Another Friday night at the store! This time, we had some live piano music, so I could sing a little bit to myself as I made the plates.
I am particularly proud of two pairings from last night. First was the aged mimolette cheese with pear butter with toasted caraway seeds. We had found the recipe in a trade magazine, and decided to try it out for the week. The mimolette was from the last of our wheel. I had been waiting all week to test out the combination on clients. Just to bring you up to speed, the aged mimolette cheese is a French cow’s milk cheese from the Nord–that mythical cold place in the French comedy “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis.” Actually, I might as well just give you the lowdown right now:
Country of Origin: France (North/Lille)
Age: Anywhere from 4 months (young) to 18 months (extra vieille)
Since we finished off our last piece of this cheese last night, and I hadn’t thought to take a picture of it, I’ll have to wait until we get another one. In any case, the first thing you would notice if you did see a mimolette is that its paste is almost a shocking orange. Legend has it that my hero, Louis XIV, wanted a French version of those famous Dutch cheeses (Edam and Gouda). He commisssioned the Mimolette, but to differentiate the two, the French cheese was to be colored orange. The coloring comes from annatto, a vegetable dye. It has a mild flavor, slightly sweet-a bit like caramel-due to the long aging. You can pair the cheese with a good beer, reflecting its near-Flemish origins.
So this is the cheese that we paired with the pear butter. One word describes the sensation: SUBLIME. The slightly sweet, slightly tart pears meld perfectly with this mild cheese, and the toasted caraway seeds create an extra savory, exotic element in an otherwise light fromage. This is a wonderful pairing, and if you can find a recipe for the pear butter somewhere online, as well as a chunk of mimolette, you will be in for a wonderful cheese tasting experience!
As for the second pairing, the store has just acquired a case of a superb Syrah–if only I could remember the name of the producer. I will get that information, and update accordingly. In any case, it is a 2006 vintage of Syrah grapes, from Walla Walla, Washington. Full, creamy, and well-balanced, the challenge assigned to me was to find the perfect cheese pairing. Running on the information I picked up in my “Oenology, Lesson 1” post, I tentatively pointed out the tomme crayeuse to my colleague. I had my doubts, fearing the tomme might be a little too salty, but it turned out to be the ideal pairing. The creaminess of the wine and cheese complemented each other perfectly, and the cheese brought out undertones of plum in the wine. Success! There is hope for me yet in this universe of wine and cheese pairing.
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