In April 2019, I had the opportunity to visit the Fromagerie Ecologique Agour Irati located high up foothills of the Basque Pyrenees. A quick word about Agour (I also noticed it spelled Agur, which I believe is in Euskera, the Basque language? You Euskera speakers, correct me if I am wrong). If you are a fan of French cheeses, and especially of Basque sheep milk cheeses, you have likely heard of Agour. They are the largest family run independent cheese maker in the French Basque countries and have been exporting to the U.S. for over 20 years. We have featured their lovely cheeses on the cheeses boards at Le Pichet and Cafe Presse for as long as they have been open.
If you love all the cheeses we use on our menu and cheese board at Le Pichet and Café Presse, you likely have Olivier Boye to thank for them. We get most of our cheeses from him, including the raw milk raclette shown above and the raw-milk cave aged Comté that we use in omelettes, onion soup, croques and much more. Olivier is the owner of Mercer Island based Corsican Cellars, and when not delivering to restaurants. spends a big chunk of each year traveling in France, Italy and Spain, discovering new cheeses and other delicious artisan products like the jambon de Bayonne from Salaisons de l’Adour that we serve. We love his deep knowledge about all things cheese and his passion for discovering family-owned dairies run by artisans who’s mission is to maintain the glorious tradition of raw-milk farmhouse cheese.
All the olive oils we use at Le Pichet and Café Presse are supplied by our friends at Seattle based Villa Jerada. Mehdi Boujrada, the brains behind Villa Jerada, imports organic olive oils from Morocco that happen to be produced by the Aquallal family, who are neighbors of Mahdi’s family there. Sold under the Atlas Olive Oils label, these oils are preferred by some of the top chefs in France, Morocco and the U.S. We love their Huile d’Olive Extra Verge Bio for everyday use and the very special “Les Terroires de Marrakech” Extra Virgin Olive Oil for finishing dishes. This last oil, which is made exclusively from picholine olives, is perfect for dishes that need a bit of olive oil as a finishing touch.
Penn Cove Shellfish was established in 1975 by the Jefferds family in Coupville, Whidbey Island, and is the oldest commercial mussel farm in the United States. Today, the Jefferds are still hard at work producing some the best sustainably farmed oysters, clams and mussels available anywhere. Our friend Rawl Jefferds has driven the delivery truck every week for as long as we can remember (and we have been buying his products for over 20 year) and is always quick to offer his personal assessment of which oyster are the firmest, briniest, plumpest and just plain most delicious on any given day. Chef Jim Drohman loves the fact that all their shellfish is still in Puget Sound when he calls in orders for Le Pichet and Cafe Presse.