Monday, October 15, 2012

Three Inspired Sparkling Wine and Cheese Pairings

Holiday party season is just around the corner, so what better time to think about festive sparkling wine and food pairings? Here are three inspired ideas to get your (cheese) wheels turning. 
  • Tête de Moine and J Vintage Brut. A great conversation starter, Tête de Moine or "Monk's Head" is a semi-hard Swiss cheese with a deliciously nutty aroma and a highly unusual presentation. To fully develop Tête de Moine's flavors, your cheese monger carefully pares it with a special shaving device called a Girolle. The result is a thin, delicate rosette of cheese with curled edges a bit like an oyster mushroom. In this form, Tête de Moine has a deliciously silky body that melts in your mouth. The name of this cheese from the Swiss monks of Bellelay who began making it in the year 1292. Tête de Moine is fantastic with a dry sparkling wine like our J Vintage Brut, which has bright pear and citrus characters.

  • Gougère and J Brut Rosé. Gougère are puffy little balls of savory cheese pastry   delicious served right out of the oven with a chilled glass of our J Brut Rosé. We especially love these Laura Chenel Chevre Gougere because the slight tang of the gougère's goat cheese tastes so delicious with the Brut Rosé's vibrant fruit flavors and crisp bubbles. This is such a fun pairing and guests absolutely love it. Gougère are surprisingly easy to make, too. The dough freezes well, so just make some ahead, take out of the freezer in the morning, then pop a batch in the oven a half hour before guests start to arrive. Gruyere, Comté, and Emmentaler cheeses are great in gougère as well.

  • Cheese and Charcuterie Platter with J Cuvée. One of the most festive food trends right now is the cheese and charcuterie platter, a great way to engage guests and show off local producers. The easiest way to pull a platter together is to include a diverse array of selections: one fresh cheese like a Burrata, a soft cheese like Brie, a semi-soft cheese like Friulano, a hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, and a veined cheese like a Gorgonzola. Cured meats like salami and cooked items like pancetta will round out your platter. Treat the cheeseboard like a centerpiece and flank it with a few buckets of chilled J Cuvée. With aromas of crushed hazelnut and flavors of lemon zest, Fuji apples, and Bartlett pears, the Cuvée is a versatile sparkling wine that will pair beautifully with all your platter selections.

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