The Cheeses of Basic Necessities
(and my wine recommendations)
by Kay Pfaltz
Arina- This semi-hard goat cheese from Holland goes particularly well with dry white wines–Chardonnays that are not over-oaked or Sauvignon Blancs. Try a Sancerre, Tursan, or Domaine Cauhapé from Jurançon.
Istara- From France’s Basque country is a nutty, delicious, flavourful Brébis (sheep’s milk cheese). Pair with white wines or with light, fruity reds.
Port Salut- Port Salut, from France, is tangy, yet mild and versatile. It will pair best with young, fruity reds. Try wines such as Salmon Creek Merlot or Cabernet (Sonoma), or the French Abbaye de Valmagne from the Languedoc.
Chimay- A wonderful, full-flavoured Belgian cheese made by the Trappist monks. Great with Chimay beer, which is actually in the cheese. Or with Fischer Amber, a nutty, dark, but not too heavy French beer. Also outstanding with full-bodied wines such as Burgundy or Bordeaux.
Cantal- One of the oldest cheeses in France, high in protein, low in fat. Delicious and nutty. Pair with Burgundies or wines from the Rhone. Try Dominique La Bastide Côtes du Rhône, Sablet, Gigondas, Chateau la Tulerie, or a nice Côtes de Nuits.
Bleu d’Auvergne- From the mountains of the rustic region of the Auvergne, this cheese is made from cow’s milk in the form of a 5 pound cylinder. It has a rich, sharp flavour. Excellent blue and often less expensive than other imported blues, but equally as good. Pair with full-bodied red wines such as Bordeaux or Burgundy, or sweet whites. Delicious!
Brie- The “King” of soft-ripened cheese. Its flowery, edible crust is flecked light brown when fully ripened. (Beware of too “clean” or “white” looking Bries that are often found in large grocery stores. As with all cheeses, it’s best to buy from a local cheese shop or a grocery store with a good reputation.) Traditionally, Brie is produced in the Ile-de-France region outside of Paris. The finest examples are named after their towns of origin: Brie de Meaux and Brie de Mélun.
Supreme- Rich, buttery, melt-in-your mouth. This triple crème originated in Normandy and is cured in ventilated drying rooms for two weeks. Pair with medium, fruity reds.
Affinois- Creamy and rich like Suprème, but with a slightly more tangy, pronounced and complicated flavour. This is a pressed curd cheese, somewhat delicate. Pairs well with medium to full-bodied reds.
St. André- Appreciated for its fluffy, cakey texture, tangy flavour and pronounced bouquet, this cheese is - as cheeses go - ethereal! Pair with light to medium-bodied red wines or fruity, spicy whites.
Montrachet- Made in the province of Burgundy and always comes in a log. Mild and creamy in flavour with a rind that may or may not be dusted with wine wood ash. Good keeping qualities. Perfect with Chardonnays from the Mâconnais.
Stilton- English, crumbly, strong blue. Best when "moving." (Ask us.) Pair, ideally, with a Port wine.