Posts Tagged ‘cheese and wine pairing

10
Jun
13

Cheese: Iberico

Iberico

Iberico is one of the best known and most purchased cheeses in Spain, but it does not have very much exposure in the United States. Here in the states Manchego is the most familiar Spanish cheese followed by Mahon and Idiazabal. So we hope to shed a little light on this wonderful cheese and expose our readers to it.

Iberico cheese is produced only in the province of Valladolid in central Spain. In order to maintain some semblance of order and control of its large cheese production the Spanish government created the Denominations of Origin Certification. This designation controls the name, area, and standards of production to insure a consistent quality product. Iberico is not yet DOC certified but it has applied for certification and hopes to receive it soon. However the dairies that produce this cheese have maintained their own high standards and guidelines since 1987.

Iberico is made with a blend of pasteurized milk from cows, goats and sheep. The combination of these three milks varies from season to season based on the weather and the breeding patterns of the goats and sheep. However the following minimum guidelines are strictly adhered to by the producing dairies. The blend minimums are: cow milk 50%, goat milk 30% and sheep milk 10% In general the cows’ milk provides the flavor and acidity while the goats’ milk provides the slightly tart flavor and the whiter color and the sheep milk adds the richness and buttery consistency due to its higher fat content. With that said, the fact is that the higher the content of the sheep’s’ milk the better the cheese. Iberico’s flavor is herbaceous with a very mild goat tang that blends with the buttery sheep milk to produce a very comforting flavor and aroma. The interior paste has a light yellow white to slight beige color and a mild sheepy aroma. Once the aging 2 month process ends the cheeses are covered with a plastic outer rind that is inedible. This rind is similar in appearance to the one that covers the popular Manchego so Iberico can and is sometimes confused with it, so be careful when you are shopping for it.
In Spain Iberico is usually used as a table cheese served with quince paste (membrillo) but it is also a great melting cheese so it can be used in many recipes. Here are a few suggestions: shred it in an omelet, slice into your favorite salads, melt it over pasta or potatoes and rice entrees. For a tapas serve it with Chorizo or Serrano ham and a hearty bread.

Wine parings: Medium Spanish reds or a good Pinot Noir or Beaujolais or for a white wine try Sauvignon Blanc

08
Feb
13

Cheese: Epoisses

Epoisses Cheese

Epoisses is actually a French word meaning “completely worth the effort”—either that or “stinky but incredibly loveable.” We’re proud of the special attention they lovingly lavish on these cave-aged wheels–weekly baths with fruity Marc de Bourgogne (a traditional brandy made from the pomace of Burgundian wines) in their specially constructed temperature and humidity controlled caves, where Cave-Aged Epoisses is doted on by a team of trained professionals—because the end result, a custardy bacon bomb, is oh-so-worth-it. One slurp of the intensely creamy paste of our cave-aged version of this French classic, and you’ll know why they go to such lengths to ensure that this unctuous pasteurized cow’s milk round, made in Burgundy, France, is so delightfully decadent. After near extinction in France during the World Wars, Epoisses de Bourgogne was resurrected in the 1950′s by the beloved M. Berthaut. After being carefully hand-ladled into forms and dry-salted, each wheel takes a turn in French cave before aging to its peak in ours. Tucked into a clever wooden box meant to ease transport to our fair shores, serving Epoisses isn’t nearly as difficult as aging it—slice a crusty baguette and dunk away, adding a glass of Burgundian white for terroir-driven perfection.

We recommend pairing this cheese against a more acidic, lighter style of wine such as a Burgundy (Pinot Noir), or an Unoaked Chardonnay.

30
Dec
11

Cheese: Roquefort

Roquefort Cheese

Roquefort Cheese

Roquefort comes from the caves of Combalou in southern France, Roquefort, arguably the world’s greatest blue, has had its name and methods protected since 1411! Flavors reminiscent of the cavern air where the cheese ripens and the mold grows naturally transforming the milk from Lacaune Sheep into this devine formage taste treat! This artisanal variety, made in smaller batches with local milk is round, deep and perfectly balanced: big, creamy chunks of the paste dissolve on the palate like sharp, soothing milky lozenges. Sweet and fudgy, its finish is delicately peppery.

While conventional thought says to pair Roquefort with a Sauternes, I prefer a Uni Blanc, or Colombard from the southern Rhone of France for white wine pairings. Red wines are a bit more challenging with Roquefort, but I find a Marsalane from Southern Rhone, or a Spanish Mencia from Bierzo to do well.

For the faint of heart, here’s a dip recipe to make with a Roquefort that will temper the aromas and punch of the blue cheese:

Roquefort Dip

8 ounces Roquefort Cheese at room temperature

8 ounces Sour Cream

8 Ounces Butter

1 tsp dried Dill Weed

1 tbsp fresh, finely chopped chives

Whip the Roquefort until creamy, slowing blending in the Sour Cream and softened butter until smooth and creamy. Fold in the herbs and refrigerate for 3 hours. Serve slightly chilled to room temperature.

19
Dec
11

Recipe: Christopher’s Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball

Cheese balls have rooted themselves in the tradition of the Modern American Christmas. Unfortunately, the tradition is to compose them from realty poorly made, processed cheeses. In a quest to remedy that sad commentary on the American Palate, I gladly share a cheese ball recipe that is uniquely Christopher’s and certain not to only pair with your favorite wine, but to bring your taste buds to cheesegasm.

Christopher’s Cheese Ball

8 oz of soft creamy chevre

10 oz of a 6month aged manchego grated

6-10 oz of mimollette grated

2 oz of fresh finely chopped peppadews

2 green onions finely chopped

1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Sliced almonds, toasted (nuts of your choice can be used)

Bring cheeses to room temperature. Beat the soft chevre until creamy and smooth. Fold in the other cheeses and ingredients gently folding until well incorporated. Roll into the form of a ball and roll the ball to coat in the almonds, unless you rather not have the nuts on your cheese ball. Refrigerate 2 hours, remove at least 30 minutes before service. Serve with light crackers and enjoy.

This cheese ball will pair well with almost any wine. My preferences today are wines from Two Angels of the High Valley in Napa Valley, California… especially their Sauvignon Blanc, or Syrah.

13
Dec
11

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.
04
Apr
11

Cheese: Appenzeller

Appenzelle Cheese

Appenzelle

Appenzeller is a classic Swiss “alpage” cheese that receives its unique flavors from the herbs, liquors and wines that comprise the solution in which the wheels are bathed. The wheels are washed frequently and aged for a minimum of four months until they develop an herbaceous, nutty flavor and a smooth, milky finish. Appenzeller, Emmenthaler, and Gruyère form the classic Swiss fondue trio. Our Appenzeller is selected and ripened by Maître Fromager Rolf Beeler. We recommend that you try pairing this cheese with Merlot or an Alsatian white wine.

30
Mar
11

Cheese: Tarentaise

Tarentaise

Tarentaise

Vermont Tarentaise has been made by John Putnam from organic cow’s milk at Thistle Hill Farm in Vermont since July 2002. Based on the Alpage-style cheese Abondance, Tarentaise is fairly firm and aged for at least six months. The flavor is grassy, nutty and buttery; as the wheels age in our caves, the flavor becomes more assertive. Tarentaise was awarded the prestigious honor of “Best Farmstead Cow’s Milk Cheese” at the 25th American Cheese Society Conference and, with over 45% butterfat, makes a perfect melting cheese as well! Medium-bodied, fruity red wines pair well with this cheese – try it with Rich Pinot Noir or Velvety Cabernet Sauvignon.

25th Annual Conference, American Cheese Society’s Winner.

15
Mar
11

Cheese: Zamorano

Zamorano Cheese

Zamorano Cheese

Close to the border with Portugal lies the breathtaking region of Castile-Leon, known across Europe for its spectacular scenery and wonderful cheeses. The most famous of these, justly, is Zamorano, a traditional farmhouse sheep’s milk cheese. This cheese is made exclusively from milk taken from the Churra, which yield the highest grade milk of any breed of sheep. The pure Churra milk gives Zamorano a wonderful texture that is far less grainy than Manchego, its more popular cousin from La Mancha.

Matured in a high humidity environment to encourage the formation of a natural rind, Zamorano is typically aged for six months. Subtle hints of caramel and grass burst through the buttery nature of the cheese, making it ideal to serve with ham, fruit and some crusty bread. The potency of this mature sheep’s milk cheese counterbalances well with the Crianza red from Ribera del Duero.

01
Mar
11

Cheese: Chabichou

Chabichou

Chabichou

This pasteurized goat cheese, granted AOC protection relatively recently in 1990, comes from the Poitou region just south of the western Loire Valley. It is the model for well liked, crinkly-rinded Chevrot, though Chabichou’s shape is taller and thinner and the pate is usually denser. Balanced texture and richness combined with sweet, rather than mineral, flavors are often pleasant surprises for goat-wary tasters. A dry, slatey white might throw these pleasant traits into contrast, and the petit chevre would make a lovely centerpiece for a dish of fresh cherries.

Hope Chardonnay

Hope Chardonnay

Wine Pairing recommendation: Hope Estates Chardonnay

08
Feb
11

Cheese: Shropshire Blue

Shropshire Blue

Shropshire Blue

Shropshire Blue is a blue cheese made from pasteurised cows’ milk and uses vegetable rennet. The orange colour comes from the addition of annatto, a natural food colouring. It has been described as a cross between Stilton and Cheshire. The “Blue Veins are made in the same manner as roqueforti cheese.

The cheese has a deep orange-brown, natural rind and matures for a period of 10–12 weeks with a fat content of about 34 per cent. Made in a similar way to Stilton, it is a soft cheese with a sharp, strong flavour and a slightly tangy aroma. It is slightly sour but sharper than Stilton and generally creamier.

I recommend trying a Petite Sirah, Such as Writer’s Block with this cheese, richness of Petite Sirah tends to be balanced with a nice acidity for blue cheeses and these two are a pair in heaven!

Writer's Block Petite Sirah

Writer's Block Petite Sirah




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