Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cheese and Crackers

It was Friday, and I was home in just enough time to see the last light of the day fading away. Gorgeous. Time for a little wine and cheese, then!

I assembled a plate, and let the cheese begin to come up to room temp. A quick look in the fridge led me to open a chilled bottle of the Chalone Vineyards 2004 Chardonnay.

This turned out to be a great choice to sip upon as I attended to other kitchen tasks. It was medium-bodied, with a nice mingling of pear and citrus. It was bursting with crisp snappy flavours, yet pleasantly softened by the smooth fruits and a touch of warm oak.

Imminently drinkable. Of course, once we got to the cheese, it became a different story.

These two cheeses had recently been purchased at theWarwick Cheese Shoppe. The blue was a recommendation from George, who knows our fondest for all things sharp and smelly. I could have sworn he'd called it a 'Valdeon'. Yet when I looked this up on Food Subs, the descriptor is a bit off: " This Spanish blue cheese is pungent enough to be interesting without being overpowering. It's a good snacking cheese for adventurous guests."

This cheese was interesting and pungent, but something just didn't add up. I continued looking at the blue descriptors, stopping at St. Agur: "This superb blue cheese is creamy, spicy, and rich." That was just on the money. The cheese was very intense, best eaten in very small bites. The flavour exploded in the mouth and lingered for quite some time. Unfortunately, it didn't work at all with the wine; both sides warred about on the palate for sometime before ultimately giving up and heading on down the gullet. Ah, well.

The other cheese, Huntsman, is an old favourite of mine. The orange layer is Double Gloucester, which is smooth and mellow. The interior is the creamy richness of Stilton. This cheese is truly the best of both worlds.

Of course, it turned out to be a bit of a heavy snack before a dinner of osso bucco. After deciding to postpone that one more evening, DucCat and I had no problem making a meal of heady cheeses, a nice salad, and some wine to wash it all down.


Blogger Maureen said...

I went to the Chalone winery last summer. Beautiful little place outside of Paso Robles. As I recall, it was one of the few Chardonnays that I enjoyed in that area. They make a great Pinot Noir as well.

That Huntsman cheese looks yummy. Is that something I'd find in the desert southwest?

November 08, 2005 9:53 AM  
Blogger s'kat said...

How cool that you've actually been out there! I'll have to keep an eye out for their pinot. Thanks.

The Huntsman cheese is British, so if we can get it here, I don't see why you couldn't find it out there.

If not, I'm sure it could be ordered online. Actually, you can get it here

November 08, 2005 10:01 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Their Pinot Noir is my favorite, but it's always been very expensive. A few weeks ago, I noticed the price had dropped to $14.00. I haven't opened the new, lower priced pinot noir but I did buy (and open!) the Chardonnay. It's definitely a good pick.

November 19, 2005 12:58 PM  

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