It’s confession time folks. If you give me the choice between a dessert and a cheese course at the end of a meal I will pick the cheese every time. I really enjoy the interplay between cheese and wine ( sweet or dry) and the cultural connection between wines and cheese from specific regions. There is a reason why cheese and wines from the Loire Valley (for example ) work with each other. This is the first in a two part post on my favorite cheeses and wines that are complimentary to them. The next post , The Low Road will have some recommendations that are a little easier to find . For the advanced cheese lover store like Les Amis du Fromage and Benton Brothers are a gold mine. Both have amazing selection and super smart staff. If they don’t have the exact cheese I mention they will have 2 or 3 other options that will work just as well.
One of my all time favorites is a cheese called Brillat-Savarin ( bree-YAH sah-vah-RAN. Brillat-Savarin is creamy dreamy soft Cows-milk triple cream brie produced year round in Burgundy and Normandy , plush and just a hint of sourness. This is my go to cheese with great Champagne . If you have an older bottle of blanc de blanc it will sing. The stuff that dreams are made of.
Vacherin Mont d’Or (vasher-ANN-moan-DOR) is typically only available from fine cheese shops seasonally around Christmas. This cows milk unpasteurized washed rind cheese typically has a bumpy reddish brown rind and a big woodsy, mushroomy flavor with a slight bite and a strong aroma . The closest substitute is called Reblochon . This is your red burgundy cheese , the earthy mushroom character provide a flavor echo back and forth with Pinot Noir that will leave you captivated and speechless. My wild card pick is a goats milk cheese called Clos du Berry. A full wheel of it weighs about 12 kilograms and it’s aged a year. Taste is very rich and a slightly sharp finish. Not overtly goaty . A Les Amis du Fromage exclusive. Try this with a sweet wine from the Loire, Quart de Chaume Coteaux de Layon or sweet Vouvray. FYI to find out about this one I emailed Les Amis du Fromage and they replied in less than an hour, now that’s service. My advice is find a person at one of these stores and put yourself in their hands. Trust the experts. Explain your favorites and your budget and listen to their suggestions. You will more often than not have an amazing experience. Stretch your brain, try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to swing for the fences !!!!
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