A worker owned co-op
since 1971

General News & Events

Cheese Board hands out pizza at the SF Airport

Someone at the Cheese Board had the idea that we should make and bring pizzas to the San Francisco International Airport to feed folks who had come out to protest Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration. About 10 of us met at BART and traveled with 30 boxed pizzas and napkins. We met a lot of people on BART with the same idea —not pizzas—but traveling to the airport to protest. We were glad we went. It felt like the beginning of doing something.

 

Enjoy these pictures.
  

January Newsletter

 

 

 


 

 

The Cheese Board Collective is committed to human rights, civil liberties, diversity, integrity, and a just economy. The bakery & cheese shop will be closing early on Saturday 1/21 to support the Women’s March and Rally. Please join us at the Oakland and San Francisco events.
Bakery/Cheese Hours
Saturday, 1/21
8am-3pm

Stay tuned for Pizzeria hours on 1/21.

 


 

We’re excited about the new oven that was installed over our winter break! We think that this will make our breads even better and we’re looking forward to sharing them with you.

 

 

 


Purchase Tickets Here

 


As cheese-mongers, we are frequently asked how long a cheese will last. That question can mean a lot of things because cheese is the convergence of complexity, simplicity, magic, science, and art. The short answer to this common question is: cheese probably lasts longer than you can manage to not eat it. But mold does happen, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

 

Here are the unofficial guidelines:

*If it’s a molding semi-firm or harder cheese, cut off the mold and eat the rest.

*If it’s a molding soft cheese, remove the mold and eat it as long as the smell and flavor of the cheese hasn’t changed. Usually this is a blue/gray/brown mold that can be scraped off and the cheese is otherwise in good condition. If you are unfamiliar with cheese, you may not know how the cheese should taste so proceed with caution.

*If the cheese is slimy in a way that it wasn’t before, probably don’t eat it unless you know what you’re doing.

*Pink discolorations usually accompany an ammonia smell and bitter, repulsive flavor. Discard.

*If the cheese is stinky in a non-desirable way (usually it smells like ammonia rather than umami and yeast), it’s on its way out. Taste it! Tastes good? Proceed. Tastes bad? Toss.

*Cheese that has lots of holes (like Asiago Fresco) or cracks (like Poacher) will grow a blue-gray mold in those holes that can be cut out, scraped off, and eaten around.

 

Mold is nature’s way of telling us that something else, other than us humans, has decided to partake in the cheese. This is often an integral part of the cheese-making process. Some cheeses are inoculated with mold spores which give rise to tasty flavors and pleasing textures. Penicillium Roqueforti, found in places like soil, caves, and moldy bread, is responsible for the blue marbling in of course, Roquefort, and a number of other blues like Stilton, Cabrales, and Point Reyes Blue. Penicillium Glaucum is the fungus used in a great many other blue cheeses like Gorgonzola, Bleu d’Auvergne, and Bleu de Gex. But mold isn’t limited to blue cheese! Geotrichum Candidum is a fungus that causes sour rot of citrus fruits and some vegetables. Under specific circumstances, it can be the source of a disease called geotrichosis!!! However, when it is added to milk during the cheesemaking process, it will produce the flavor and structure of brie.

 

One of the differences between industrial cheese versus traditional artisan cheese is the extent to which wild, unfettered, free-wheeling mold takes over. Many modern cheeses are made in sterile and extremely well-controlled environments so that only specific microbes are at work. This ensures the outcome of the cheese, so the flavor is consistent, as well as the safety of the cheese, to prevent harmful microbes like E. Coli and listeria. Traditional cheese-making practices, such as using raw milk, making cheese on a farm (in proximity to farm animals), and using cultures from previous cheese batches, can but don’t necessarily open to doors to harmful microbes. In the microbial-rich environment of traditional cheese-making, you can have dozens of bacterias, fungi, and yeasts that all pass on a wealth of flavors and complexities to the cheese. Some cheeses have an unpredictable variety of surface molds which also contribute to the cheese’s unique flavors. Often these surface molds spread to the interior of the cheese, especially if there are holes or cracks. This is common among British farmhouse cheddars. That molding is, in part, why they develop their complex, earthy, and rustic qualities.

 

Next time you pull a moldy piece of cheese out of the refrigerator, think about the life that exists on that fertile, milky, microb-land. Then thank those fungi for the cheese they have given us.

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December 2016 Newsletter

New website!

Our friends at Pixelette Studios built a beautiful, interactive, state-of-the-art website that is not only fun to look at, but perfectly displays all of the aspects of our business. We have a calendar that lists all of our events, including the daily musicians at the pizzeria, special pizzas, cheese events, and special hours. There is a blog that will feature the contents of this newsletter, as well as special announcements and information about our weekly cheese board. On our bakery schedule you can see all of the breads we make each day of the week. You can inquire about cheese “cakes” and platters, order gift cards that are sent out immediately, and check your gift card balance.

 

 

PIZZERIA Holiday Hours and Specials
  • Saturday, December 24, 11:30am-3:00pm (lunch only). Donuts, cream filled and regular, for sale at the pizzeria in the morning until 10am!
  • Closed December 25-26.
  • Re-Open Tuesday, December 27 for regular hours.
  • Saturday, December 31, 11:30am-6:00pm. Open continuously without a break in service. NYE Pizza of the day is roasted potato, caramelized onion, mozzarella, Fontina Val D’Aosta cheese, black truffle oil, and fried sage leaf.
  • Closed January 1-9.
  • Re-Open Tuesday, January 10 for regular hours.

 

BAKERY/CHEESE Holiday Hours and Bread Schedule
Please place your bread orders in advance
  • Friday, December 23, 7am-6pm, Friday breads excluding rye, dots, coriander wheat, Shattuck blues, and shortbread.
  • Saturday, December 24, 7am-4pm. Saturday breads including Saffron bread and ciabatta rolls. Excluding foccacia, pletzel, rosemary puffs, cheesy muffins, shortbread, and bagels. Cheese counter service from 9am-4pm.
  • Closed December 25-27.
  • Re-open Wednesday, December 28 for regular hours.
  • Saturday, December 31, 7am-4pm. Cheese counter service from 9am-4pm.
  • Closed January 1-9.
  • Re-Open Tuesday, January 10 for regular hours.
 

 

Stollen is a German Christmas bread that was brought to us by our beloved collective member, Friedel. It’s a buttery loaf studded with nuts and fruit and sprinkled with citrus zest. Its unique shape represents the blanket of baby Jesus and the colorful fruits and nuts inside represent gifts from the Magi. Slices and loaves available until Christmas.
Florentines are another old world holiday tradition that the Cheese Board holds dear. It takes a whole day and 10 members to make these delicate, lacey wafers. They are made of hazelnuts, orange peel and cream and then artfully drizzled with dark chocolate. Available through December.
 

Moist, fluffy, sweet, and spicy, our ginger bread has become a Berkeley favorite during the holidays. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Vegan, available until Christmas.
This Italian classic is dense with almonds, hazelnuts, dates and figs. Sweetened with honey, richened with cocoa, and seasoned with zests and spices. Panforte is an experience in texture, depth, and intensity. Available throughout the holidays.
Thanks to the almond meal base, our lemon almond cake is super moist and nicely textured. Bright, sweet, and citric. Gluten free, available the week of Christmas.
 

The frangipane pear tart is a classic French Christmas time dessert. Ours is rich with custard, loaded with fragrant almonds, topped with sweet pears, all together in a cakey crust. Available December 22-24th.
Fruitcake has a bad rap for being way too sweet and artificial in flavor, but our fruitcake has redeemed the holiday classic. Our version has big chunks of dried apricots, figs, dates, pears, nectarines, currents and raisins. Whole pieces of pecans, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. Orange peel, lemon peel, and a myriad of spices. The cakes are soaked in brandy and rum and then aged for several months. The result is an exceptionally flavorful and sophisticated dessert with a wonderful balance of sweetness, chewiness, and crunch. SOLD OUT.
 

 

Holiday Cheese Plates

      It’s that time of year where we are all hopping from office party, to family dinner, to friend get-together. Cheese plates are always a well-loved addition to the food spread. Not only do they taste delicious, but because each cheese comes with its own story, they can inspire conversation around everyone’s favorite topic: food! The cheese plate can precede the meal as the appetizer or hor d’oeuvre, or it can follow the meal as a dessert or pre-dessert course. The 18th century french foodie, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, famously asserted in his memoire The Physiology of Taste, “Un dessert sans fromage est une belle à qui il manque un oeil“.

      One of the best parts of the holiday season at the Cheese Board is the excitement our customers have for building their holiday cheese plates. People come to our cheese counter overwhelmed by the task or wanting to know the “right way” to do it. While there are some general practices, like incorporating enough variety of textures and flavors, there is a lot of room to improvise and let your taste buds (or your curiosities) decide. A good rule of thumb goes something like this:

  • 3-5 cheeses will satisfy without overwhelming.
  • Select a variety of textures- soft, semi-firm, and hard.
  • Something mild, medium, and strong in flavor. Or think of it in terms of age- fresh, young, medium aged, or aged.
  • Select a variety of milks- Cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, or mixed milk.

      I surveyed a few Cheese Board members on how to construct a cheese plate, in one sentence. Tina and Erin said, “a variety of textures, flavors, milks and ages.” Laura said, “a variety, something for everyone!” Cathy said, “with a unified theme” and Ursula simply said “quickly.” I like to recommend something creamy (either strong or mild), something goat, something sheep, something aged, and a blue. However, it can be fun to pick a theme, such as all Italian cheeses, all modern cheeses, or cheeses loved by famous leaders.

      This month we’re featuring two approaches to cheese plates. First, a plate that highlights festive or seasonal cheeses, and cheeses that particularly delicious right now. Together they make a well rounded cheese plate and separately or in part, they offer a cheese experience that promises to keep you salivating. The second is a high flavor AND low cost cheese plate that can feed a crowd without breaking the bank. Each cheese is under $15/lb.

Photo Credit: Janet Fletcher's Planet Cheese
Brillat-Savarin with black truffle is a french triple cream named after the aforementioned epicurean.  Its rich, luscious, buttery flavor is achieved achieved by adding cream to whole milk, until the butterfat content reaches 75%. We’ve cut it in half and sandwiched Italian black truffles between two slabs of cheese. Its bloomy rind gives off a slight mushroom flavor that, along with the truffle, makes it a very savory experience.
Fleur Verte is a young goat cheese made by Chèvrefeuille in Perigord, France with an exterior of tarragon, thyme, savory and red peppercorns. It is often associated with the warmer months because its fresh flavor pairs well with summer vegetables, but it has a bright flavor that is enjoyable anytime. Besides, there is something very festive about a fluffy, white cheese covered with green herbs and dotted with red peppercorns.

 

Hornbacher is made by Michael Spycher at the Fritzenhaus Dairy in Wasum, Switzerland. Spycher is considered to be a master Gruyere maker. The nutrient dense milk that goes into making Hornbacher comes from the surrounding hills of the Hornbach valley and gives the cheese a very special flavor profile. Savory and sweet, like caramelized onions, nutty like Gruyere, and herbaceous like hiking through the Alps.

 

Petit Vaccarinus is a thermalized version of the traditional winter cheese, Vacherin Mont D’Or. Its made in Valée de Joux, Switzerland, September through April only.  It has a silky texture and a washed rind with white fur. The smoked spruce bark that’s wrapped around the sides of the cheese is responsible for its very distinct flavor combination. Like damp earth and bright olives, this cheese will add dimension to your holiday cheese plate.

La Marotte is a fantastic, raw, sheep’s milk cheese from the cooperative, Les Bergers Du Larzac in Aveyron, France. Aged in natural caves for 4-12 months, it is the intersection of long-lasting flavors that evoke flowers, minerals, and rich milk. If you like P’tit Basque or Secret de Compostelle, this will wow your senses.

Stichelton is Stilton’s raw milk father. In fact, if you love Stilton then you owe your affection to Stichelton, as it is the original Stilton. From 1989 to 2006, raw milk Stilton was dead, and the laws that govern cheese designated Stilton as a pasteurized cheese. Randolph Hodgson of Neal’s Yard Dairy and Joe Schneider resurrected raw milk Stilton and named it after the original village where Stilton was made, Stichelton. Notes of earth, buttermilk, yolk, and toasted nuts, its beautifully complex and deserves a spot on your cheese plate.

The cheeses on our high flavor/low cost cheese plate aren’t the most rare or unusual, but they are great cheeses that will satisfy a diverse crowd. Fromage de Meaux is a medium strength brie, pasturized for US import, smooth and earthy with plenty of butter overtones. Saint Secret, a Bucheron cousin, can appeal to goat cheese enthusiasts and skeptics alike, with its pleasing, subtle goatiness and two-textured interior. Cacio di Roma is a simple sheep’s milk cheese with a fatty, meaty flavor. Prairie Breeze is a wonderfully sweet and nutty brick cheddar that all cheese lovers can agree on. Taleggio will add a bit of funky freshness to your plate with flavors of buttermilk and umami. Bleu d’Auvergne is spicy yet creamy, sometimes gamy with a hints of sweetness.
 

For the past four months we have been highlighting the traditional Swiss cheese making ritual of transhumance by featuring a new cheese every month from our Adopt an Alp series. This has raised awareness about transhumance among our customers and by doing this, we create a market for the cheeses made in this manner so that the tradition can stay alive. This month, our Alp Bleiki series is coming to a end with a glorious wheel of Sbrinz.

This Sbrinz is loaded with tyrosine crystals, giving it a fantastically crunchy texture. It’s firm and slightly moist, with savory tones and notes of toasted nuts and caramel.
It’s not too late to taste Buochserhorn! Our last cheese from Alp Bleiki, made by Paul & Agnes Barmettler, is from the same producers as Sbrinz. Come to the cheese counter to try our last cheeses from the Alp Bleiki series.
 

 

Mentions
Our Wisconsin cheddar-French Roquefort cheese balls were mentioned recently in the New York Times. We also have an entry in the recently published Oxford Companion to Cheese!

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Reserve Breads & Special Orders

We allow customers to reserve breads on most days, for most occasions.

To reserve bread please call: 510-549-3183 ext. 4

We are no longer taking orders for breads on Friday and Saturday. If you would like to have an item set aside for either day please call the day before.

Breads must be picked up 30 minutes before the end of the business day.

For large orders please reserve at least 24 hours in advance.

Gluten Free Friendly Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

If you would like a fully cooked gluten free friendly* pizza, when the pizzeria is open, please let someone know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 10-15 minutes to bake.

 

Sorry, we cannot take phone orders for the gluten free friendly pizza.

 

Gluten free friendly light bakes are available ~ 10am, at the bakery.

 

*Though many precautions are taken we cannot guarantee this product to be absolutely gluten free. We make this dough in house and the environment has a lot of flour in it. With regrets we cannot recommend this product for those with severe gluten allergies.

 

Ingredients: Pamela’s G.F. Flour Mix (Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, White Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sorghum Flour, Arrowroot Starch, Guar Gum, Sweet Rice Flour, Rice Bran), Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Xanthum Gum, Yeast, Water, Olive Oil Blend

Vegan Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

If you would like a fully cooked vegan friendly* pizza, when the pizzeria is open, please let someone know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 15-20 minutes to bake.

 

Sorry, we cannot take phone orders for the vegan pizza.

 

*Though many precautions are taken we cannot guarantee this product to be absolutely vegan. We make this pizza in house and the environment has a lot of cheese/dairy products. With regrets we cannot recommend this product for those with severe gluten allergies, nut allergies, or those concerned about the possibility of non-vegan contamination.

 

The cheese is made in Berkeley, by a vegan deli called “The Butcher’s Son”. We hope you will support this new local, small business as well: thebutchersveganson.com

Vegan Cheese Ingredients: Organic coconut oil, filtered water, organic cashew, rejuvilac (from sprouted wheat berries), tapioca flour, kappa carrageenan (red seaweed extract), kosher salt. This cheese contains trace amounts of gluten and contains nuts.

Light Bake Pizzas Information

We have light bake and gluten free friendly light bake pizzas ready to grab and go anytime at the Bakery. Finish baking in your oven to enjoy our fresh pizzas at home.

HEATING Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  When oven is fully heated place light bake pizza directly on the rack.  Heat for 5-8 minutes.  If the pizza comes with a sauce or salad on the side add it after the pizza is done.  Enjoy!

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