Tag Archives: cheese

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah at Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz & Capitola

Whole Foods Market’s favorite local wine and cheese pairings for the holidays. Courtesy of WFM.

Thanksgiving is almost here, and after that Hanukkah is right around the corner! Whole Foods Market locations in Capitola (1710 41st Ave.) and Santa Cruz (911 Soquel Ave.) have many Thanksgiving selections and several Hanukkah items, and they graciously gave me a gift card so that I could try a few out.

You can place orders in person or online. Thanksgiving pick up dates are through Nov. 23; Hanukkah pick up is Nov. 30-Dec. 9 and selections include wine-braised brisket dinner for eight, and potato latkes with applesauce. Thanksgiving choices at WFM (see a holiday showcase here) include a classic roast turkey dinner for eight (with optional organic turkey upgrade) with a fully-cooked bird, herb stuffing and mashed potatoes turkey gravy, cranberry orange sauce, and green beans with crispy garlic and parsley; spiral-sliced ham; vegan entrees and sides; traditional holiday sides; and desserts. Prime members get a special deal: through Nov. 22, they get organic whole turkeys for $2.99/lb. and whole turkeys for $1.99/lb.

 

Something new and intriguing is a vegan holiday meal WFM has created in partnership with award-winning chef Jeremy Fox, author of the “On Vegetables” cookbook. The meal includes Romanesco Cauliflower Roast with Miso Bagna Cauda, Cremini Mushroom Stuffing with Kimchi, and Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple and Hazelnut Dukkah. You can also order these selections a la carte.

 

WFM is also offering a special seasonal pie from Lisa Ludwinski, founder of Detroit’s Sister Pie and author of “Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit.” The Cranberry Crumble Pie, Ludwinski’s personal favorite for the season, features an all-butter crust, a sweet cranberry compote filling with juicy whole cranberries, grated pear and warm spices, and an oat crumble topping.

Other Santa Cruz and Capitola store highlights that are perfect for the holidays:

  • Seafood: Fresh, Whole Dungeness Crab
    • Crab season is a Bay Area holiday tradition. Pick up at least three sweet and rich whole crab, and save $1 per pound. WFM’s team of local fishmongers will crack and clean free of charge.
  • Specialty Wine and Cheese: Favorite local wine and cheese pairings this season selected by WFM
    • Bay Blue cheese, a mellow blue made in Point Reyes, paired with Sean Thackery Pleides red blend, a “red berry, tangy crowd pleaser”
    • Carmody cheese paired with Jay Vineyards J California Pinot Noir, a “highly drinkable, soft rich wine”
    • Crisp Roederer Estates Anderson Valley Brut paired with Mt. Tam organic cheese, because the wine “goes lovely with soft, ripened cheeses”
  • Local, Organic Eggnog including:
    • Straus Family Creamery, an organic eggnog finished with nutmeg
    • Clover Sonoma Organic Maple Bourbon Eggnog, a non-alcoholic classic
  • Special holiday dishes by Chef Trent of WFM
    • Creations include Ginger Cinnamon Spice Duck or Turkey breast, and Spiced Prime Rib
    • “Pick up your cut at the meat counter, pop into the oven and you are ready to serve your guests,” shared a WFM spokesperson.
  • Humphry Slocombe’s Coconut Shoyu Ice Creamnew and available for a limited time
    • Top your favorite seasonal pie with a scoop of this ice cream, the fourth exclusive collaboration available exclusively at Whole Foods Market
    • Created by San Francisco-based Humphry Slocombe and Chef Melissa King in partnership with WFM—they made their first collaborative flavor, Hong Kong Milk Tea, in 2017
  • Northern California’s Tsar Nicolai caviar
    • Tsar Nicolai sustainably raises and produces top of the line caviar in Wilton, CA.
    • This year, WFM is partnering with the brand for an exclusive trio bundle deal, available in the Seafood dept.

Local Store Details

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

 

Alpine cheese night Tuesday Sept. 13 at Whole Foods Market

Gruyere is one of the Alpine-style cheeses featured at Cheese Night Sept. 13 Credit: Whole Foods Market

Gruyere is one of the Alpine-style cheeses featured at Cheese Night Sept. 13
Credit: Whole Foods Market

Attention cheese lovers: there is a cheese night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Whole Foods Market stores across the country; this includes the local Santa Cruz and Capitola stores as well as locations in the South Bay and San Francisco Bay.

Customers are invited to visit for free samples, and each store will have an expert or Certified Cheese Professional available to talk about characteristics and flavor profiles of Alpine-style cheeses and answer questions. They will have cooking tips, too.

A market spokesperson shared that Alpine-style cheeses melt better than any other cheese and are great for cooking, and that in general, these cheeses are nutty and salty with flavors of hay and/or caramel. Most pair well with white wines like viognier, reisling, or pinot grigio. Some of the cheeses at the Sept. 13 event include:

 

  • Kaltbach Le Gruyère: Made in Switzerland, this cheese is matured for 12 to 16 months and is washed regularly with brine. Flavors are complex, ranging from caramel, nuts, notes of mushroom, hay and fruit, and crunchy, salty granules add an extra boost of flavor.
  • Emmentaler: This famous cheese – the Swiss with the holes – has been in production for 400 years in the valley of the Emme. It has a buttery, delicate and nutty taste.
  • Le Marchel: Handmade in the mountains of Vaud by Jean-Michael Rapin and his sons since 1992, La Marchel has the distinctive aroma of hay, and herbs impart a very rustic and savory flavor.
  • Pavino: Exclusive to Whole Foods Market, this Alpine-style cheese is made in Wisconsin but stands up to any made in the Alps. It is nutty, fruity, and robust with a sweet milky finish, and is also sprinkled with crunchy salt crystals.
  • Kalthbach Alpine Extra: Aged in caves located on the edge of the Wauwiler Moos area in the canton of Lucerne, Switzerland, this award-winning, raw-milk, semi-hard cheese offers a tangy aroma and complex flavor.

 

Joe Kaulbach, who oversees the cheese program for Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno, explains the origin of this popular style: “Imagine, hundreds of years ago: small families are scattered across the rural Alps. One family has four cows; another has eight, another has 20. The cows are all roaming in the mountains; the families all need their cows milked and need to make cheese. So, traditionally the men went up into the mountains, built a hut, lit a fire from surrounding firewood, and put a copper cauldron on it. They would make ‘cooked pressed cheese,’ which was a new style of cheese in the 13th century: they’d cook the curds, press them into a form, and make wheels. At the end of the summer–and this still happens today–the cheese makers come down from the mountains with their cheese and their cows in a gorgeous pageant called the Transhumance. Then, they send the cheese to market. This is what provides their living for the year.”

 

Here are some related recipes that Whole Foods Market is highlighting for this event:

Swiss Family Sandwich

Turkey, Tomato, and Emmentaler Breakfast Sandwiches

Pizza with Le Gruyère and Prosciutto

Classic Le Gruyère Fondue

Celery Root and Potato Gratin

Butternut Frittata with Sage and Gruyère

San Francisco WFM locations are teaming up with Sur La Table to invite customers to cook with Alpine-style cheeses. The companies are giving away a Le Creuset fondue set and Breville panini press via the @wholefoodsmarketsf Instagram account. Users can follow the channel and tag a friend on relevant posts to enter to win.

Local Store Details

  • Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.
  • Whole Foods Market Capitola is at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

 

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer

 

Mother’s Day brunch possibilities from Whole Foods Market

A few flower bouquets from the bounty available at Whole Foods Market in Capitola

A few flower bouquets from the bounty available at Whole Foods Market in Capitola

Did Mother’s Day sneak up on you? Perhaps it’s time to organize a Mother’s Day brunch at home, in which case Whole Foods Market has a few ideas to help. And at WFM locations in Northern California—including the local Santa Cruz and Capitola stores—several delicious, brunch-friendly cheeses are currently on sale.

First, the cheese: speaking as just one representative mom, I think that fancy, tasty cheese is always welcome at brunch (or really, any meal…). Here are a few recommended soft-ripened cheeses:

  • Guffanti-Robiola Langhe Two-milk: this rich, earthy cheese is made with cow’s and sheep’s milk. It’s currently on sale for $23.99/lb., discounted from $29.99/lb. WFM Northern California Regional Cheese Buyer Francesca di Donato suggests pairing with items like orange jam, pumpkin-ginger jam, fresh fruit, and/or walnut bread.
  • Cowgirl Creamery – St. Pat: St. Pat is the Creamery’s seasonal cheese. The green rind commemorates the arrival of spring. These creamy wheels are wrapped in wild nettle leaves, which di Donato explains impart a smoky artichoke flavor. It’s currently on sale for $23.99/lb., discounted from $29.99/lb. di Donato recommends pairing with dry wine or an Irish-style lager.
  • Marin French – Supreme Extra Creme Brie: With a smooth texture and slightly sweet flavor, this delectable cheese lives up to the “lush and buttery” description promised on its label. It utilizes high quality milk from neighboring Marin County dairies.  This brie comes in a wheel, and is currently on sale for $23.99, discounted from $29.99. di Donato recommends pairing with California sparkling wine, Petit Syrah, or IPA. I enjoyed trying it with a small serving of “figs and olives” from the Capitola store’s olive bar.
  • Mitica- Cana de Cabra: This creamy goat milk log hails from Murcia in the southeastern part of Spain. The flavor is mild, yet satisfying, with citrus notes. It’s currently on sale for $13.99/lb., discounted from $16.99/lb. Di Donato’s pairing ideas: for drinks, a lean white wine (Albarino, or an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc) and for food, almonds and/or fig spread.

If you like cheese but want something more “brunch-traditional,” how about some quiche? WFM offers several ready-to-eat varieties in small ($5.99) and large ($14.99) sizes. I recently sampled a four-cheese quiche (Gouda, Parmesan, Swiss, and feta), and it was very good.

On a budget for Sunday brunch? I found this frittata recipe while browsing the “budget-friendly recipe” section on the WFM blog. You can incorporate leftovers in it, too.

If you have kids that like cooking, here are two recipes from the WFM blog that look easy, even for young ones:
Gluten-free Baked Berry French Toast (for breakfast at home)
or Berry Oatmeal in a Jar (for bringing a small breakfast somewhere else)

Last but not least, don’t forget to include flowers when developing your brunch plan. They are always a wonderful way to make a woman feel appreciated and Whole Foods carries lots of great arrangements. When I was at the Capitola location yesterday, I saw many vibrant bouquets, and most of them were made from flowers grown locally. Some of them are also fair trade. These are called “Whole Trade” flowers, and when purchased they donate funds to local community organizations that support flower farm workers.

“Whole Trade provides more money to producers, ensures better wages and working conditions for workers, and cares for the environment,” says Lily Hussey, Marketing and Community Relations Lead for Whole Foods Market, Northern California & Reno. “Also, they donate 1% of sales to Whole Planet Foundation.” Learn more about Whole Trade.

No matter what you decide to do for your Mother’s Day food, I hope it’s a very happy day for you!

Local Store Details
Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.
Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

For more Whole Foods Market locations, see the store locator.

On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.