There it was, on the second night we were in Madison, a class at Fromagination on pairing cheese and chocolate, two of our favorite food groups. How could we not go!
Sarah Hill, from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, was the cheese expert; Gail Ambrosius (just named one of the top ten chocolatiers by Dessert Professional Magazine) was on hand to talk about her chocolates. There were also twelve of us cheese-chocolate fans all sitting around a large table set with tasting plates and little glasses of port wine. As we introduced ourselves, it became obvious that everyone was a foodie. And many were speechless during the tasting, citing that they were having "a food moment."
Here are the savory/sweet pairings we tasted...
~Gouda (Holland's Family's Marieke) and Almond Toffee--the nuttiness of the toffee was the perfect complement to the nutty cheese.
~Laclare Evalon (100% aged goat cheese) and Cinnamon Cayenne Truffle--great simpatico textures.
~Sartori-Espresso Bellavitano and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel--oh, my...one of LC's favorites. The creamy-parmesan-like cheese was "hand-coated...with fresh ground Italian roast espresso beans" and the chewy caramel topped with crunchy sea salt created one of those "food moments."
~Roelli Dunbarton Blue and Pecan Smokie Chocolate Square--nice cave- aged cheddar blue and "fruity, floral up front" chocolate.
~Hook's Tilston Point Blue and Lucille's Vanilla Truffle--the port went beautifully with this combo.
One of the Zen lessons of the evening was "less is more." It felt so right to eat slowly and to savor each flavor. These pairings would be a perfect way to end a dinner party. Now the challenge is to find an appropriate wine to go with each pairing. MK and LC will get on that.
What a gift of an evening. Taste treats, inspiration, and the excitement of being around people who have a passion and talent for what they do. On Wisconsin!
P.S. All of the items we tasted can be ordered on-line at Fromagination (cheese) and Gail Ambrosius (chocolate). And the Sartori and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board websites have additional ideas for cheese/food/beverage pairings.