Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Cheese and Drink combos by Richard Paul of Bradburys

We are often asked  which drinks to serve to compliment fine speciality cheese, especially at Christmas time or when entertaining guests. The easy option is to find a fine wine or local ale and be done with it, but Richard Paul  has shared some other more interesting discoveries with us.

I found this whilst visiting the fantasy food show in New York, back in June. This cheese was on the American Cheese Society (ACS) stand, it’s Cypress Grove from a new wave of American speciality and Artisan Goats cheese makers. It has a rich, rounded and lingering flavour based on a classic hard pressed Gouda style, matured for around 12 months. The makers insisted on serving the cheese with a glass of sweet sherry – the sweetness in the Alcohol, brought out the rich and sweet flavours in the cheese and paired beautifully.  Not a combination that I would have put together as Sherry is something I would associate with my Grandma!

Whilst supporting a Christmas press launch event for Waitrose, I was lucky enough to be put alongside the Gin makers Sipsmith. One product that stood out was their sloe gin which paired beautifully with Colston Bassett Blue Stilton for an unbelievable combination.  
The sharpness of the blue cheese is highlighted by the sweetness in the sloe gin to give a classic taste.


When I’m lucky to grade our Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano (which I do at least twice a year!!) the Italians usually celebrate splitting of a wheel of cheese with a bottle of Champagne. The sharpness and saltiness of the cheese is complimented  by the clean, crisp flavour and small bubbles in the Champagne and brings out the fruitiness and deeper flavours in a good piece of Parmesan. At home I like to start any dinner/party with broken pieces of Parmesan or Grana  - being a tight Yorkshireman, I opt for 2 bottles of prosecco rather than 1 bottle of Champagne!