Post image for Gourmet Cheese & Claudio’s Specialty Shop

Claudio’s, a small specialty shop nestled in Philadelphia’s Italian Market, is one of my all-time favorite spots. The shop has been open for over 50 years serving meats, cheese, olives, pasta, and other imported goods. It’s one of those places you go and feel the old world preserved. The employees who work there were born and raised right down the street. They can recount for you how their mothers used to send them down for a half pound of fresh mozzarella, and now they’re keeping the tradition alive by running the place themselves.

My favorite part about Claudio’s though is the cheese. They’re selection is out of this world. Gourmet cheeses of every kind – Italian, French…fresh, aged…sheep, goat….

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It’s become my go-to place for cheese experimentation. I’ve tried everything from Bulgarian Feta to smoked cheddar – each inspiring me with a new recipe idea. After much sampling, here is some ingredient inspiration with my favorite, and some of the most novel cheeses, that I’ve discovered at Claudio’s.

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(from left to right: Beemster, Vento D’Estate, Crucola, and Testun Occelli al Barolo)

Beemster

Beemster is my absolute favorite cheese that’s I’ve discovered at Claudio’s. It’s a bright orange, 3-year aged cow’s milk cheese that originated in Holland. Its texture is delicate –its flavor sharp and nutty.

I love it on its own, or thrown into a gourmet grilled cheese – think pressed foccacia bread with thin apple slices and mixed greens.

Vento D’Estate

This cheese is the most unique thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. In the aging process they actually cover it with hand-picked hay, and place it in wooden barrels. The idea came from a famer who, many years ago, was driving his cart filled with cheese down a country road when hay from the buggie in front of him started to blow off. He sniffed the air, and wondered why, if the scent was so pleasant in the air, couldn’t it be pleasant combined with his cheese. So he wrapped the cheese in the nicest hay he could find, and thus Vento D’Estate (literally meaning summer wind) was born. The hay gives it a pungent earthy flavor unlike any other cheese I’ve ever had.

I can see this cheese being great in a spanokopita-type dish because of its strong earthy flavor.

Crucola

Crucola is a cow’s milk cheese originating from the Italian Alps. The flavor is mild with a slight hint of swiss. The swiss cheese flavor is ever so slight, so if you’re not a fan of swiss (like myself) you may still like it.

This is the perfect cheese to add into morning eggs for a twist on the old cheddar.

Testun Occelli al Barolo

You got it, this beer is bathed in wine – Barolo wine. For the last few months of its 7-month aging process the cheese is infused with it. The blend of cow and goat’s milk picks up the fine flavor, and the outside forms a funny flaky texture of dried wine bits.

I imagine this one crumbled up in a salad with some nuts and grapes, but then again, this guy might go best with some crackers and a glass of…Barolo.

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If any of you love cheese as much as I do, and you’re interested in trying them for yourself, you can order off of their website. I highly suggest getting all four, slicing up an apple, putting out some crackers, pouring some wine, inviting over some friends, and having a cheese party. It’s one of the simplest, pleasure-filled ways to pass an evening.

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What’s your favorite cheese? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

la casara -Feb 29, 2012, 4:29PM
The list would be way too long but my top choices are: fresh ricotta, fresh mozzarella and the burrata made by Caludio is delicious. When I also find in the store mozzarella di bufala and stracchino just arrived from Italy I am in heaven. Also love pecorino toscano and Occelli butter and more ... can i mention prosciutto di Parma not a cheese but it does go well with everything above :)
sara -Oct 19, 2011, 10:33AM
english 5 county cheddar. hard to find but the best cheese in the world! usually have it at east village cheese shop in nyc!

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Post image for Reshaping Urban Airspace

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I came across these incredible moving net sculptures on Honestly…WTF and couldn’t believe my eyes! Artist Janet Echelman collaborates with local engineers and architects to install her sculptures made of machine and hand-woven UV resistant fibers. The sculptures react to their surroundings, moving fluidly with the wind and making them look like bizarrely beautiful sea creatures!

fp julia -Nov 01, 2011, 12:53PM
Janet - oh wow that is awesome! I will check it out!
Janet Echelman -Oct 29, 2011, 10:55PM
Dear Julia and Free People- I just noticed your Bldg 25 is based in Philadelphia. I'll be speaking at TEDxPhiladelphia on Nov 7th, and would love a chance to meet you and your creative colleagues!

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Post image for Saturday DO

DO: send somebody a handwritten letter.

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I know that sending somebody a handwritten letter might sound like a cliché DO, but it really is one of those special things in life. There’s nothing like receiving a letter in the mail that somebody took the time to write and send you. It’s such a heart-felt gesture. I don’t know about you, but I keep almost every letter anybody has ever sent me. These notes have sentimental value. It’s fun to look back and read them; I can only imagine how happy I’ll be to have them when I’m old and wrinkly. Spend some time and let somebody know that you miss them, how much you love them, or just catch them up on what’s new. Package it up prettily, and then send it off the old snail mail way. They’ll be so happy to open it up when it arrives. It will become a part of their memories that lives forever.

click on images for sources

-Nov 07, 2011, 4:57AM
thanks my partner and i wish i could really feel a real moncler right now though funny !
Abigail Mitchell -Oct 15, 2011, 5:57PM
I was just ruminating on the simple beauty of letter-writing, too! Timeless is the physicality of handwritten expression - the personality in paper choice, the intricacies of individualized handwriting.. See more on my blog's letter writing post: http://abigailkm.blogspot.com/2011/09/day-sixteen-to-egypt.html

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Post image for Daydreaming this Friday Away…

Have a great weekend! Read more »

alexandra -Oct 20, 2011, 12:43AM
OMg ! that black half lace dress is amazzing!
ywdreamwork fgqy8507@hotmail.com -Oct 17, 2011, 1:48AM
unbelievable

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Post image for FP Me Style Contest!

We are constantly blown away by the photos of our fans wearing out clothes – so we wanted to do a little something special for you!

FP Me Style Contest

Do you embody Free People style? Upload a photo of you wearing your favorite Fall Free People look and tell us why you love Free People!

The winner will be featured on www.FreePeople.com
And win a $100 Free People gift card!!

Enter the contest here.

The contest runs today through October 20th 2011.

Can’t wait to see your submissions… xoxo

Cherie Lynne Marie -Jan 13, 2012, 10:02AM
You need to have another one of these contest's. Let's get involved in something fun-sumthing to look forward to!! It is dreary here in the Winter and we are inside most of the time! give us a reason to go out and take pixes with our fav FP clothes> Let us win something, we put food on yer tables (but it's worth it!!!)
-Oct 26, 2011, 12:50PM
They can't make "exceptions" for just you. They would have to do it for everyone. It is for legal issues you must be 18.

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Post image for About Today: Dog Talk

We have an adorable visitor today… Naomi’s pup Abigail :)

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homemade bagels at a goodbye party for our graphic designer…he is leaving us to go to grad school and we’re going to miss him very much :(

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We’re sending him off with a book of inspirational quotes :)

And in his honor, here’s a highlight from his time here at FP – who remembers Dog Talk?!?

Kayla -Oct 20, 2011, 6:15PM
What kind of dog is Abigail? She is precious!
-Oct 14, 2011, 6:41PM
any chance for a dog talk movie? i think the show was cancelled before its time

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Post image for Office Style: Another Fall Day

It’s definitely fall. The office was filled with cozy looks to prove it. Sweaters, boots, and jackets were at every turn.

I knew I loved these boots, they give this outfit that special added touch.

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Her knit hat is so cute! And I love the surprise detailing in her tights.

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The Embroidered Midtown Jacket – perfect for fall!

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Her top was so cool. I love how intricate it is in its detailing.

Aly -Oct 13, 2011, 7:36PM
Almost bought the first pair of shoes pictured but went with another pair instead! Now I'm rethinking it...love your blog to pieces!

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Post image for Free Shipping to Australia and New Zealand!

We’re already missing summer and longing for a trip down under! But since we can’t travel to the other side of the world for free, we can at least ship there for free :)  Starting today Free People is offering free shipping and 10% off on all orders over $100 to Australia and New Zealand through November 1st!


2nd image via oracle fox.

Apoorv Singh -Aug 29, 2013, 8:53AM
Really I appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.Though recently I came across a company Affordable Shipping Pty Ltd. . They are Australia based international shipping company providing a wide range of services such as: Shipping containers (20ft,40ft,40ft high cube), shipping boxes, crates or pallets, relocating overseas, shipping vehicles & house hold goods shipping from Australia (Sydney Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Fremantle) to Asia, Africa, West Africa, Europe, Middle East, South America, Pacific Islands & USA or anywhere in the world. They also handle both personal effects and commercial cargo.
Tammy -Oct 14, 2011, 4:13PM
This is awesome! I don't live in NZ at the moment, but right before I left to return to the states, I ordered a pair of FP jeans and had them shipped to my parents, and when I got there it was like a homecoming gift. Now when I go back to NZ for good I hope FP does this at least once a year! Pretty please?

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Post image for Thursday Poll: October Catalog!

You’ve all probably seen the Free People October catalog by now, so tell us – what’s your favorite look?

Look 1

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Look 3

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Look 5

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Look 6

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Look 7

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Lauren -Oct 14, 2011, 11:34PM
i loved look 1 in the catalog so much that i framed it. its such a nice piece hanging next to my mirror when i get ready in the morning.
sassyj -Oct 14, 2011, 3:39PM
This outfit is so cool!! If only I could have these sequin pants....

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Post image for Store Events this Weekend!

Lots of fun stuff going on in our Free People stores this weekend! Here’s the low-down:

Free People Arlington is having a Halloween Party Saturday 10/15 from 10am – 9pm!

Special Halloween snacks will be available in-store throughout the day and DJ Whiskey Sherpa will perform from 6-9pm!

With any purchase of an orange, black, or “ghostly” white item, shoppers will be entered to win a raffle. Prizes include a Free People gift basket full of goodies like a Nylon mag subscription, nail polish, candy and a Free People gift card! Lastly, anyone who “likes” the store on the day of the event will be automatically entered to win a gift card :)

For more info check out their facebook page.

Stop by our Studio City store on Saturday 10/15 between 11am and 5pm and help support rescued animals in their search for a good home! Bring your pup and receive a free goodie bag for the little one – and with every purchase your dog gets a handmade scarf from the Free People Studio City team and you will be entered to win a special GRAND PRIZE!!! Details to come:)

For more info visit their facebook page.

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Lastly, support another great cause at our Portland store this weekend! All day Saturday 10/15 get 15% off your entire purchase for all customers wearing pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness – and you will also earn a raffle ticket! Spend $300 or more and you’ll also earn a raffle ticket.  3 raffle winners will get baskets full of handmade goodies from our store team! There might be some pink hair dying going on as well ;)

Visit their facebook page.

vanessa -Dec 20, 2011, 3:02AM
Wow Shelby! You are spot on with that! I was just there last week shopping for my daughter and those girls in there were snobby and stuck up. They were closing in 20 minutes and they made me feel unwanted in the store, as if I was keeping them from closing! SO RUDE!!! Maybe I should try their other stores next time.
Shelby -Dec 20, 2011, 2:53AM
Im sorry to say this but i will no longer be shopping at the studio city location because of how rude everyone is that works here, I love freepeoples clothing but I would rather drive to woodlandhills even if i live in studio city.All the girls that work at studio city make people feel uncomfortable and not helpful. I hope they hire some nice people soon because I wont shop there till they get a new staff,including new manager. I have never felt so uncomfortable shopping.

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Post image for Snapshot: Christopher Phelps, London

I first became familiar with Christopher’s work through his girlfriend’s blog, and I’m hooked! I love the candidness of his photos and how they serve as a visual diary of his life.

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Lives in: London.

Shoots with: Over the years I have used a few different camera’s. I use a Canon SLR  for most of my photographs, however I love shooting in 35mm more recently. I also have some vintage cameras that are over 30 years old. My secret weapon is disposable cameras.

Favorite Subject: My girlfriend. She is also a great photographer, so when we go away or spend the weekend together, we like to take photos. It’s great to be able to look back at experiences you shared together and have some cool snaps.

Inspired by: My father used to be a semi-professional photographer in the 70′s, and he has taught me much of what I know. I would say he has been a big influence. Aside from that, I am easily inspired by the blogs I revisit, as well as my friends and family.

Random Fact: I’m obsessed with chilli peppers.

Check out more of his work on his blog!

przeciski -Oct 20, 2011, 11:01AM
Awwww, so beautiful! =)))
sara -Oct 19, 2011, 10:55AM
LOVE the hebrew! it says "i came, i saw, i ate" in case anyone was wondering!

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Post image for Desk Top: Office Coordinator

I love to hear the meaning and stories behind the little things people keep at their desks. Everyone’s desk space here is so unique and full of tiny, fascinating details. Here’s a look at the Free People office coordinator’s desk top!

1. The headphones were actually a Christmas present from my father last year.  They help when I’m looking for new store music!

2. This little giraffe statue was given to me by our creative director.  She’s having a baby (!) and gave away little things after she baby-proofed her home.

3. This is a photo of my friend/coworker. His last day is on Friday (he’s going to grad school) so I snagged it off his desk so I can still see him every day.

4. It’s a pin that says, “Happiness is a warm puppy”.  I bought it from a thrift store, it makes me smile :)

5. A photo of my little kitten, Walker <3

6. A piece of my mom’s artwork that she did in college. Unfortunately, artistic ability is not hereditary.

7. A Swedish wooden horse my grandparents brought back from their visit to Sweden.

8. As the office coordinator, people often come to me asking for candles when they have office parties, so I keep them at my desk.

9. I get migraines all the time! My mom sent me this holistic Migraine Tonic recently- hopefully it works! (fingers crossed)

10. Worry doll- I think this came off of a cupcake from an old office party. They remind me of my childhood.

11. Photo of Audrey Hepburn- She’s one of 11 women I have hanging above my desk as my eyebrow inspiration #dontjudgeme

12 . One of our first round discs for a store mix cd

13. This finger puppet needed a home, so I adopted it.

knee replacement lawsuit -Oct 13, 2011, 2:42PM
The worry doll is wicked so is the tonic drink. LOL
Kara -Oct 13, 2011, 9:39AM
hahahah! Eyebrow inspiration - i feel you on that one! Ashley Olsens my eyebrow inspiration xo Kara http://www.karacterblog.com

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