Wine and Cheese Pairing with All Our Berkeley Goodies

Wine and Cheese Pairing with All Our Berkeley Goodies 1
Wine and Cheese Pairing with All Our Berkeley Goodies 2

This entry is a continuation from the Best of the Best of Berkeley, We hope you enjoyed hearing all about our shopping and now you get to hear all the delicious tasting notes! Our cheeses came from Rockridge Market Hall, and The Cheese Board Collective, Our wine was purchased at Kermit Lynch, Our theme for wines and cheeses this entry was based on recommendations from others over the past few months. Without further ado, we present to you Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco paired with Mimolette, Robiola 2 Latti, Besace Du Berger, and Fourme D’Ambert!

We have an Italian friend who always speaks highly of Lambrusco wine but here in the US, it has kind of a bad reputation. People usually assume its a really cheap, sweet, red wine. In order to overcome this stereotype, we decided to pick up a genuine bottle of Italian Lambrusco, so we could form our own opinion. And it really wowed us, someone even said “Wow, This wine is good!” It had a really dark color but then a really light texture that caught us off guard. It was a fruity and fun sparkling wine but not sweet. We’d definitely recommend trying an Italian Lambrusco!

We will describe the tasting notes for the cheeses from left to right, in the photo, beginning with the orange cheese, Mimolette. When I learned about this cheese in another cheese shop, the topic of discussion was the color, which is not surprising. This cheese gets it’s distinctive color from Annatto, which is derived from the seeds of a South American shrub. The cheese smelled rich, but also pungent, and had a thick texture that reminded me of fudge. Neil thought it seemed like a really sharp cheddar but I’d say more like an aged Gouda’s texture. Geoff didn’t try to compare it to another cheese but said that this was his favorite of the four! One note we’d like to add is that this cheese is best tasted in very thin slices.

The second cheese, Robiola 2 Latti, looked like a triangle of soft cheese. Neil and I have a special appreciation for Luigi Guffanti cheeses**, not only are they delicious, we’ve seen where they live in Italy! Robiola is the term designated for cheeses made in Piedmont, Italy and has many variations, ranging from soft to hard and some are coated in spices. Definitely worth looking into if you haven’t tried one. It was a hit with our crowd too, Geoff thought it was a clean, perfect, ideal table cheese that would be versatile with any wine! Neil and I enjoy the light funk aromas, and mild flavor that turns into a definite milky flavor that lingers. Although it looks like brie or another soft cheese, it really isn’t rich and buttery. Please note, this cheese needs to warm up to room temperature so that it’s nice and soft.

I had not heard of Besace Du Berger cheese in particular but have tried other ash coated goat cheeses in the past. Since it’s been a while since I’ve had one, I figured it would be a great cheese to add to today’s tasting! The flavor was tart with a light funk and a hint of pepper. The flavor lingered nicely and we were all happy it was included.

The final cheese, Fourme D’Ambert, was recommended when I was telling someone about my love of blue cheese. I heard about it recently and had been keeping my eye out since then. I figured it must be available at The Cheese Board Collective but I’m sure I massacred the name when I asked for it. We tried samples with and without the rind and decided the rind had a little too much brine. The flavor was salty, with a light funk and it kind of tingled as we tasted it. Neil said it was a really good blue! When we tasted it in the store, the slice was really thin and it reminded me of Rogue River’s blue cheese,, but I didn’t quite achieve that when we tasted it at home. Guess I need to figure out how to make those really thin slices of blue cheese. It did have a moist texture so it should be possible for me to practice and achieve!

We all paired the wine with the cheeses at our own pace so the notes aren’t super detailed but all the pairings had some noticeable change with the wine. When pairing the Mimolette with the Lambrusco, the wine became tart and peppery. The combination of Robiola 2 Latti and Lambrusco caused the fruit to be more noticeable in the wine. The funk came out of the Besace Du Berger even more when it was paired with the wine. We found more funk in the pairing of Lambrusco with Fourme D’Ambert, but before the funk in the finish, the wine seemed even lighter than before. What a fun chance to pair four different cheeses with a new wine!

And if you’ve been looking at that beautiful charcuterie in the picture and wondering how they were, we have tasting notes for them as well! The darker colored meat on the left is Ollo Calabrese. It had pork aromas and pepperoni flavors. The lighter colored meat on the right is made with truffles. It also had pork aromas but it was much more delicate, very flavorful and tasty!

We had such a fun time discussing WineAndCheese with Geoff! Hopefully I wasn’t too much of a stickler for details about the wines and cheeses, but even if I was, it was worth it to taste all those delicious goodies from Berkeley. Guess I know where I’ll be going again next time I’m back in SF!

** Interested in seeing past entries about Luigi Guffanti, check out these links:

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