Trugole, Castelvetrano and prosciutto….oh my!

WOW! Cheese is one of my weaknesses. And Trugole is one of Heather and my favorites. It’s made in the Asiago region of the Italian Alps, where the cows graze in certain rich pastures. This creates its unique and wonderful flavor. The semi-firm cheese is rich, yet mild  at the same time, and creamy with almost a hint of fruit.

The super bright green olives pictured are from Castelvetrano, Sicily. And, like the cheese, I find them to be rich, flavorful and mild all at the same time.  They have a mellow buttery flavor that went nicely with the cheese.  If you claim not to like olives…these will change your mind. Seriously….try one.

Lacking an Italian  wine, we chose a French (from the Loire Valley) 2009 Chateau la Noe muscadet out of the wine fridge. The wine was medium bodied and slightly spicy with a crisp finish. Its earthiness paired well with the rich textures of the cheese and olives.

Add some dry-cured prosciutto and you have a treat (or meal) fit for a king!

Trugole cheese....one of our favorites!

Castelvetrano olives. O.M.G.

2009 Chateau la Noe Muscadet. Excellent choice.

Gooey, earthy, creamy, pungent French camembert.

French camembert. Gooey, earthy, creamy, pungent French camembert. Ours was super ripe, enhancing all the flavors and textures. If you don’t like strong cheese, this is probably not for you. If you have a slightly adventurous palate, then I highly recommend it!  Grab some crusty bread, maybe an artisan salami, some wine, and you’re in for a treat.

Heather and I decided to do a wine pairing experiment, picking a French red and a French white to go with our fromage.  This, if I may say…was a fantastic idea. First up was the 2004 Chateau La Guillaumette Bordeaux. This medium-bodied, balanced wine brought out the earthiness of the camembert. It was an excellent pairing, and was enhanced by the food. I probably would have preferred this had the cheese not been so ripe. Our second wine was a 2008 Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuissé. This lightly oaked chardonnay was an excellent match, as well, and brought out the creamy, buttery flavors in the cheese. We both preferred this wine, as it was a better balance with the rather strong cheese. What started as a little experiment turned into an excellent dinner!

Camembert and required accessories!

Just look at that ooze.....very ripe.

2004 Chateau La Guillaumette Bordeaux.

2008 Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuissé chardonnay.

The French know how to make cheese!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

This is just a quick reminder to enjoy everything Irish today (in moderation). I decided to skip the green beer and offer this up instead. Try a nip of your favorite Irish whiskey with a bit of Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey (they blend it right into the cheese!)  A great mix of robust flavors that surprisingly brings about a smooth finish. Enjoy!

The blended whiskey I had would not be my suggestion, given the characteristic burn I felt as I was sipping. (Is that Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly I hear in the background?) I suggest you go for a nice single malt. Let me know what your favorite is, so I can try this again!

Kerrygold Irish Whiskey Aged Cheddar, a little crusty bread, and shot of your favorite Irish Whiskey.

X.O.

Yes, I believe it stands for hugs and kisses. And…..while you probably all deserve hugs and kisses, I think the below pairing might be a good alternative. In fact, presenting this to someone might get you the prior.

Beemster X.O. is an extra aged Dutch cheese. There are hints of butterscotch and nuts to the flavor. Pair it with Spanish carmelized pecans. WOW… I promise you will like this combination!

Since the nuts are from Spain, I suggest serving with a Spanish red. A deeper bodied wine is ok since the cheese has a nice, rich flavor. We chose a Bodegas Ondarre Rioja Reserva 2004. With a blend of 75% tempranillo, 15% mazuelo, and 10% garnacha, this wine was an excellent choice. We actually picked up a touch of vanilla in everything when we tasted all 3 together.

It was so spectacular that we polished of the container of nuts and decided to call the “snack” our dinner!

Beemster X.O. & caramelized pecans.

Bodegas Ondarre Rioja Reserva 2004. Wine Spectator rating 91 points. #58, top 100 of 2010.

A Little Slice of Heaven

By heaven, I  mean Manchego…. a Spanish cheese made in the region of La Mancha. Not just the regular sheep milk Manchego cheese, the raw sheep milk variety. Yeah, it’s a dollar more a pound, but totally worth it.

By little slice, I mean you need to cut it thin. Slicing it thin seems to enhance the subtle nutty, buttery flavors.

Pair it with a Marcona almond, and it goes to a whole new level. The flavors blend extremely well together, and are even enhanced. Both being produced in Spain, that would seem to make sense. If you haven’t had a Marcona almond, it’s nothing like the common California variety. It’s softer, sweeter, and has a slightly buttery flavor as well. They are packaged with a little salt and olive oil.

A little salami, a few olives and a nice Spanish tempranillo and you truly have an exceptional experience!

Manchego, Marcona almonds, and a Columbus Salame Secchi.

The olives make a wonderful addition.

Montebuena 2009, a Rioja tempranillo. Excellent and less than $10.

All paired together it makes a very appealing presentation. Enjoy!