Inspired by Chez Loulou’s weekly La Fête du Framage, I decided that there was nothing stopping me from having a little cheese fest of my own. Loulou is an American living in the south of France, and just recently has proclaimed her mission to “stop and smell the…cheeses(s)” of France, all 350-400 of them. Every Tuesday she diligently blogs about her weekly cheese tasting and, I must say, I admire her valiant effort. La vie est dure, no?
Of course I realize that Prospect Heights Brooklyn is a far cry from the South of France, but I decided not to let this minor geographical glitch get in the way of my fête. Beloved cheese and flavorful friends can be enjoyed anywhere in the world and so I decided to invite my good friend and incredible dinning partner, Kara to participate in this stoop-side event. Kara contributed a bottle Argentinian Bonarda, and me, a bottle of Tour du Bon Bandol Rosé.
The cheese plate got a little out of hand as you can see above. It included four cheeses, French Pyrenees, a mellow cheese that at one time was made from the milk of ewes but is now made from easy to find cow's milk, Drunken Goat, a cheese from the Muricia region of Spain that has been bathed in red wine, Italian Truffle Cheese, and Gorgonzola for good measure.
Accompanying the cheese was a Citrus and Cherry Compote, Roasted Carrot, Zucchini, and Fennel Ribbons in Walnut Pesto, Orange Blossom Wheat Berry Salad, Pickled Beets, and a Chocolate salad. Yes you heard me, chocolate salad.
So how were the cheeses you ask?
We began with the Bandol Rosé, a mourverde based wine who's bouquet of leather and bark lent spectacular depth and foundation to the mellow flavored Pyrenees, while its fruity flavor of black currants and berries supplied a lighter more vibrant tone that rang high above its creamy nuttiness creating a perfect little harmony. I had assumed that I no longer had a taste for mild cheeses, and so I was surprised at how much I like this cheese. It was creamy, and mellow without being lifeless, in Kara's words, a "high-end cheese-wiz."
The Drunken Goat Cheese was tangy and a bit salty, in my book is not a bad thing, which complimented the clove touched sweetness of the Citrus Compote and stood its ground against the sturdy Bandol.
Having successfully finished the Bandol, we moved on to the Bonarda. According to Beau Jarvis of Basic Juice, Bonarda is "the most widely planted red grape in Argentina." There are three varieties of this grape, but it does not appear to be known which one made the long journey from its Italian homeland in the 19th century. Hum...
This full bodied wine mingled diplomatically with the The Italian Truffle cheese, who's rustic pungency ruthlessly eclipsed its mellow first impression. When allowed to chime in, the pesto drenched veggies got along quit well with the two creating a wonderful trio.
All and all, my first Brooklyn Fete du Fromage was a wonderful success. As the sun set we closed our tasting with some Gorgonzola and a sampling of chocolates ranging from 45%-90%. Yum yum. What better way to end a homage to fromage, then with a salad of chocolate.