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Food & Wine Classic at Aspen - Wine & Cheese Pairing
Okay, so the Food & Wine Classic at Aspen happened a month ago, but I thought it would still be worth telling you about since I’m assuming most of you weren’t there.
Just in case it wasn’t obvious, I have to say that being a speaker at the annual Food & Wine Classic at Aspen is an unbelievable privilege. This was my sixth year at the Classic, and each year I try to mix it up a bit. This year, my two seminars were grilled cheese and wine pairing and Spanish cheese and wine pairing.
For grilled cheese, I featured four sandwiches from my book, Grilled Cheese, Please!, and on those sandwiches, some of which have more than one cheese, I featured stellar American cheeses. I kid you not, each and every one of these cheeses is worth sourcing even though some are made in woefully small quantities.
Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog (McKinleyville. CA)
Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. Toma (Pt. Reyes, CA)
Edelweiss Cheese Company Emmentaler (Monroe, WI)
Nicasio Valley Cheese Co. Nicasio Square (Nicasio, CA)
Meister Cheese Co. Eagle Cave Reserve (Muscoda, WI)
Crawford Family Farm “Vermont Ayr” (Whiting, VT)
Bel Gioioso Creamy Gorgonzola (Green Bay, WI)
The wines I paired with the cheeses and sandwiches were equally stellar and equally worth buying.
2007 Argyle Brut
2010 K Vintners “Kung Fu Girl Riesling”
2008 Treana Red
2007 Navarro Riesling Late-Harvest Cluster-Select
For the Spanish cheese and wine seminar, I got to team up with Food & Wine editor Kristin Donnelly, who chose fab Spanish wines, including an amazing Sherry called Bodegas Dios Baco Amontillado (my favorite with nearly all the cheeses) to sidle up alongside the cheeses.
Just as with the Spanish food movement in general, the cheeses being made in Spain are getting ever more sophisticated and delicious.
The cheese list:
Queso Leonora (goat’s milk)
Mitcaña de Oveja (sheep’s milk)
Vare (goat’s milk)
Aragones (cow’s milk)
Malvarosa (sheep’s milk)
Cabra de Romero (goat’s milk with rosemary)
Mahón Reserva (cow’s milk)
Monje (cow’s milk blue)
What did I take away from this seminar? Two things: Spain isn’t just about Manchego anymore, though that remains a great cheese. Cows are making their way across the land, and that means more cow’s milk cheeses. Same with goats, though they’ve been there a long time. Second, I was reminded how amazing sherry is as a cheese wine. I can’t think of any beverage that goes with a wider variety of cheeses than that fabulously oxidized and fortified one from southwest Spain.