Formaggio - Queso Royale VII

Formaggio Kitchen's classes are always interesting and delicious. The Queso Royale battles are all that, and more so, because they allow two cheese mongers to battle to prove who is the best. I went to the last Queso Royale, where Tyler Tripp's creations rose above those of his challenger, Adam Centamore. This time, for the seventh Queso Royale battle, Tripp took on Ross Wrangham from the South End Formaggio store, and just like last time, the judges were the true winners.

Round one began with Berger Grüner Veltliner paired with goat's milk cheeses. Tyler began with a Pouligny St. Pierre puff, using a French cheese and caramelized leeks, pere mostarda, and arugula. Ross answered with Cabri a'Antan served two ways: with cucumber, and with roasted pumpkin seeds and wild fennel pollen. Tyler won this round, and his puff pastry was so good I had to have seconds!

The second round paired Ascheri Nebbiolo with sheep's milk cheeses. Ross started off the round with Cacioricotta al Tartufo, an Italian cheese, served with red wine risotto. Tyler answered with another Italian cheese, Mastorazio, served with citrus three ways: bitter orange marmalade, Saba blood oranges, and candied orange peel. The cheese was also drizzled with balsamico di Modena Tradizionale. This was a tough round because I loved the combinations and variety that Tyler came up with, but I also loved the flavors that Ross combined in his dish. In the end, Ross won for me and the class.

The third round was by far the most difficult round to decide. Both dishes were amazing, and both paired a cow's milk cheese with Etienne Dupont Cider. Ross's Camembert au calvados was up first, pairing the French cheese with Granny Smith apple, apple cider jelly, and crumbled toffee. Tyler created a Cabot brûlée using Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Surryano ham, maple candy pecan, and maple sugar. As I said, this was the toughest round, but I had to make a decision, and I went with Tyler's sweet brûlée.

Jack's Abby Hoponius Union and stinky cheeses were the rule for round four. Tyler went first, pairing Mitibleu, a sheep's milk cheese from Spain, with a port reduction and sour cherry jam. Ross answered with Cabricharme, a washed rind goat's milk cheese from Belgium, paired with rabbit pâté, Kozlik's double c mustard, and cornichons. Another fairly tough round, but Tyler won for me.

The Wild Card round wasn't any easier. Tyler was up first, pairing Crémant du Jura Rosé with Delice de Bourgogne, a triple crème cow's milk cheese from France, with strawberry rose geranium jam and a candied violet. Ross sent his last answer in the form of Roquefort Viex Berger, a sheep's milk blue cheese from France, paired with Chateau Richard Saussignac and served with caramelized walnuts. This was, as I said, a very rough match. I love Roquefort, but I loved what Tyler did with his pairing more, so Tyler wound up winning my vote again. With all those winning rounds, although it was close, Tyler won again! I look forward to seeing what he comes up with in the next Queso Royale!


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