Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day Two Forty Seven - A Recap of Tonight's Cheese for Charity Harvest Wine and Cheese

Tonight, a small group of us met for the last in a series of cheese for charity events to raise money for my marathon charity, Free Arts. Free Arts provides underprivileged, homeless, and abused children the opportunity to express themselves through artistic means. If you couldn't make tonight's class and want to support the fantastic cause and help me reach my goal, you can donate here:

So, are you on the edge of your seat wondering what we had? Well fret not, let me get going:

Pairing Number # 1 - Ravines Keuka White Wine, Finger Lakes, NY and Lazy Lady's La Petit Tomme, Westfield VT : Our first pairing is an ode to French wine and cheesemaking practices. The wine is made with 80 % Cayuga, NYC native grape, and 20% Viognoles. Made by an originally French winemaker who has since settled in upstate New York, you get a fantastic marriage of new world and old world winemaking styles here.

Lazy Lady's La Petit Tomme is an excellent option with our white -- our ode to the remaining warm sunny moments in mid October. La Petit Tomme is a bloomy rind goat's milk camembert style cheese made by Laini, the proprietress of Lazy Lady farm. Laini has been in the farming industry her entire life, moving East from Indiana and has some of the most sustainable practices of any cheese farm I know. Her farm is completely solar and wind powered, think about that carbon footprint! The cheese is really special -- musty, barnyardy, and farmy yet maintaining that crisp light hay feeling of goat's milk, truly spectacular! Laini and Lazy Lady Farm truly pioneered goat's milk cheese production in Vermont, so definitely check out their cheeses next time you get a chance!

Pairing Number # 2: Lieb Bridge Lane Cab Franc 2008, Mattituck, NY & 3 Corner Field Farm Battenkill Brebis (Shushan, NY) :

Cab Franc is the classic Long Island wine grape and boy does Lieb do a good job with it. Only 607 cases produced, this is a delish red wine, straddling that line between light reds that can be served chilled and heavier bodied reds that aught to be drank on colder evenings. I think this wine is great not just for its taste range but for its scent range...

This is paired with 3 Corner Field Farm's Battenkill Brebis. 3 Corner Farm is also a pioneer in the cheesemaking world -- completely self sustaining this strictly sheep farm sells cheese, lamb's wool, meat, milk, yogurt and pretty much anything sheep related! Battenkill Brebis is named for the farm's location, in Battenkill River Valley, at the base of the Green Mountains near the border of New York and Vermont. This is an American take on a classic sheep's milk tomme. You might be thinking, well why did she choose this cheese as a harvest cheese? That's because this is a cheese that is at its peak after being aged for six months which is right around this time. Younger, it simply does not have much depth and older it becomes looses its nuanced vocabulary in favor of crumbly caramelly flavors. Battenkill at this age, is a great example of the smooth grassy buttery-ness of a great sheep's milk tomme and it is perfect with this wine.

Pairing Number #3: Eve's Cidery Bittersweet Cider, Ithaca, NY + Valley Shepherd's Octoberkase, Long Valley, NJ :

Cider in a wine and cheese class you are probably thinking? Well apple picking is such a symbol of Fall that I thought I had to pay homage to it and I chose to do it in the form of Eve's Bittersweet. This cider is made with a blend of over twenty different types of English, French, and American apples. This cider is obviously named after the style of apple -- bittersweet and it is the ideal sort of cider making apple. Why? That's because of its thick bitter skin and the interior is not overly juicy. The cider however is the perfect blend of sweetness and puckery-ness. Double fermented -- once out of the bottle, once in the bottle, it sure has a nice sparkle to it!

It is great with Valley Shepherd's Octoberkase, made with last year's October milk from Valley Shepherd's sheep. In case you didn't know October is the last month that sheep are utilized for milking purposes before the winter and therefore the milk is the heaviest at this time of year. So I thought it'd be fun to try last year's October milk! It is dense and buttery and rich but just spectacular with the light fancifulness of the cider, a true delight!

Pairing #4 : Ommegang's Three Philosophers, Cooperstown, NY + Jasper Hill's Bayley Hazen Blue, Greensboro, VT :

Three Philosophers is a fantastic marriage of two different Belgian beer making styles -- a quadrupel and a kriek. A quadrupel is a strong seasonal beer, traditionally at 10% ABV or above and a kriek is a sour cherry lambic. In case you don't know what a lambic is produced by spontaneous fermentation unlike other styles of beer that are produced by brewer's yeasts and the such. 98% malty ale with a 2% hint of Kriek Lambic, this spells Fall to me in a beer, granted a little more subtly than a pumpkin ale which I feel overpower cheese traditionally.

This is paired with one of my favorite Northeastern blues, Bayley Hazen made by the brothers behind Jasper Hill in Vermont. A natural rind blue cheese, it is made with morning milk which is lower in fat and therefore produces a drier paste than other cheeses produced with non-morning milk. Aged for between four and six months, this is the perfect cheese for our Three Philosophers.

Now you can go out and buy what we had tonight and enjoy it in your own home! Maybe go buy a pumpkin as well and decorate it while enjoying one of our fantastic pairings.

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