The first Farmstead Cheeses and Wines opened in 2003 in the Alameda Marketplace.
Since that time, we've become a destination for Bay Area foodies and have been named Best Cheese Store and Best Wine Store by several East Bay publications.
We opened our second shop in Montclair Village in 2008.
Relax. It's just food is more than just our motto - it's how we approach the often intimidating process of selecting great cheeses and wines with and for our customers.
We dislike food and wine snobs as much as you do, but that won't stop us from finding under the radar and hard-to-find wines and perfectly presented handcrafted and artisan cheeses.
Feb 25 Newsletter
Feb 25, 2013
Dear Friend of Farmstead:
Cheese of the Week: Montasio I've been thinking about Montasio lately, for several reasons: the recipe below, and some vacation research I've been doing for the summer.
We've brought in a wheel of medium-aged Montasio (e.g. the one in the center of the photo above) , a raw cow's milk cheese from NE Italy. Montasio is the only DOP cheese of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, specifically Carnia, the northern portion of the province of Udine where the Alps meet the Adriatic. The cheese originated about 300 years ago in and around Tolmezzo, supposedly the invention of a lonely Alpine monk with a herd of cows to milk and some free time on his hands. Today the official production zone also extends to portions of the Veneto, but Friulians justly claim Montasio as their own.
Montasio producers will tell you that its unique characteristics are the result of three basic ingredients: the sweet grasses and hay of the land, the crisp air of the mountains, and the milk that results from this happy combination. The consortium that governs the production of Montasio monitors the cheese making process with a watchful eye; only milk from dairy farms within the DOP production area may be used. The cheeses are shaped into large, flat wheels, each bearing the official consortium stamp and numbered to identify the producer and the date of production. Montasio is classified and sold according to its age. At 2 months the interior is ivory-white, soft, dotted with holes and considered “fresco,” or fresh, with a tangy, grassy flavor. After 5 months it transitions to “mezzano” or semi-aged; the color turns slightly golden, the texture becomes firmer, and the flavor begins to deepen. After 10 months or more, Montasio becomes “stagionato,” or aged, with a deeper, nuttier flavor, straw-like color and firm texture.
Wine Picks #3
How about a great Côtes du Rhône Villages for
$13.50 per bottle??
We sold out our first offering from Michel Gassier in a flash (Nostre Pais) but we have a bit of his CerciusCôtes du Rhône Villages on hand!
This is a well built wine, with up-front fruit, great length, and a long, long finish!
Oakland Magazine and Alameda Magazine Article on Cahors
Impressed by Cahors
A Bit About the Jewel of Southwest France by Jeff Diamond
I had the great fortune to visit the winelands of France twice this year — the first a whirlwind trip from Roussillon to Alsace, with stops in Provence, the Rhône and Burgundy; while the second trip focused on the southwest, where I visited wineries in Bordeaux and Cahors. I was very impressed with the wines and wineries of Cahors.
Cahors is in the beautiful Lot River Valley, home to stunning scenery, deep history and pre-history, amazing gastronomic culture and noble red wines made from Malbec grapes.
Malbec is very well known to U.S. drinkers as a wine from Argentina, but Malbec has its roots in the southwest of France, both in Bordeaux and in Cahors. Malbec has been grown for hundreds of years there; it is one of the five (or historically six) Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenère) and is used primarily as a blending grape.
But Cahors is the only region in France that produces red wines based on Malbec. Cahors winemaking goes back to the time of Roman rule, with vines being planted in the area around 50 B.C. Since then, vines have remained in the Quercy region. During the Middle Ages, Cahors wine was called “the black wine of Lot” and was featured prominently at court. It was called a black wine because, back then, the wine traditionally in the region was a blend of Malbec and the rustic Tannat grape, and those two combined create a dark, inky wine with huge tannins that took several years of aging to even approach drinkability.
Weekly Wine Picks #2
A Wonderful Red Wine from Spain - Losada Bierzo!
Was $22.50/bottle, now $16!
$15.20/bottle for six, or only$14.40 per bottle in a 12 pack!!
Shipping? Pick it up in the shop for free, or we can ship for no more than $17.50/case anywhere in CA!
Gourmet names Farmstead One of Best Cheese Shops in USA!
Tucked into a cozy space in the Alameda Marketplace, Farmstead Cheeses & Wines offers a small but mighty selection of well-chosen cheeses, from regional favorites like Humboldt Fog to Italy's finest Parmiggiano-Reggiano. Farmstead keeps relatively small quantities of cheeses on hand, which means that products are always fresh, including can't-miss favorites like the milky burrata and bufala mozzarella.
I've been thinking a lot about community and localism and the new economy lately. I'm sure that you've noticed more and more empty storefronts in Montclair Village and on Park St. Every day, the news media pounds the drums of economic gloom and doom, and customers like you ask me "Are you doing okay?," with a great deal of concern in their voice.
We're doing fine here at Farmstead, and thanks for asking. Business is down a bit, but it's down everywhere, and Carol, the staff and I are truly blessed to have located our shops in Alameda and Montclair Village - two communities that have been been more than superlative in supporting local, family owned businesses.
I wonder what my community would be like if there were no shoe repair shop and I'd have to drive miles to get a prescription filled or to have my computer repaired. I shudder when I think of the suburban sprawl that I see in my travels - chain stores, big boxes and franchise restaurants as far as the eye can see.