Several weeks ago I had the opportunity and distinct pleasure of visiting Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in the Flatiron District of New York City. Now a cornerstone business and popular “meet and eat” destination of this iconic area of the city, Beecher’s brings its own cheesemaking story to the forefront of the neighborhood.
Here, standing on the corner of East 20th Street and Broadway, nestled in between the columns and archways of the brick and stone building that boasts 900 Broadway as its address, is the Beecher’s Cheese production process on display for all to see. Just take a peek into the windows and watch as local milk is transformed into batches of wonderful cheeses all day, every day. Let’s go back a couple of steps and retrace the birth of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
As the story goes, Kurt Beecher Dammeier opened his cheesemaking kitchen and shop in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market in 2003. At the time, Beecher’s was the first artisan cheesemaker in Seattle. Kurt’s vision and “food for thought” was that it is integrally important to know and understand where our food comes from, what it is made of and how it is actually made. It made perfect sense to have a cheese business at this location, amongst the fresh market ingredients, and local products with which he could showcase these three simple ideas while educating the market visitors and customers on the cheesemaking process from beginning to end.
All milk was obtained from local Washington farmers and all ingredients were pure and clean, void of any hormones, preservatives or additives. The life cycle and process of making cheese was a daily project that all could see and understand, and the end result was delicious cheese with great depth of flavor, made daily from the very simplest and best quality ingredients that produce nutritionally-rich food.
In 2011, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese opened its second location in New York City. All the basic tenets that were established years before in Seattle carried over into this new east coast venture. The best quality local milk from New York State and well-sourced ingredients make the best cheese, not only rich in flavor, but in nutritional value as well. Here, one can also watch the daily cheesemaking process from beginning to end, take time to enjoy a delicious meal made from great, simple ingredients or shop the cheese case, if one desires.
At the end of the day, it is all about the Beecher’s credo: “Beecher’s Handmade Cheese makes foods only with ingredients we trust, are proud of, and would eat ourselves. It is authentic and original food, full of flavor.” Moreover, Beecher’s is committed to educating the customer on the benefits of pure, authentic and wholesome food. With educational programs both in Seattle and New York, Beecher’s continues to highlight the best and purest food sourcing initiatives, and the food life cycle processes important for not only eating healthy but for maintaining a healthy planet from which we source those ingredients.
Join us in welcoming the New York Beecher’s team members who will be out and about in select stores on July 16th and 17th sharing their story and sampling a few cheeses from their collection, including Flagship, Marco Polo, New Woman and Dutch Hollow Dulcet. We are so proud to partner with Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and to be able to tell the story of their authentic, artisanal cheeses here at Heinen’s. One thing is for certain, one taste and you will savor these cheeses forever!
Not only are their cheeses delightful by themselves, but they are also wonderful when used in cooking. Beecher’s has an extensive collection of delectable recipes on their website, and one of my all-time favorites is the Cheesy Cabbage and Cauliflower Bake, which uses Marco Polo, a buttery and bold cow’s milk cheese with cracked green and black peppercorns. Find the recipe for this rich, flavorful side or vegetarian main dish here. Enjoy!
You can find Beecher’s award-winning cheeses in our Specialty Cheese Departments.