My line of work allows me the luxury of travelling all over the world. My latest business trip sent me to New York for a couple of multilateral meetings at the UN. Not to distract too much from the point of this post, but you can check out the fruits of my labours here, here and here. I doubt these statements will change the world, but if nothing else, hopefully they will help it become a bit safer and more secure.
Back on topic. In a city that prides itself on being the center of the culinary universe, you can’t walk for two minutes in Manhattan without passing two dozen restaurants of myriad styles. As luck would have it, my hotel happened to be across the street from Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro, a French restaurant and gourmet cheese shop. Here is how the night went.
First Course: Cheese and Wine Pairing
First up was a Sainte-Maure goat cheese paired with a Domaine St-Laurent 'La Croix' 2010 Sancerre, both from the Loire region of France. Most goat cheeses I've tried tended to be strong, but this one was quite mild, creamy and pleasant. There was a hint of lemon in both the cheese and the wine, which was light and acidic. It was an excellent match.
Next up was a French cow's milk Pont l'Évêque with a Spaetrot-Gebeshuber 2007 Zierfandler-Rotgipfler Klassic (Thermenregion, Austria). Do not try to say the name of this wine three times fast; may result in acute charley horse of the tongue. The cheese was *very* strong (not “baconator” strong, but close!), slightly bitter, creamy and smoky. Amazingly, the wine's sweetness cut through most of the cheese's potency to create harmony (with just a hint of cheese in the aftertaste). The wine was like an off-dry Riesling: sweet, not very acidic, with prominent notes of apple.
Last up was a Swiss Tête de Moine with a Dierberg 2009 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara). The cheese was cut like a ribbon, which I've seen done with raclette. Its taste was more reminiscent of parmesan than Emmental or Gruyere, but not as strong. The wine was classic Pinot Noir: earthy, with a nice balance of red fruit.
Main Course: Wild Mushroom Risotto with Corn
Sought out the advice of the resident sommelier, Patrice, for this one. He brought me two to try out (Pepsi Challenge!): Domaine Aurelien Verdet 2008 Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 'Le Prieuré' (Burgundy) was very light with hints of earthiness, but hardly anything more to it. It didn't work very well with the risotto, which overpowered it with ease. The Meiomi 'Belle Glos' 2011 Pinot Noir (Central Coast, California) was sweeter than the first, featuring a nice earthy base. It worked much better with the risotto, harmonizing with the earthy mushrooms and sweetness of the corn. Delicious!
Since I had the other Pinot Noir left from the risotto Pepsi Challenge, my new best friend Patrice went to see if he "had some cheese lying around” for me to pair with it. He returned with a sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees (unfortunately, I didn’t catch the name of it.) It was much milder than the others I'd tried; it had the taste and texture of Gouda with a nice hint of earthiness to it. The subtler Pinot worked much better with it than with the risotto.
Until my next international adventure, I turn things back over to the professional.
Thanks for reading!