It’s Grilled Cheese Month at Saxelby Cheesemongers

housemade Branston Pickle smothered over Pawlet Reserve from @considerbardwellfarm.

This week’s special: Branston Pickle smothered over Pawlet Reserve, courtesy of the Fat Radish.

Anne Saxelby is teaming up with three different restaurants during April. Their chefs are creating limited edition sandwiches just for the occasion. This week, Jared Dowling of The Fat Radish has dreamed up a grilled cheese made with a classic English Branston pickle and Consider Bardwell Farm’s Pawlet Reserve. Later this month, there will be sandwiches from Greg Baxtrom of Olmstead and the team from Cookshop.

If you really want to nerd out on the finer points of grilled cheese, head on over to the Saxelby Almamac, where there’s, “a deep dive into what exactly it is that makes a cheese worthy of being melted between bread.”

Saxelby Cheesemongers is located on the south end of the Essex Street Market, 120 Essex St. The shop is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Saxelby Cheesemongers Celebrates 10 Years in Business

Anne Saxelby, Feb. 2014.

Anne Saxelby admits she was a little bit nuts in 2006 to open a stall in the Essex Street Market focused on American farmstead cheeses. “It was definitely a crazy idea,” she said during a recent interview. “I started when I was 25. I didn’t want to do anything else. I just wanted to do this.”

But Saxelby and partner Benoit Breal have proved that crazy ideas sometimes work out just fine. In the past month, they celebrated Saxelby Cheesmonger’s 10-year anniversary. Today, they’re going strong on the Lower East Side, but also supplying about 100 restaurants across the city. A few years ago, Edible Manhattan noted that “Saxelby has helped redefine what the very words American cheese even mean.”

Saxelby has built her company into a force on the New York City food scene. Operating from a warehouse in Red Hook, she could have chosen to give up on the Essex Street Market long ago. Instead, she not only stayed put on the Lower East Side, but has become a high profile advocate for her fellow vendors.

“When I opened in 2006,” Saxelby explained, “it was a little bit like the wild, wild west, I guess.”  As a resident of lower Orchard Street, she’d fallen in love with the quirky, historic public market. But in those early days, business was sparse. “The passion to do it is what really sustained me for the first little while,” she said. Eventually, both local customers and destination shoppers found the tiny stall, which now features cheeses from 50 different local farms.

Retail and wholesale customers turned to Saxelby because it offered something they could not find anywhere else.  “Because we’re small,” explained Saxelby, “we handle every wheel through the cave (as the red Hook space is known). “We can kind of make that connection between the farm and the end-user that makes us an attractive purveyor to work with, because we know the cheese inside and out.”

Anne Saxelby fought an unsuccessful (and fairly lonely) battle a few years ago to save the 76-year-old market building. The city, which operates the facility, pushed hard to build a new, modern market as part of the Essex Crossing development project. But even after the initial battle ended, Saxelby stayed engaged. She was instrumental in creating a vendor association, which is helping to assure that merchants make a successful transition to the new building when it opens in two years.

Asked why she’s stuck with it on the Lower East Side all these years, Saxelby acknowledged that doing business in the Essex Street Market can be exhausting. But she continues to believe that its survival as a distinctive part of New York City is critical. “What was appealing to me from the beginning,” said Saxelby, “was being part of this community. From the beginning, the relationships I’ve had with all the other vendors here — it’s something so positive and wonderful… I have come to see everyone in the market as like family.”

In the new market, Saxelby Cheesemongers will have a larger foot print. The new space, featuring a u-shaped counter, will boast 300 square feet (up from 115 now). There will be glass display cases on three sides, and a lot more room to show off a wider variety of cheeses. There’s also talk of setting up a mozzarella-making station and, possibly, offering a selection of charcuterie.

In the meantime, though, there’s still some celebrating to do. Saxelby is hosting a “Cheese Trivia Night” tomorrow evening. You can see details here.

 

 

Saxelby Cheese to Help Hurricane Ravaged Farms

As you have probably heard, farms in upstate New York and New England took a beating from Hurricane Irene.  Saxelby Cheesmongers in the Essex Street Market is doing its part to help. Here’s the blurb from their web site:

Saxelby Cheesemongers depends on the vitality and hard work of our regional farmers to provide our shop with some of the country’s finest cheeses. Though many of our cheesemakers were spared from Irene’s destructive path, some were hard hit. This week from Monday through Sunday, we invite you to help us give back to our upstate and Vermont neighbors by buying their cheese! Being a do-gooder has never been so delicious!! This week only, from Monday, September 5th through Sunday, September 11th, Saxelby Cheesemongers will donate 50% of the profits from the sale of New York and Vermont Cheeses at our Essex Market shop to Hurricane Irene relief efforts spearheaded by the New York and Vermont Chapters of the Red Cross.

Small Business of the Year: Saxelby Cheesemongers

The NYC Small Business Services department named Essex Street Market vendor Saxelby Cheesemongers as its top Manhattan company this week as part of its “Neighborhood Achievement Awards.” The Small Business of the Year Award honors “an entrepreneur whose business has significantly improved its neighborhood or demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community through offering new or enhanced products and services, generating new activity on a commercial strip, attracting new businesses to the area, or providing exceptional employment opportunities.”

Food Wire: German Bread, Food/Roof Dining at Hotel Chantelle, Real Buttermilk

Hotel Chantelle, via Gothamist.

In food/restaurant news today:

  • Landbrot, a new German bread maker, has signed a 10-year lease for a ground floor space at 185 Orchard (the Thompson LES Hotel). It’ll be one of two Manhattan locations. According to Crain’s the cafe should open in around three months.
  • Gothamist chats with Hotel Chantelle (92 Ludlow) owner Benjamin Shih; a full-scale restaurant (French Colonial) is planned to complement the cocktails currently being served — AND — there’s going to be a large rooftop dining area.
  • The Post is in a dither because “Chinese Restaurant News” only included two New York restaurants on its top 10 list (Congee Village is #9).  A place in Bryn Mawr, PA is number 1! Bryn Mawr?
  • Florence Fabricant talks up the “real buttermilk” that Saxelby Cheesemongers gets direct from an Orwell, Vermont farm.

Cheese & Wine Throwdown!

Here’s something interesting, via cheese monger Ann Saxelby’s blog: a cheese and wine throwdown!  Saxelby Cheesemongers and September Wines will be taking on Formaggio Essex and Discovery Wines. Ann explains: “Attendees will judge six rounds of hard-hitting deliciousness and cast their ballots to decide who the winner will be.”  The event takes place Monday, November 15th, 8pm. The secret location on the LES will be disclosed when you buy your ticket. If you’re interested, email bittersweetsoursalt@gmail.com. Cost: $60.

Essex Street Market Report

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It's Tuesday. That means we headed over to the Essex Street Market for a look at what's new and interesting this week.

  • Saxelby Cheesemongers has a delicious new arrival. Mettowee, a fresh, creamy goat's milk chevre from Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont. Good with strawberries and champagne, or nice sprinkled in a salad. $6.99/pound.
  • The Tra La La Bakery recommends their "Into the Woods" blackberry muffins. Muffin baker Ronald says chefs have unsuccessfully begged him to reveal the secret ingredients. $3.00 each.
  • Over at Roni-Sue Chocolates, the "anti-matter" caramel walnut chews are back after a one-year absence. They're the exact opposites of the buttercrunch- the walnuts embedded on the inside. $1.50 for a single piece or $26/per pound.

Essex Market Report

Who says nothing good ever came from Twitter? From Roni Sue of Roni Sue's Chocolates in the Essex Market:

roni_sue Sample something sweet today! Pina Colada and Pomegranate truffles, Buttercrunch, and of course Pig Candy on request!

And over at Saxelby Cheesemongers (also in the Essex Market), their blog has some suggestions for summer snacking. Ann Saxelby says leave the oven off, pick up some "luscious, creamy" burrata and toss it with a green salad. Or how about Salvatore Brooklyn's smokey ricotta, which is "hung in a cheesecloth, smoked over cherry wood, and somehow comes out tasting like a toasted marshmallow."

Saxelby Cheesemongers

Anne Saxelby’s tiny stall at the Essex Street Market celebrates cheese and other dairy products from the region. Always ready with a suggestion for every taste an occasion, she also stocks eggs, milk, a line of handmade tortillas and freshly baked bread.  Also, Saxelby and company will be happy to make you a cheese sandwich on the spot.

120 Essex Street

212-228-8204

Hours 9am-7pm

Web site