Archive for May, 2010

Solid Advice to Follow for Planning Your Next Meal!

May 14, 2010

With kind thanks to author – Jon Troutman

I was recently out to eat at a restaurant in downtown New York City that inspired this piece. While the name of the establishment will remain nameless, I’ve noticed this particular restaurant’s downfall becoming a trend, sweeping across both Manhattan and the nation as a whole.

The issue that I’ve experienced is with the pricing and quality of wine lists that are completely out of line with the pricing and offerings from a kitchen. The following description of incongruity between food and wine is not unique to restaurants. This same principal should be applied when preparing a meal at home…

My friend and I showed up for dinner decked out in our finest jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. A casual spot, we were led to our table by an unkempt, disheveled looking teenager and presented menus and a wine list. For food, we had an assortment of gourmet dishes to choose from, including a “chicken cutlet sandwich” and a “cheeseburger with sweet fries”. Nope, these were not kids menus.

After a quick dinner menu perusal, I flipped open the wine list. With over 150 wines by the bottle and 20 wines by the glass, there was a major French influence to the list. The least expensive by the glass pour was a Loire Valley Saumur – priced at $11 per glass. By the bottle there were verticals of Dom Perignon and Opus One. Suddenly I asked myself, “should I be wearing a collared shirt?”

You wouldn’t serve Beluga Caviar with Lay’s potato chips for scooping, would you?

For that very same reason, you shouldn’t serve a bottle of 1990 Dom Perignon alongside Popcorn. The two may complement each other. In fact, the two might even enhance one another. Like your Uncle Charlie who always seems to have a gas-attack when company is around; it’s funny, it might even work in the right situation, but it’s just plain inappropriate… read the rest on Cork’d

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Spring Cheeses From Southwest France

May 3, 2010

By Rob Lawler — Denver Truffle

“Reprinted from Indulge in Denver magazine, April 2010 issue”

France’s Southwest is a virtual Disneyland of incredible foods.  One of our favorites at the Truffle Cheese Shop is their tangy goat’s milk cheeses.  They produce a cornucopia of different sizes, shapes and colors; we think it’s best to enjoy them all! 

Similar to produce, cheese has a distinct season.    The early spring is when young, fresh cheeses like these just staring to really shine.  We think this time of year is a perfect  time to explore the gastronomy of this corner of the world.

Goats were brought to this part of France by the Saracens of North Africa in the middle of the last millennia.  Over hundreds of years the cheese making techniques they brought have been refined and improved.   Goats thrive on the verdant plants that grow well in the Loire Valley’s limestone soil, and aging caves dug into the rock stay humid and well ventilated, which is perfect for ripening cheese.  Each town in this part of France has its own particular variety of cheese with a very specific form and flavor, most of which have evolved alongside their local wine.  

Valençay (vah-lohn-SAY)  Local legend links the unusual shape of this cheese to the visit by Emperor Napoleon to the Chateau Valençay shortly after his retreat from Egypt.  The story says that a banquet table held a display of pyramid shaped goat cheeses, which Napoleon attacked with his saber.  In one swift blow, he neatly sliced the tops off of the cheeses and created the shape which has defined this cheese ever since.    The rind of this cheese is dusted in ashes soon after being formed.  This dusting and the subsequent molding that appears as this cheese ages may make it appear intimidating, but the taste is quite lovely.   If you can track down a sparking Vouvray, that would be a great match or another sparking white wine would be nice also. 

Buche de Poitou (boo-SH day pwah-TOO) Bloomy rinds are more familiar when they are seen on a Brie or Camembert.  This one is made with goat’s milk and in a different shape.  The log shape of this cheese from Poitou-Charentes is very attractive when used as a part of a cheese board.  The flavor of the cheese is fairly mild when it is young and it intensifies as it ages.  The tangy creamy nature of this cheese balances great with a whole grain cracker or bread.  Enjoy it with any of the Sauvignon Blanc based wines from the Loire Valley, like a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume)

Cabecou Feuille ( kah-bay-coo FAIEY)  This little cheese is a whole lot of flavor wrapped in a small package.  When the cheese is just formed and still warm, it is sprinkled with cracked pepper then carefully wrapped in a chestnut leaf which has been softened in a plum brandy.  These little buttons are only an ounce each, but they are so flavorful they need a wine with a little bit of tannins.  A rose from the area surrounding Bergerac would be a lovely match.

Tome de Chevre (TOHM day shev-RUH)   This goat cheese is a little more aged and so may be enjoyed later into the fall than many of the younger ones.  The shape of this cheese lends itself to a longer aging. It is about a five pound round, where most of these others are only few ounces.  As this cheese ages, it becomes drier and more crumbly in texture and it gains more of a rich and stronger flavor.  This stronger cheese can hold up to a stronger wine, like a red from the Langudoc.

Tome d’Acquitaine (TOME duh ah-qwah-TANE) The Acquitaine region of France, which surrounds the cities of Bordeaux and Sauternes is home to this cheese.  Though both towns are famous for their wines, the Sauternes is the one used in making this cheese.  It’s a sweet wine, that when washed on the outside of the cheese, gives it a subtle honey flavor.   This cheese is a lovely pale white color from the goat’s milk and its flavor is floral and wonderfully complex.  A wine from the Sauternes would really make this cheese shine.

For more information on Denver’s Truffle Cheese Shop:

Phone: 303.322.7363

Fax: 303.316.7529

info@denvertruffle.com

The Truffle Cheese Shop

2906 East 6th Avenue

Denver, CO 80202