Formaggio - The Science of Affinage
The science of affinage is all about aging cheeses and meats. Michael Kalish, an affinage consultant who travels the world helping affineurs create better foods, was brought in by Formaggio to teach us about cheese and salumi.
We began by picking white or red wine. Our choices were a dry Riesling and a medium bodied Zinfandel. I'm a big Riesling fan, so you can see what I picked to pair with this gorgeous plate of cheese and meat.
We began with some Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Jasper Hill Farm, paired with Rossa from La Quercia. Cabot Clothbound might be the best cheddar made in the states; eating it with prosciutto will always be a good choice. Next, we tried Parmigiano Reggiano with Culatello. The Culatello was nice and salty, and worked well with the classic cheese.
A bit of fresh chèvre from Rawson Brook Farm was up next, served with chives and speck. The wine was perfect for cutting through the thick flavor of the cheese, and created a great balance. Following the delicious chèvre, we moved into the processed and cooked meats section of the class, pairing Tarentaise from Spring Brook Farm with Pâté Forestier, a mix of pork butt, fat, liver, pancetta, cream, eggs, mushrooms, wine, and spices.
Salami made up the final section of the class. We began by pairing Landaff cheese from Landaff Creamery with Toscano salami from Fra'mani. This was one of my favorite combinations of the night! Shushan, a sheep's milk cheese from 3 a Corner Field Farm in New York was up next, with Finnochiano by Salumeria Biellese. We finished the night with Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm, one of the best cheeses out there. It was paired with Olli, salami from Napoli with a touch of smoke and spice for flavor.