Organised by the fabulous Lucy Mutch from Wellington Foodies, we gathered to taste a selection of winners from the New Zealand Specialist Cheese Association Awards. I was in charge of the fromage, Jules van Cruysen from MacVine International provided the wine and Kate Hardwick helped cut and plate up.
I’d chosen six cheeses with the help of James and Tara from The Dairy in Ponsonby. I’d swung by after the cheese awards and tasted my way through their cabinet. Cheesey heaven.
We had two courses, first the lighter cheeses: Crescent Dairy Goat’s Flat White, a mousse-like fresh cheese, St Benedict the Black, an ashed, bloomy rind buffalo from Whanagaripo and the third, Mahoe’s divine Very Old Edam.
I’d been to a tasting like this at the Slowfood Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy last year and encouraged the Foodies to take their time tasting the cheeses, really looking at them, appreciating the rind, giving them a good sniff, and noting the texture before tasting them. To help I gave them a cheesey vocab from Mastering Cheese by Max McCalman.
The second plate of cheese had Mercer’s sweet, nutty sheep’s milk Pecorino, the oozy, rich delight of a fully ripe Galactic Gold from Over the Moon and the surprisingly great Mahoe Blue. I say surprising ‘cos this one was the only one which hadn’t won a medal but it was a sophisticated blend of fruity, salty and creamy.
We had three wines and folks tried each of the wines with each of the cheeses. A great way to compare what works and what doesn’t.
Jules had chosen well – these wines really were happy matches. They were 2011 Gladstone Sophie’s Choice SB, 2007 Cornerstone Bordeaux Blend, 2011 Clark Estate Block 8 Riesling.
Well cheesey friends I am still abuzz at what a great time was had. I was too busy talking to take photographs and II loved sharing these truly delicious cheeses with such an awesome crowd. What an honour, thank you Wellington Foodies.
Check out the fabulous post by Elissa from Wineylittlebitch – love the tasting notes from someone with a finely tuned palate.
ps. Fingers crossed, another tasting is on the horizon, maybe Italian or French cheese, maybe beer and cheese – what do you want?