AoC: Cheese, Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza: Brie, Camembert & Valencay with Lunch and Creamery Tour

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Join us for one or both days of cheese, chocolate & wine – perfect for a Valentine’s weekend getaway! Registration is required at www.theartofcheese.com. $99 each day or $175 for both days.

Day One:  Chevre, Mascarpone & Feta Cheesemaking:  Together we’ll make (and taste!) these three easy yet delicious and versatile cheeses.  You’ll learn the basic science and art of cheesemaking, how to source the best milks, and what equipment and ingredients are needed to make each of these cheeses.  You’ll also receive easy-to-follow recipes and will make several customized cheeses to take home with you.

Stonebridge Farm Winemaking Presentation:  For the second part of this exciting class, we’ll be joined by John Martin of Longmont’s own Stonebridge Farm – the only Front Range winery that grows their own grapes and makes their own wine right on the farm.  John will share his journey toward creating several cold-hardy wine grapes and we’ll get to sample his red and white varietals.  You’ll even get to take home a bottle of your choice!

Cheese & Chocolate?  Oh Yes!:  We’ll end the day sipping our wines and enjoying some delicious Chocolate Chevre Truffles and Chocolate-Orange Feta Brownies.  The perfect end to a mid-February afternoon!

Day 2: Brie, Camembert & Valencay:   These three famous and sophisticated bloomy-rind cheeses are easier to make than you might think!  The “make” itself is pretty straightforward and we’ll do this together in class.  The “affinage” (or aging) takes a little more finesse but with our tips and techniques, you’ll master it in no time.  You’ll get to taste several great examples of these cheeses and take home your own mini wheel to age on your own.

Cheesy Appetizers & Desserts:  Once we’ve worked to create these fantastic fromages, we’ll show you how to create some amazing appetizers and desserts including Kahlua Pecan Camembert and Chocolate-Covered Brie Bites.  We’ll enjoy these together with a glass of wine for an enjoyable light lunch.

Creamery Tour & Cheese Gift:  At the end of the day, we’ll take you on behind-the-scenes tour of the Haystack Mountain Creamery and send you home with one of their award-winning Haystack Peaks- a delicious ash-coated Valencay-style cheese that just won a Bronze Medal at the World Cheese Competition!

Haystack cheeses and home cheesemaking supplies will be available for purchase. See www.theartofcheese.com for additional events.

AoC: Cheese, Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza: Chevre, Mascarpone & Feta

Art_of_Cheese_logo_primary

Join us for one or both days of cheese, chocolate & wine – perfect for a Valentine’s weekend getaway! Registration is required at www.theartofcheese.com. $99 each day or $175 for both days.

Day One:  Chevre, Mascarpone & Feta Cheesemaking:  Together we’ll make (and taste!) these three easy yet delicious and versatile cheeses.  You’ll learn the basic science and art of cheesemaking, how to source the best milks, and what equipment and ingredients are needed to make each of these cheeses.  You’ll also receive easy-to-follow recipes and will make several customized cheeses to take home with you.

Stonebridge Farm Winemaking Presentation:  For the second part of this exciting class, we’ll be joined by John Martin of Longmont’s own Stonebridge Farm – the only Front Range winery that grows their own grapes and makes their own wine right on the farm.  John will share his journey toward creating several cold-hardy wine grapes and we’ll get to sample his red and white varietals.  You’ll even get to take home a bottle of your choice!

Cheese & Chocolate?  Oh Yes!:  We’ll end the day sipping our wines and enjoying some delicious Chocolate Chevre Truffles and Chocolate-Orange Feta Brownies.  The perfect end to a mid-February afternoon!

Day 2: Brie, Camembert & Valencay:   These three famous and sophisticated bloomy-rind cheeses are easier to make than you might think!  The “make” itself is pretty straightforward and we’ll do this together in class.  The “affinage” (or aging) takes a little more finesse but with our tips and techniques, you’ll master it in no time.  You’ll get to taste several great examples of these cheeses and take home your own mini wheel to age on your own.

Cheesy Appetizers & Desserts:  Once we’ve worked to create these fantastic fromages, we’ll show you how to create some amazing appetizers and desserts including Kahlua Pecan Camembert and Chocolate-Covered Brie Bites.  We’ll enjoy these together with a glass of wine for an enjoyable light lunch.

Creamery Tour & Cheese Gift:  At the end of the day, we’ll take you on behind-the-scenes tour of the Haystack Mountain Creamery and send you home with one of their award-winning Haystack Peaks- a delicious ash-coated Valencay-style cheese that just won a Bronze Medal at the World Cheese Competition!

Haystack cheeses and home cheesemaking supplies will be available for purchase. See www.theartofcheese.com for additional events.

Holiday cheese pairing tips: Beer rules!

Photo credit: Drunk Sunshine

Photo credit: Drunk Sunshine

Perhaps one of the most intimidating aspects of cheese is how and what to pair it with. Allow us to reassure you of two important points:

  • Cheese is easier to pair with beer than wine. The tannins, acids, and oak (when used for aging) in wine can be problematic when pairing with cheese, whereas beer and cheese have similar production methods (they’re both grain-based, fermented products, and tend to have similar flavor profiles).
  • While there are some key tips to follow with regard to pairing, there are  exceptions to every rule. The bottom line, in our opinion, is to eat and drink what you enjoy, and dissenters and haters be damned!

Still, we think it’s helpful to provide pairing rules of thumb, because a good match is, in the words of a cheesemonger we know, like a good marriage. Both parties should have their own, distinct, positive qualities, but when combined, magic happens.

Plays well with others. Photo credit: Healthy Recipe Ecstasy

Plays well with others. Photo credit: Healthy Recipe Ecstasy

Read on for what we feel are the most crucial points to remember in pairing cheese, be it with wine, beer, spirits, or “dry” or other specialty sodas.

  • Match intensities. For example, a big, bold, young Cabernet Sauvignon or chocolatey Stout will completely overpower many cheeses. Conversely, a soft, delicate varietal will be lost when paired with a super funky or sharp cheese.
  • Bear in mind terroir. Don’t just assume “this grape varietal will go with this cheese,” because variations in climate, geography, vintage, and production method vary greatly. The same is true of cheese. Ultimately, tasting before you buy or serve is the best way to determine if you have a match; barring that, talk to your cheesemonger, or refer to this handy post!
  • Aim for similarties or contrasts. A rich, buttery cheese such as a triple crème or brie will go well with a wine or beer with similar qualities. That said, too much butteriness is overkill. You want your palate to be refreshed and cleansed by the beverage. Strive for balance, and when in doubt, bubbles go with every style of cheese.
  • Think about what you’re trying to achieve. If you have a super bomb, special cheese, talk to your local wine shop about what to serve with it.  Conversely, if you have a rare, 1959 Chateau Lafite, you want to make sure you find a cheese that does it justice.

Some of our favorite pairings for Haystack cheeses follow. Use them as a guideline for pairing similar styles:

Camembert or othery earthy, mushroomy bloomy-rinds: Beaujolais or other soft, fruity-driven red wines.

Snowdrop or other floral, grassy bloomy rinds: Sauvignon Blanc, Lambic, or Belgian Ales.

Haystack Peak or other grassy, slighty salty/ash-coated bloomy-rinds: Fruit-driven white wines like Pinots Gris, lambics, or Pilsner.

Queso de Mano or other nutty cheeses: Hefeweizen or light-to-full-bodied red wines.

Sunlight or Red Cloud or other stinky/washed rind cheeses: Bring on the beer, baby! Belgians, ales, hard cider, lambic, or floral IPA’s. Wine? Try fruit-driven whites like a dry Riesling.

From pilsners to porters, all beers pair well with cheese. Photo credit: Vine Pair

From pilsners to porters, all beers pair well with cheese. Photo credit: Vine Pair