Wine, cheese and chocolate: these are a few of my favorite things. So when I got invited to this special lecture on the topic at Fairway, I thought, yes this is something I should partake in. I got to taste, sip, and learn a thing or two; not a bad way to spend your night, right? I will advise though (and carb haters listen up): you need to eat the bread. This is the second time I have gone to a tasting and left feeling slightly ill because the richness of the cheese and chocolates combined with wine swirl around in your stomach until they fall like bricks. It’s delicious, but it’s heavy – coat the stomach a little with some bread. You’ll thank me. And here’s another fun fact I learned: don’t drink water when you’re eating cheese – it will also upset your stomach. Sooo you’re telling me I HAVE TO drink wine with cheese?? Ok, twist my arm.
The wonderful Josh Wesson, Steve Jenkins and Alexandra Leaf were our hosts for the night, and experts on the wine, cheese and chocolate, respectively. I tried really hard to follow the actual tasting, but when you put this in front of me, how do you expect me to show restraint??
Steve Jenkins was by far the biggest character of the night, and I enjoyed his tidbits about pairing cheese and coffee. Would you ever consider having a baguette with a little butter and goat cheese with a side of espresso for breakfast? Maybe if you lived in Paris, you would. Quite the decadent way to start the day, eh?
My favorite part about tastings like this is discovering how the notes in the wine can change if you take a bite of chocolate beforehand – it’s really very interesting. Again, I wish I could remember which chocolate paired with which wine, but it’s ok – I’ll let you do some tasting on your own – here are some of the cheeses I loved:
Leonara Castilla y Leon – Spain. Pasteurized Goat’s Milk cheese, soft-ripened.
Munster d’Alsace – Alsace, France. Pasteurized Cow’s Milk cheese, washed rind.
Smokey Blue – Rogue River Creamery, Oregon. Pasteurized Cow’s Milk cheese.
What makes an event like this even better? Knowing that it’s all for a good cause – all proceeds went to the Anita Kaufmann Foundation, whose sole mission is to create awareness and educate the public to not fear people with epilepsy, brain trauma, and seizures. This is especially close to my heart, since my uncle has suffered from seizures most of his life. Learn more here.
Next time you’re at Fairway’s Cafe on the UWS, see if you can find Josh and/or Steve – they are Fairway’s wine and cheese mongers!