Formaggio - Old World Showdown: France v. Italy!
Which old world country makes better cheese and condiments, France or Italy? It was definitely a question I was willing to help answer.
Round one was all about goat cheese, or as they put it: Chèvre v. Capra. France was up first, with Couronne de Touraine from the Val de Loire with Miel de Lavande Fine. Italy responded with Crosta di Pane di Capra from Piemonte with Confettura di Limone. Both goat cheeses were paired with 2012 Mottura Orvieto from Umbria, Italy. For this round, France was my winner.
Round two was Vacca v. Vache, and Italy started things off very strong with Robiola due Latti from Piemonte with Fieschi Mostardi di Limone. Mostardi is an amazing condiment with a sweet and slightly spicy flavor. France came back with Comté Fort Saint Antoine from Jura, paired with Rosette de Lyon, cornichons, and Dijon mustard. Both cheeses were served with 2012 Goisot Aligote from Bourgogne, France. This was a very difficult round, but France won out again for me. Of the two white wines, though, I preferred the first, from Italy.
Round three was all about sheep cheese: Brebis v. Pecora. France was up first with Ekiola Ardi Gasna Fermier from Pyrénées-Atlantiques with Miguel Gorry Cerises Noires. Calcagno from Sardinia was Italy's offering, paired with Composta di Ciliege and 2013 Clos de l'Origine "Soif de Plaisir" from Languedoc-Roussillon, France. This was the round that Italy came out ahead for me. Both cheeses were amazing, but the Calcagno was so well matched by the Composta and the wine that it had to win this round.
The final round was all about blue cheeses: Blu v. Bleu. Italy was first, with Gorgonzola Piccante from Lombardy with Crema con Cacao e Nocciole da Spalmare. This was so good, that I couldn't imagine another pairing tasting better, at least, not until I tried the French offering. Blue des Basques from Aquitaine was paired with Miel de Châtaigne and raisins on the vine. Both were served with 2012 Mauro Molino Dolcetto from Alba, Italy. Overall, France won for me, but it was all pretty amazing!