Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tasting Party

I hosted a little wine and cheese tasting last night.  As always, it was refreshing and fun and it got late really fast.  We didn't even get to all the wines last night, because we talked too much.  I have so many rockstar friends.

I thought I'd post the menu-  I love learning about cheese and wine!  The people at The Market on Phillips are very happy to educate and help you find something new, and parties like this are a great time to try many different things- their individual properties really shine when combined with other foods, and when compared to one another.

We also had tea, coffee, and steamed coconut milk (which was not planned) to drink, as well as pears, nuts, chocolate, dried cherries, biscotti, marinated kalamata and green olives, and focaccia to eat (I think all of us ate "too much" bread, but it was not a mistake).

If you think this sounds fun, there's nothing stopping you from hosting your own tasting!  I gave a little advice about how to do it last year, but just a couple more things to say:

1.  It's simple.  Pair simple foods and if you can, serve only foods you can eat with your hands- it makes the evening and clean up very easy.  It's not about a lot of work for you.

2.  Serving a sampling of wine and cheese is very, very pricey- but it doesn't have to all be on you.  For instance, this year, I provided two bottles, and friends volunteered to bring the other two.  Also, friends who did not bring wine each gave a suggested $5 to the party fund, meaning I recouped almost the entire cost of the cheese (full disclosure, I spent $60 on cheese, and it was really fun to try them together).  You don't have to feel awkward about suggesting for your friends to chip in- it means you all enjoy an incredible night, which would have cost much more in other settings.

3.  Don't be afraid to make it clear that absolutely no children are invited.  Save for my pregnant friends-  they get a free pass.  Enough said on topic.

4.  If you feel like you don't know a lot about wine or cheese, that is fine.  The whole reason you should do this is to have fun and get educated a bit with your friends.  It's not about posing as a sommelier.  Don't be intimidated.

SO-  The Menu....

The Cheeses

Caciotta dei Boschi: An elegant Italian table cheese made from scarce Roman ewe’s milk and rare black truffle shavings. Quite tangy and sharp. Highly aromatic with a distinctive, lingering aftertaste, thanks to the truffles. Porcini mushrooms serve to further augment the earthy character of this Italian masterpiece. Earthy, smoky, warm.

Basiron Rosso: A Dutch Gouda full of delicious red tomatoes and fresh Italian herbs. Rich, Creamy.

Conciato in Barrique con Foglie di Noce: Ewe’s milk gives this Italian cheese its unique taste. This artisanal cheese is “Barricato” or “aged in barrels” in layers of walnut leaves and the rind is rubbed in EVOO. Quite unusual, with an interesting and pleasant taste reminiscent of the walnut leaves. Nutty. Delicious with sliced pear.

Sharp Cheddar: A seriously sharp Cabot cheese from Vermont. Naturally aged. Pair with a honey drizzle.

Gouda: An orange, cow’s milk cheese. Sweet, salty, smooth.

The Wines

Prairie Berry Phat Hogg Chardonnay: This unoaked white has a buttery, mango-citrus nose. Sweet, simple.

Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Pinot Gris: Fruity, crisp and floral. Notes of orange peel, melon, honeysuckle, spice and green apple.

Seven Daughters Red Winemaker’s Blend: A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Carignane and Sangiovese. Dark red fruit on the palate, complemented by aromas of vanilla and lavender with a peppery finish.

Mark West 2009 Pinot Noir: Intense color, layers of fruit with a touch of earthy minerality. Notes of wild blackberry, black cherry, and delicate herbal flavors show against French oak notes of toast and chocolate.


Keeley said...

I love wine and I love cheese. Thanks for the pointers! I may schedule a little event this fall.

theKband said...

This was a highlight for me! Thanks so much for including me in the fun and it felt good to be able to contribute to the fun in a small way...

Jacquelyn said...

I LOVE this idea! Great tips and pairing ideas, too. Thanks for sharing, and for the Cabot mention :-)