New Friday Night Pop-up Dinners Feature Selection of Alpine-style Cheeses and Raclette

Raclette Plate with Ham

Stop into The Cheese Traveler on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Fridays in February and March to be seated for a delicious meal of gooey, melted cheese goodness.

Launched on January 20, Alpine Nights at The Cheese Traveler was met with delighted customers and satisfied tummies. Richard fired up the raclette grill and served raclette “better than what I had in Switzerland,” one customer confided. “This one came out the way it should. It was hot and perfectly melted.” That night we did experience a little ventilation problem, but that’s now resolved. “We have a good system in place now, and a sweet little fireplace to make the store feel warm and cozy,” Eric Paul, proprietor said. The menu features a curated selection of grilled cheese sandwiches; monger’s-choice cheese platters; Raclette!, an Alpine cheese melted over duck-fat fried potatoes; and Harbison gratin, a layered cheese, potato, and Benton’s bacon-caramelized onion dish that is not to be missed. Round out the meal with a selection of world-class wines, beers, or ciders. Desserts available. We are kid-friendly.

Dishes can be made to accommodate dietary restrictions. We have a fabulous gluten-free bread options, and the potatoes in the raclette dish can be fried in olive oil.

Come in to sit at a private-ish table for two or our long tables, with hall-like seating by the fireplace. Check out our menu page Friday Alpine Nights.

Mac-N-Cheese, Cheese Traveler-Style

Mac-n-Cheese? Yeah we do that. On February 20, 2016, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York held it’s 7th Annual Mac-N-Cheese Bowl competition. The Cheese Traveler, sandwiched in between 30 stations of Hudson Valley cheese-y competitors, served up four-cheese enrobed caserecci pasta curls topped with apple-jack, red wine, and goat horn pepper-braised lamb and garnished with preserved lemon gremolata. Representing The Cheese Traveler, Cheesemonger Ryan Skrabalak and his assistants Morgan and Marina assembled gorgeous little “bowls” of the finest pasta and cheese we could offer.

Around the Siena College Marcelle Athletic Complex basketball court, 2,500 mac-n-cheese enthusiasts wandered through mac-n-cheese laden tables dodging around makeshift lines, elbow to elbow, brandishing muffin pans filled with two ounce “bowls” of the day’s competing mac-n-cheese entries. Since it was the seventh annual Mac-N-Cheese Bowl, many of these folks knew the ropes from previous years, and they brought their own muffin pans to line up, evaluate, and rank the pasta bowls.

At our station, smack-dab in the center of the court, people lined up from midcourt to the sidelines and down the aisle to the far corner. Hundreds of people pushed forward to the table at all sides, hoping to steal a chance to get some of the fast-dwindling supply of caserecci curls. Some waited in line a second or third time for another two-ounce portion. It was heated. It was flying. And it was totally crazy in there.

Our supply ran dry at 12:55 p.m. with over an hour and a half more of the event to go. Did we bring enough to spare? Probably not. We brought eleven pounds of Hessian Hill local, grass-fed lamb shoulder and leg (retailing between $12.95 and $14.95 a pound), over thirteen pounds of bronze-dye cut, fresh-water pasta, hand made by the Masciarelli Pastificio (pasta house), the oldest and smallest pasta producer in Abruzzo, Italy (retails $9.95 a 1.1 lb. package), and a four-cheese medley of Pecorino Fiore Sardo ($23.50 lb.), Tomme Chebris ($24.50 lb.), Edelweiss Havarti ($9.95 lb.), and Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar (donated by Cabot). With the crowd hopping and the mac-n-cheese bowls flying, we could barely keep up with the demand.

If you missed out on this year’s action, you can still try our delicious cheeses and prepared foods. Come out to the 8th Annual Mac-N-Cheese Bowl, or better yet, stop in at 540 Delaware Avenue during business hours. See you soon!

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Left to Right: Marina, Ryan, and Morgan Skrabalak

 

Extended Holiday Hours for New Year’s

Extended Holiday Hours for the last week of December:

Friday 12/27 11-7
Saturday 12/28 10-7
Sunday 12/29 10-7
Monday 12/30 10-7
Tuesday 12/31 10-6
Wednesday 1/1 closed for New Year’s Day

Just arrived: A few special Cheeses in store for your New Year’s Celebration include:

Truffle Brie from Maison de la Truffe in Paris, France – Black diamond creme infused Brie

Tunworth from Neal’s Yard Dairy – an English Camembert

A selection of specialty Robiolas:

  • Robiola D’alba Tartufo – cow’s milk robiola with truffles
  • Robiola Di Castagna – mixed milk (cow, sheep, goat) wrapped in chestnut leaves
  • Robiola Incavolata – mixed milk (cow, sheep, goat) wrapped in savoy cabbage
  • Robiola Roccaverano di Capra – goat’s milk robiola

L’Ami du Chambertin “Gaugry – soft, pasteurized cow’s milk cheese washed in Marc du Burgundy wine, similar in style to the award-winning Epoisses (also available in store)

And there are many more beautiful cheeses available for your holiday cheese plates and new year’s entertaining. Come in and our exceptional cheesemongers will help you put together the perfect pairings or let us cater your cheese plate to order. We will also help you find the perfect cheeses to pair with your wines and beers.

Christmas 2013 cheese and charcuterie platters

Extended Holiday Hours in December and Gift Ideas

Hey y’all we will be open additional days and hours this holiday week for your last minute shopping pleasure.

Monday 12/23 10-7
Tuesday 12/24 10- 4 Christmas Eve
Wednesday 12/25 closed
Thursday 12/26 closed

We will be open Friday with extended hours up until New Year’s Eve. Check back for details.

Remember The Cheese Traveler offers gift certificates and gift baskets in a variety of themes and prices to meet your budget.

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Special Class: Holiday Cheese Plates

Holiday Cheese Plating: A New Class at The Cheese Traveler

Where: The Cheese Traveler, 540 Delaware Avenue, Albany
When: Wednesday, December 18, 6-8pm
Cost: $40, Go to cheesetraveler.brownpapertickets.com or visit the shop to purchase tickets

A beautiful cheese plate can be highlight of your holiday entertaining. Join Cheesemonger Eric Paul for a 2 hour workshop featuring cheese sampling, beverage pairing, and learning the art of crafting the perfect cheese plate.

Starting with styles, textures, and milks, Eric will show how to choose cheeses that will both compliment and contrast to create a well-rounded selection. To take it to the next level, we’ll introduce pairing nuts, preserves, meats, fruits, crackers, beverages, and more. Once you know what you want on your board, we’ll show you how to cut, plate, and present your delicious work of art.

All class attendees will receive a 10% discount on their holiday cheese order from The Cheese Traveler. Buy your tickets in the shop or at cheesetraveler.brownpapertickets.com

Eric and Alifair's Workshop "Making Elegant Cheese Plates" at Wine and Dine for the Arts 2013

Eric and Alifair’s Workshop “Making Elegant Cheese Plates” at Wine and Dine for the Arts 2013

Thanksgiving hours

Oh the snow! Already frosty windows, icicles, and breezy winds. Come in and warm up with hot cider while shopping.

Extended Holiday Hours

Monday 11/25 10-7
Tuesday 11/26 10-7
Wednesday 11/27 10-6
Thursday – closed for the holiday
Friday 11/29 11-7

Holiday Cheese SpecialsCelebrate Classic French Cheeses

Coronne de Touraine – $14.95 each , sale $13.95 each
Tome d-Aquitaine – $33.95 lb. , sale $28.95 lb.
Saintalin – $28.95 lb. , sale $25.95 lb.
Fourme aux Moelleaux – $29.95 , sale 27.50 lb.

Holiday Cheese Platters

You can still order Thanksgiving cheese platters (great for keeping everyone fed while the feast is being prepared). Give us a call 518-443-0440 or stop in. — at The Cheese Traveler. Fresh Bonfiglio bread with every order.

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Cheese Traveler Sandwiches!

The Cheese Traveler Adds New Sandwich Menu

The Cheese Traveler is excited to introduce its new sandwich and panini menu, which will be available Tuesday through Sunday beginning this weekend (November 2nd.) Sandwiches will be built on loaves sourced from Bonfiglio & Bread in Hudson and will feature a variety of high quality meats, cheeses, condiments, and other fine accompaniments. Offerings will change based on seasonal availability and inspiration, and can be enjoyed in-store or packaged to go.

Menu sampling:

  • Laguiole, Apple Peach & Apricot chutney (Rosebud Farms) $6.99

  • Toma Celena, Pawlett, smoked duck breast (Larchmont Charcuterie), black currant jam (Les Comtes de Provence) $7.99

  • Manchego Artesano, salchichon Iberico (Fermin) oil-cured olive tapenade $7.99

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Bonfiglio & Bread’s artisan baked breads will be available in the shop regularly.

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Limburger Files: Pt. 2, Beer and Cheese Pairing

by Alifair Skebe and David Doughan

From the family of smear-ripened or washed-rind cheeses, Limburger is practically made to pair with beer. The bold flavor of the orange-colored, slightly sweet and acidic rind and the smooth, creamy texture of the paste blend well with the effervescent, cool taste of a pint.

Limburger has long been considered a working-class cheese, because it packs a lot of flavor for not a lot of money. The cheese with its dense meaty texture is strong enough to hold its own on a rye-bread sandwich with red onion and mustard and to equally satisfy the tastebuds. Often found on bar menus and under glass at the deli counter, this Belgian-German cheese has become an American classic.

On a balmy February evening, cheesemongers Eric Paul, David Doughan, and Alifair Skebe met to sample Limburger and Beers, looking for the perfect pairing. A great pairing will bring out the best in both, and particularly for Limburger, you want the sweetness and subtlety of its hearty, bold flavor to shine above the funkiness of the washed rind. The right beer can do just that. The wrong beer will either leave the cheese tasting flat or overpowering.

Of the beers that night, we sampled Belgian beers and the American Peak IPA. Amongst the Belgian contenders were Duvel, Chimay blue label, Lindeman’s Gueuze Cuvee Rene, and Delirium Tremens. Although Limburger has long been thought to be a German cheese, its origins are located in Belgium with the monasteries, and its roots are close to Chimay. Thusly, we chose to pair it with the beers that most resemble its heritage.

Limburger, accompaniments, and the beer selection

Limburger, accompaniments, and the beer selection

The tasting order of the pairing began with Peak Organic IPA, and American Indian Pale Ale, and moved to Delerium Tremens and Duvel, both Belgian strong pale ales. We then tasted Lindeman’s Gueuze Cuvee Rene, a Belgian sour, and finished with the Chimay Grande Reserve blue label, a Belgian strong dark ale.

What follows are some tasting notes  –

Peak Organic IPA – American Indian Pale Ale, 7.2%

  • Bright yellow.  One finger head.
  • Fragrant, flowery aroma.
  • Crisp, refreshing IPA that has not gone overboard on the hops.

I definitely would drink this IPA on a regular basis; however, the Limburger overwhelmed the crisp taste immediately.  Water might be a better pairing than this IPA. The worst pairing of the night.

Delirium Tremens – strong Belgian pale ale, 8.5%

  • Bright yellow hue with no clouding.  Nice lacing.  Very little head.
  • Aromas of cloves and pepper.
  • Taste is a bit sweet at first followed by some heat and ends with a dry finish.
  • The better of the two Belgian Pale Ales.

Almost able to stand up to the Limburger. But the cheese wins out on the finish.

Duvel – strong Belgian pale ale, 8.5%

  • Bright yellow hue with no clouding.  Moderate head. Very slight lacing.
  • Citrus aroma.
  • Taste is more linear than the Tremens.  Crisp spicy taste then just goes nowhere after that.
  • The Duvel just is not as interesting a BPA.

Once I tasted the rind of the Limburger I could no longer taste the beer.  The beer did hold up to the paste though.

Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene – Gueze, 5.50%

  • Hazy orange hue.  Slightly more lacing than the Belgian Pale Ale.
  • Barnyard aroma with tart overtones.
  • Taste – tart/sour but not overly aggressive.  Some spice in the background, but I could not place it.  Well-balanced.

A triumph of human ingenuity.  And a complete disaster with the Limburger. The beer’s tartness only accentuated the unpleasant flavors in the Limburger. (Alifair liked this pairing, especially accompanied by the horseradish mustard and pickle relish.)

Chimay Grande Reserve – Belgian strong dark ale, 9.0%

  • Amber to brown color.  2 finger head.
  • Aromas of plum and other fruits.
  • Red wine tastes abound – grape, plums, raisins come to mind.  Very sweet. Creamy texture.

The only beer that worked with the Limburger without accompaniments.  The sweetness of the beer was able to soften the acidic flavor of the rind and allowed me to really enjoy the fruity undertones of the Limburger’s paste.

Our Final Comments on the Tasting:

Overall we found that we enjoyed the Limburger especially when eaten with rye bread and condiments. We agreed that the best Limburger pairing of the evening was Chimay. The flavors enhanced one another and brought out pleasant notes in each. Eric also enjoyed the Delirium Tremens and Alifair liked the Lindemans.

The order of beers was wrong…drinking the Gueuze before the Belgian Strong Pale Ale killed the palate.