Formaggio - Mastering the Classics

Formaggio has the most interesting food classes around, and Mastering the Classics was no exception. This past Wednesday, Adam Centamore guided more than twenty food nerds through a tour of eight classic cheeses, paired with wines, condiments, and history.

The first classic cheese was Valençay Cendrée, a goat's milk cheese from the Loire Valley in France. This was served with Ames Farm Basswood Honey and Valençay wine. Valençay is a delicious goat cheese (in addition to being an excellent wine, and a town), and has a great origin legend involving the pyramid shape of the cheese and an angry Napoleon. 

The next two cheeses were both paired with Leitz Out! Riesling, a very tasty Riesling that I've purchased more than once. The first classic paired with the Riesling was Camembert Fermier, a cow's milk cheese from Normandy, France, served with apple butter. Camembert is related to Brie, and was known as the "flower of French cheeses". Gruyere Alpage, a cow's milk cheese from Gruyère, Switzerland, served with apricot preserves, was the next classic cheese. Supposedly, Gruyère earned its name from the crane (grue) that was killed by a French count during a hunt.  

Comté Fort Saint Antoine, a cow's milk cheese from Jura, France, served with duck pâté, moutarde à l'ancienne, and cornichons, was the next classic. It was paired with a tasty Beaujolais, and is a classic cheese due to its long history.

Nebbiolo was the wine pairing for the next three classic cheeses. Manchego Semi-Curado, a sheep's milk cheese from La Mancha, Spain, served with quince membrillo, was the first classic cheese. I've had Manchego many times, but this may have been the first time I've had it paired with quince membrillo, which was very good. Montgomery's Clothbound Cheddar, a cow's milk cheese from Somerset, England, served with onion confettura, was the next classic. Cheddar is definitely a classic, as it dates back to the 12th century, and Montgomery's Clothbound Cheddar is known as one of the best examples of this classic cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano, the "King of All Cheeses", a cow's milk cheese from Emilia-Romagna, Italy, was served with walnuts and Saba. I took the picture before they poured on the Saba, but it was a sweetener used by ancient Romans, and was very well paired with the cheese. 

Stitchelton, a cow's milk cheese from Nottinghamshire, England, served with spiced fig cake, was paired with tawny port. Stitchelton is a relative of Stilton, considered the "monarch of British cheeses", but is made with raw milk, rather than pasteurized milk. I've had Stitchelton before, and it's always good!


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