Host A Vertical Cheddar Tasting
Hosting an artisanal cheese tasting is an innovative, easy way to entertain a group of good friends, and if you follow some simple guidelines you and your guests can have a great learning experience as well.
Los Angeles cheese expert and columnist Barrie Lynn Krich (aka The Cheese Impresario) has provided us with some of her best tips on how to host a Vertical Cheddar Tasting party in your home.
To keep the selection for your cheese tasting party simple, Barrie Lynn suggests exploring different varieties from a single cheese producer. One of her favorites is Carr Valley Cheese in Wisconsin.
For a vertical tasting, purchase five cheddars of different ages. You can pair each with a different wine to give your guests a full range of flavors to enjoy.
The cheeses (in order of service)
• Mammoth Cheddar ~ pair with a fruity California Pinot Noir
• 1-Year Sharp Aged Cheddar ~ pair with Chianti Classico
• 3-Year Aged Cheddar ~ pair with Syrah
• 6-Year Aged Cheddar ~ pair with Merlot
• 10-Year Aged Cheddar ~ pair with California Cabernet Sauvignon
The extras ~
Some other goodies you might want to serve along with the cheese are crisp sliced apples, pears, fresh grapes, honey for drizzling, dates, figs and walnuts or pecans.
Planning the tasting ~
An important point to remember when preparing a cheese tasting is to allow your cheese to reach room temperature before serving. Take your cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour ahead of time.
Artisanal cheeses get their magnificent flavor from living organisms which become dormant in cold temperatures. By allowing them to warm up, you awaken the full flavor of the cheese.
For a tasting party where no other meal is included, figure on one ounce per cheese per person ~ in this case, about 6 ounces total per guest.
Barrie Lynn says that to truly experience the flavors of a wine and cheese pairing you should educate your guests on how to taste cheese properly. For maximum appreciation, she advises coating the palate with a bite of cheese, then taking a sip of wine at the same time.
Naturally, you can use the info here as a guideline for planning your own party. Experiment with different varieties of cheese and wine to discover your favorites.
--- This entry originally appeared on MyGourmetConnection and has been updated for the ZEST blog