Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Possibly the Best Pairing Ever

If you have ever been to Pastoral, you know that we spend a fair amount of time trying to find some of the best pairings of wine and cheese. Well, this past week, Patrick and I may have come upon one of the best yet when we indulged in a Langres from Champagne, France with a bottle of the Blanc de Blanc made by the L. Mawby vineyards on the Leelanau Pennisula of Michigan.

The Langres is one of those unique, beautiful young cheeses from France that has been made in some form or another since at least the 18th century. Due to the excessive laws of the FDA, it is only available in a pasturized version in the United States, but it is still a goregously delicious cheese. It gets creamier as it ages, but texturally can span from supple to silky. As the fairer skinned sister to Epoisses de Bourgogne, its very pungent washed rind kin, Langres' flavors are also strong and complex yet slightly more subtle, ranging from smoky to tangy to earthy all at once. It is a 6 ounce round with a concave top sold in a high sided wooden round. While the cheese and bubbles were excellent as a traditional pairing, complementing each other in a manner that generated a whole new wonderful flavor, it was when we poured some of the Mawby on top of the Langres that pairing took on a whole new dimension.

While this may seem gratuitous, the divot in the top of the cheese, as well as the cheese container's high sides, are traditionally designed for this combination, and once the two were combined, it produced decadent, wonderful flavor offspring. Sticky bubbles came frothing up from the cheese, and we knew we had created a whole new delectable treat. The earthiness of the cheese became muted, and a subtle fruitiness was suddenly apparent, not noticeable before either in the cheese or the bubbly. The cheese was suddenly creamier and more delicious than we could have imagine, and it was then we realized that we may have stumbled onto one of the best pairings ever.


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