We know how it is…you just brought home an amazing little creambomb from Murray’s and you want to dig in RIGHT AWAY, just after you pour yourself a bulbous glass of Barolo to sip on while you chow down. STOP. Put down the bottle and slowly step away from the counter. What you were about to do was the equivalent of tap dancing all over a patch of unsuspecting, happy little daisies. Big reds are full of flavor and cream-killing tannins–don’t get us wrong, we love ’em, but there’s a time and a place, people. Or should we say, a TOMME and a place. It’s best to pair your bloomies with complementary flavor profiles that won’t shout over their delicate notes. We have some tips to help you through this confusing time.
Delice de Bourgogne – Pasteurized Cow Milk, France
A tribute to small scale industrial French cheese-making, Delice de Bourgogne (Burgundy) is produced by Fromagerie Lincet. The pasteurized triple creme (75% butterfat – booyah) marries full-fat cow milk with fresh cream, producing an unapologetic rich, whipped delight. Unlike many straightforward triple-cremes, this one has a thin, pungent mold rind that imparts straw and mushroom aromas, complementing the buttery yellow, sweet cream interior. Sure it’s from Burgundy (just like the wine), but this is one instance where what grows together does NOT go together. A full-bodied red will decimate all those delicate flavors like a bull stampede through a chandelier factory. Play nice with white wine and bubbles instead!
Serving tip: It makes a dreamy brunch treat when served with fresh berry jam on baguette and a glass of champagne.
La Tur – Pasteurized Sheep, Goat & Cow Milk
Not all bloomies are mild and buttery. La Tur is a great example of a creamy cheese that has rich, full flavors, but that doesn’t mean you should go running to the Barberra aisle at your local wine shop. La Tur is runny and oozing around the perimeter with a moist, cakey, palette-coating paste; its flavor is earthy and full, with a lingering lactic tang. The effect is like ice cream served from a warm scoop: decadent and melting from the outside in. Barolo and other big reds will wash away all that richness without giving it a chance to work its magic on your palate. And who wants to do a thing like that?
Serving tip: Always a hit at parties, serve this crowd-pleaser with fresh fruit, dried figs and Prosecco. An ideal regional pairing would be a sparkling Asti Spumante- effervescence will whisk away the richness while matching the mild acidity.
Go Big or Go Home: The BFFs
O.K. No need to dump your Barolo down the drain–now’s when we tell you what DOES go with bold reds. Phew!
If you want a soft cheese to serve with your favorite scene-stealing red, go for washed rinds like Epoisses, Hudson Red or C Local. These cheeses are washed in booze or brine as they age, so they grow up learning how to handle their liquor, so to speak. You can also delve into more aged sheep and mixed milk cheeses, which are inherently more intense flavor-wise.
Podda Classico – Pasteurized Sheep and Cow, Italy
Now were talking! Podda is rich, nutty and salty and strong enough to stand up to everything a Barolo can put out. Sheep milk is naturally fattier, and as every chef knows, where there’s fat, the flavor isn’t far behind. The gutsy flavor cuts through the red’s tannins and smooths everything out real nice like. Podda is a wonderful pasteurized mix of cow and sheep milk from the glorious island of Sardinia. Aged for almost one year, this cheese has a wonderful sweet, nutty flavor, a crumbly slightly crunchy texture, and a lingering tangy finish.
Ossau-Iraty Vielle – Raw Sheep, France
Ossau is the grand dame of the cheese world and everyone knows how granny likes her liquor. The nutty, brothy, somewhat fish-saucy notes wafting out of a slice of Ossau pretty much dare red wine to bring it. Like the Podda, the sheep milk helps mellow out the rough spots so all you get is bright, full flavor. Somebody break out the bottle of Nebbiolo!