Review - Joanne

Zingerman’s Z Club

December 2004
Arrived December 23, 2004
$175 (includes shipping)


First off – we want to love these guys as they are so passionate about food. If you don’t own a copy of the Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating you NEED one. It is incredibly enlightening on how to appreciate things like pasta, polenta, bread, rice, etc.

Contents:

Pasolivo Olive Oil (Olio Nuovo)
From Paso Robles, CA. Just pressed at Willow Creek Ranch.
Supposed to be exceptionally green and fruity and peppery. Not intense enough for me on first try. Flavor lost in salad. I wish it was bigger and bolder to my taste. See how it ranked in April’s Olive Oil Tasting.

Uganda Mt. Elgon Bugisu Coffee
This is the first coffee I’ve ever had that has a real tea-like aftertaste. With a cold I even forgot a couple times I was drinking coffee until I sipped again. The first notes are Fruity and chocolately the aftertaste is like a light black tea – malty and creamy.Yum. Buy now. I haven’t not liked this coffee yet This is the 2 nd coffee I’ve had from Zingerman’s and I’m impressed. One more round of ordering and I may just sign up for their coffee of the month club for fun. Their Roaster seems to know what he’s doing and the coffee seems really really fresh!
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To find out more about uganda coffee an coffee in general, visit SweetMarias.

Cuyagua Chocolate Bars from Scharffen berger
See how it ranked in our chocolate tasting.

New Heirloom Wheat Pasta from Italy – Senatore Cappelli from Latini
We did not end up liking this pasta. It has a smell almost chemical (I assume that is the specific heirloom wheat smell) when it’s cooking and the texture/taste was not exceptional to us. I have another package so we will try again with a non-tomato sauce. The New York Times just recommend their Farro pasta… I also have another pasta from them in the pantry to try – so we let you know.

Long Pepper from Bali
Okay, so it’s easy for me to buy into cool packaging and these guys are pros. Nice brown heavy carboard trays with “artisan” salt or “long pepper” wow cool. Then the hollowed coconut shell of salt. Wow. Very Cool. Now here’s the thing. I *want* to like the product. But the salt is too coarse – it needs to be ground and that just sucks. The pepper is hard to crush (or chop) and use. It’s mortar and pestle time and the flavor seems totally lost in cooking unless you use ALOT. The good news is that it’s very, very cool looking and you can garnish with it as well as sprinkle it and you get this sort of almost fruity pepper kick. The jury is out. But the coconut shell salt holder is VERY COOL. A good friend tells me she can't get enough of this pepper so maybe I need to give it another try.


Edwards Dry Cured Virginia Bacon
Does not win us over. It’s bacon alright but not distinctive. You could never pick it out of a line-up. It’s rather balanced though I supposed. Not too smokey etc. but I want character in my bacon and this doesn’t have enough of it. 1/15/05 – after a second package we still don’t favor this bacon. It has very little character.

Montgomery’s English Farmhouse Cheddar
A Neal's Yard Selection
Really Really good Cheddar from the venerable Neals Yard. We’ve had it many times – at least Joanne “the cheddar girl” has – and it’s a solid cheddar. It has a rich flavor and a cheddary tang but it very elegant in its presentation of flavors with a nutty component. A clean taste. What cheddar should taste like. But a boring choice for this club’s shipment.


Fresh Goat Cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery.
We the self-professed non-goat cheese people actually like this one a lot. It’s fresh and creamy – not too goaty. Has a smooth texture – not too chalky and not dry. It’s pepper coated on the outside. I’ve sliced it and dusted it in panko and fried it and it’s great. We won’t seek it out but we will recommend it! Update: January 15, 2004 – After a second go at this goat cheese and trying other brands both domestic, artisan & French industrial – this one has my stamp of approval – it’s creamier than the others and has a more substantial texture which results in a great mouthfeel. I recommend you try it!



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