Goats cheese and kiwifuit? With basil? On toast? OK Madame Fromage, Cheese Courtesan from Philadelphia, you got me tempted.
What an unexpected pairing of our national fruit, and by an American, this combination turned out to be a revelation! A hot looking canapé, simple and fairly inexpensive, it’s bound to become a staple this coming summer.
Just smear fresh goats cheese on bruschetta, add a slice of kiwifruit and a jaunty spring of basil. Easy as. Pair with a G & T or a chilled Sav. Delicious.
I used Meadowcroft Chevré, a New Zealand-made, French-style, fresh goats cheese made by Avrill Turnbull in Golden Bay. I got mine at Moore Wilsons.
Like billowy clouds of lemony lightness, this is a beautiful cheese. Not a skerrick of the goaty barniness some folks associate with goats cheese. Interestingly the flavour characteristics of milks are not so pronounced in young cheeses so the goats milk here adds a brilliant whiteness and characteristic light tanginess.
And this zippy acidity pairs beautifully with kiwifruit’s sharp sweetness, basil’s pepper, and the light crunch of the bruschetta. Heavenly.
Contrary to my initial fears, rather than being all mouth-puckering acids, the tang-on-tang of the goat and the fruit enhanced and brought forth creaminess and sweetness.
Here were the complimentary flavour matches I wrote of in my wine pairing post and Sauvignon Blanc proved similarly sympathetic. Again it brought out pleasant full-mouth, light creamy flavours that happily swilled round our mouths.
We made cheesey highways on our tongues as instructed once by a wine/cheese guru, along which we tasted the wine! Sounds weird but it gets the flavours mingling along your tongue’s taste sensors, exposing all available.
Chardonnay on the other hand, brought out less pleasing acids, any creaminess and sweetness lost. All at the table agreed this was not a good match.
Strangely though my Mum’s Shiraz faired far better and we got pleasing hazelnut flavours. Perhaps its spicy fruitiness turned creaminess into nuttiness?
This is what I love about cheese and beverage matching. I mean what’s the worst that can happen? As Tia Keenan says in a recent NY Times article “The worst-case scenario is that you have a wine with a cheese that doesn’t really go so well together”
And at best? You get wonderful conversations, generous sharing of glasses, much hand waving, as eyes looking skywards you try to pin down tastes in a bubbling forth of descriptors. Good stuff.
You see like Alice, I am happily being lured down the rabbit hole of wine and cheese tasting!
PS thanks to my lovely sister for her great photography.