A Comte cheese tasting

Jan 06, 14 A Comte cheese tasting

Posted by in Food and Wine

Contributed by Anna von Bertele “Taste can be compared to music: we hear music as a whole, but if we listen more carefully we can make out each particular instrument and every single note of the score … Let Comté, the traditional cheese made in the Jura massif, play its delicate music on the instruments of your senses.” I had tried Comté cheese and knew of its legend but after attending a Comté cheese tasting at the great La Cave a Fromage in South Kensington, I now feel I really understand its uniqueness. Comté is made in the Jura massif, a region in France that I have only just become familiar with, having tasted some of the great wines that it produces. I was excited about exploring how the terroir in the area could also affect the cheese. Comté is made traditionally, with the production having barely changed in hundreds of years. There are three main factors to this. Firstly, the farmer who is in charge of the special Jura cows. They are only fed on a diet of hay and grass to make sure their milk is pure and truly reflects the unique land. Secondly there is the cheese maker and finally the affixer, in charge of the maturing process. It is during this third stage, with great care and attention that the aromas grow richer. When the affiance is complete, the wheel is examined and graded out of twenty according to a scale that focuses on flavour and paste quality, shape and rind. It then gets its branded band around its circumference – green for a high score and brown for those between 12-15. A score lower than this means the cheese does not qualify. We tried 5 different terroirs of the cheese, which ranged in different ages. It was interesting to taste cheese in a way more common of wine – first looking at it, then smelling it, before tasting it and focusing on its aroma and the sensations it caused in the mouth. I found out that not only does Comté change with age, but it also changes depending on the...

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Spur of the moment foodie weekend in Paris

Jan 18, 12 Spur of the moment foodie weekend in Paris

Posted by in France, Lifestyle, Travel

I always enjoy last minute trips the most. There’s something about the spontaneity of getting up and going without knowing anything about the trip. This trip was not entirely unknown, I did know we were going to be staying in Central Paris at the Hotel Tremoille and we were there to sample their champagne and caviar package. The Hotel Tremoille is ideally situated, close to the Champs Elysee and a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower. Despite the fact that I’ve been to Paris many times before, there’s something about rounding the corner every time we left the hotel and being confronted by this steel skeleton that took my breath away. Even though I knew it was there, it still took me by surprise. A four star joint, the rooms were very comfy, classic but also modern at the same time and the bed pillows! I wanted to take one home (I didn’t), they were some of the best pillows I’ve ever slept on. Champagne and caviar, who doesn’t want to indulge a little when they’re visiting Paris? The hotel has a chic little bar snack – the Maison Kaviari’s l’en K de Caviar  which comes in ultra sleek tins which slide open to reveal the hermetically sealed caviar (15g of Ostreta or Krista) inside along with a serving spoon. Leave it to the French to come up with caviar on the go. Coupled with a glass of Perrier-Jouet and a side of blinis, it does whet the appetite for dinner. The bar also offers a shot of ice cold vodka or wine if you prefer. That’s certainly one way to start the weekend. The next day we had a food walking tour in the 7th arrondissement, The Baguettes to Bistro tour put together by Context Travel. I really enjoyed it and our guide, Meg of ParisbyMouth was  full of food facts and great fun. As an added bonus, she took us to a taxidermy shop, Deyrolle, which has been around since 1831. It...

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Say cheese at the Bistro du Vin, Soho

Bistro du Vin is rapidly expanding their empire and have now branched out to Soho. So you may think, another Bistro du Vin but this one has something the other two don’t – a dedicated walk-in cheese locker in the main dining room. You can’t miss it, a brightly lit glass room at the end of the bar. Currently featuring over 50 cheeses from the hard to the runny soft, the cheeses all come from La Cave a Fromage in S. Kensington and are seasonal, as was explained to me by Cheese Master, Nicholas Broche of La Cave. I didn’t know this but cheese has a season much as fruit or veg. If you’re eating goats cheese in winter, it’s most likely not at it’s best. Interesting, I had no idea. Currently the cheeses at BdV are transitioning into winter, from light and fresh goat’s cheese to more substantial cheeses to warm you up in the coming cold winter days. Nicholas and Head Sommelier Romain Audrerie were putting on a cheese and wine matching event that evening, pairing wines from the BdV list to their cheese list. Nicholas would give us a short bio of the cheese before Romain came forward. Both were interesting and entertaining fonts of cheese and wine wisdom. We had 6 cheeses and 6 wines. Romain likes to go off the beaten path when it comes to wine and so we had a Franciacorta (Italian sparkling wine) with the first cheese, a brie from Chaource. Franciacorta seems to be all the rage at the moment but I am not a fan. Too dry for me and they always seem to have a particular bitter finish to them. The pairing though, was spot on as it softened the wine and cut through the salty fattiness of the cheese. Maybe Franciacorta is best drunk with food rather then on its own, at least for me at any rate. All the wine choices were inspired. From a gooseberry and hay tinged Sauvignon Blanc...

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