One of my favorite classes during the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, was Laura Werlin's American Raw Milk Cheese seminar. Laura is one of America's foremost cheese experts and an awarding-winning author.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with a plate of cheese and three wines (a white, red, and dessert). Laura walked us through each cheese and wine pairing while giving the rundown on what we were tasting. She also provided some interesting cheese tips. To see her tips for pairing wines and cheese and to learn more about cheese in general,
- When pairing wines with cheese, taste the wine first. The flavor of the cheese affects the wine's flavor more than the wine affects the cheese.
- Cheese kills off the fruit flavors in wine and brings out the tannins making it harder to perfectly pair red wines with cheeses.
- Candied walnuts are served with cheese and red wines because they help bridge the gap between the cheese and the tannins in red wine.
- Blue cheese is especially difficult to pair with red wine. Instead match a good blue cheese with a dessert wine.
- The crystals in aged cheeses are called tyrosine. They're the deposits left behind as protein breaks down.
- When cheese is left out for a while the butter fat separates from the cheese causing the cheese to appear as if it were sweating.
- Different types of cows make different kinds of cheese. Sometimes one can taste the different grasses in the cheeses as well.
- Raw milk cheese is cheese made with unpasteurized milk. They are legal in the US, but only if they have been aged for 60 days or more. This includes imported cheese.