Archive for the 'Cheese' Category


Seminar: Bon Appetite!

The gentle slopes of the North Carolina Mountains are about to be flooded with thousands upon thousands of people from around the globe again. Every year about this time, we are inundated by the world as our hillsides put on a display of color second to none. The hues of yellow, orange, red, and green are always certain to dazzle even those of us with absolutely zero artistic ability. The Blue Ridge Parkway will be bumper to bumper with drivers who will discover the beauty of the mountains and at the same time realize just how bad their driving abilities are.

As we celebrate the fall and this season of change, we also begin to look forward to a season when friends and family will celebrate the holidays. We invite you to participate this Wednesday in a program to help keep those gatherings simple and elegant as we pair wines against appetizers that are quick, easy, and wonderfully soothing. Now, just as you expect to know which family members are coming to your gathering, so do we; please make reservations at 828-414-9111 (or at  in order that we will know how many people to prepare for the evening of 03 October 2012: 6pm.

We look forward to seeing you then!


Cheese: Cave Aged Montgomery’s Cheddar

An authentic cheddar of raw cow milk hand-formed into hulking 60 pound cylinders by James Montgomery in Somerset, England. Each cheese is wrapped with linen and rubbed with lard before cellaring. The curse and wonder of traditional cheese is huge variety from wheel to wheel, making selection all the more critical. Look for savory flavor developed over more than 12 months of aging; the best wheels of Monty’s cheddar have a nutty meatiness described by our British colleagues as reminiscent of the caramelized edge of a Sunday roast. Montgomery’s is proof positive that cheddar and beer make good bedfellows.


How do I Serve Cheese?

Serve all cheeses at room temperature! Remove cheeses from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Hard cheeses take longer to reach room temperature. As a rustic peasant food, cheese displays well on wood or marble or stone boards, surrounded by fruits (simplest – a bunch of grapes), nuts, crusty bread and wine. Try to avoid cubing or slicing in advance, and put out one cheese knife or cheese plane per cheese. For a big crowd, where self-service is key, you may pre-slice or cube, but the cheese will dry out quickly and, as a display technique, it’s fairly cheesy. If you must precut cheese, use a covered cheese dome.


Cheese: Ewe’s Blue

Ewe’s Blue is a delicious award-winning farmstead blue cheese produced at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in central eastern New York. The recipe for the cheese is based on Roquefort, using pasteurized milk instead of raw milk. The Ewe’s Blue is also less salty than its French cousin. The texture is moist and creamy; the flavor is zesty, tangy and a little sweet.


Cheese: Huntsman

Huntsman Cheese

Huntsman Cheese

Huntsman is the marriage of two delicious British classics; Double Gloucester and Blue Stilton, brought together through a complex layering process. Creamy, forceful Stilton is sandwiched between an exterior of mellow, Double Gloucester. The result is an excellent flavor combination that is as delicious as it is beautiful.

With the 2 layers of Blue Stilton you will take full advantage of the combination of Double Gloucester and Blue Stilton. Perhaps the best description is found in prose for Stilton as composed by G.K. Chesterton;

Stilton, thou shouldst be living at this hour
And so thou art. Nor losest grace thereby;
England has need of thee, and so have I–
She is a Fen. Far as the eye can scour,
League after grassy league from Lincoln tower
To Stilton in the fields, she is a Fen.
Yet this high cheese, by choice of fenland men,
Like a tall green volcano rose in power.
Plain living and long drinking are no more,
And pure religion reading “Household Words”,
And sturdy manhood sitting still all day
Shrink, like this cheese that crumbles to its core;
While my digestion, like the House of Lords,
The heaviest burdens on herself doth lay.

My personal wine pairing favorites with Huntsman cheeses are aged,  mellow Cabernet Sauvignon for reds and bright, crisp acidic Sauvignon Blancs for the white wine.


Cheese: Beecher’s No Woman Jerk Spiced Cheese

Beecher's No Woman Jerk Spiced Cheese
Beecher’s No Woman Jerk Spiced Cheese

Adding Jamaican Jerk spices creates a cheese with a warm, nutty, spicy flavor. It’s smoky and earthy with a touch of brown sugar and cloves. No Woman’s unusual and satisfying flavor is sure to excite your taste buds.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Pair No Woman on a plate with dried mango and roasted almonds
  • Melt on a shaved pork or turkey sandwich
  • Use half No Woman and half Just Jack to make a sultry macaroni and cheese

Pairing Suggestions:

  • Beer complements No Woman’s flavor, especially a Hefeweizen or Red Ale.
  • Zinfindel is surprisingly delicious and peppery.

Cheese: Ibores

Ibores Cheese

Ibores Cheese

Ibores is a zesty, warm-flavored goat’s milk cheese from the rugged province of Extremadura in Spain. It is firm, with a pleasant, lingering tangy finish. Rubbed with paprika and olive oil during the two month aging process, the wheels are visually striking and offer a great alternative to fresh goat cheeses. Ibores is very versatile for pairing with many wine types and goes great with Riesling.


Cheese: Tavor

Cheese: Tavor

Cheese: Tavor

Tavor is a Kosher sheep milk cheese from northern Israel. Sheep have been grazing in this part of the world for millennia. The milk that is derived from these free-range herds is especially nutritious and delicious. The texture is semi-soft and the flavor is sweet and buttery.

Wine Pairing of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.


Cheese: amarelo da baixa

Amarelo Da Beira Baixa

Amarelo Da Beira Baixa

Amarelo da baixa is seldom heard of here in the United States among the masses, as are many of the finest cheeses and wines in the world! Being as I posted an article on Fine Tawny Port yesterday, I thought today would be good to post about a great Portuguese Cheese that pairs well with port wines!

This wonderful cheese hails from the Castelo Branco region of Portugal and is a blend of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. Amarelo da baixa tends to have a buttercup/yellowish rind color and is a semi-soft to a semi-firm cheese. This cheese usually will spread nicely and has a clean, light mineral flavor indicative to the region blended with a slight acidity for balance.

Amarelo da Beira Baixa is hand made, coagulated with animal rennet and generally has a tangy flavor that turns bitter towards finish, reflecting the taste of rugged and rustic sea salt of Portugal. It is also washed in the making process to turn its rind deep yellow and wrapped in cloth for support. Different versions of this cheese are produced and the one available in United States is matured for 60 days and has a more firm paste with strong flavor.

My favorite meal with amarelo da baixa is serving it at dinner with a hearty seafood chowder and a glass of fine tawny port.
Bon appetite!

Cheese: Cypress Grove Midnight Moon

Cypress Grove is one of the most sought after and award winning creameries in North America, specializing in Goat’s milk and Sheep’s milk cheeses. Midnight Moon is a hard goat’s milk chevre reported to be aged six months or more.The production of Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon is overseen by Mary Keehnin Holland as a goat’s milk style of aged gouda… who better to evoke help for gouda than the dutch! This pale, ivory cheese is firm, dense and smooth with the slight graininess of a long-aged cheese. The flavor is nutty and brown-buttery, with prominent caramel notes. The wheel is finished in a beautiful black wax.

My recommendation for wine pairings are 1) Tony Coturri’s Frieberg Vineyard Zinfandel, 2) Page Cellars Proprietary Red Blend, or 3) A bright, crisp Fatesca out of Moldova.

With any of these wines and Cypress Grove’s Midnight Moon, try a dense fig and hazelnut paste served over the cheese for an added depth of flavor!

Bon Appetite!


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