Saturday, July 23, 2011

Top Ten Wine and Cheese Pairings 2011

Whole Foods Galleria just announced their top ten wines, which are on sale at the store, and so our fearless leaders, Michael and Dave (the wine and cheese experts) picked out six pairings for this month’s theme.

This class worked out really well because there was a lot of variety and the pairings really stood out more so than any wine or the cheese by themselves.

We started with the lightest cheese, of course, Bucherondin, which was a creamy French goat cheese that totally coated the roof of my mouth like peanut butter.
Luckily, Dave handed out an orange blossom honey to go on top of the cheese and it was paired with a Savignon Blanc to help cut through the cream. The sweet, fruity flavors of the honey as well as a wine with higher acidity really helps.

The Manchego, Spain’s most popular cheese, was aged six months and Dave claimed that it had a “buttery” taste, but I think it was still plenty dry. This too was passed with a quince jelly to add some sweetness. This was paired with a Spanish wine (wines and cheese from similar areas go well together), but I was surprised that it was a Chardonnay. So no heavy oak or buttery taste since it’s from Europe as compared to California's version.

The next two were cheddars, which I just love due to their sharp flavor! First up was a Seaside Cheddar that was not near as sharp as the second one, a Grafton Reserve Cheddar. Dave passed around a cherry-flavored preserve but the cherry’s fruitiness was a bit too strong. Now I know cheddar is sharp but I want the full effect of that, not the fruit flavor. I preferred both cheddars by themselves, especially with their wines. The Seaside Cheddar was paired with a Pinot Grigio from Argentina and the Grafton Reserve Cheddar (aged two years and quite sharp) was paired with a very smooth Malbec. It had to be one of my favorite pairings of the night.

Next up was another excellent cheese, and one that Dave has picked out at least once or twice before because it is so tasty. P’tit Basque is a light and creamy sheep’s milk cheese, and it was paired with a very dry red wine from Italy in an effort to cut the creaminess but I let the cheese stand on its own this time.

The last pairing was a traditional Blue d’Auvergne that I only took a little bite from, of course.

The best part about class? Plenty of leftover cheese.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Will Write for Wine

I was excited when I signed up for @STLwinegirl’s (aka Angela Ortmann) latest class, Will Write for Wine, since I already have been blogging about all my classes with Angie the last couple of years now. So now us bloggers would be the focus!

It was a very different crowd than I was used to, but it was great to see so many enthusiastic people in attendance. It’s always nice to put a “Twitter username” to a face! Hehe I collected quite a few business cards and have been checking out everyone’s sites, which I will post at the bottom. Quite a few attendees are into cooking while others just like to blog about their experiences, like me and my “food adventures”.

This class turned out to be a Wine 101 class though, and I had heard a lot of the information many times. But I think this is important because when you hear the same information several times it really tends to stick, which in turn makes it’s easier for you to be able to share with others. Soon, YOU'LL become the wine expert in your group of friends and wine experts are a popular thing to be these days. Hehe

Angie did not put too much emphasis on the brand of wine or the country, except for explaining terroir, which is how the geography of where the grapes are grown affects the taste of the wine. Examples are climate and soil, along with many other variables such as earthquakes. We also learned about how wine is made, smelling and tasting wine, and proper storage.

I took a lot of notes, and I would go into more detail, but as the other bloggers started to post, I thought all of theirs were so well done that I decided to just add links to their blogs so you can get a fresh perspective.

I did want to make sure I publicly apologized for not bringing any cheese after introducing myself as a huge “cheese fan” and I kept getting requests as to which cheese to pair with each wine. (Just call me @STLcheesegirl.) Hehe

I also finally got Angie to let me help her for one of her classes. Since I had heard the information before, I didn’t mind making water runs as there was no staff this time. (Just call me @STLwatergirl.) Plus we were in a brand new location, Nebula Coworking, that provided a huge space for the class!

My postings should pick up soon since next week will include Whole Foods cheese class as well as a Groupon trip to Flacco’s Cocina again!