Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stumbling into the pairing world... wide eyed.

     I know a lot about cheese, maybe not as much as the big experts who make cheese or run big cheese shops, but I have done my research, read up and played cheese monger at a farmer's market for two years. You'd think with all my experience cutting, slicing, sampling and selling cheese I would know a bit about pairing it with wine, but nope, I had yet to dive into the pairing world, until quite recently.

     I hosted a kick-off party to celebrate QuesoBeso's new relationship with a wine store here in Manhattan Beach. I am now stocking them with American artisan made cheeses that are unavailable anywhere else in the the South Bay of Los Angeles county. Ten cheeses had been chosen as the initial selection for the store and include: 4 chevre, 3 cow, 1 sheep and two with all three milks combined.
     To get wines paired with the cheeses, I asked Joe at Manhattan Fine Wines for help. He went right to work. Some cheeses made the choice of red vs. white wine easy (the Cape Foulweather chevre was begging for a sparkling white). While others really surprised me (Pedrozo Dairy's Peppered Northern Gold with a rose?). By the end of our whirlwind of pairings, Joe had chosen 10 very different wines to go with the 10 very different cheeses.
     For me, the unreal magic of the pairing world came when we arranged the wines into tasting order and placed the cheeses with their matching wines  It wasn't at all what I expected, peppered and mineraly cheddar at the beginning with the whites, a big goat in the middle working up to the mixed milk and truffled sheep cheese? It defied my cheese logic.  But WOW! Was my cheese logic wrong! What's needed is a trust in traditional wine / food pairings, using the flavor profile of the cheese as your guide. I'm convinced that this is a great starting point which will ensure you are on the right track of a great cheese and wine pairing.
     The tasting event was a huge success, everyone was amazed at the synergistic flavor experiences of each of the pairings.  Each on it's own would make a meal more special, choose two or more pairings and they become a cheesy event on their own!

Here is a list of the pairings of wines and cheeses available at Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, CA. The wines are all under $15 per bottle!

  • River's Edge Chevre's: Cape Foulweather & Graham Beck Brut Sparkling (South Africa)
  • Pedrozo Dairy, Peppered Northern Gold & Touraine 2011 Rose Val de Loire (France)
  • Pedrozo Dairy, Northern Gold & E. Guigal 2009 Cotes du Rhone (France)
  • Carr Valley's: Mammoth Cheddar & Pere & Files 2009 White Bourgogne (France)
  • River's Edge Chevre's: True Love & La Yunta, 2011 Torrontes (Argentina)
  • Carr Valley's: Gran Canaria & Jack Hammer 2011 Pinot Noir (California)
  • River's Edge Chevre's: Silt Coos & Tres Picos 2009 Garnacha (Spain)
  • Carr Valley's: Caso Bolo & Perrin & Fils 2009 Cotes du Rhone Village (France)
  • Soledad Goats "Oh My Goat!" & Masi Capoflorin, 2008 Rosso Del Veronese
  • Carr Valley's: Black Sheep Truffle & Oberon 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Special Cheese Delivery!

I am so torn about our very good friends' upcoming move to Oregon. I
will miss their proximity, but I so look forward to the gourmet
adventures that await us!

On a recent visit to their new home they were kind enough to offer to
pick up some cheese to deliver back to me here in Manhattan Beach.

The Rogue River Blue was sold out, but my number two choice was
available - Caveman Blue. Creamy, meaty blue cheese with a lingering

I brought it out at the recent QuesoBeso tasting event and the 1/2
wheel sold immediately! That's good cheese!