Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beaujolais Nouveau 2010

I got to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaujolais_nouveau) with my cheese class friends on the third Thursday of the month for one of Jill Aboussie’s (http://www.facebook.com/jaboussie) wine classes. The theme was holiday wines and Beaujolais Nouveau fits in quite well, but Ellen still brought an aged Beaujolais so we could compare the two. While I don’t mind the full fruity flavor of the Nouveau, the aged version was still smoother.

The hard part about Jill’s classes is that you have to share all the cheese with everyone. And with the eight different glasses of wine, it was hard to make the cheese stretch!

My favorite pairing is always the lightest ones…the sparkling wine with the triple crème and chevre. Jill says that the better sparkling wines have smaller bubbles, more bubbles overall, as well as longer lasting bubbles. But everyone agrees that you should NOT drink so slowly that you find out how long your bubbles last!

It was a good thing I was in Whole Foods that night so I could stock up on cheese for trivia night, the following evening. At the end of the night, I was happy that the Midnight Moon (one of my favorites) was the biggest hit. Hehe

Then Saturday, the FAC club tried out Ichigo (http://www.ichigomodern.com) in Clayton, which is right next door to The Wine and Cheese Place on Forsyth. The restaurant has plenty of space inside with high ceilings and was very casual. I was very surprised that there weren’t that many types of rolls, and the list was split into raw and cooked. But they did have a very different menu from your typical sushi restaurant so it was good to try new things.

I had a Crunchy California roll and a Soft Shell Crab (Cucumber, Avocado, Scallions), which were the “cooked” rolls. For the raw roll, and my favorite, I got a Shangri-la (smoke salmon, avocado topped with tuna, white tuna, and yellow tail).

But my favorite sushi restaurant in Clayton is still Tani Sushi (http://www.tanisushi.com/). I have been a couple of times now and the décor is more what you’d expect from a classy sushi place. They have quite a few rolls named for Rams players but the most fun roll is the “Oh My God”, which they set on fire! Hehe Just about every table orders one so you see the flames going by all night. hehe

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spanish Cheese Class

Even though Italian cheese class was cancelled, Spanish cheese class at The Wine and Cheese Place (http://www.wineandcheeseplace.com) was a huge hit and required two tables to seat everyone. Hosted by Angie Ortman, (http://www.stlwinegirl.com), Spain is mostly known for their sheep’s milk cheeses and they tend to have a little more of a bite. All of the cheeses were paired with Spanish wines, of course.

We started with a lighter wine, a cava, or what Spain calls their sparkling wine. This was a Brut Rose so it had a pretty strawberry shade but tasted dry and the bubbles didn’t last too long for the finish. Instead of going with a light cheese, it was paired with a Roncal, a drier sheep’s milk cheese. The two made a great pairing because the sharpness of the cheese was toned down and it helped bring out more of the fruit of the Rose.

When I first smelled the Verdejo, I immediately thought Sauvignon Blanc. Turns out I was right! Once again, it’s the Spanish version of the same wine and this was paired with a goat’s cheese that was mixed with parsley and garlic. The cheese was VERY creamy and it helped to balance out the crispness of the Verdejo. This cheese was definitely my favorite and I purchased a jar of it.

My favorite pairing of the class was a Valminor Albarino white wine and Mahon. The wine was a bright yellow color, like a Chardonney, so I immediately guessed oak! Both wine and cheese had a creamy, full flavor and managed to balance out each other quite well.

We only had one red wine and the Rioja was very smooth but once again, had a fruitier taste once paired with the dry Manchego.

Last was the dessert wine, a brand of sherry, which of course was paired with a blue cheese. I could barely make it through either of them. I tried to take a few sips of the sherry since it was an expensive brand but could not handle it for long. Luckily my table neighbors helped me out with all my wine leftovers!

Here are the pairings:
Cristalino Brut Rose – Roncal
Esperanza Verdejo/Viura – Le Call Bardines
Vlaminor Albarino – Mahon
Montebuena Rioja – Rosemary encrusted Manchego
Michel Couvreur PX – Blue cheese

While there aren't any Provisions classes planned for this year, November is still a busy month. Next week is the Ernesto’s event on Monday, November 8th, and seafood class at Whole Foods on Tuesday, November 9th.

Then Thursday, November 18th is Beaujolais Nouveau and I will be at a cheese class at Whole Foods so hopefully they’ll break some out for us!