Do Mice Really Like Cheese?
We all know the image of a mouse eating some cheese. It’s prevalent in cartoons and we even chose it for our own logo. Many of us would first think to use cheese if we were hoping to catch a mouse. So, we thought it was about time that we found out: do mice really like cheese?
The simple answer: yes! But it’s a little more complex than that.
In various studies, it has been shown that mice will eat cheese, but that they will usually try to eat something with a higher calorie content or carbohydrate content. For example, the BBC conducted a simple study where peanuts or cheddar cheese were available, and the cheddar cheese was entirely avoided by the mice. They, instead ate the nuts, although one ate a grape; they must have been having a healthy day! Peanuts have approximately 50% more calories than the cheese, so the mice are choosing a food that will give them energy for longer.
Mice are more likely to gravitate towards sweet treats such as fruits or even chocolate, it has also been found. They can be particularly sensitive to smell, so a very pungent cheese is likely to put them off rather than entice them. In rural areas, they will look for grains, fruits, and seeds to eat.
So, if you’re offering a mouse some cheese and nothing else is available, they will go for it. But given a choice, they might opt for something with more calories. We think our mouse must simply be a very hungry cheese lover!
There you have it. If you have always been wondering ‘do mice really like cheese?’ then now you have the answer! Do you have other interesting questions about cheese? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to answer them!
The World’s Most Expensive Wines
Do you know anything about the world’s most expensive wines? Today we’re sharing a list of some of them with you. Most of these might be out of our reach but it’s still fun to dream about what could be in your glass this weekend! Wine prices keep going up year on year as collectors keep seeking the most unusual and special bottles.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #1: Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France
This has an average price of $20,405 and a maximum price of a whopping $531, 419!
This is a Burgundy wine, made from Pinot Noir grapes. According to its tasting notes, it has a bouquet of berries, oak and plums. The taste has spicy notes of ginger and cinnamon, alongside luscious red fruits. It would pair well with duck or goose. This sounds to us like the kind of bottle that might be perfect for Christmas celebrations.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #2: Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France
The second most expensive wine is also a Burgundy, with an average price of $15,680 and a top price of $83,040. Its average price has risen by 171% in the last two years!
World’s Most Expensive Wines #3: Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany
The most expensive of the white wines in the market, this has an average price of $13,558 with its top price hitting $32,660. Riesling is known for being very fragrant with a high acidity. It is currently only available at auction, so it is widely sought after.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #4: Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France
We return to France for this bottle, which averages at $13,050 but has sold for up to $24,748. It won’t surprise you to learn that this is another Burgundy.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #5: Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France
A white wine from France now, with an average price of $10,100 and a maximum of $16,469. This is a Chardonnay, arguably one of the world’s most popular wine varieties. This wine is still rising in value and is considered the best white wine in the world! Its tasting notes remark on the vibrancy of its bouquet and the spice present in its flavor.
We wonder if an American wine might ever make into the top five? For now, the most expensive wine from the USA is the Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc from Oakville which sits at #9. With an average price of $6,070 and a maximum price of $9,256 its certainly still a wine for a very, very special occasion! It hails from Oakville, one of California’s most well-known wine regions right in the heart of the Napa Valley. You could expect it to have the forward flavors of green apples, stone fruit and flint. If we ever managed to acquire a bottle we would, of course, enjoy it with our white wine collection!
Want to learn more about different wines and their price points? Check out Wine Searcher.
Which of the world’s most expensive wines would you most like to try? Let us know in the comments below!
Tips for Storing Cheese
Especially in the warmer months, it’s especially important that we use the proper methods for storing cheese. This will keep it in the nest condition so that you can enjoy it for longer! Storing cheese well helps it to keep its flavor and texture.
Storing Cheese: Temperature
All cheese should be stored at a cold, stable temperature. Some refrigerators have a designated cheese drawer, so if you have one of these then definitely take advantage of it. Otherwise, the vegetable crisper is a good place to keep cheese as it won’t be so affected by the changing temperatures in the rest of the fridge.
However, most cheeses should be served at room temperature. Served straight from the fridge, they can taste bland and have a disappointing texture. Allowing them to come to room temperature also allows the aroma of the cheese to be released, which is an essential part of the whole eating experience. Try to remove cheeses that you want to serve from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. For cheeses like brie, allow a couple of hours for them to reach their gooey best. Fresh mozzarella can even benefit from sitting in a little bit of of warmed, salted milk before serving to unleash its creaminess.
Storing Cheese: Wrapping
Unfortunately, keeping cheese in plastic wrapping can make it go off quickly. The plastic can also impart a taste to the cheese in as little time as one day!
The best wrapping for storing cheese is cheese paper, which is slightly breathable but will keep the cheese in excellent condition. You can also buy dedicated cheese bags. Wrapping your cheese will prevent any other foods in the fridge from changing the flavor and stop any cheese odors from affecting the rest of your groceries.
For fresh cheeses that might come in water, such as mozzarella or feta, we recommend keeping them in their original packaging. However, you might want to change their water periodically to keep them super fresh.
Storing cheese: Freezing
Did you know that you can freeze cheese? Hard, aged cheeses will freeze best as it will not affect their texture too much.
Any cheese that you wish to freeze will need to be fully sealed in airtight bags or containers to keep it at its best.
If your cheese does go through a change in texture after defrosting then you can cook with it, rather than serving it as blocks on your cheeseboard.
You can also grate cheese before freezing it. Label everything and use it within three months.
Storing Cheese: On the Move
If you want to take cheese with you out and about, perhaps to a picnic or to work for lunch, then consider purchasing a small cool bag to keep the cheese as fresh as possible. Try to only take along the amount of cheese that will be eaten, to avoid food waste.
We hope that these tips for storing cheese will be helpful. Do you have any top tips? Let us know in the comments below!
National Creme Brûlée Day
Today is National Creme Brûlée Day! If you haven’t tried this special dessert then you are missing out on a real treat. It’s one that we love here at Shisler’s Cheese House. Read on to find out more about it and how to make it.
The history of National Creme Brûlée Day
During the Medieval era, Crema Catalana was regularly served in Spain and consisted of a custard topped with caramelized sugar. In the 15th century, a burnt cream dessert began to be served at Trinity College, Cambridge in England. This became a more widely made dessert in Britain in the 1600s, sometimes called Cambridge Burnt Cream or Trinity Cream. The first printed recipe for a dessert called crème brûlée appeared in the 1691 edition of the French cookbook Le Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois.
How to make Creme Brûlée
To make 6 small ramekins of crème brûlée:
6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Whisk together the egg yolks, white sugar and vanilla extract until they are creamy.
- Put the cream into a pan and heat on a low heat until small bubbles start to appear at the edge. It should not start to boil completely.
- Take the cream off the heat and whisk it into the egg yolks quickly.
- Pour the mixture into the top pan of a double boiler and heat gently until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should only take around 3 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into small, heatproof ramekins. Place these in a baking tray. Pour a splash of water into the baking tray. This helps the custard to set without cracking or curdling.
- Place the baking tray in the oven at 300F for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least one hour. If you have the time, refrigerate them overnight.
- Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle a layer of brown sugar over each ramekin and then place them under the broiler to melt and caramelize the sugar. Watch it very carefully as it can burn quickly. Alternatively, if you have a cook’s blow torch, you can caramelize the sugar using this.
- Leave the crème brûlée to cool and return to the fridge for a short time to set the custard fully.
Once you are ready to serve, you can enjoy cracking into the sugar with a spoon and hearing the satisfying sound of your work! This is definitely an impressive dish to serve at a dinner party. Your guests will appreciate your hard work and a delicious dessert.
Variations on Creme Brûlée
There are many ways that you can add to the basic crème brûlée. Try adding raspberries, either whole or pureed, to your custard for a fruit variation. You could use spices such as cinnamon to add a new twist on the flavors. We have even tried a bay leaf crème brûlée which was interestingly rather savory!
Will you be celebrating National Creme Brûlée Day by making one at home? Let us know in the comments below!
Swiss Cheeses: Learn About Our Range
We stock a whole range of different Swiss cheeses here at Shisler’s Cheese House, so we thought now would be a great time to share them all with you.
How are Swiss Cheeses made?
The process of making Swiss cheeses involves natural bacteria consuming the lactic acid in the cheese. This releases carbon dioxide gas, which forms bubbles that become the holes in the cheese. These are often referred to as “eyes”.
Our range of Swiss cheeses
Our Ohio Swiss cheese is an Amish cheese made in Northeastern Ohio. It undergoes a longer aging process that it undergoes, at a higher temperature than younger cheeses. This produces larger eyes, which is sometimes seen as an indicator for better flavor. It closely resembles the original Swiss Emmental Cheese, which was originally produced in the Swiss canton of Bern. Ours has the signature nutty, bittersweet taste. The milk used in our Swiss cheese does not have preservatives added and is always from cows that have not been given hormones or antibiotics.
We also offer Baby Swiss, which substitutes water for the milk’s whey to slow the bacterial action. This creates smaller holes and a milder flavor, whilst still being delightfully creamy. If you or someone you love likes Baby Swiss cheese, then you’ll be pleased to know we offer a gift box with a 4lb. Baby Swiss cheese and a selection of assorted chocolates. You can also find a 2lb. Baby Swiss cheese in one of our other gift boxes, along with a Troyer’s Trail Bologna Ring, 8oz, of Colby Cheese, Shisler’s Private Label Mustard, Carr’s Crackers and assorted chocolates.
Lacy Swiss is another variety of Swiss cheese, made with low-fat milk. Lacy Swiss was invented by Alpine Lace Brands in 1985 in response to the growing need for healthier alternatives. This cheese is closely related to Swiss cheese, but the whole milk used to produce swiss cheese is replaced with low fat milk to provide a healthier alternative with a lower fat content. It gets its name from the lacy appearance of the slices, which usually have a creamy, ivory color to them. It has a delightfully light and nutty flavor. If you follow a lactose-free diet, then this cheese is naturally free of lactose.
We also stock Lacy Baby Swiss. Lacy Baby Swiss combines the production methods of Baby and Lacy Swiss to create a cheese with very small holes, a mild flavor, and a lower fat and sodium content than many cheeses.
We even offer smoked Swiss cheese and smoked baby Swiss. The smoked cheeses have a creamier texture and a more buttery, slightly sweet flavor, which make them ideal for melting. Light cold-smoking adds an earthiness to the flavor profile for an added smokey, cured taste.
Our final offering is a sharp Swiss cheese. This is a more mature version of our locally made cheese that has been aged for approximately 12 months. This is an excellent substitute for Gruyere cheese, if you prefer the more mature variety. The word ‘sharp’ denotes a strong flavor as a result of a long aging process.
How to enjoy Swiss cheeses
Swiss cheeses are delicious in a sandwich or served cut into cubes alongside salads and hams. They work well with most meats and are particularly good with a beef burger. You can use them in fondue and even enjoy them for breakfast with ham and a croissant. They pair well with apples, grapes, and pickled fruits and make an excellent addition to any cheeseboard.
How do you like to eat Swiss cheese? Let us know in the comments below!
Italian Cheeses: A Delicious Range
Today we explore some of our fabulous Italian cheeses. Whether you have visited the land of pizza and spaghetti or not, these cheeses are sure to give you a taste of Italy!
Italian Cheeses: Romano Pecorino
Romano Pecorino is a cheese imported from Southern Italy. It is salty and firm, which makes it an excellent grating cheese. It has a distinctive, tangy flavor, and it’s an important ingredient in many southern Italian dishes. It is sharper than the similar Parmesan cheese with a rich saltiness to it. It is excellent with fruit such as apples and pears. We also like to serve it at the table for diners to grate over their dishes.
Italian Cheeses: Parmesan
Parmesan Cheese is a hard, dry cheese, which has a complex, sharp, nutty flavor and a somewhat grainy texture. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese gets its name from the Italian regions of production: Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Mantova. This is another fantastic grating cheese.
Italian Cheeses: Provolone
Provolone Cheese, like mozzarella, is a pulled or stretched curd cheese with two varieties. It is a semi-soft, mild, smooth table cheese and its flavor depends heavily on how long it is aged for. Dolce (mild Provolone) is aged for just two to three months and is rather sweet, whereas Piccante is aged for six to twelve months and has a much stronger flavor. The term Provolone (meaning large provola) appeared around the end of the 19th century when it started to be manufactured in the southern regions of Italy. Modern Provolone has smooth skin and is produced mainly in the regions of Lombardia and Veneto. This is definitely a cheese to use in any dish that calls for melting cheese!
Italian Cheeses: Asiago
At Shisler’s we carry the aged version of Asiago (ah-SYAH-goh) Cheese, an Italian cheese more specifically known as Asiago d´Allevo. It is aged anywhere from three months to up to a year. The texture also varies from semi-firm to firm depending on how old it is. It has a sweet and nutty flavor, reminiscent of Parmesan. It is popular as a table cheese and is good when enjoyed with crackers, fruits, and red wine.
Italian Cheeses: Mozzarella
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day after it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week or longer when sold in vacuum-sealed packages. Derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania, mozzarella is the diminutive form of mozza (“cut”) or mozzare (“to cut off”) derived from the method of working. The term is first mentioned in 1570, cited in a cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, reading “milk cream, fresh butter, ricotta cheese, fresh Mozzarella, and milk”. This is the cheese usually used on pizzas but it is also fantastic in a fresh salad.
Which is your favorite Italian cheese? Let us know in the comments below!
How to Pair Cheese and Fruit
You might know that cheese and fruit pair very well together. But how do you choose what to combine? We’ve put together lots of ideas to help you explore your palate.
Why do cheese and fruit go so well together?
Put simply, it’s because whenever we combine foods we are looking for contrast. In the case of cheese and fruit, we get soft and juicy flavors against hard, salty cheeses. It might be crunchy, tangy fruit with soft and creamy cheese. The combination of flavors and textures create a sensation that most people enjoy. So, how to eat it?
As a general rule, try to combine fresh fruits with fresh, soft cheeses. Don’t try to combine fruit with a very dry cheese, as this won’t have a desirable texture. For cheeses with mold, such as blue cheese or chevre, go for sweeter fruits. Avoid any fruits that you might find bitter, as these usually won’t go well with cheeses.
Cheese and fruit on a cheeseboard
This is probably where you might have tried the combination before. Place cheeses on your board along with sliced fruits and bread. You can then experiment with different flavors and textures. Try to slice your fruit just before eating so that it is as fresh as possible. Some of our favorites to include on a cheeseboard are apples, pears, figs, and grapes.
Cheese and fruit in a toastie
We absolutely love to add fruit to a toastie. It’s like a dessert sandwich! Try blueberries with mascarpone, peaches with gouda, apple butter with pepper jack, or strawberries with mozzarella. An easy way to add cheese to your toastie is to use jam. Try it with ricotta or cheddar for a good contrast.
Cheese and fruit in a salad
If you want to serve a full meal, then you can’t go wrong with a fabulous salad. Feta cheese, from Greece, is an excellent choice as it is salty and creamy. Try it with watermelon or oranges for a fantastic tangy contrast. We also love mozzarella with fruit; it’s particularly good with grilled peaches and arugula in a salad. Try adding a quick balsamic glaze for the final touch!
Cheese and fruit kabobs
This is a fun recipe to make with the kids and will encourage them to eat plenty of fruit! Add cubes of cheese (try something like Cheddar or Monterey Jack), strawberries, and grapes to wooden skewers. You could serve this with a yogurt dip for extra interest.
The most important thing when trying out new flavors is to have fun with it! We know that you are all super creative and will come up with amazing ways to enjoy fruit and cheese together.
Do you like to combine cheeses and fruits? What are your favorite combinations? Let us know your most unusual ones in the comments below!
Holidays in July
July starts with Independence Day, but there are also lots of unusual holidays in July! Today we’ll explore some of our favorites with you.
National Sugar Cookie Day – July 9th
This is a day to celebrate those sweet cookies that are fun to make with the kids. Usually, the recipe is simply sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder or baking soda. Our favorites have sprinkles on the top though!
National Pina Colada Day – July 10th
This is a day that you might hope falls at the weekend, as it celebrates the classical tropical cocktail! A blend of coconut cream, white rum, and pineapple juice, it’s sure to transport you to a sunny beach, whatever the weather.
National Mac and Cheese Day – July 14th
One of the nation’s favorite comfort foods is celebrated in July. Whether you make it from scratch or from a box, most people have happy memories of eating mac and cheese. Check out our blog post with five ways to make your mac and cheese sensational to inspire your cooking.
National Hot Dog Day – July 17th
Another celebration of an American classic! We love a holiday that you can celebrate by eating. Pick up some Dick’s Homemade Horseradish Mustard or Tony Packo’s Bread and Butter Pickles to complete your hot dog.
National Ice Cream Day – July 21st
Cool down for the summer with this holiday! Whether it’s chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla, you’re sure to have a favorite flavor. Why not try something more unusual this year? Find salted caramel, pistachio or brown bread ice cream for a new flavor sensation. Did you know that you can even get cheese ice cream? There are ice creams made from cheddar, cream cheese, goat’s cheese, and even blue cheese!
National Chili Dog Day – July 25th
As it’s just not enough to celebrate hot dog day, just eight days later you can celebrate chili dog day!
National Wine and Cheese Day – July 25th
One of our favorites of the holidays in July, of course. The perfect excuse to whip up a delicious cheeseboard and pour yourself a generous glass of wine. You could celebrate with our Red Wine Collection or White Wine Collection. These include a selection of cheeses that we think are well suited to pairing with wine. You can pick your favorite red or white wines to enjoy them with.
National Scotch Day – July 27th
Another holiday that you can celebrate with one of our gift baskets! Our Scotch Collection includes generous cuts of Danish Blue Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmesan. There is enough for around 20 people, so grab a few bottles of Scotch and you’ll have a party on your hands!
National Lasagna Day – July 29th
An Italian classic and a great meal to share with all of the family. You could make it extra special by using homemade fresh pasta amongst the layers of sauce.
National Cheesecake Day – July 30th
Finish off the month on a sweet note with a delicious cheesecake! Whether you like yours baked or not, make one on July 30th to share with your friends.
What are your favorite holidays in July? Let us know in the comments below!
Summer Cooking Ideas
If you’re new to the blog then you might not know that we’ve put together tons of different summer cooking ideas for you. Today we’ve collected lots of them together to inspire you! If you’re not so experienced with cooking, try our tips to help you start cooking from scratch.
Summer cooking ideas: BBQ Season
Start by checking out our checklist of everything that you need if you want to host a barbecue this summer. You can make it really simple by asking your guests to bring along different elements of the meal. After all, everything can be prepared fairly quickly when your guests arrive. If you want to do some advance preparation, then check out our recipes for amazing marinades. For vegetarians, try making a delicious halloumi burger – simply pop the halloumi on the barbecue rather than frying it in a pan.
Sometimes there is nothing better than a bowl of delicious pasta with a fresh, vibrant sauce. Why not try making fresh pasta at home? It might seem complex, but it is really quite simple and the results are well worth it. Serve it with a grating of parmesan for that finishing touch. For extra Italian flavor, serve it with Insalata Caprese, incorporating beautifully ripe tomatoes and mozzarella.
Another Italian classic! Our post explains how to make pizza from scratch which is sure to impress your friends and your taste buds! Of course, to make it an extra fun summer evening then an outdoor pizza oven is the way to make your pizza. Ask guests to bring their favorite toppings and let the oven do its work to add the perfect char to your dough.
When the weather heats up, we often just want to eat fresh salads. Check out our post on salads to find out how to combine greens, herbs, protein, and grains to create incredible meals in almost no time at all. You’ll also find tips for making salad dressings that bring everything together. Try something adventurous by adding different fruits to your salads or creating your own signature dressing using your favorite flavors.
More Summer Cooking Ideas
You’ll find our post on smoked meats really useful if you love them and need some more ideas for using them in recipes. For the best sandwiches this summer, try our recipe for making your own bread. This is another cooking endeavor that seems difficult, but once you’ve tried it you’ll want to make it all the time. We have so many cheese posts that will help you pick which cheeses to serve whether you’re making sandwiches, a quick cheese board, or an elaborate summer meal. Try one of our cheese desserts as a sweet treat to end the night.
Finish off your summer meals with our favorite selection of summer drinks that are easy to whip up for an evening with the family or guests.
What are your favorite summer cooking ideas? Let us know your top tips in the comments below!
Happy 4th of July!
Happy 4th of July to all of our wonderful customers from all of us at Shisler’s Cheese House!
However you’re celebrating, we hope that you have a safe and happy day.
We decided to put together a list of celebrations around the country, in case you were wondering how your fellow Americans were spending their day.
In Key West, Florida, the annual Key Lime Festival kicks off with a pie eating contest and the day will end with a huge fireworks display!
New York City tops the impressive fireworks with around 40,000 being set off.
In San Francisco you’ll hear live music all across the city.
San Diego hosts Southern California’s largest fireworks, called the Big Bay Boom!
In Boston you can hear the Boston Pops Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with cannon fire.
And did you know…?
It’s traditional in New England to eat salmon with green peas on 4th July.
There are around 15,000 fireworks displays across the country, with some cities spending millions of dollars on them.
Around 150 million hot dogs are eaten by Americans on this day alone!
The Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed until August 2nd 1776, but it was printed on July 4th!
Have a great day everyone! Let us know how you’re celebrating in the comments!