Last night was a dream to remember. I went around the world, eating blues – well, figuratively, at Tria’s Fermentation School. When Tria Wine Director Michael McCauley invited me to teach a class there, I never imagined he’d fall for my trick: a chance to effervesce about blue cheese.
One reason I’m wild about this style of cheese is that so many cultures have developed iconic blues. Italians exude Gorgonzola. The French can think only of Roquefort. In Spain, you find Valdeon and firey Cabrales, while the Brits pick at nubby crumbs of Stilton. Even in Ireland, you find creamy Cashel. And let’s not forget the Danes with their Saga or the U.S. with its Iowa flower, Maytag.
|Seven blues, served w/apple butter, cherries & chocolate-fig jam
Pairing: Vouvray Pétillant Brut, Domaine Huet, ‘05
A gorgeous goat blue from Lombardy, served with brilliant sparkly.
Rogue River Smokey Blue
Boon Kriek Lambic
Like an exotic cigarette and a cherry kiss, all at once. Fantastic.
Valpocella Superiore, “Ripasso,” Bussola ‘06
A lazy blue with a rambunctious red – the wine was liquid chocolate.
Colston Bassett Stilton with a Stichelton chaser
J.W. Leese Harvest Ale, 2010
Two glorious beasts from the stilton world -- one pasteurized, the other raw – served with not-too-sweet barleywine.
Pedro Ximénez “Gran Reserva,” Bodegas Toro Albalâ, ‘82
This wicked, sinus-clearing blue was beautifully tamed by a drop of PX.
Sauternes, Chateua Laribotte, ‘05
Salty sheep’s milk meets gorgeous straw-colored Sauternes. It's like a perfect personal ad.
Birchrun Blue Fudge from Betty’s Tasty Buttons
Banyuls, “Vielles Vignes,” Domaine du Mas Blanc, ‘91
Local fudge kissed with Sue Millers salty blue, served with a spectacular port-like creature.
|The Cheese Map, from the back of the tasting menu
Many thanks to the great folks at Tria for providing a venue like this in Philadelphia. The Fermentation School is used for staff trainings throughout the week (Tria has 3 wine bars that serve an eclectic, ever-changing selection of cheeses, wine, beer, and meals), and tastings for the public are held several times per month. Their event calendar is a must-bookmark site and is especially useful for keeping track of happy hour and their ever-popular Sunday School program (a special offering of beer, wine, and cheese -- at a very low price, only on Sundays).