Ever wonder what it would be like to travel the world teaching seminars on cheese? We have, so we asked the food industry's most glamorous cheese lady, Laura Werlin, to give us a glimpse at her delicious life! Here, she shares a recent experience.
Most people don’t feel sorry for me when I tell them I have to go to places like Aspen, Pebble Beach, South Beach and similar hardship locations to conduct cheese and wine pairings (not). This week’s trip was no exception. I got to go to the other mile-high city, Boulder, to talk grilled cheese and wine.
The event was a fundraiser for Attention Homes, which is a pretty amazing organization that provides residential treatment and shelter to at-risk kids between the ages of 12 and 18. Attention Homes is also heavily involved in helping the area’s approximately 150 homeless kids by getting them the help they need.
Who ever thinks much about the problem of homeless kids? Evidently it’s a much bigger problem than we knew. But I digress. What better way to shine the spotlight on such a great organization than through the joie de vivre that comes from an evening devoted to good cheese and wine in a fantastic setting?
To learn what kind of sandwiches she served, keep reading.
It took place at the unparalleled Kitchen Café under the tutelage of Chef Kyle Mendenhall. Four sandwiches, five wines, six cheeses. What’s there not to like? Before the cheese portion of the evening got underway, we sipped the bright, refreshing, and delicious Rosé from Halter Ranch Winery in Paso Robles and nibbled on The Kitchen’s homemade charcuterie. A match made in heaven.
While we were appetizer-ing, Kyle was assembling the cheese plates and grilled cheese sandwiches. The cheeses were going to be making a double appearance – on a designated cheese plate and on the four sandwiches I’d chosen from my book, Grilled Cheese, Please!
I decided on Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk and Wisconsin’s ethereal Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese Company for my sandwich called the French Mountain Glory, and boy was it good. Here’s photographer Maren Caruso’s mouth-watering photo of that sandwich from my book.
The other cheeses were one of the best cheddars made in the United States, Fiscalini Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar, and two great cheeses from Wisconsin – Marieke’s Gouda and Bel Gioioso’s Creamy Gorgonzola – a ridiculously creamy and decidedly UN-pungent blue cheese.
For my sandwich called the Spaniard, I stuck with two tried and true Spanish cheeses – Manchego and the cow’s milk cheese from the island of Menorca called Mahon. The two together make a great grilled cheese sandwich, especially when you add the other ingredients – roasted pequillo peppers and serrano ham – all sandwiched between pimentón (smoky paprika) buttered bread. Olé.
In the end, the 50 or so in attendance pretty much canceled their dinner plans. Hard to imagine why, after eating four grilled cheese sandwiches and six cheeses. I, for one, went home with a big grin on my face, the kind that comes from eating grilled cheese and in this case, from knowing that each bite might be helping kids who’d probably give just about anything for a homemade grilled cheese sandwich, especially one made by Mom.