Sunday, October 04, 2015 –
Vice Echanson Manfred Raiser will open the season with a tasting and pairing of cheese, wine and beer. We have invited Ms. Heather P. Engwall, Director of National Product Communications of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, to walk us through the science and art of cheesemaking covering its different styles and nuances. We will have the unique privilege of sampling highly sought after artisanal cheeses, some of which are of very limited availability. Our Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Chris Koetke will lead the cheese and beverage pairing journey.
Kendall College Cheese Academy
On October 4, 2015, three dozen Chicago Mondiale members and guests participated in a cheese and beverage pairing workshop at Kendall College led by Heather Engwall, Director of National Product Communications for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Following her fascinating introduction to the cheese-making process and cheese categories, participants sampled eight Wisconsin cheeses ranging from soft ripened to blue-veined. Each cheese was paired with one or more beverages including wine, beer and cider. Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Chris Koetke provided insights on how the texture, acidity, fat and tannin of the products interacted to create exquisite cheese and beverage pairings. Vice Echanson Manfred Raiser offered additional background on each beverage and the pairing process, which focused on beverages that can interact with the distinctive textures or pronounced flavors of the cheeses.
First up was La-Von Farmhouse Brie, a mild artisan cow’s milk cheese with an unusually thin and delicately flavored rind. It paired nicely with Island Orchard Apple Cherry Cider from Door County, Wisconsin, the acidity and tartness of the fruit cutting through the creamy texture of the cheese. The Brie made the 2012 Trimbach Riesling taste gorgeous, bringing out its apple, peach and apricot flavors without diminishing its flinty minerality or racy acidity.
Next, we tasted Martone. This fresh surfaced-ripened cheese, made with a combination of cow’s milk and goat’s milk, was mild and creamy with a sweet tangy finish. The Martone paired successfully with a 2012 Serge Dagueneau ‘Les Pentes’ Pouilly Fume from the Loire Valley. This Sauvignon Blanc exhibited a classic nose of citrus, flinty soil tones, cut grass and green apple, and its crisp acidity matched the acidic Martone harmoniously.
Marieke Gouda was super smooth and creamy with a big caramel sweetness in balance with a bright tang and crunchy flavor crystals. Two white wines were paired with the Gouda. The most successful was 2013 Antica Chardonnay from Napa Valley that exhibited bold aromas and flavors of citrus, vanilla, tropical fruits and oak with underlying notes of minerality which blended seamlessly with the similarly rich, dense, sweet and savory creaminess of the cheese. The minerality and texture of 2013 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris from Oregon’s Dundee Hills were also very elegant, but the citrus, pineapple and tangy lemongrass flavors were a bit too subtle to elevate the cheese.
Next we sampled America’s most award-winning cheese, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Similar to other Alpine cheeses, Pleasant Ridge Reserve is only made from May through October when the cows graze on fresh pasture that imparts a creamy, nutty flavor with an herbaceous milky finish. While the preceding soft-textured cheeses required dry whites with crisp acidity, Pleasant Ridge Reserve packs enough flavor and firm texture to match nicely with a white and a light red as well. The strong character of this cheese brought the pronounced flavors of a 2009 Scherrer Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley into sharper focus, accentuating the wine’s herbal, citrus and apple notes. The deep and rich nose of Pleasant Ridge Reserve also complemented a 2012 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and its cherry, pomegranate and raspberry palate.
Hook’s 10-Year Aged Cheddar displayed a rich and complex umami-laden flavor profile with crunchy protein pockets of caramelized intensity and high-acidity that gave this Cheddar its telltale tang. Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale from Tadcaster, UK provided an interesting pairing, but the best match of the night may have been the Cheddar with Lustau Solera Reserva ‘Don Nuño’ Jerez Dry Oloroso Sherry. Intense notes of caramel, almonds and spices in the fortified wine magically melted into the cheese, creating a longer, nuttier caramel finish.
Participants then tried Limburger, the classic German cheese. Wisconsin is the only state still making this traditional cheese, in part because of the great skill and labor required. The notoriously pungent aroma of Limburger was present, making its mild, savory flavor and soft and creamy texture rather surprising. If there was ever a cheese that called for beer it is Limburger, and Chicago’s own Goose Island ‘Matilda’ Belgian Style Pale Ale stood up to the smell without overwhelming the far more delicate flavors.
The structured part of our cheese tasting ended with two bold blue cheeses, marbled with veins of blue-green mold that developed from added penicillium. The name EWE CALF to be KIDding may be pun laden, but it’s a cheese to be taken seriously. Hook’s was first in America to make a three-milk blue: creamy cow, nutty sheep and tangy goat. The result is a harmonious, medium-bite blue that is more rich and creamy than crumbly. This blue was paired with a strong and complex Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, aged for three months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels to impart woody vanilla notes into the ebony brew. Not only did the beer’s carbonation help to cut through the creaminess of the powerfully flavored cheese, its residual sweetness and caramely malt characteristics worked surprisingly well with the Blue. EWE-CALF-KID was also matched with Rare Wine Company’s Boston Bual Madeira, a complex wine offering flavors of orange, cinnamon, allspice and toasted nuts. The Madeira had enough sweetness to work magic with the earthy mold character of the cheese, and its refreshing acidity worked beautifully to balance the Blue’s richness.
Buttermilk Blue Affinee, made from raw cow’s milk, was an extraordinarily rich and creamy offering that exhibited a distinctive piquant and earthy flavor. It was paired with Cossart Gordon 5-Year-Old Medium Rich Bual Madeira that showcased aromas and flavors of vanilla, toffee, maple, candied fruits and cinnamon, making for a silky match with the cheese. Our final beverage, brewed by Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, was “Not the Stoic,” a barrel-aged Belgian Quadruple with sweet cherry, dark fruit, malt, pomegranate and molasses nose and taste. Its creamy sweetness provided a perfect foil for the tangy saltiness of blue cheese.
Following the structured tasting, Bailli Mon Roldan thanked Heather for providing the delicious cheeses and presented her with a Chaîne Award of Merit. Kendall students who helped with service were also acknowledged and “Professor” Koetke was awarded an engraved Chaîne decanter. Participants then enjoyed sampling additional wines and cheeses together with fruit and charcuterie served buffet-style.
Attendees departed with a deeper understanding of how fine cheese can be elevated with appropriately paired beverages. All agreed that matriculating at the Kendall College cheese academy was an unqualified success!
Dear Confrères and Consœurs:
Come and join us at our first Mondiale event of the 2015-2016 Season featuring beverage and cheese tasting and pairing.
Theme: Enjoying cheese with a matching beverage is one of life’s great culinary delights. The process of finding that perfect pair is in and of itself a worthy gastronomic quest. Texture, acidity, fat and tannin of both the beverage and the cheese are some of the considerations that one needs to account for in matching/pairing them.
Resource People: Ms. Heather P. Engwall, Director of National Product Communications of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, along with our Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Chris Koetke, Vice President of Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts will lead us in our gastronomic journey. We thank Heather for providing all the cheese and ciders to this event, gratis!
Program: Heather will conduct a Cheese 101, giving the attendees a brief overview of the cheese making process and the different categories of cheese. Thereafter, Heather and Chris will guide us through a structured tasting of eight cheese and beverage pairings. We will learn about each cheese and matching beverage, taste the cheese and beverage individually and as a paired set. Following this structured tasting, cheese and beverages will be served buffet style allowing participants to explore pairings on their own.
Venue, Date, Time And Parking: Kendall College - Riverworks Room, 900 N. North Branch Street, Chicago, IL 60642, Sunday, October 4, 2015, at 3:00 PM. Free parking at Campus Parking Lot.
Dress Code: Smart Casual with Decorations for Members. Please, skip fragrances (perfumes, colognes, after shaves, etc.) so as not to distract or affect sensory perceptions.
Event Price: $75 pp Mondiale Members / $95 pp Non-Mondiale Members
Guest Limit: Maximum of 40. Please register early by responding to this email (if you have a card on file) and/or completing the attached reservation form and submitting same with your payment.
Hail to stinky fromage!
Mon Roldan, Bailli
Manfred Raiser, Vice-Echanson