Cheese Tuesday - Champions of the World

This past Tuesday was Cheese Tuesday, and it was a good one. The theme was Champions of the World, and the cheeses served were award winners from the 2013 American Cheese Society Competition. Debby and Bob Stetson, cheese makers of Westfield Farm, were also there to pass on a bit of information about making cheese.

Things started off on the right foot, with a pot of the ever-awesome Afternoon blend of tea, as well as creamy salted butter and pretzel bread.

The first course was an excellent exercise in contrasts. 2012 Domaine des Grandes Perrières from Sancerre was fresh and crisp enough to cut through the thick, mouth-coating flavor of the goat cheese in the salad. The salad was made up of Apple Street Farm heirloom tomatoes and Westfield Farm "Fresh Capri", among other things. The Fresh Capri was American Cheese Society's second place winner for rindless goat's milk cheeses aged 30 days or less. 

NV Canard-Duchêne, "Cuvée Léonie", Brut Champagne paired very well with the Iberico pata negra with a coddled egg, fall broccoli, and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. This dish could easily be conspired the best breakfast-for-dinner I've ever had. Cabot Clothbound is amazing, and it recently won in the Cheddar wrapped in cloth, all milks, aged up to 12 months category. It also won Best in Show in 2006!

A good cut of meat deserves a glass of wine that can stand up to it, and 2011 El Castro de Valtuille, a Mencia Joven from Bierzo, Spain, did just that. The cut of meat in this instance was a Maine beef tenderloin with chanterelles, Apple Street Farm wax beans, and kohlrabi purée.

The cheese course was up, to finish off the night. It was paired with 2007 Capanna, a Moscadello di Montalcino.

Bear Hill from Grafton Village Cheese in Vermont was up first. It recently won second best of show at the American Cheese Society's Competition. Ashley was up next, from Mouco Dairy, Colorado; it won first prize for soft-ripened cow's milk cheese.

Tres Bonne from Boston Post Dairy in Vermont was up next; it was second place in the hard goat's milk cheese aged over 60 days category. The always-good and gooey Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont won third prize in the soft ripened cow's milk cheese category.

A couple of firmer cheeses were up next: Tarentaise from Spring Brook Farm in Vermont, and Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Creamery in Wisconsin. Tarentaise recently won first prize in the hard, farmstead, aged over 60 days category, while Pleasant Ridge Reserve won third prize in the hard, washed rind, aged over 60 days category. It also has won best in show in 2001, 2005, 2010.

The last three cheeses of the night were great blue cheeses. The first two were from Westfield Farm, in Western Massachusetts. Classic Blue Log recently came in second place in the External Blue Mold Cheese category. Hubbardston Blue, also from Westfield Farm, won best of show in 1987. One of my favorites of the evening, Rogue River Blue, from Rogue Creamery in Oregon, recently won first prize in the blue veined with rind or external coating category; it also, very deservedly, won best of show in 2009 and 2011.


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