Friday, April 24, 2009

NEW!!! Chef Classes in the Surfas Test Kitchen Starting in May

Starting May 3!!! Unlike our free demos, these classes offer the opportunity for YOU to be a participant in a small class setting.

Learn cooking, baking and culinary skills from pre-eminent professional and private chefs, bakers and caterers, restaurateurs, wine and beer experts and culinary teachers. Discover first hand the tricks of the trade and many invaluable tips of the industry in our state of the art commercial kitchen. All programs are developed by independent food professionals for you to gain knowledge that can be used in your own kitchen. These are unique classes hosted by Surfas but are solely created and arranged for you by the instructor. Therefore these are experiences that will reflect the ideas, techniques, and expertise each instructor brings to the group. We encourage you to consider being a participant and to enjoy bring your friends and have fun learning from these wonderful professionals.

Some of our upcoming classes:
  • May 3, Spices Un-Limited with Un-Curry
  • May 6, Cupcake Lunchdate! Gourmet Cupcake Baking and Decorating Class with Gourmandise Desserts
  • May 13, Amanda Cushman: Dining in Tuscany
For more information, and a complete listing of classes, please visit our Chef Classes page!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Cheese Quality

Orange, "cheese-flavored" foods are rampant in the markets today and have really warped our understanding of what cheese is or can be. Lets say, 'no', to the over-processed and rediscover the real (cheese).

There are three divisions of cheese: Artisanal, Farmhouse and Factory Cheese.

Artisanal cheeses are handcrafted, small-production and often traditionally made cheeses. Truly the pinnacle of cheese-making, they are generally produced on a small scale on a farm or a small factory. Some artisanal cheeses are strictly regulated and are specific to a region; others break tradition and aren't regulated at all.

Farmhouse cheese or Fermier (of the farm) is usually made by hand with raw milk from animals from that farm. They are often well crafted and interesting cheeses. While most follow traditional production methods others are made using more progressive processes, including biodynamic and organic set-ups which appeal to the health-more conscious consumers.

Factory cheeses came about during the industrial revolution, the first being Derby cheese which appeared around 1890. During the First World War truly large scale manufacturing began with the milk being long shipped distances in steel tanks where it is over-pasteurized to kill bacteria that could affect the shelf life of the product. Unfortunately, killing the bacteria that causes spoilage also kills the bacteria which gives flavor and texture to the cheese resulting bland cheeses.

These methods eventually led to processed cheeses, cheese food or imitation cheese products, or as I call them, dead cheese.

Cheese curator,

Henry T. Cram

***Also, a quick note about raw milk cheeses- Many people are asking about raw milk cheeses. Many great raw milk products are withheld from importation into the United States because of our strict regulations for the handling of raw milk and production of raw milk cheeses, despite findings that there is little health risk in the consumption of raw dairy products.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beegreen Farm Stand on the Surfas Patio All Spring and Summer Long

Bettina from BeeGreenFarm will be selling seasonal items from her organic farm on our Cafe Surfas Patio all spring and summer long! For more information on BeeGreenFarm, please check out their site at: Here's a sampling of items Bettina will be selling:

  • A culinary assortment fresh, dry and potted oregano, thyme, bay laurel rosemary
  • Rosemary skewers for grilling
  • “Cozy Culinary Kindling” a fragrant culinary potpourri for your BBQ
  • Dehydrated oranges and lemon
  • Dried viola, perfect for decorating cupcakes and candies
  • Potted miniature olive trees
  • Assorted flowering branches

Blog Spot: Apples and Butter Blog Highlights David's Buratta Sundae

We at Surfas are fervent believers of the "Savory as a Dessert" school. If you'd like to check out a truly unique idea for Buratta cheese, click on over to the Apples and Butter blog for a detailed look at David Rozansky's Buratta Sundae. Direct link here.

Tickets are also still available for David's monthly wine and cheese class in the Surfas Test Kitchen. This Saturday, the 25th, from 4-5pm, David will be doing a tasting wine Sparkling Wines and American Artisan Goat Cheeses. For more details, check out the Surfas Calendar, here!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dessert Wine Tasting Notes

Below are the Dessert Wine and Cheese tasting notes from Surfas Sommelier, David Rozansky. This class was held in the Surfas Test Kitchen on March 28th, 2009.


The whole reason this pairing works so well is not only the contrast of sweet and salty, but the acidity of this high altitude wine with this specific goats cheese. The acidity cuts through the barnyardiness of the goat’s cheese, while the sweetness brings out the creaminess.
This wine is also the perfect pairing to spicy foods, such as blackened Big Eye Tuna.


I adore this pairing. Delice is slightly pungent, salty and has the consistency of cake batter, I then drizzled it with white truffle honey and served it with a varietal that has the nose of a big bouquet of flowers. It is magnificent. You taste it and your mouth cries “This must remain in my life forever!” It layers salty, creamy, sweet, floral and in anchored by the sublime earthiness of white truffles.


Vouvray from the Loire Valley in France is amazing. The French never create a wine by mistake; they always pair well with food. The varietal Chenin Blanc, is off dry and creamy on the palette. It also has excellent acidity. Grayson on the other hand is a meaty, slightly stinky, creamy washed rind cheese. After eating this cheese, you take a sip of the Vouvray and slightly gurgle it as it aerates in your mouth. The salty pungency of the cheese is replaced with honey, tart apples, apricots and honey suckle flowers.


Finally the dessert, of the dessert wine tasting. Four Vines Zinfandel Port from western Paso Robles is a lower alcohol port made from the best Zin grapes California has to offer. It reminds me of a chocolaty boysenberry pancake syrup when served with this cheese. The smoky blue, is tart and salty, with a smoked cheese finish from having been cold smoked over hazelnut shells for 15 hours. The layering of flavors is mind blowing, as if the cheese and the port exist only for each other’s benefit.