Formaggio Kitchen - Old World vs New World

Formaggio Kitchen offers some of the best classes around to learn about food and drink. Wednesday night was no exception, with an excellent class showing the similarities and differences between old world and new world cheeses.

We began by comparing two goat's milk cheeses. We weren't given the menu in advance, and were required to try and guess which cheese was domestic and which was international. As soon as we started the first round, I knew the answer because I recognized the ever-delicious Valençay Frais, served with Arraya Confiture de Citron from Val de Loire, France. Both cheeses were paired with 2013 Paul D. Gruner Veltliner from Wagrum, Austria. The second cheese was a new one to me, though I have other cheese from this farm in my fridge right now: Aly's Eclipse from Ruggles Hill Creamery in Hardwick, Massachusetts. It was served with tasty dried Blenheim apricots. Valençay was my favorite of the two, and I was one of only four people out of over twenty to correctly guess which cheese was domestic!

The second round was all about soft cow's milk cheeses that were paired with 2012 Leitz Out! Riesling from Rheingau, Germany. Every wine I've had from Leitz has been amazing, particularly their dry Riesling. Up first was Oma from the von Trapp family in Waitsfield, Vermont, served with Carlisle Farms Spring Blossom honey. That excellent cheese was followed by another favorite of mine, Taleggio DOP from Lombardy, Italy, served with Lo Brusc rosemary honey. That honey is one of my favorite things ever; I have a jar of it at home right now! After the second round, only two of us had gotten both rounds correct, in terms of which cheeses were domestic. 

The third round paired cow's milk mountain-style cheeses with 2012 Mauro Molino Dolcetto d'Alba from Alba, Italy. Challerhocker from Taggenburg, Switzerland was up first, served with Confiture des Arraya Fraises des Bois. Even tastier was the Spring Brook Tarentaise Reserve from Reading, Vermont, served with Miguel Gorry Confiture de Cerises Noires. After this round, I became the only person in the room to have guessed every round correctly. 

The final round was all about blue cheeses, and those are so powerful that they deserve their own beverage pairings! Fourme d'Ambert from Paris, France was up first, served with Confiture de Mûre. It was paired with 2013 Domaine de Fenouillet from Ventoux, France.

On to the final taste- and just from the look of this cheese, I felt it was domestic. It looked a lot like another cheese I was more familiar with, but it turned out to be Middlebury Blue from Hubbardston, Massachusetts. It was served with Mast Brothers Smoke & Vanilla Chocolate and Mystic Brewery Spectral Evidence from Chelsea, Massachusetts. I wasn't certain as I raised my hand to indicate which cheese was domestic, but it all worked out, and I became the first person in Formaggio Kitchen history to correctly answer all four rounds. Woot!


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