While some claim you should never pair reds with cheese, others will tell you there’s no better combination than Époisses with a ripe pinot noir. How do you find a match made in heaven?
A GOOD CHEESEMONGER
Discovering perfect French cheese and wine combinations can be incredibly satisfying, and is not a bad way to spend a Saturday night. Honestly, I was never much of a cheese lover until I started researching cheeses for my regular culinary column in France magazine En Route (published in the Netherlands). My research (I know, hard job) led me to an incredibly knowledgable cheesemonger right here in my own humble city of Almere. De Kaasmakerij on Marktstraat 9 in Almere Haven is indeed a “culinary experience”, as it says on their website. Whenever I walk inside, I am not only confronted with an incredible assortment of (international) cheeses, but they also have nuts, beer (though I’m not a beer drinker) and wine. The owner is always ready to share his expertise on what is obviously a deep love for cheese and wine. It isn’t any wonder that the shop has been around for some twenty-five years.
So what started out as ‘work’ became a true indulgence and discovery journey into the world of cheese and wine. When we buy cheese and wine from De Kaasmakerij (usually on a Saturday), we like to plan our meal around the wine, saving the last few glasses to savor with the cheese after our dinner. The rest ends up in my lunch salads during the week. For some reason, realizing that there are literally hundreds of French cheeses (way more than the days of the year, as some say), is strangely satisfying. It’s not like we’ll be done experimenting any time in the near future. Each trip to our cheesemonger will result in a new appreciation and better knowledge for one of the most beautiful gourmet marriages!
TASTE THE LOVE… AND SHARE IT TOO!
I will be sharing our results here periodically, not as law, but as inspiration. I highly recommend you find yourself a decent cheesemonger who can also give you pairing advice and has a passion for his trade. Finally, do not be afraid to try new cheeses or cheese and wine pairings that are somewhat out of your comfort zone. Oh, and if you discover star combinations, I am all ears…