Our aged four-year-old Gouda is one of the stronger non-blue cheeses in our caves now. It fits in at the strongest quadrant of the CheeseClockâ„¢ – the 3-12 quadrant. That being said, this Gouda pairs best with the strongest of beverages. Not that this cheese cannot marry well with the lighter wines; it is that it can overwhelm those wines, essentially reducing them down to little more than a rinse.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to taste our aged Gouda with a couple of different Cognacs. The lighter Cognac was a V.S.O.P. that had been aged in French oak barrels, A Cognac that was designed for those that prefer the smoother, less harsh, styles of Cognacs. The second one was an unblended, â€œbolderâ€ and more familiar style of Cognac.
The first Cognac was very approachable â€“ that is â€œeasy on the palate,â€ while the second one was a type with a little more â€œburnâ€ in the finish. This tasting bore out the proof that not all Cognacs are the same, especially with regard to how they paired with different cheeses.
As is most often apparent, the bigger cheeses married more successfully with the bigger Cognac. The four-year-old Gouda, with its hard crystalline texture coupled with its forward salt, generally works well with a wide range of cheese, some better than others. This awesome cheese rarely disappoints.
While perfectly fine with the milder Cognac, this cheese was a much better partner with the bigger one. The â€œburnâ€ in the Gouda was mellowed with the bolder Cognac, while it was merely â€œtoleratedâ€ with the lighter one. We were able to taste the Gouda and the bigger Cognac all the way through to the finish. The caramel flavor in the cheese matched that in the Cognac while the dense texture of the cheese melted like butter when it was paired with the Cognac.
This exercise gave evidence to a fundamental principle of the CheeseClockâ„¢ pairing tool â€“ big cheese works more successfully with bigger beverages.
Posted by Artisanal Cheese