Formaggio - France vs. USA
I've done this class once before, but it's always neat to see what new pairings Formaggio can come up with to represent each country, and hey, who can turn down good cheese, wine, and beer? Adam Centamore, from Formaggio, had decided to run the class as a blind tasting, so we couldn't tell which country each sample was from, and we had to guess. Apparently, I need to keep coming back, because I was only right for two out of four rounds.
The first round was a face off between goat's milk cheeses, both of which were paired with a tasty white wine, 2012 Pomerol Picpoul from Languedoc, France. The first cheese was my favorite of the two, Valençay Frais from Pays de la Loire, France, served with Lo Brusc lavender honey. The second cheese, Twig Farm Goat Tomme (with Ames Basswood Honey) from West Cornwall, Vermont, was also good, but it's hard to beat a fresh chèvre.
The second round was dedicated to cow's milk cheeses, and both examples were paired with the very excellent Dogfish Head Festina Péche. Every beer I've ever had from Dogfish Head has been awesome, and this was no exception! The first cheese was von Trapp's Mount Alice, from Waitsfield, Vermont, and it was served with dried Blenheim apricots. The second cheese, which I preferred, was Préféré de Nos Montagnes from the Jura region of France, and it was served with Raphael Confiture de Pêche de Vignes.
So far, France was winning my personal contest, 2-0, but France's domination took a hit in the third round. They came out strong with Brebis du Haut Bearn Fermier, a sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrénées in France, served with cherry preserves. But as good as that cheese was, Spring Brook Tarentaise Reserve was better. It's a cow's milk cheese made in Reading, Vermont, and it was served with Confiture de Fraises de Bois and a great rosé, 2013 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Rosé from the Loire Valley of France.
The last round pit two blue cheeses against each other, so a powerful red was needed; 2011 Deep Sea Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, California, was served. France won this round for me with Bleu de Brebis, a sheep's milk cheese from Midi-Pyrénées, France, that was served with Miguel Gorry Cerises Noires. Representing America was a pretty awesome cheese, Big Woods Blue, a sheep's milk cheese from Nerstrand, Minnesota, and that was served with the delicious Poco Dolce Caramel-Chocolate Tile.