Cheese Whisperer: Snøfrisk-y

Cheese for breakfast is a wonderful thing.ChsWhispSnofrisk

Snøfrisk (means “snow fresh”) cheese for breakfast is even better. This new arrival at the Co-op Cheese Department Specialty Cheese Island is silky smooth and perfect for slathering on your favorite cracker, crispbread, or crunchy bread.

Snøfrisk is a Norweigan fresh cream cheese made from a harmonious balance of 80% pasteurized goat’s milk and 20% pasteurized cow’s milk. The result is a rich, buttery spreadable cultured cheese with a slight hint of tartness. Milder than a chevre, this cheese is more akin to crème fraîche and can be successfully used as a spreadable substitute for cream cheese or sour cream.

This fresh tasting delight was first introduced to the public for the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer by the Tine company (makers of Jarlesberg and Gjetost). Snøfrisk’s delicate flavor pairs simply with fresh fruit such as organic WA grown Rainier cherries or blueberries. It makes an easy, flavorful sandwich spread and also makes a lovely dip for crisp fresh vegetables. Or just eat it with a spoon…


Skagit Brew Corner: Whistling Pig

SBCWhisPigGet familiar with a new arrival to the Co-op’s beer selection: locally brewed Whistling Pig Hefeweizen, an American wheat ale named for the whistling pig of Northwest Washington. Mild and refreshing with a slightly fruity finish, Whistling Pig is ideal for celebrating the end of a warm summer day.

Just in case you are wondering (as I was), whistle pigs are actually large squirrels known as marmots, small and furry critters that sometimes communicate with a sweet, high pitched whistle call. Marmots abound around Leavenworth, especially around Whistling Pig Meadow. (What are the odds?) So reward yourself with a bottle of this session-style beer when you feel like an industrious marmot, foraging for survival on the meadows of Northwestern Washington.

For over 20 years, Fish Brewing Company has made Whistling Pig as part of their Leavenworth Biers, a series of unfiltered beers inspired by traditional German flavors. Whistling Pig Hefeweizen is made in the south German style of a wheat beer (weissbier). It has a high ratio of wheat-to-barley malt and a yeast strain that is characterized by unique phenolic flavors of banana and spices, often with a dry and tart edge.

Typically with light hop bitterness and a moderate amount of alcohol, these beers are often unfiltered for a hazy, cloudy appearance. Classically, hefeweizens are well suited to pair with cheese. From light, creamy, soft-ripened bries to dense, waxed sharp cheddars, Whistling Pig’s sweet, fruit-forward malt flavors compliment the lactic tang of many styles of cultured curd.

Whistling Pig Hefeweizen from Leavenworth Biers, Fish Brewing, Olympia, WA. 5.4% Alcohol by volume / 22 IBU. This is a soft, grainy, sweet brew with undertones of lemon and apricot. Serve this brew with cheese plates and grilled summertime favorites such as burgers and hot dogs.

Hefeweizens have sweet, biscuity flavors that are versatile in recipes and other adventures in the kitchen. Try using hefeweizen to de-glaze a pan of roasted chicken or get adventurous and make a Honeydew Hefeweizen Beer Milkshake:

Recipe for Whistling Pig Hefeweizen Honeydew Milkshakebeermilkshake

(adapted from Eva’s Adventures in Cooking blog)


  • 1/2 Honeydew melon
  • 3 and 1/3 cups organic Co-op vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup Whistling Pig Hefeweizen (Wheat Beer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Honeydew Slices for Garnish (optional)


Peel, seed, and dice melon. Place the melon pieces in the freezer to chill for an hour or so; they will be cooler and add more substantial body to the milkshake. After the melon has chilled, add the pieces to a blender, and add ice cream, beer, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and serve immediately with honeydew slices for garnish. Enjoy!

Cheese Whisperer: Picnic with Old Croc

OldCrocWarm, sunny days with a slight breeze and bright blue skies: it’s picnic weather! And cheese is perfect for picnics!

The Co-op is featuring new, soon-to-be favorite picnic cheeses: Old Croc’s White Sharp and Extra Sharp Cheddar. These sturdy cheddars make excellent companions on a hike or picnic. They have a relatively dry texture with a rich, buttery flavor. Packed with protein, these Old Crocs are ideal for enjoying on-the-go or in the kitchen.

Old Croc aged white cheddars are born out a legacy of Australian dairy. The story of dairy “down under” dates back to 1788 when two bulls and seven female cows were loaded onto British ships headed for the island continent. Legend has it that on arrival, all the cattle escaped into the bush. Colonists continued to arrive and six or seven years later, they discovered the lost cattle had survived and flourished: the original nine cows had now grown into a herd of sixty.

The Australian climate and terroir are special. High rainfall, fertile soil, and lush pasture land all encourage dairy farming. As a result, many Australian cheeses are made from grass-fed milk and the use of steroidal hormones is prohibited across the country. Old Croc Cheddars are made with all natural ingredients and crafted from 100% pure Australian milk from grass-fed cows.

Your picnic awaits: start with some full-flavored, tangy Old Croc cheddar and add a jar of Woodstock Farms Kosher Dill Pickles (on sale this month!). Give yourself a sweet and juicy accompaniment and go for a bag of fresh Rainier cherries from Brooks Family Farm in Royal City, WA or some J4 Ranch organic blueberries. Don’t forget your favorite loaf of crusty Breadfarm bread or a box of crackers! Or try the following recipe (from Old Croc’s website) for making a cheddarific appetizer!

Aussie Stuffed ‘Shrooms’ from Old Croc Website Recipe Page


  • 12 crimini or button mushrooms
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Chopped Chives
  • 1 pkg Old Croc Sharp or Extra Sharp White Cheddar, thinly sliced or shredded

Cook bacon over medium high heat until crispy. Drain, chop and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove mushroom stems and finely chop. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and slowly saute chopped stems and onion until the onion is soft. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the mushroom stem mixture and bacon. Stuff mixture into the mushroom caps. Bake in the preheated oven approx 15 minutes. Top with cheese and heat until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chives and serve warm.



Skagit Brew Corner: Twilight Summer Ale

twilightbrewEnjoy your summer evenings with sips of Twilight Summer Ale. This golden, moderately hoppy ale from Bend, OR is a perfect session beer for the season.

Remarkably crisp and clean tasting, Twilight has a distinctive malty body with bold Amarillo, Cascade, Tettnang and Northern Brewer hops. A light, refreshing pale ale-style, this food-friendly brew complements most grilling and summer fare, especially burgers and BBQ, grilled chicken quesadillas, and fresh crab cakes.

Twilight Summer Ale from Deschutes, OR. 5% Alcohol by volume / 35 IBU. On sale now at $7.99 per 6pk! Pick up some to take along on your next summer adventure!


New! Runa Clean Energy on a Mission

RunaLemonTeaRunaenergyMeet the super leaf Guayusa (pronounced gwhy-you-sa), a native Amazonian plant that contains a moderate amount of caffeine and loads of polyphenol antioxidants. It’s the primary ingredient in Runa Clean Energy organic and fair trade sourced teas and energy drinks.

Try these earthy, refreshingly clean-tasting drinks, which are free of artificial sweeteners and chemicals. Runa’s energy drinks are available in Original Zero and Berry. They are based on a concentrated brew of guayausa with light carbonation and 20% of your daily Vitamin C. Berry Clean Energy is lightly sweetened with organic sugar cane and Original Zero has a hint of lime and is calorie free.

Runa also makes a line of bottled, lightly sweetened teas. We carry Original Guayusa — with a hint of organic maple syrup; Lemon Lemongrass – spiked with aromatic organic citrus; and Hibiscus Berry – a blend of the sweet and tart flavors of organic hibiscus flowers, blueberry, and yumberry.

Not only are Runa’s drinks delicious and healthy, the company is committed to supporting the Kichwa people and the Amazon rainforest.

Runa was founded in 2009 after two friends, Tyler and Dan graduated from college. Company founder Tyler lived with the Kichwa tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon and was introduced to guayusa, a naturally caffeinated tree leaf that was brewed like tea and consumed early in the morning to help interpret dreams and late at night to provide energy and clarity while hunting in the jungle.

After living and working in South America, Tyler and Dan saw the impact of unsustainable logging and agriculture, as well as the shortcomings of development projects implemented by NGOs. They began working with the local Kichwa communities to build an organic guayusa supply chain that would respect cultural traditions, support local farmers, and maintain the integrity of the Amazon rainforest. Runa now buys guayusa leafs from over 2,300 farming families.

Not only are Runa drinks clean, organic energy, they help support the Runa Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to look for new ways to create value for tropical forests that benefit local people and forest eco-systems. Learn more at Runa Foundation’s website.