“The Rest of our Wine in Costa Rica”

Towards the end of our Costa Rica trip, we found ourselves with a whole bunch of wine remaining from that case we had ordered from San Jose! There were a couple that had been earmarked for wine and cheese pairing research and another one that we just wanted to taste. And even two that we didn’t get to but ended up leaving as a Thank You gift for our caretakers. This pairing will kind be a catch all with wine, cheese, multiple dinners and even a little popcorn. We present to you “The Rest of our Wine in Costa Rica.” Read More…

Torrontés Tasting Flight, Quebradas, Costa Rica

We told you about how much fun we had creating our first home wine tasting so we decided to do another. The wines actually all came from the same distributor in San Jose, CR. It was so much fun to purchase an entire case of new wines to taste! Today’s set of wines are all 2017 Torrontés wines from Argentina. We’ve only tried one or two bottles of this grape before this tasting so we figured it would be interesting to try a few different brands side by side. Do you ever try varietal specific tastings? Let’s see how ours turns out! Read More…

Copa Vino de Marañón y Mozzarella Cheese

We heard about this wine during one of our previous trips to Costa Rica but couldn’t find it until this year. The wine is made from cashews and we really thought hard about how a wine could be made from nuts. We were telling someone about it and they said “Oh silly, the wine is made from the fruit, not the nut!” Did you know cashew was a fruit?? Just shortly after finding the wine in one of our local licorerias (liquor stores) we came across the fruit in the farmer’s market. We told the farmer that we’d be tasting the wine soon so he gave us one of the fruits to taste too. Read More…

Wine and Chocolate Pairing, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Did you know there’s a region in Costa Rica that grows chocolate? We just found out about it on a recent trip to Puerto Viejo. We were pleasantly surprised to find a chocolate and wine pairing at Cho.co. The store was set up with all different chocolates and bars decorating the walls. I think there might have been ten different chocolate producers sold in the store. We visited on a Friday night and boy was it packed. People were excited to try their chocolate tastings, beer, coffee and wine pairings. Luckily, there was still some space at the bar so we found a spot there and began our tasting! Read More…

Making Cheese in a Tropical Setting, A Visit to Quesos Monte Azul in Chimirol de Rivas, Costa Rica

When we have visited Costa Rica in the past, we noticed that most of the cheese here falls into the “fresh category” but never really put much thought into why that might be. We usually just chalked it up to which foods are popular here and that a wedge of hard, funky cheese didn’t really fit in. Once we discovered the Monte Azul brand of cheese as something more relatable to our palates and one that was possible to pair with wine, we found out the information we had been missing. Cheese is different in Costa Rica for good reason! It just so happened that Monte Azul was near where we were staying so we arranged for a visit there. Our entry will share the things we learned that day. Read More…

Stemmari Nero D’Avola and Monterrey cheese

For this week’s Wine And Cheese Friday entry we’ll be featuring our first pairing during this trip to Costa Rica. We love visiting Costa Rica, but have found it challenging to find a wine and cheese selection that coincides with our palates. Wine can be found in local grocery and liquor stores here in Pérez Zeledón, but the selection is usually limited. Sweet wines are more popular here, whereas we prefer something drier and more complex, and most wines we find are from Chile and Argentina. Since we’ve visited three times previously, we’ve found our staple brands to enjoy on a regular basis, but are always hoping for something new and interesting. Imagine our surprise when we came across a Sicilian brand that had been previously featured on #WiningHourChat! We made a mental note and went back a week later to pick up the bottle of Stemmari Nero D’Avola.
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Chilean Sparkling Wines

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Our final sparkling wine entry for February will showcase sparkling wines from Chile. During our time in Costa Rica and Panama, we have tasted many Chilean brands. When I discuss whats in my glass (#WIMG) on social media, it surprised people that Chilean wineries produced sparkling wines, since they aren’t readily available in the US. Read More…

Frontera Specialties Auténtico Blanco and Chirripo Blanco cheese

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Yes, it’s true, we purchased this wine because of the label. It looked like such a fun wine, I couldn’t resist. I had no idea what grapes would be in this white blend but I did know that there was Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and I think a Moscato on the shelf next to it by the same brand. I was holding off on purchasing this wine but this is our last Costa Rican wine and cheese entry, so it was time. The cheese, I had also been watching longingly and missed my chance. The collection of MonteAzul cheeses all looked so good but one in particular caught my eye. It looked like it was one of those pyramids of goat cheese with ash around it but sadly it was out of stock when I finally got around to making my purchase. The one we did get is still by MonteAzul but we could only guess what it would be. From the shape and packaging, it looked like it was going to be a goats milk Brie. Now without further ado the pairing and tasting notes for Frontera Specialties Auténtico Blanco and Chirripo Blanco cheese. Read More…

Tocornal Carmenere and Swiss cheese

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When I saw this wine in the store I was a little confused. It said the name of the wine but then “by Cono Sur” at the bottom of the label. I decided not to get it the first time around because we had a few wines already queued up for future WineAndCheeseFriday pairings. I contacted Cono Sur on Twitter to ask about this mysterious line of wines since I couldn’t find it on their website. As always they were very helpful and said was it called “Tocornal?” Yes, that’s one of ours, but its only distributed in Canada, Latin America and Russia. Well this created a buzz on Twitter and for me so I figured I should go back and find it. A week later in another grocery store, there it was and, lucky us, they had a Carmenere! What a fun chance to compare the Bicicleta Carmenere from a few years ago, http://wineandcheesefriday.com/carmenere-and-camembert/, to the Tocornal Carmenere now. The cheese is from our giant farmer’s market, La Feria. We found this cheese in Colibri’s Corner, the booth on the end. This booth always has all sorts of tasty treats like spices, baked goods and chocolate. Neil picked up this wedge of cheese and said it smelled kind of smoky and that we should get it. Always on a quest for new cheese, I happily agreed. Read More…

Fiesta Rosado and Fried Cheese

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When choosing this weeks wine we wanted a local wine and I was thirsty for some bubbly. The Fiesta Rosado seemed like just the trick. We tried the Fiesta brand back in 2015 just before we left Costa Rica, http://wineandcheesefriday.com/fiesta-vino-de-nance/. Since the previous wine was apple, we made sure to look for the graphic of grapes on this bottle of wine. Part of the reason we wanted a local wine and not a South American one was to pair it with the traditional fried cheese of Costa Rica. Simply ask at the cheese counter for Queso para Freir. I was happy when I was asked if I’d like the handmade (casero) or processed version! Did you notice that the lighting on these photos are a little off, that’s because we did this wine and cheese pairing during a power outage. Actually it was during Tropical Storm Nate that hit Costa Rica. What better way to take advantage of no electricity than to sit around tasting wine and cheese! Read More…