This past weekend I got together with a few of my girlfriends for an evening of wine and cheese. My friend, Alisson, had a lot of wine leftover from a family reunion she’d hosted the previous week and we were given task of polishing off the surplus. Challenge accepted.
The first cheese featured on the plate was Cendré de Lune by Alexis de Portneuf. This is a gorgeous triple crème that is covered in vegetable ash and a bloomy rind. Vegetable ash is used to create a look inspired by the beauty of the moon; and in fact, the name of the cheese translates to moon dust. The cheese has overt mushroom tones on the nose and a rich, buttery paste that is delightfully decadent.
The second cheese was Roth’s Moody Blue. This cheese is smoked over fruit wood and the aroma is like an inviting campfire. This was my first smoked blue cheese and I was a little worried the smoked flavor might overpower the rest of the board, but the flavor was actually quite subtle with a hint of nuts and tang.
The third cheese was Piave Vecchio which is a hard Italian cheese similar to parmesan. The taste is both fruity and nutty with a touch of bitterness. The texture is hard and grainy which made it a nice component to the plate since many of the cheeses were rather creamy.
The fourth cheese was Mainland’s Vintage Cheddar which I’ve written about before. I usually have a package of this in my house as it’s a great snacking cheese. It’s quite flavorful with a texture that’s crumbly on the plate, but creamy on the palate.
I recently discovered a small deli around the corner from my house, called Ortona deli. The people there are very friendly and they have a varied offering of quality meats. I got some Hungarian salami there for my Mother’s Day cheese plate which was something completely new I hadn’t had before. For this plate I chose a local prosciutto, which I love paired with triple crème, and a medium capicola which was great with the piave and smoked blue. The other accompaniments were fig jam, honey, pear compote, dates, walnuts, grapes, and first-of-the-season strawberries. These sweet accompaniments balanced well with the saltiness of the different cheeses. With so many complex flavors happening, I chose simple sea salt and olive oil crackers for the vehicle so as not to overpower anything on the plate.
As noted before, our mission this girls night was to help Alisson rid her pantry of a surplus of delicious wine. Fortunately, she had a Riesling-Gewurztraminer blend which would pair well with practically any cheese. It was floral and fruity with a bit of spice – flavors that lent themselves well to each cheese on the plate. A slight sweetness in the wine made it particularly good with the smoked blue.
What Made the Plate?