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Menuet Cheese

Menuet, the cheese, is named after minuet, the dance. Originating in France, this Menuet is made by Dancing Cow Cheese in Vermont.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


DANA ROMERO is the owner of La Fromagerie D’Acadiana in New Iberia, Louisiana.

 

February 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Menuet Cheese

A Creamy Tome From Dancing Cow Cheese

 

 

CAPSULE REPORT: Menuet is a rare cheese to find in the United States. A regional specialty of the Normandy region of France, it is made by artisan cheesemakers Dancing Cow Cheese of Vermont. It is seasonal, and now is the season. This is Page 1 of a two-page article. Click on the black links below to visit Page 2.

 

Overview

You can dance the minuet, and you can nibble on some Menuet, one of numerous small-batch farmhouse cheeses found in the countryside of Normandy, the region in the north of France that hugs the south of the English Channel. Normandy is known for its great dairy products thanks to its abundance of fine cows grazing on fine pasture. Geographical factoid: Normandy is actually divided between French and British sovereignty. The continental territory belongs to France, and the Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, are under British rule. Both areas were part of the former the former Duchy of Normandy. If the island names sound familiar, Guernsey and Jersey are known for their great milk cows, which leads us back to cheese.

About Menuet Cheese

Menuet is an artisan cheese, completely handmade and only seasonally available—and that season is now. The name comes from a French dance of the baroque period. The French adapted the word menuet from the Italian minuetto, which means small, pretty and delicate, referring to the steps, pas menus, taken in the dance. There are many small steps in the making of this cheese, as well—and although artisan cheesemaking may require a delicate touch, it is very hard work, no evening of dance.

You don’t have to go to Normandy to fetch a Menuet: Dancing Cow Cheese, a farmstead cheesemaker (see Cheese Terms, below), crafts Menuet in the United CowsStates. Dancing Cow Farm is owned and operated by Steve and Karen Getz. Karen is the cheesemaker, Steve manages the farm. The farm sits at the end of a Vermont country lane, with a few red barns and a small white house amid 243 acres of organic green pasture and hay fields. With views of the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks to the west, this is home to a herd of 20-plus blissful bovines (the plan is to increase the herd to 30 this year) who graze outdoors on pasture free of pesticides, herbicides or petroleum-based fertilizers. The Getzes make their own hay, milk their own cows and spread the manure as rich, dark compost.

Photo: Dancing Cow Farm’s milk producers dining on dandelion salad.

Menuet is a tome-style cheese, made from uncooled raw cow’s milk, from a single milking. The paste has eyes; the texture of the paste is deliciously creamy. The flavor is sweet and nutty with grass and herb undertones and a long, lingering finish. It reminds you that contented cows dining on sweet clover, dandelion, trefoil and a variety of grasses in their pasture from May through November make the great milk that enables gifted cheesemakers to create great cheese.

Pair Menuet with Pinot Grigio if you like a white wine, or Merlot or Zinfandel if you prefer a red.

 

Continue To Page 2: The Taste Of Menuet Cheese

Go To The Article Index Above

 

NOW THAT YOU KNOW THE HISTORY OF ONE CHEESE,
READ THE HISTORY OF CHEESE IN GENERAL

 

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