A worker owned co-op
since 1971

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.


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!

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 a worker know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 15-20 minutes to bake.


We cannot take phone orders for the gluten-free friendly pizza.


Gluten-free friendly partially baked pizzas are available starting at 9 a.m., at the bakery, while supplies last.


*This pizza is not 100% gluten-free. While the crust itself is gluten-free, the environment we work in is not, and these crusts will have direct or indirect contact with gluten sources. We cannot recommend this product for those with severe gluten allergies or for whom cross-contamination with gluten is of concern.


Ingredients: Water, rice flour, modified rice starch, potato starch, sugar, tapioca starch, potato flour, canola oil, olive oil, yeast, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, xanthan gum, cultured brown rice

Vegan Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

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


We cannot take phone orders for the vegan pizza.


*Though many precautions are taken we cannot guarantee a vegan pizza to to be absolutely vegan. We make this pizza in house in an environment that has a lot of cheese and dairy products. We cannot recommend this product for those concerned about the possibility of non-vegan contamination.


The vegan cheese is made by NUMU Cheese. It is made with: water, coconut oil, potato starch, tapioca starch, soymilk powder, kappa carrageenan, calcium phosphate, vegetable color, salt, pea starch, natural flavor, lactic acid

Parbake Pizza Information

We have partially baked pizzas available at both the bakery and the pizzeria. You can finish them off in your oven at home to enjoy fresh, hot pizza at your convenience.  We have gluten-free friendly and vegan versions available as well, while supplies last.

HEATING INSTRUCTIONS: Heat oven to 400°F. When oven is fully heated, take the pizza out of the box and place it 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!