanut butter, so today we are combining the two to share with you some fun ideas for baking with peanut butter.
- Peanut Butter Cookies
Best served with a glass of milk, these are a true classic. Add peanut butter to your cookie batter or spread it on top. You can go for straight peanut butter or add chocolate – choose your favorite. Cookies also make great ice cream sandwiches!
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Mix the peanut butter into the cheese, use peanut butter cookies in the base, or even create a peanut butter topping. You could even chop some Heggy’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Creams and stir them in. However you decide to bring peanut butter into your cheesecake, you know that it will be delicious.
- Peanut Butter Brownies
Take your favorite brownie batter and swirl in some peanut butter. You could even add a crunchy topping with some crushed up Peanut Butter Pretzels. Try a blondie with white chocolate if you have a really sweet tooth.
- Peanut Butter S’mores
Just when you thought s’mores couldn’t get any better, we added peanut butter! You can do this in a couple of different ways. Either make a normal s’more and add a smear of peanut butter to one of your graham crackers or replace your chocolate with a peanut butter cup. You could even add some caramel if you want a real treat.
5. Peanut Butter Pancakes
Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast. They make a great dessert too! This filling will work for both. Put peanut butter, chocolate chips and slices of banana in your crepes before rolling them up.
6. Peanut Butter Sundae
Create a sauce by heating 3 parts caramel, 1 part peanut butter and 1 part milk until it is smooth. Pour it into the bottom of your sundae glass. Layer it with ice cream, banana, caramel, and any other ingredients that you like. Top with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts.
7. Peanut Butter Popcorn
Combine peanut butter with syrup to drizzle over popcorn. This is a messy treat so make sure that you have cloths on hand to clean up!
8. Protein bars
If you want to create a healthier treat that will give you plenty of energy, make a peanut butter based protein bar. These can be made with peanut butter, honey, protein powder, and oatmeal, but there are lots of different recipes out there.
Have you been inspired to bake with peanut butter? Then pick up a jar of our Amish Peanut Butter Spread today. Made locally from a special blend of all natural ingredients, it’s sweet and creamy, with a soft and silky texture, perfect for baking.
If you plan to serve these at a party or take them along to an event, please be careful to ensure that no-one present has a nut allergy and always label your dish stating its ingredients. We would hate for someone’s baking to become a health risk.
How to Start Cooking from Scratch
We know that lots of you are avid cooks already, but some of you will still be learning. We’ve put together our tips for cooking from scratch.
- Stock your cupboards
If you’re going to be cooking food from scratch, then, of course, you are going to need food to cook. Start by making sure your fridge has basics including butter, milk, and cheese. Pick something like a cheddar which will be useful in almost any cheese dish.
For baking, you will need eggs, all-purpose flour, cake flour and pastry flour on hand.
Grab some pantry staples such as canned tomatoes, dried pasta and rice. Pick up some basic herbs and spices, as well as olive oil. Sometimes you can buy a pack of herbs and spices, but a good place to start would be with some salt, pepper, dried oregano, basil and parsley, bay leaves, ground cumin, paprika, chili powder, and garlic. You could also stock up on vinegars and sauces.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to cooking, but these basics will give you a good head start when it comes to making most recipes.
- Get the right equipment
If you’ve never been a cooking fan before, you might not have the right utensils. At the very least, you will need a standard cooking pot, frying pan, spatula, mixing spoon, mixing bowl and a roasting tray. These will get you so far but you’ll gradually want to add more items as you get more adventurous. Looking out for back to school sales, when stores often have great kitchen packs available.
- Plan your meals
To avoid randomly shopping and then creating food waste or being unsure what to make, plan your meals. Find recipes in books or online and use these to make your grocery shopping list for the week. If you are really new to cooking, you might want to commit to only cooking from scratch one day a week, or at the weekend, so keep in mind that you can be flexible with your plan.
- Start simple
You don’t need to wake up one morning and attempt to be a world-renowned chef. Start with simple dishes that you would like to conquer. These could even be side dishes, to begin with. Find a recipe and read it all the way through before beginning to cook. Make sure that you have everything you need, including the equipment required. Follow each step in turn and pay close attention to make sure that you use each ingredient.
- Ask for help
If you know someone who is a great cook, ask them if they might consider giving you some lessons in exchange for a fun evening or even a bottle of wine. If you don’t know anyone with cooking skills, you can also find great courses online or even simply watch YouTube videos. This is great for techniques such as how to chop vegetables or how to check that something is cooked.
We hope that you have enjoyed our tips to help you start cooking from scratch. If you’re an experienced cook, share your top tips in the comments!