Perfect Pairings

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This week has been full of a number of cheese musings, from enjoying Artisanal’s cheeses with the Finnish Ambassador and his wife to thinking about “perfect pairing” between cheeses and wines and cheeses and pickles. It was great fun and quite delicious to be at an event with Artisanal cheeses and a number of embassy chefs in Washington DC this week. I enjoyed both domestic and imported cheeses, including the Wabash Cannonball and the specially made for Artisanal Roquefort. The perfect pairing concept is one that I will continue to explore, as it can be very rewarding.

In finding a perfect pairing between cheeses and wines or cheeses and anything else, I am looking for something that not only makes the cheese taste good–because the cheese can do that on its own, but my hope for a perfect pairing is that the item being paired with the cheese brings out something new and exciting in the cheese and that the cheese brings out something new and delicious in the pairing. This is similar to what a perfect pairing between two people would be—that they improve each other, helping the other to be better.

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I explored this concept with a number of cheeses wines and beers and pickles this week, and had some delicious results. It is important to note that beer often pairs well with cheeses; the solid and robust flavors stand up well with harder aged saltier cheeses like cheddar and gouda. This week I enjoyed the pairing of a malty Belgian Leffe Blonde beer with Montgomery’s Cheddar, a quintessential English Cheddar.

Another of this week’s “perfect pairings” was a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a rich Rhone Valley dessert wine with floral notes and a Great Hill Blue, a zesty and sharp blue cheese produced in Massachusetts. This salty and sweet pairing brought out the best in both the cheese and wine.

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The most unusual perfect pairing I enjoyed this week was that of a pickle and cheese. I experimented with Rick’s Picks Handy Corn Relish, which is both spicy and sweet and a rich creamy Spanish La Peral, mixed milk blue cheese. The combination was delicious, the robustness of the blue cheese stood up well to the flavorful corn relish, but the complexity of the flavors was well balanced.

Sometimes finding a perfect pairing takes a bit of time and requires stumbling upon some very imperfect pairings along the way, but there are many more delicious perfect pairings between cheeses and an assortment of other foods that are awaiting discovery.

Spread the curd!
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Posted by jessica

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