Peas and carrots. Peanut butter and chocolate. Bert and Ernie.
Some pairings are just meant to be. Here’s another: tequila and cheese.
I know it sounds strange. I usually think of wine and cheese and tequila and…lime, but I think that, it being January and all, we should honor those lingering resolutions (Remember those? Come on…it’s only the 20th!) to break out of our ruts, explore the unfamiliar and drink more tequila. Wait, was that just me? A girl’s gotta have goals. Plus, cheese. CHEESE. Anyway, this week I got schooled and experienced the delight that comes from pairing these unlikely partners.
In honor of resolutions, tequila and National Cheese Day (It’s real. I didn’t make it up!), rather than a recipe, today we have a lesson. So, sit up straight, get out those composition notebooks, and prepare to learn some tips on pairing the best of Mexico with the best of France.
Meet the cheese
Meet the tequila
First, the Crystal was paired with a Mimolette a.k.a. Boule de Lille, a cheese aged eighteen months so that it would qualify as Vieille (old). During the 17th century, Jean-Baptiste Colbert denied importation of foreign goods so the French started making their own version of the Dutch cheese, Edam. Produced in Nord Pas-de-Calais, the mimolette is made of pasteurized cow milk and is colored with annatto. It has a very mild flavor with little aroma.
The Reposado was paired with Époisses, a wash-rind monastery style of pasteurized cow milk, from Burgundy, also produced in Champagne-Ardenne. At first, the young cheeses are washed in a brine solution then gradually Marc (the local brandy) is added to the wash. The Époisses is a semi-soft, pungent, and was a favorite of Napoleon.
The Añejo was paired with Fourme d’Ambert. This cheese can be made with raw or pasteurized cow milk (this one was pasteurized). The blue mold is added to the curd then the cheese is pierced to promote veining during ripening. It has a natural rind, and a smooth and creamy paste. Compared to other blue cheeses, it’s rather mild. Crumbly and moist, it has the pleasant aroma of cow and cellar.
Finally, as a bonus, I also received Salers, raw milk cow cheese from the Auvergne region of France. It’s very rare, firm, buttery, and meaty, and made with the milk of the old Salers breed of dairy cow. This cheese pairs well with both Reposado and the Añejo. The cheese may seem milder than the Époisses de Bourgogne, yet it has a longer finish (meaning you’ll often have a pleasant lingering flavor after you’ve finished the cheese).
There you have it! Now you (and I) know how to pair tequila and cheese properly, and learned that perhaps that there is more to tequila than shots and margaritas (not knocking them…), and more to cheese than string and curds (not knocking them either…). In any case, food for thought for your next friendly gathering, which should be soon because you know, tequila resolutions.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Casa Noble, The Cheeses of Europe and The French Cheese Board and made possible by the Windy City Blogger Collective. All opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting The Hungary Buddha!