My friends and I took a day trip down to Carmel one day and one of the places we really wanted to visit was The Cheese Shop. When we walked in we were slightly knocked back by the overwhelming smell of cheese but we certainly knew we were in the right place (besides, after a few minutes we didn’t even notice the cheese-o-rific odor).
The way the shop is set up customers stand in front of the counter and the staff brings out different cheeses, one by one, allowing the customer to taste each one. We did this for a while and used the tri-fold list of cheeses to keep track of which ones we liked and which ones we didn’t. It was really fun and they even let us behind the counter to take cheesy photos (pun intended). So after trying a bunch we each bought our favorites. And then it only made sense that we would have a little cheese party and invite some other friends to share with us.
For our cheese tasting we had the following cheeses:
Rimrocker: Pasteurized organic cows’ and farmstead goats’ milk
Raspberry BellaVitano: Made by Sartori, which describes it as a “nutty, creamy, award-winning creation — soaked with handcrafted Raspberry Tart ale.”
Kokos Coconut Cheese: a coconut-flavored gouda from the Netherlands
Stoke’s Point Smoked Cheddar: a pasteurized cow’s milk from Australia
Asiago: made in the U.S. and aged with basil and olive oil
Given this combination of cheeses, we chose Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot/Pinot Noir and a dry Riesling for our tasting (and a random Chianti for when we ran out of cheese).
Besides the wine and cheese we also served the following:
Chevre with herbs
sun-dried tomato/pesto/goat cheese layered dip
Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips
We made a plate for each person with a sample of each cheese arranged in a circle. Then we tried each each wine with each cheese. If you want to do something similar with your friends, it’s good to talk about each pairing and discuss the flavors – which ones seems to complement each other and which pairings don’t work well. Write down the type of cheese, including whether it’s cow’s milk, and make note of the type of grape for each wine. Think about the textures, smells, etc. You can use a journal to keep track of what you like and don’t like about the cheeses and the pairings.