In May 2011 I had the privilege of visiting the Fort St Antoine in the Jura region of France to see wheels of Comte being aged. In the nearly 8 years I've been selling cheese, not other experience has come close to being as remarkable as this one. Comte is a phenomenal cheese. It is for snacking, cooking, fondue, cheese trays, picnics. At our shop we stock two different age profiles all year round and during the holidays months we are fortunate to receive an allocation of highly sought after extra aged wheels (appearing in our cheese cases very soon).

If you have never tried Comte this is your opportunity, we think you will discover a cheese friend for life and a new staple in your refrigerator.

Below: Wheels of Comte aging in an ancient Fort. Below that a picture of the founder of Essex St Cheese, the late Daphne Zepos.

Apple Season at the Cheese Shop

strudel We wait and we wait and we wait. It seems that apple season in Minnesota can never come soon enough for us. Yes, it heralds the end of summer and the winter to come, but we prefer to look on the bright side of things. Minnesota apples are beautiful, bright, and delicious. Our apples are supplied exclusively by Brian Fredrickson of Ames Farm honey fame and they really are some of the more delicious apples we've encountered.

Our apple sandwich began in our first year of business. We wanted a seasonal special that would work well with the fine English cheddars we sell. It all started easily enough--we had no idea what kind of a beast we had unleashed. The apple sandwich is by far our most popular sandwich special and we constantly have customers asking us to make it year round. If you haven't tried this sandwich, this might be the time. Head to our Minneapolis cheese shop or our St Paul Meat shop to check it out.

And then there was apple strudel. We started making this two years ago and it's a treat that makes all of our mongers so happy. They're snacking on it constantly--it's a wonder we ever have any left to sell to customers. Each year we've made slight adjustments to the recipe but the one thing that remains constant is that we use Mengazzoli Organic Cider Vinegar in the glaze. This vinegar is magical and we're featuring it in our shops all month long. Please stop and ask for a sample, it will change your life (for the better).

Local apples are available deep into the winter but we tend to highlight them only through the fall. Beyond the sandwich and the strudel we'll have apples for sale at retail and popping up in a variety of ways throughout the autumn.