by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
As someone who eats cheese almost daily, I could not wait to try these gourmet cheeses and compare them to what I’ve been getting from the grocery store. Most of the stuff you find in your local store has sat in a warehouse until ordered and then it sits in the refrigerated case for who knows how long until purchased or it goes bad. Chef Lippe, gets most of his cheeses directly from the source, thus cutting out the middleman and bringing you the freshest cheeses to market as quickly as possible.
Chef Lippe’s love of food started at an early age. His grandmother used to take him to street fairs and local markets and this is where he was first exposed to gourmet artisan foods. He can still remember the smell of roasted piglet porchetta with the hints of rosemary and garlic to this day. As a son of a US Diplomat, he got to travel the world and was exposed to many different cultures and cuisines. No matter where chef traveled, he always felt at home in the kitchen. The kitchen is where the sounds and smells were all too familiar and where cross cultures could bond over a shared meal. Later in life, he became a fashion photographer which allowed him to continue traveling around the world and experiencing cultures through food once more. This is when he really became engaged in local cuisines around the world and would be the founding stone for his culinary style. Leaving the fashion photography business in 1999, he traveled to Brazil and found a shack in the islands where he developed it into a calzone tavern and ended with a trattoria. This is where he began the pursuit of his lifelong calling. In 2007, he came back to the US and attended the New York Fancy Food Show and came across something known as black garlic. This encounter helped shape the next few years of his career and he became one of the first importers of it in the US. In 2010, he started his quest to build a website featuring artisanal food, small batch production, farmstead, homestead, local, seasonal, and hard to find items. His website http://cheflippe.net/ was founded in 2012.
Now let’s jump right in and see a few of the cheeses we tasted!
Balsamic and Merlot Wisconson Cheddar Cheeses – We sampled both of these cheeses and personally liked the balsamic one a little better. It was a little bit smoother and creamier than the merlot. Both of the crusts had a little crunch to it which added a nice texture variation.
Blue Faribault Cave Aged – Bold flavor is something I expect when I taste a cheese like bleu, and this one did not disappoint. This one would go nicely crumbled on a salad or atop a nice steak.
Quesera Manchego – This cheese has a firmer, crumbly texture with a flavor profile somewhere between Parmesan and Pecorino Romano. The longer we held it in our mouth, the better the flavor became.
Grana Padano – This cheese wheel looks very similar to Parmeseano Reggiano that you see all the time at local grocery stores. While we did not taste this one at the market, Chef Lippe did tell me that its slightly softer and has better flavor than Parmeseano Reggiano. When he has an assistant at the Farmers Market, he cooks fresh pasta with butter, garlic, and parsley, then tosses it inside the large wheel allowing it to melt the cheese and makes a wonderful pasta dish.
One question that I thought you might be interested to learn is “what cheeses does he recommend for a grilled cheese sandwich and mac and cheese?
Here is what he had to say about grilled cheese: “There are as many “good” cheeses to make the perfect cheese sandwich as there are palates. I think the secret lies in achieving the perfect texture-flavor combination. For a grilled cheese sandwich, for example, I would use fontina cheese as the base, that would give me that gooey cloudy fluffy goodness that stretches for miles, and comte for character band depth of flavor. Remember, every gruyere aspires one day to become a comte. I would close the set between two slices of rye bread.”
Here is what he had to say about mac and cheese: “Gouda and cheddar would be my choices. Manchego is good in the mix also. A trick for Mac and cheese, whatever cheese you are using, mix a minimum of 30% cream cheese in the recipe… Nothing sticks to macaroni like cream cheese!”
Could I tell a difference in what I tasted? Absolutely! They were fresher, saltier, sweeter, smoother and creamier than any other cheeses that I’ve tasted before. You can find Chef Lippe at the local Vero Beach Farmers Market each Saturday morning (rain or shine) from 8 am – 12 noon. His selection does fluctuate from week to week, so if you want something specific, you can always give him a call and request a specific cheese to be brought to the market. I also advise you to get there early because he most certainly does sell out quickly.
For more information, please visit: http://cheflippe.net/
For all your cheese emergencies, you can call him direct at (321) 345-4568