FOOD: Cheese Whiz on Cheddar

July 15, 2011 by Kathleen Nixon · Leave a Comment 

BY Christrianna Sargent

Special to Falls Church Times

July 15, 2011

Imagine a world without cheese. Visit Whole Foods without sorting through towers of cheddar looming over wrinkly, ashen pyramids of fermented goat’s milk. Picture the empty cases once laden with downy-soft, ivory disks of soft-ripened, creamy bliss. Balk at the Farmer’s Markets scarce of cheesemakers, tranquility fractured by haunting echoes of vast silence supplied by cheese dearth.  Envision a world lacking in magic from the absence of wine and cheese pairings; the ultimate sanction suffered from cheese coiffures gone dry. Too heavy a burden the world would bear…Oh Cheese, forever would I lament you, a world of senseless whirling gone awry.

Drastic measures of which I speak, exaggerated with descriptive language I admit. But, truly, cheese industrialization almost put farmhouse cheddars out to pasture. The ravages of the Second World War devastated the British cheese industry and paved the path for tons of mass-produced American Cheddar to fill the bellies of Americans and Brits alike. Few men remained to pass on age-old cheesemaking traditions. A country once blessed with 15,000 cheesemakers crafting “territorial” cheeses was left with 126 farmhouse cheesemakers.  The British were not alone. America experienced the same plight. Flooded by European immigrants in the 1800s, America feared the population’s food demands would outpace the slow, local process of cheese production. In 1877, John Jossi, a Wisconsin cheesemaker of Swiss origin, developed a process to emulate English Cheddar by using two bricks to squeeze fresh curd, resulting in a firm, more rubbery cheese ideal for cutting. The process quickly inspired Britain’s Ministry of Food to rule all excess milk be used to make fast-cultivating “National Cheese.”

By the 1970s, farmhouse cheddar was all but forgotten. Large companies stamped out most small co-operatives as cheese became a commodity to be distributed as cheaply and efficiently as possible to supply the increasing number of supermarkets. Where had all the cheddars gone? Millions only knew cheddar as the orange or white, Velveeta-like, manufactured cheese, sterilized and standardized. But, the Vietnam War partnered with the hippie movement sparked the dawn of a new age. A generation of people, who harbored aspirations to shrug off the disillusioned world, decided to lay testimony to the rural, farm life. Cheese was to be revolutionized.


On July 17th at Red, White & Bleu, another session of Cheese Boot Camp forges ahead with a close-up view on the history of British farmhouse cheddars and today’s movement to revitalize artisanal and farmstead cheesemaking. This educational tasting session will expose American supermarket shelves as the bearer of ready-to-go shredded or sliced Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby and Swiss processed cheese, marketed as “fresh” by the power of preservatives. Pique your senses with the opposite of factory flavors ranging from bland to sharp and venture into farmstead flavor including caramellike, fruity, nutty, tangy, grassy, and spicy.

Cheddar production dates back to the medieval times, and the name itself is no longer associated with a village in southwest England’s Somerset County. Rather, the name refers to a technique and is not a protected designation of origin. Cheddaring is a process by which the curds are pressed and stacked resulting in a characteristically smooth, firm, tight texture of Cheddar. Everything Cheddar will be discussed Sunday, July 17th at Red, White & Bleu Wine Shop at our 1pm and 3pm reservation openings. Seven farmstead cheeses will be tasted from the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Plus, seven wines that pair classically with Cheddar will be sampled. Call the shop at 703.533.9463 to reserve your spot, and anticipate finishing the course as a true Cheese Whiz on Cheddar.

Christrianna Sargent is a Certified Wine Sommelier and you can visit her blog at:


PrintFriendlyFacebookTwitterYahoo MailDeliciousAIMShare

Mayor Hails Northgate Groundbreaking

July 15, 2011 by (see byline) · 1 Comment 


July 15, 2011

Yesterday, Mayor Nader Baroukh and other City officials participated in the groundbreaking of the Northgate.  First proposed by Hekemian & Company over seven years ago, the project is located at former site of the Pearson Funeral Home at the corner of N. Washington and E. Jefferson St.

“After enduring – we all hope – the worst days of the recession, we can celebrate the start of construction and the transformation of this property, which is important to the City’s image and its economic health,” said the mayor. 

The Northgate is intended to help enliven the North Washington area of Falls Church City.  The project is a short walking distance from the East Falls Church Metro Station and regional access that will connect the City to Dulles Airport via the new Silver Line.  As a transit-oriented development, the Northgate will produce 95 new apartments and 10 rental town homes.  Seven of the units will be designated as affordable dwelling units. 

The project also offers 15,000 square feet of office space and nearly 23,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.  “We all have a stake in seeing the Northgate become a hub of commercial activity with appeal to both the immediate neighborhood and customers from outside the City,” Mr. Baroukh said.

The mayor expressed his gratitude to the residents of the East Jefferson Street neighborhood and to all City residents who participated in the evolution of the project by providing input during each phase of its review and approval process.  He also thanked Chris Bell of Hekemian and City staff under the direction of City Manager Wyatt Shields and the late Dan McKeever in guiding the Northgate from concept to reality.

City Council members Johannah Barry, Lawrence Webb, and Ira Kaylin, Economic Development Authority Chairman Dave Tarter, Planning Commission chair Melissa Teates, and many other officials also attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Northgate was approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council in 2007.  Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2013.  

The architecture of the Northgate will be unique in the City.  The design, by MV+A Architects of Bethesda, will reflect materials and features common in buildings along Connecticut Avenue in NW Washington, DC.

The site is the location of a presidential visit to Falls Church.  Exactly one hundred years ago next week, President William Howard Taft spoke on the stairs of the former home of Dr. Tunis Quick to a gathering of about 300 Falls Church residents.  The president was on his way to the site of the first battle of Bull Run to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that event. 

His visit will be reflected in an historic marker on the site.  There also will be a marker that explains the history of the site from its colonial origins through its most recent function as a long-standing Falls Church business location.

PrintFriendlyFacebookTwitterYahoo MailDeliciousAIMShare