Hello! This week, I’m starting to feel fall kick in (I know, I’m late to the game, but seasons don’t really exist in San Francisco!). I even pulled out the dried leaves my Boston friend brought me a couple years ago. Is that weird? Maybe, but I miss fall foliage!
Ahem! Back to business: today, I did an All-French jam and cheese pairing session for you! All of the confitures and confits came from L’Epicurien, a brand I have known and loved since I worked at my first cheese shop. Everything I’ve tasted from them is beautifully balanced and perfect for cheese pairing! I found the Langres and Bleu de Brebis at my local French import store, Gourmet & More, where I am often found in the back cheese room. The Délice de Bourgogne and fresh chèvre were from M. Cheesemonger!
I think I’m getting better at this cheese pairing thing because after tasting the jams, I just KNEW what cheeses would work with them!
Confit of Jasmine Flower: This confit, which features whole jasmine flowers suspended in translucent rosy yellow sunshine, worked perfectly with the bright, zippy, citrus notes in fresh chèvre. It tasted like spring—so floral, light, and refreshing.
Sauvignon White Wine Confit: The confit’s apparent delicateness, with its smooth texture and glowing yellow color, belies a surprising amount of flavor. The wine is a flavor as much as a feeling, which led me to think a stronger, soft, richly textured cheese would do the trick. Délice de Bourgogne, with its triple crème texture and full, creamy flavor, worked just right, yielding a honeyed, creamy combination. Out of all of today’s pairings, this one said “dessert” the most.
Plum Confit with Alsace Wine and Cumin: When tasting the plum confit alone, I didn’t notice the cumin very much, although the plum and wine combination was pretty punchy. It was like eating plums+. When the washed rind Langres, a gooey cow’s milk cheese from Champagne-Ardenne was added to the mix, the confit shone so much more. The cheese brought out little bursts of cumin flavor when the seeds hit my tongue. The confit supported the full, meatiness of the cheese superbly. While all the pairings were delicious, this was the one I couldn’t stop eating!
Blackcurrant: I love the slightly tart, rich flavor and color of blackcurrant! Tasting the jam, “sheep” and “blue” popped into my head, so I found some Bleu de Brebis from the French Basque country. Perfect! The tang and yeasty fullness of the cheese complemented the blackcurrant beautifully. Together, they create a marriage of color, flavor, and texture that made me want to keep on “testing.”
Luckily, friends came over this evening to help finish up all this cheese and jam!
Gourmet & More: 141 Gough St. San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 874-9133.