podcast

September 1, 2021

Lexington Dinner Series Maker: Alemar Cheese (Season 3 Episode 47 )

Makers of Minnesota | Alemar CheeseWe get a chance to talk with Alexandra Adams from the award-winning food company Alemar Cheeses located in the Food Building in North East Minneapolis.  Alemar will be one of the featured makers at our First ever Makers Of Minnesota Dinners at the Lexington on September 28.

Get your tickets here and join the folks from  Alemar Cheeses, Red Table MeatsBakers Field Flour and Bread, and 3leche  as Chef Antonio from the Lexington use their products in a 3-course meal that he feels highlights all of these wonderful Minnesota made products from the Food Building in North East Minneapolis.

You will be our exclusive guest at The Lexington and get to talk to the Food Building makers, as well as pre-order your first-ever Makers Of Minnesota Holiday gift box that I have curated. Get your tickets now and join us on September 28 for a fun night celebrating the wonderful Makers of Minnesota.

Support the show (https://paypal.me/StephanieKHansen?locale.x=en_US)

Alemar Cheese Transcript

Stephanie Hansen  00:00

Hello, I’m maker of Minnesota friends and fans. We have a very special event coming up. I am hosting a series of makers and Minnesota dinners at the Lexington in St. Paul and I’m so excited. Not only will you be front and center with some of the best makers in the Twin Cities, you’ll be treated to a three course dinner compliments of chef Antonio from the Lexington and he’ll be using the featured makers ingredients in all the courses that he’s making for this special event. Our September dinner is Tuesday, September 28. And tickets are $98. Our featured makers are the talented folks from LMR cheese, red table meats, Bakersfield flour and bread and tres lay chairs in the food building in Northeast Minneapolis. We will be the exclusive diners in the restaurant for the entire evening. And you will mingle with me and your favorite makers and taste their wonderful products and a special treat. You can even preorder the first ever makers and Minnesota holiday box filled with my favorite products from makers all around the Twin Cities will have a limited number of tickets for this special event. And when they’re gone, they’re gone. So go to the lex mn.com and sign up via Eventbrite for the first makers of Minnesota dinner featuring the talented makers of the food building, including the delicious cheese from Alomar, cheese, breads from Bakersfield flour and bread meats from Red table meats and elixirs and tinctures from chase Lake Chase. Get your tickets now at the lex mn.com Hello, everybody and welcome to the makers in Minnesota podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things. I’m Stephanie Hansen and I am involved in a cool project that I’m excited to share with you guys. We are going to be having makers dinners that are going to be featuring Minnesota makers that are going to be happening at the Lexington we’re going to be having one at the last Tuesday of September, the last Tuesday of October and the last Tuesday of November. And our first September dinner is really featuring all of the folks in the food building in northeast that are working with Chef Antonio to put together a Minnesota centric menu and also take these wonderful products that food building is making with the individual vendors and turn them into delicious bites and treats and snacks for you guys to have with us at the Lexington. I’m here today with Alexandra Adams and she is the cheesemonger and cheese maker Are you a monger and a maker Alexandra if you’re a maker,

Alexandra Adams  02:44

so a mom or someone who has extensive cheese knowledge and sells cheese usually from behind the counter. I do have some cheese monitoring experience but our fellow cheese maker my partner Charlotte, she has lots of cheese monitoring and she’s making experience so the making is taking the milk and turning it into cheese and the monitoring is the knowledge and the sale of cheese and artisan cheese especially.

Stephanie Hansen  03:15

Okay that was a really awesome explanation. Thank you Alexander is with Alomar cheese company and that is located in food building. And Alexandra you guys were one of the original people in food building which is a collective of food makers in a building that Karen fullier and put together you guys have been there. Have you been there since the beginning or was it shortly thereafter,

Alexandra Adams  03:36

was shortly thereafter. So Kiran has been a family friend of my dad who is owner and founder of Alomar cheese. And so we go back with Kieran a while we’ve always, you know, believed in his integrity. We’ve enjoyed his restaurants, his products, and we found out that there was a Creamery in that space in that food building space that was unoccupied. And we didn’t own our building back in Mankato. So we were looking for something bigger. We’re looking for something that was more streamlined and nicer. And this Creamery was custom built out to be in the food building. So now we kind of have all these shiny toys and wonderful equipment that we are growing into and it’s fantastic to really use equipment of facility that was designed to make artisan cheese and quite a bit of it if we feel like it.

Stephanie Hansen  04:32

Right, right. Do you have like a core line of cheese and then you do seasonal varieties? Yes, so our very first cheese is bent river kamin bear, and just Can I just stop for a second and have a sigh of like yum. Because that is a fantastic cheese.

Alexandra Adams  04:50

Thank you so much. We’ve placed multiple times in the American cheese society for that cheese, making it we got second and third in all North America. And the second, I don’t believe they gave out first so that we were Best in Show for Kevin bear. Wow, because they had not awarded a first place winner. So that’s pretty exciting. But bent river came on the market in 2009. And sort of became an out of the park success because we got some notoriety fairly early on with ACS. And really quickly, we were adopted early by a lot of different folks from cirrhotics to a few other local cheese shops. For a while there, we were working directly with ones and byerley when we were a little baby company, and the success of that bet river cam and bear led us to our next project, which was bluearth Bri and that Bri I know, I do some work with the salad girl salad dressing company and they love that Bri. Oh, we love their dressing.

Stephanie Hansen  05:52

Yeah, they really they’ve used it in a couple of recipes. And then from there, so you’ve got canonbury you’ve got Brie. And then what’s next?

Alexandra Adams  06:00

The next thing my dad did was make good thunder, which is our beer washed cheese. In the beginning we approached surly I think they had 11 employees at the time, was a very different time. They were like these just these cool dudes blasting music making beer. And we reached out to them and said, Hey, we’re we reached out this early and said, Hey, we’re a little business too. Would you be interested in making something for us or giving us some beer to test we ended at surly bender. And we use that for many years until it was discontinued. And now we are currently using from arbeiter Brewing Company which is in Minneapolis. We are using their noct writer, which is a black beer and noct is German for night and arbeiter arbeite in German is also work and we believe in work hard work and putting work into the cheese. So that’s the current brew that we’re using right now.

Stephanie Hansen  07:04

Has the coronavirus pandemic changed things for you? Because I imagine you had a lot of restaurant accounts. And then you had retail as well and kind of you got hit on all fronts. How is the recovery going?

Alexandra Adams  07:19

Well, I will say people were craving comfort food, which is a good thing. But they weren’t necessarily buying we’ll have Cameron bear to serve, because we weren’t having people over. Right? Yeah, we definitely missed out on our restaurant accounts. People even if they were getting delivery weren’t ordering a cheese plate to their house, that’s just not part of the experience of having cheese or charcuterie is sitting often having wine or something else paired with the cheese with the meat. And no one was ordering a curated cheese board to their door even we’re ordering food from local restaurants. So we saw somewhat of a downturn there and we just pivoted the best we could. And there were a few different places luns being one of them cirrhotics that were by up quite a bit of cheese continuing to sell well. But we also ended up doing a CSA program that I took under my arm and put together two rounds of boxes of cheese. And these cheese boxes were picked up every two weeks by customers. And each box had between three and four of the alamar cheeses from bent river bluearth to good thunder and then some of the rest of the Alomar family were in those boxes as well.

Stephanie Hansen  08:43

Do you think you’ll continue that

Alexandra Adams  08:44

this year we are growing happily? So for the holiday season? We probably won’t do a CSA box. But we very well may do a Thanksgiving or Christmas box. Those things are a little more manageable because there’s one day Yeah, exactly. Mm hmm. And we did do that last year. And people really liked the Thanksgiving version of that. So even though we won’t do CSA boxes this year in 2021 anymore, we will probably have at least holiday box pickup option. Maybe

Stephanie Hansen  09:17

we’ll have the ability to have a sign up for you for your box at the makers event that we do at the lax because I think that would be a good way to pre sales. That’s what I’m looking for pre sale. Yeah, exactly. A pre order. Yeah. So if you I know you guys are going to be out at the event. If you want to get people signed up for pre orders. I think that would be a great opportunity at that event.

Alexandra Adams  09:38

Oh, certainly. Yeah, we love the Lex and we’re really excited to do that and do it with our friends from the rest of the food building.

Stephanie Hansen  09:46

Yeah. When you think about pairings from the food building, are there particular items that you have for sale on the market or things that are being prepared in Karen’s kitchen that you are really proud of? Oh, absolutely.

Alexandra Adams  10:00

So Karen’s kitchen is the only place that sells our entire line. Which is pretty cool. Yeah. It has Cameron Bure Bri. Good thunder. We are releasing tsikata. Just about now we’re doing it a little early this year. Typically we wait until September

Stephanie Hansen  10:18

and what is Takata? For those that don’t know?

Alexandra Adams  10:20

Absolutely. So tsikata is a small square in the sort of brief family based on a cheese called La ba na, which is a French cheese that I believe is traditionally washed in brandy. But we wash it with Apple brandy and use Minnesota leaves to route the outside. So it’s a geode tricky, um, rind, which is going to be a little less sort of fuzzy than the kamin bear, for example, lasts a little longer, but mostly tsikata is beautiful. It’s very, very good to look at. And it’s very tasty. We’re working with Tattersall for Apple, Brandy, young Apple brandy, and put our grape leaves, which we’re getting from axbridge Winery, and then our milkman also, he happens to have a large garden. In addition to using our way to help tend that garden, he’s giving us some of his grape leaves. So we’re using grape leaves from his sort of rural house area. And then we’re using grape leaves from axbridge, which is a newer wine company in the north loop.

Stephanie Hansen  11:28

That is so cool. So cool. So are you guys does element use some of your cheeses and their pastas that they make? Oh, definitely.

Alexandra Adams  11:37

They’ve done good thunder, St. James Bennett river, and blue are three and four Montblanc in their products.

Stephanie Hansen  11:44

Yeah, I’ve had some really delicious pasta from them. And I think it was filled with your cheese. So that was exciting, too. Well, I am really excited to feature you guys at this Lexington dinner. People can get tickets, if you listen to I’ll do a follow up here because tickets haven’t been released yet. But they’re going to be released later this week. And I will include it in the show notes. And I will include it on my social media and tag you guys so that people know where to get tickets when they become available. I think we’re capping it at 100 per dinner. So should be a great event. Thank you to you and all of the folks at LMR for participating and I can’t wait to try your holiday box. I’m excited about it.

Alexandra Adams  12:25

Thank you and thank you so much for having us really happy to be a part of the dinner and the podcast.

Stephanie Hansen  12:30

Thank you Alexandra and you can find all of these great makers in food building. You can also try their products at Karen’s kitchen. You can also order from them directly or go I don’t know if a lot of people are aware yet that food building has a huge not a huge but a big area that they’ve converted into like the market so it’s like a deli grab and go case. Also cheeses that you can get and breads and the delicious pasta that I was speaking of so head over there next time you need a meal because it is awesome. Thanks Alexandra. Thank you so much, Stephanie. Okay, bye bye. Bye. Okay, so now that you’ve heard from Alexander Adams from LMR cheese, I bet you are as excited as I am to taste their delicious cheese. Join me for the first ever makers in Minnesota dinner at the Lexington and St. Paul on Grand Avenue. I can’t wait to meet you and introduce you to some of my favorite Twin Cities makers. So get your tickets at fallax mn.com. But hurry this special event won’t be available long. We will sell out the restaurant for this special evening so that you can try the delicious cheeses from LMR cheese and all the other products from our friends at the food building will be there.