March 28, 2013

St. Agur Blue + Italian Roast Coffee

    The pairing of a strong, creamy blue cheese with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee was first brought to my attention by a co-worker (and A.C.S. Certified Cheese Professional. ) of mine.  Even my adventurous, food-loving heart balked at that combination.  I believe the word "interesting!" came out of my mouth.  Which, if one had listened carefully, actually would have registered as "icky!" 
    I am so ashamed. 
    Because, as I'm sure you can anticipate, blue cheese and rich coffee is the unlikely amazing duo. 
I went for the big guns for this flavor pairing.  No mild Cambozola and "Breakfast Blends" for this experiment.  I opted instead for the punchy St. Agur blue matched with a bold Italian Blend coffee.  Fortune favors the brave, I suppose, since I was well rewarded for my selections. 
    The creamy-sandy texture and lactic-pepper bite of the cheese, washed down with the deep toasty notes of coffee left a kind of smokey void on the palate.  Flavors developed from a peat smoke to pipe tobacco, finishing with just a lingering hint of earthy animal. 
    All that from one bite of cheese and one sip of coffee. 
    Already I'm planning out my next coffee/cheese pairing with raw milk Manchego and a light Latin American coffee.  A gooey washed-rind stinker with a fruity Ethiopian seems like an even bigger adventure.   My breakfast horizons are, now, certainly much wider.

March 23, 2013

Parmigiano Reggiano + Honey

    Local Colorado clover honey and The-Real-Deal Parmigiano Reggiano.  This is what love looks like...and tastes like.  I'm ever the sucker for the simplicity of food.  This particular pairing goes along with my "put some honey on it" opinion of cheese.  When lacking any other fancy-pants pairings for impromptu cheese plates honey always comes to the rescue.  Yes, even on Camembert. Yes, I know it's weird.
    All things aside adding honey to Parmigiano really punches up the flavor of both.  the nutty, salty, crunch of the cheese is magnified by the dense, intoxicating, astringent sweetness of the honey. 
   Try this pairing with different types of honey for totally different flavor profiles!  Honey with lavender, orange blossom honey, or honey with chilies, to name but a few. 
Try it out! You won't be sad.