Il Formaggio : February 2017

Take the edge off of these cold winter nights and indulge our February La Famiglia shipment, which includes the first releases of our reserve wines expertly paired with two of our newest cheeses! Here’s an look at what you’ll be receiving on your doorstop in just a few days, complete with expert pairing and serving suggestions from our stellar staff here at Le Vigne.

Bishop’s Peak  (Central Coast Creamery, Paso Robles, CA)

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Bishop’s Peak is the newest addition to the incredibly popular lineup of cheeses offered at Central Coast Creamery, located here in the heart of Paso Robles. Named after the local hiking destination, Bishop’s Peak, this cheese is made in the tradition of alpine cheesemaking and yields a rich and complex flavor. The company’s owner and head cheesemaker, Reggie Jones, adds a California twist to the recipe to enhance the cheese’s wonderfully creamy mouthfeel. By adding propionic bacteria to the milk, large eyes (typically found in alpine cheeses) are prevented from forming in the cheese. The resulting flavor is sweet yet earthy, with a buttery smoothness that makes it an instant crowd-pleaser in any setting.

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Central Coast Creamery sources their milk locally from Cuyama Dairy, in Santa Barbara County, receiving around 500 gallons of hormone-free, high quality milk from each delivery. This allows them to carefully handcraft small batches of cheeses while upholding the highest standard of quality to each wheel. Cows are fed a diet rich in fresh carrots, alfalfa hay, silage, and almond hulls among a mixture of vegetables, and are 100% free of the growth hormone rBST.

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Image courtesy of Central Coast Creamery http://www.centralcoastcreamery.com

This attributes to the unique smoothness found in many of Reggie’s cheeses, and also to the slight yellow color in Bishop’s Peak. It is also one of the reasons for why this cheese won 3rd Place at the 2015 American Cheese Society for American Originals, as the outstanding quality of the ingredients gained a grand notoriety from judges and customers alike.

 

Serving Suggestions: Take advantage of this cheese’s excellent melting ability and make a killer grilled cheese to serve with your favorite tomato soup. You may also use this cheese in accordance with traditions true to Alpine cheesemongers and grate over a fresh onion soup or incorporate in a fondue. For a tasty snack, accentuate the slight sweetness in this cheese by serving it on a slice of fresh, toasted bread and topping it with a sliver of membrillo.

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Wine Pairing Suggestions: We expertly recommend pairing Bishop’s Peak with our 2013 Le Vigne Petite Sirah di Ranchita Vista. The wine’s jammy flavors of blueberries, huckleberries, and boysenberries  enhance the slight sweetness in this cheese, while notes of plum and Black Cerignola olives accentuate an unmistakeable earthiness. The peppery finish of the wine enhanced by the incredibly smooth mouthfeel of the cheese will leave your mouth watering for another bite.

  • Other recommended wine pairings: A good berry-rich Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti paired with this cheese will make you long for spring while also keeping you toasty warm. A Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne, or even Port will also pair nicely for a fun afternoon snack.
  • Beer Pairing Suggestions: Stout, Porter, Brown Ale, or your favorite Lager will make the perfect winter treat when paired with this cheese.
  • Spirits Pairing Suggestions: Pair shavings of this cheese with Madiera, Scotch, or Rye Whiskey. Cozy blankets and fireplace are recommended but not required.

(Ingredients in Bishop’s Peak: Pasteurized whole milk, salt, cultures, and vegetarian enzymes)

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Auricchio Pecorino al Tartufo (Auricchio, Cremona, Italy)

Pecorino al Tartufo is sheep’s milk cheese that originates between the renowned truffle areas Volterra and San Miniato in  Italy. It is produced by the company Auricchio, founded by Gennaro Auricchio in 1877, in Cremona, Italy. His secret recipe for a “special rennet” gives an unmistakably unique flavor and sharpness to his cheeses, and has attributed to the fame that the company has received over the years. Today, Auricchio has expanded to be one of the most popular Italian cheesemakers, and the broad range of sheep’s milk cheeses that they offer is unparalleled on the market.

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Aged for only thirty days and with a semi-soft texture, this Pecorino al Tartufo is truly the cheese for all Truffle fanatics. It is hand-crafted in small wheels that weigh only two and a half pounds. It is even visually intriguing as it has a smooth, white color and is encrusted with small flecks of black truffles, which give off a pungent aroma. The complex flavors are earthy, salty, rich, and truly unique to this fantastic cheese.

Serving Suggestions: Stay in with the family on a chilly evening and make an authentic Italian truffle macaroni and cheese, topped with fine shavings of Auricchio Pecorino al Tartufo. Or, surprise your guests with a sharp surprise when you place this visually intriguing cheese on a cheese platter, peeking out from under some freshly sliced proscuitto or your favorite salami.

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Wine Pairing Suggestions: We recommend serving this cheese with a big, earthy red wine that has enough backbone to stand up to its powerful truffle flavor. The distinctive notes of cocoa and spice in our 2014 Le Vigne Sangiovese di Domenico harmonize beautifully with with the rich saltiness in the cheese. The clay loam soil in the vineyard from which the grapes for this wine were harvested offers an underlying earthiness that matches that of the cheese, leaving a warm, creamy sensation on the palate.

  • Other Wine Pairing Suggestions: Try a bold Cabernet Sauvignon or port, or with a sparkling wine, Gewurztraminer, or Riesling for a lighter pairing.
  • Beer Pairing Suggestions: Pair with an effervescent Belgian Saison or with your favorite IPA or black IPA for an intense snack you won’t soon forget.

(Ingredients in Auricchio Pecorino al Tartufo: Sheep’s milk, salt, rennet, black truffle)

 

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