CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

Dining, Donuts, Dives and Diatribes

  • Recent Comments

    cmh gourmand on Judging (Cookies & Pastrie…
    Joy Lloyd on Judging (Cookies & Pastrie…
    cmh gourmand on The Best Basement Brewing Muse…
    Pat Woodward on The Best Basement Brewing Muse…
    cmh gourmand on Ding Ho, Wor Sue Gai: Columbus…
    ctonn on Ding Ho, Wor Sue Gai: Columbus…
    writerhelenrdavis on My Lonely Lunch in Spain …
  • Categories

  • Top Posts

  • Archives: August 2006 to Now

Archive for the ‘cheese’ Category

Finlandia Butter and Cheese? Oh, Yes Please

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 29, 2016

The story begins with (in part) this e-mail:

Happy National Dairy Month! I’m writing with a delicious opportunity for you to taste some of the best cheese and butter on Earth, and show off your baking and cooking skills.

Finlandia Cheese—a company that has been crafting great-tasting cheese and butter for more than a century—is a fan of your blog and asked me to reach out with a special Dairy Delight Kit for you, featuring yummy cheese, the best butter you’ve ever tasted, and some handy kitchen items.


I did not receive the handy kitchen items but I did receive plenty of butter (salted and unsalted) and some Swiss Cheese. I discussed options with CMH Wife and we decided some of the butter and cheese would be a great opportunity to show off a new serving tray we received from a friend and introduce CMH Griffin to a simple summer meal of Swiss Cheese (his first Swiss) and a bit of salted and unsalted butter in a head to head taste off.




The verdict, just like his dad, CMH Griffin is a huge fan of cheese. As for butter no indication was made as to if salted or unsalted was preferred.

Finlandia on Facebook

Finlandia Cheese Locator


Posted in cheese, Gastronomic Stimulus | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Quick Byte: The Pepperoni Roll at Omega Artisan Baking

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 4, 2012

Loyal readers or those that use the wayback machine and like reading CMH Gourmand archives may recall my pepperoni roll research a few years ago. The pepperoni roll’s roots harken back to the early 20th century when coal miners and factory workers dragged back and forth from back braking labor and soul crushing hours on the job. With little time, energy, or money for a meal, they needed something they could eat with their hands while standing or on the go. The pepperoni roll became the answer for many of these folks seeking a cheap and filling meal. The Pepperoni Roll is ubiquitous to West Virginia and can be found throughout the state in restaurants, diners, family kitchens and gas stations – made by hand or made en mass.

I came to appreciate this bit of culinary history but rarely find them on this side of the Ohio River. Oddly enough, the best pepperoni roll in all my travels resides here in my home town at The North Market. Omega Artisan Bakery takes this staple of the common man to such great heights. The ingredients of a pepperoni roll are as basic as can be – bread, pepperoni and cheese. The key to any good sandwich (or sandwich like product in this case) is good bread. In the case of Omega good bread is the baseline so part one is easily accomplished. Next, the balance of pepperoni and cheese is critical. I have encountered many ratios of these three ingredients but Omega seems to have found the magic mix of about 34%-33%-33% (my favorite measurements for many things, I guess). Since I discovered the Pepperoni Roll at Omega I can not think of a time I have been at the North Market and not bought one as my lunch for the day or as a meal for later. Each bite offers a mouthful of fresh, chewy roll, slightly greasy pepperoni and hardened, crusty, chewy and crispy cheese. No sauce is needed just three simple ingredients combined for a happy meal that needs no prize at the end.

Omega Artisan Baking on Urbanspoon

Posted in cheese, markets, sandwiches | 2 Comments »

Oakvale Farmstead Cheese

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 19, 2009

Oakvale Farmstead Cheese
1285 State Route 29
(about 4 miles North from I 70 on SR 29, less than 1 hour from Columbus)

Cheese lovers might be surprised to find a farmstead cheesemaker in the rolling hills and winding roads of Madison County. I certainly was because when I tapped my breaks as I noticed the Oakvale sign, I had completely forgotten about the pick up truck tailgating me. He moved on but I stayed behind to investigate.

I have tried Oakvale cheese at many farm markets and events at the Hills Market over the last couple years but I never placed where the Oakvale was in my mind. Fortunately for me, they were open and I happened to catch Jean King in between chores.

Jean and her husband Dale along with their daughter Dena, Randy Finke and the family dog run the cheese operation at the King farm. The family has been in the dairy business for five generations. As a farmstead cheese maker the milk for the cheese comes from the cows of the area which are mostly Holsteins and Brown Swiss cows. The cows eat local corn and graze on pastures near the farm. The cheese making process can begin hours after milking. Tudy is the senior cow of the herd and has been on the King farm for over 17 years.

Oakvale makes Gouda cheese in the following varieties: young, aged, caraway, Jalapeno and Habanero. They are also starting to work on smoked cheese and other products. The cheese is made with raw milk and aged 60 days (or more). Tours are available of the facility by arrangement. If you arrive and no one is around, you can self serve your order and pay when you leave. Jean says this honor system has worked very well and in some cases she has had wonderful thank you notes written by customers she has never seen.

Self Serve

On December 4th and 5th, Oakvale is having an open house where visitors can see everything in action, sample cheese and get 20% off all cheese purchases. It is a rare opportunity to buy cheese at the home of the people and cows that make it possible so make the drive and stock up of the holidays.

Posted in cheese, Road Trip | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Kent Rand: Hills Market Cheesemonger at Wild Goose Creative

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 8, 2009

The Wild Goose Creative, Too Many Cooks Series hosted Kent Rand, Cheese Director from Hills Market for a night of Ohio Cheese tasting. The suggested donation was $10. Too Many Cooks serves up something tasty the first Sunday evening of every month. Since I love cheese and support all things Hills Market and Wild Goose, I was there.

Friendly Neighborhood Cheesemonger Man

Friendly Neighborhood Cheesemonger Man

Kent Rand – also known as The Budda of Gouda, Chief of Cheddar, Prince of Provolone and Bhagwan of Brie guided a full house through a tasting tour of four Ohio Cheeses. He was assisted by one of my two favorite marketing mavens, Jill Moorhead, The Hills Market Marketing Director. In addition to creating good events, crafting fine prose on produce and significant craftiness to boot, Jill pours a good glass of wine.

The cheeses for the evening were:

Chevre with Herbs from MacKenzie Creamery in Hiriam

Organic Cheddar from Green Field Farms in Fredricksburg

Old Time Smoked Swiss from Steiner Cheese in Baltic
(Yippee!! See my December 2008 post)

Caraway Gouda from Oakvale Farmstead Cheese in London
(Hills was the first local market to carry Oakvale cheeses.)

The cheeses were paired with South River Vineyard’s Temptation, a Rose from Geneva, Ohio.

We were also treated to a section of plated tastes to accompany our curdish delights so we could compare and contrast the flavors of the cheeses. Our tasting selections included dried apricots, black radish slices, watermelon radish slices, nuts, apple chutney, figs, an apple slice, Columbus Ham (not from Columbus), and a few other morsels.

In between eating, drinking and more eating, Kent discussed each cheese, provided an overview on cheesemaking and reviewed how to store cheese. He also fielded questions on Farmstead cheese, pasteurization in the art and science of cheesemaking, raw milk cheeses and why Cheddar is orange / yellow, among other questions. Kent topped things off with a serving of his Ohio Dutch Fondue (including grated gouda and a nip of gin).

It was an excellent night of eating education and you missed it. I used to worry about Hills Market and Wild Goose getting enough traffic at events to sustain their good ideas. Now I worry about getting a seat.

If you live in Worthington, Clintonville or Campus, The Hills Market can be reached after long but rewarding ride on the Olentangy River Bike Trail.

Posted in cheese, culinary knowledge, events, markets | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Hills Market – 2009 Wine and Cheese Tasting Line Up

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 24, 2009

I wrote and raved about Hills Wine and Cheese tastings in 2007 and 2008. Each month, the market presents an evening of wine, cheese, and appetizers (featuring the cheeses) inspired by a country, region or theme. Constance (wine director) and Kent (cheesemonger) pair up to create the wine and cheese pairings. They guide us through each wine we drink and each chunk of cheese we devour to fill our minds with knowledge while we fill out stomachs. It is a great night of good conversation with interesting and diverse people.

A taste of a tasting is offered in Columbus Foodcast, episode 15.

Here is the line up for 2009:

Seating is limited, reservations can be made at 614.846.3220. The cost is $35. Take your seats at 6:30 PM or I will steal your cheese.

January 29 – Ohio

(Post Post – 01/30/09)
This is what we had:

Firelands Winery Sparkling, NV
Ferrante Winery Vidal Blanc
Harpersfield Pinot Gris
Markko Vineyards Chardonnay
South River Winery Trinity
Kinkead Ridge ‘River Village Cellars’ Cabernet Franc

Hors D’oeuvres...

Ratatouille Bruschetta (Served with Ohio Goat Cheese)
Mini Cheese Artichoke Hearts (Served with Ohio Monterey Jack)
Stuffed Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cheese and Bacon (Served with Ohio Smoked Cheddar)
Savory Spinach Cheese Squares (Served with Ohio Farmers’ Cheese)
Sour Kraut Gouda Balls (Served with Ohio Caraway Gouda)
Feta-stuffed Mediterranean Pocket Pitas (Served with Ohio Feta)

February 26 – Germany and Switzerland

March 26 – East Coast U.S. and Canada

April 30 – France

May 28 – Greece

June 25 – West Coast

July 30 – Spain and Portugal

August 27 – South America

September 24 – Italy

October 29 – Australia and New Zealand

November 19 – Autumn Cheeses and Wine

December 10 – Sparkling Wines and Cheeses

Posted in cheese, culinary knowledge, events, markets, wine | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Wild Goose Chase: A Cheese Tasting and More

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 14, 2009

I left town to get caught up again. This time I was on sabbatical in San Antonio. The SA food scene has serious menu mojo!

Now for a journey back in time. A gaggle of folks from Wild Goose Creative put together a New Years Festival filled with a diverse range of activities running from December 31st to January 4th. I attended several of their events: a coffee tasting with the owner of Cafe Brioso, a pairing of Buster Keaton and Popeye for Saturday morning breakfast, another breakfast at the new Banana Bean location (Nick spoke about his breakfast blog and I chimed in a bit) on Greenlawn and a few other workshops. The event had a wide array of sponsors – many of them dear to my heart and stomach as shown below.


What lured me in was the cheese tasting with Jen Bhaerman from Snowville Creamery. If you have not tried their milk – do so. Got Milk? Well compost it or give it to your cat then get Snowville instead, it is that good. You can find Snowville dairy products at North Market, Hills Market and other select stores.


Jen provided a packet of information titled The Pleasures of the Curd. This short handout provided a quick overview of cheese fundamentals. As part of the workshop she used several cheeses to hone our taste buds to the four main attributes of cheese – Appearance, Touch, Smell, and Taste. We started with mild cheese and worked our tastes up the flavor spectrum to wild.

Interesting factoid from her handout: Taste buds can detect only five flavors (bitter, salty, sour sweet and (not commonly known) Umani / Savory but the olfactory system can detect about 10,000 different aromas. So smell is critical to the tasting experience. Hmm, so why do I like stinky cheese so much?

cheese tasting

Jen knows her cheese and she works for a great company. Another bonus is she formerly worked for one of my favorite cheesemakers Cowgirl Creamery.

These are the cheeses we tried (photos not in order):

Twig Farm Goat Tomme

A raw milk aged goat cheese from Vermont. My favorite of the samples.

cheese 1

Oakvale Gouda

An aged cheese from just west of Columbus. Gouda..good.

cheese 2

Vermont Shepherd

Another raw, aged sheep’s milk cheese. Award winning and pleasing to my palate. Who told Jen I am a chupacabra of goat cheese?

La Chaux Doux (no link)
A washed rind cow’s milk cheese from a Fromagerie in Switzerland. This is a pungent, runny cheese that the group either loved or hated. I like stinky cheeses and found this paired well with the Gouda on a cracker.

cheese 3

Bayley Hazen Blue

A cow’s milk cheese made in Vermont using an English recipe, how is that for diversity? Jasper Hill Farm is a renown cheesemaker in a state that fields a lot of competition – we benefit from the high standards these cheesecrafters hold.

A guest also provided two additional cheeses from Bobolink Farm in New Jersey. Unfortunately, I did not note what they were.

 Jen B

Jen does practice what she teaches – the photo above shows her sampling cheese – it is great to lead by example.

I think we can expect to see Jen in the future, maybe I can talk her into doing a tasting or two for Slow Food Columbus…stayed tuned.

Wild Goose Creative offers several food related events throughout the year. A taste of what is to come includes:

Whiskey Tasting at Mac’s Cafe – January 26th

Too Many Cooks: Pattycake Bakery – February 1st
See how vegan baking can taste so good.
(For reasons why you want to go to this event listen to Columbus Foodcast Episode 21)

Too Many Cooks: Northstar Cafe – March 1st
Learn some of the secrets of Northstar’s kitchen. If they show how to make one of their peanut cookies or the veggie burger I am in.

Check out the Wild Goose Creative web site for more details.

Posted in cheese, Clintonville, culinary knowledge, events | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Merry Cheese Mass

Posted by cmh gourmand on December 25, 2008

I am a cheese whore. This is the premiere time of year to indulge my passion for cheese. While cheese can be shipped anytime of year, winter is the season to make your move. The shipping charges are reduced because cheese producers can ship it slower and cheaper without having to add freezer packs to maintain the integrity of the cheese.

These are the cheeses that have added to my mass this month.

Pearl Valley Cheese

Pearl Valley Cheese was awarded the Silver Medal for their Smoked Swiss Cheese at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison Wisconsin. This was my favorite of the seven Pearl Valley cheeses I sampled.

Steiner Cheese


Steiner has won many awards as well. If shipping is not your thing, they have added a retail store in Zanesville. If you are passing by on I 70 during the holidays – the store might be an alternative to a rest stop. If you do make a detour, I would suggest you visit Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl and Donald’s Donuts. If you opt to visit their store in Amish country take a look around, it is the oldest cheese factory (1833) in the country. Aged Swiss is my favorite.

Carr Valley Cheese

Ok, Carr Valley is in Wisconsin, but I discovered the cheese in Granville. Their Baa Baa Blue is the second best Blue cheese on the planet. (The best is Whitestone Windsor Blue from New Zealand).

Ordering Pearl and Steiner cheeses by mail order can provide some really good deals – even with shipping factored in. Carr Valley is pricey, but shipping is a bit lower this time of year.

I also cross checked my cheese chomping choices with my chief CMH Gourmand taster, Toby. He agrees with my picks.


Posted in cheese | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

IPA’s vs. Belgians; Surly Girl and The Beer Wench

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 3, 2008

My friend and podcast co-conspirator, the Columbus Beer Wench along with Surly Girl Saloon (co-owned by my pal Liz Lessner) have a beer tasting event coming up. For in depth information see more at the Beer Wench site.

Here is the press release

Beer, Cheese and Cupcake Tasting


Surly Girl Saloon, in conjunction with The Columbus Beer Wench, invites the citizens
of Columbus to explore the uncharted territory of a beer, cheese and cupcake pairing on Sunday, June 8th.

The theme of the actual beer tasting will be a battle of India Pale Ales versus Belgian Ales. Tasters will learn the different nuances of each of the two styles, all while enjoying delicious fresh baked cupcakes and select styles of beers and cheeses.

New update (June 6th – stolen straight from Surly Girl’s weekly events e-mail)

$20 gets you a pairing of 4 intense Belgians with 4 ridiculously good cupcakes (made by the tough and lovely Lara Yazvac) and 4 amazing IPA’s with 4 delicious cheeses.

Cupcake tasting and tweaking happened yesterday and we had some very happy staff. Bacon cream cheese frosting was to die for. No, seriously. We all almost killed each other trying to lick the bowl. Mmmm…bacon. Think that’s going to be our only non-veggie product though for the non-omnivores among us.

So the cupcake lineup is now:
Piraat Triple IPA with an orange and cardamom cupcake
Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru with a Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale and cheddar cheese cupcake with bacon cream cheese frosting
Lindeman’s Framboise with a lemon rosemary cupcake
Lindeman’s Pomme with a goat cheese cupcake

(Post Post Script June 8th…..late in the evening)

The event was at attended by 20 plus people. The Stilton was the cheese that pleased all. And it is now official – bacon is the new black, most people loved the bacon icing.

Posted in bar, beer, cheese, culinary misadventure, Short North | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

North Market Apron Gala – May 17th (and More Market Mayhem)

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 11, 2008

The 12th Annual North Market Apron Gala

Saturday, May 17th

Doors open and aprons on at – 7 PM

North Market

59 Spruce Street

Short North

Who: Me plus anyone one else that likes to eat and/or loves the North Market

What: Three courses of appetizers, tastes and samples of entrees, desserts, beer from Columbus Brewing Company, Ohio wines, multiple North Market vendors, a silent auction, fortune tellers, raffles, prizes, and a contest to see who has the coolest apron.

When: See Above

Where: North Market – the mecca of food goodness

Why: To support the North Market, proceeds go to support our North Market

How: Through the hard work of North Market vendors, staff, local restaurants, and the Friends of North Market

Tickets – $75 (worth every penny); $65 for registered Friends of the North Market

If you have never been to the North Market or have never been to a North Market event, this is the night to go. If anyone wants to meet up and talk food with me send me an e-mail, I will be there all evening.

If you need more encouragement to go, see my photos from the North Market Cinco D’ Ohio Festival below. The photos are a taste of the culinary wonders you can expect at events like this. I was one of the judges for the salsa contest. Nine people pitted their salsas up against the palettes of four lucky judges.

Then, I was also a judge for an array of tacos from for a fiery and heated competition with local professional chefs. Five Top chefs mixed their skill, creativity, and some North Market ingredients for a United Nations of flavors in the Taco Taste Off. The winner – in a tummy pleasing close call contest was Steve Lawrence from Cajohn’s Caboom Chili Company with his Asian Taco (in a soft, yet crunchy Wonton shell). Alana Shook (Alana’s) and John Dornbeck (Basi) were neck and neck in my book for a heartbreaking second place with my palette.

North Market is fun, fun, fun and the people are great so come support our market the night of May 17th.

Finally….If the Apron Gala does not work out for you or the other events seem too large scale, consider a more intimate experience with some of the best chef’s and cooks in Columbus:

To sign up drop by the North Market office or call to register at 614-463-9664.

Shop with the Chef Series, Saturdays, 10AM-1PM

Limit 20 people, cost $45 per person; $225 series

Saturday, June 7 – John Dornback, Basi Italia

Saturday, June 21 – Paul Yow, Barcelona

Saturday, July 5 – David Tetzloff, G. Michael’s Bistro

Saturday, July 19 – Matt Langstaff, Bexley’s Monk

Saturday, August 2 – Alana Shock, Alana’s Food + Wine

Saturday, August 16 – Robin Davis, The Columbus Dispatch

Summer Evening Chef Series, Wednesdays 6:30-8:30PM

Limit 26 people, cost $60 per person; $300 series

Wednesday, June 4 – John Skaggs, Chef at Large

Wednesday, June 18 – Jason Shelley, Mitchell’s Ocean Club

Wednesday, July 2 – Paul Yow, Barcelona

Wednesday, July 16 – Chef Rocco, Pastaria

Wednesday, August 6 – Matt Prokopchak, Trattoria Roma

Wednesday, August 20 – Matt Langstaff, Bexley’s Monk

Fall Evening Chef Series, Wednesdays 6:30-8:30PM

Limit 26 people, cost $60 per person; $300 series

Wednesday, September 3 – Henry Butcher Sr., Creole Kitchen

Wednesday, September 17 – Kevin Jones, The Columbus Fish Market

Wednesday, October 1 – Paul Yow, Barcelona

Wednesday, October 15 – David Tetzloff, G. Michael’s Bistro

Wednesday, November 5 – Matt Prokopchak, Trattoria Roma

Wednesday, November 19 – Matt Langstaff, Bexley’s Monk

Posted in bakery, cheese, chocolate, Columbus, culinary knowledge, food, ice cream, markets, Short North, wine | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

A Tale of Two Tastings – Hills Market and Tip Top

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 21, 2008

Hills Market had a British Beer and Cheese tasting on April 17th. The turnout was smaller than I expected, only eight souls, but we had a fabulous time. Kent Rand walked us through the cheeses and Constance Begue covered the background of the beers we sampled. Kent did a wonderful job creating appetizers to complement the beer and cheeses.

This is what we sampled:

All the beers were Ales.

Beer: Smithwick’s Irish Ale (Ireland)
Cheese: Blarney Castle (Ireland – semi-soft, park skim milk)
Appetizer: Melon balls wrapped with Blarney castle cheese and a dusting of pistachio nuts

Beer: Samuel Smith Organically Produced Ale (England)
Cheese: Cotswold (England – semi firm cheddar)
Appetizer: Flour tortilla with mayo, spinach, Cotswold cheese, roasted red pepper and grilled chicken breast

Beer: St. Peter’s Golden Ale (Wales)
Cheese: Red Dragon (England – Cheddar blended with toasted mustard seed and a bit of ale)
Appetizer: Brioche with mesclun, red dragon cheese, roast beef and a drizzle of horseradish

Beer: Black Douglas Ale (Ireland)
Cheese: Dubliner (Ireland – aged semi-firm)
Appetizer: endive leaf wrapped with ripe pear, Dubliner cheese, thyme, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper

Beer: Fuller’s Extra Strong Bitter (England)
Cheese: Stinking Bishop (England – soft English stinky cheese)
Appetizer: a wafer-sized slice of fig almond cake with Stinking Bishop cheese and dried cranberries

Beer: Kelpie Seaweed Ale (Scotland)
Cheese: Shropshire Blue (England – aged Stilton)
Appetizer: baby portabella mushroom caps stuffed with Shropshire Blue cheese, tomato bruschetta and Panko bread crumbs

This is what you missed, make sure to give at least one of the Hills tastings a try in the future.

May 29, 2008 – Wines & Cheese from Spain 6.30 p.m.

June 26, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from Greece 6.30 p.m.

July 24, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from Italy 6.30 p.m.

August 21, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from Australia 6.30 p.m.

September 25, 2008 – Wines & Cheeses from France 6.30 p.m.

October 23, 2008 – Octoberfest: Beers & Cheeses 6.30 p.m.

Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails partnered with the Columbus Beer Wench for the first Tip Top Drink with the Wench Beer Sampling on Sunday, April 20th from 5pm until 8pm. The sampling included beer, and generous helpings of Ohio Nachos (housemade potato chips topped with melted cheese, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, jalapenos, and sour cream), Sweet Potato Fries and Red Bean Hummus.

We sampled six different beers, three from the Tip Top menu and three candidates for new beers to update the menu. Each person had the opportunity to vote on which of the current beers should be discontinued and which of the new beers should be added to the Tip Top beer selections. Beers chosen by the group will be featured as local selections. The end result, two old beers stayed and one new beer was added.

The Columbus Beer Wench coordinated the pours and poured on the commentary with a touch of charm. Tim Lessner, co-owner kept the food coming and added some Surly Girl insight. Andy Wuelfling from Premium Beverage Supply gave us insider information on each of the beers and clarified that in the industry – there are two schools of thought on just about anything so the end result is essentially – if you like it, it is good.

Here is what we tried.
Southern Tier – HopSun (my favorite)
Lagunitas – The Censored – (formerly Chronic) Cooper Ale

Flying Dog – Old Scratch Amber Lager
Flying Dog – Garde Dog (Biere de Garde)
Southern Tier – Phin and Matt’s (the owners) extraordinary ale
Ft. Collins Brewery – Retro Red

The bolded selections were the winners.

So – as I often say, if you can not find something to do in Columbus – you are not looking.

Posted in bar, beer, beverages, cheese, Columbus | Tagged: | 2 Comments »