I love cheese. I like all different kinds…stinky, creamy, hard, soft, singles, goat, sheep, cow. It’s all fantastic. I recently went to a wine and cheese pairing “class” at Sydney’s in Westhampton Beach. Erin, the owner, is a self-proclaimed cheese snob, and she really knows her stuff. I didn’t take photos at the tasting, but I did buy some of my favorite cheeses to serve at home.
I could eat this entire plate, but that would be gross.
Out of the ten cheeses we tried, I really loved the five featured above:
Upper Right – Humboldt Fog – ripened Goat’s Milk from Humboldt County, California.
Humboldt Fog is a mold-ripened cheese with a central line of edible ash (the blue line going down the center is ash – crazy, right!). The cheese is creamy, light, and mildly acidic with a stronger flavor near the rind. This cheese was my favorite. It’s got a salty flavor that I just love. It was paired with a Chablis.
Bottom Right – Manchego.
Actually, we did not taste this one. I bought it because my husband is a less adventurous cheese eater, and I knew he would like Manchego. Manchego is made in the La Mancha region of Spain from sheep’s milk. It is aged between 60 days and 2 years. Manchego is firm and has a buttery texture. Manchego has a distinctive flavor – it’s creamy with a little bit of tartness in each bite.
Middle – Fundo di Toscana Truffle from Tuscany, Italy.
This is a traditional pasteurized sheep and cow’s milk cheese studded with pieces of Spring Black truffles, with a touch of salt and aged for 20 days. This cheese is softer in texture and has an unmistakable truffle flavor. If you are unaware of my truffle obsession, please visit the “travel” section of this blog! We had this cheese with a 2006 Brunello di Monalcino. A Tuscan cheese deserves a Tuscan wine. 2006 is supposed to be a great vintage. Be on the lookout for it on wine lists!
Bottom Left – Krystal Cave Aged Cheddar – Aged Cows Milk from England.
Kilchurn Estate Krystal Pure Cave Aged Cheddar is a very unique cheese which has been aged for 15 months in century old caves. It has a distinctively sweet flavor, with natural calcium crystals. Now, the people in my class were all about the calcium crystals. But I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I didn’t really notice the crystals. Nevertheless, I did really like the cheese. It’s a good option for a crowd too because everyone likes cheddar! We had this with a rioja which I kind of thought was a strange pairing. The rioja wasn’t bold enough in my opinion.
Top Left – Fromage d’Affinois – Double Cream Cow’s Milk from Rhone, France
This cheese is similar to brie in look and texture. But it differs from Brie in a major way. Before the cheese is made, the cow’s milk undergoes a process called “ultrafiltration”. Ultrafiltration removes water from the milk, concentrating all other components. Ultrafiltration results in a milk that retains more nutrients and proteins, and the cheese has a relatively high fat content of 60%. So bad for you, but so good! I loved this cheese! We had it with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It was the perfect combination. Also…be sure to eat the rind! The rind is edible in this cheese, as with Brie.