Formaggio - Grilled Cheese Throwdown!
About a week and a half ago, I went to the amazing Grilled Cheese Throwdown! at the Formaggio Classroom Annex. The championship had James "Mega Toasty" Hull battle Adam "The Big Melty" Centamore for the title of Best Grilled Cheese.
The first round was a free choice round, with the only requirement being that the sandwich paired with a 2012 Gorrondona Txakoli from Catalan, Spain. James started off the round with Grandma Gurdal's simit with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Turkish anise seeds, but was outplayed by Adam's Brie jouvence with grilled pears, mostarda, and arugula. It's hard to beat the flavor of melted Brie and grilled pears.
The second round became the soup round, pairing a tasty tomato soup with a sandwich made of focaccia bread and a 2012 Rugiada Vino Rosato from Mombaruzzo, Italy. James won this round for me, with a sandwich made from Monte Veronese latte intero, calcagno, homemade tapenade, garlic confit, and parsley; it was designed to taste like Puttanesca when dipped in the soup. Adam came up with a yummy sandwich, combining fontal, mostarda Mediterraneo, basil, and garlic oil, but the Puttanesca Grilled Cheese was the winner for this round.
The third round became the meat round, allowing the competitors to choose any meat as long as they used Desem bread. James started strong, with Spring Brook Reading and sheep's milk feta cheese with lamb rillettes and green tomato marmalade with Frodo sauce. As amazing as that sandwich was, I've heard Adam describe the next sandwich so many times that I was ridiculously excited to finally try it. Fortunately, it lived up to the hype, and won my vote! It combined Brebis Abbaye de Belloc and Comté Les Granges with homemade onion compote (caramelized onions and cherry jam) and speck. So good, and paired so well with the 2011 Domaine du Clos de L'Elu from Val de Loire, France.
The final round was dedicated to desserts, and required the use of brioche bread. The sweet sandwiches were paired with a 2012 Rosso Viola Vigneto Saetti Lambrusco from Saliera, Italy. James combined Delice de Bourgogne and a berry compote to create a sweet, creamy sandwich. Adam kept up the cherry flavors that had done him so well in the previous round, creating what he called a "thrilled cheese sandwich": Bayrischer Blauschimmelkase with homemade gianduja, sour cherry jam, and balsamic vinegar. It was an incredibly close match overall, but Adam pulled out ahead in the end! It doesn't need to be said, but I'll finish with this- I am more than willing to help judge a rematch!