This is a photo of our final cheese plate of the 3 day cheese mayhem I just experienced. This tasting was a pairing face-off. Beer vs. wine, each paired with 5 delectable cheeses. It was the smallest, yet probably most delicious of our cheese plates at Boot Camp this past weekend. I am typically more of a wine drinker than a beer drinker, however I’m getting more into the craft beer thing lately and beer is definitely starting to grow on me a bit more. Here is a list of the pairings we tried: (I don’t have the exact names for some of the wines, so where need be, I’ll just include the style for now).
- Coupole – a pasteurized bloomy-rind goat’s milk cheese from Vermont Creamery paired with a Loire Valley Vouvray and a German Wheat Beer. Round 1 winner (according to me) – THE WINE!
- Hudson Red – a washed-rind raw cow’s milk cheese from Twin Maple Farms in NY’s Hudson Valley region paired with an Alsatian Gewurztraminer and Lagunitas Sonoma Farmhouse Hop Stoopid. Round 2 winner – THE WINE AGAIN!!
- Gabietou – a washed-rind, raw, mixed cow & sheep’s milk cheese from the French Pyrenees paired with a 2008 Cru Beaujolais from France and a sour style Panil Barriquee beer. Round 3 winner – THE BEER! Sour-style beer is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I just tried one for the first time about a month ago and I think the taste is SO interesting and not bitter at all like a more hoppy-style beer. I’m a fan.
- Le Chevre Noir – an aged pasteurized goat’s milk cheddar-style cheese from Quebec, Canada paired with a Cabernet Franc from France and with a Samuel Smith Imperial Stout. Round 4 winner – THE BEER!
- Mountain Gorgonzola – a pasteurized cow’s milk blue cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy paired with a heavenly Malmsey Madiera wine from Portugal and a St. Bernardus Abt 12 Belgian beer. Round 5 winner – THE WINE!
In all honesty, this last pairing of the Mountain Gorgonzola with the Madiera completely rocked my world. This to me, is what pairing is all about and was the overall winner of the night. The Gorgonzola is only a medium intensity blue cheese – but it has the sweet, nutty, salty bite that blues often have. Pairing this with the nutty, rich, luscious, caramel flavors in the Madiera was just PERFECT. Even after 55 cheeses in 3 days, I could have eaten that all night. It is one of those tastes that makes your eyes roll back into your head and makes you feel woozy. It’s very sexy.
Now this Malmsey Madiera we had was quite pricy at $54 a bottle. As a cheaper alternative our awesome instructor, Amanda Crawford (wine specialist at Christie’s auction house) suggested a bottle of Pedro Ximenez Sherry at half the price. So as soon as my stomach heals, I’m going to pick up a blue from Murray’s and a bottle of this sherry and have a romantic, tantalizing, tasting extravaganza with my husband. So far, he’s not a total fan of blue cheese quite yet… but just wait ’til I get a hold of him with this! ooh baby.