NoshGirl confession: when I was in school, I was a huge nerd and proud of it! I love classes, learning, taking notes, even (gasp!) tests. So when I attended Artisanal’s Italian Cheese & Wine Class with my sister @cheezplease, I was especially excited! Two of my passions CHEESE and learning, combined.
When I first stepped out of the elevator at Artisanal’s education center, I was greeted with this familiar and welcoming sign:
Yay! Cheese awaited me. This lovely label adorns all my lovely Cheese of the Month packages. I knew I was in for a treat! In the reception area outside of the classroom, we were treated to a variety of cheese, fruit, crackers, champagne and fondue. Unfortunately I didn’t get to snap a shot of this lovely cheesy goodness, but it was scrumptious.
We were then shown into our cheese classroom:
where each place setting had four wines, a selection of seven cheeses, and notes and a pencil. Class was now ready to begin! We were first introduced to the concept of the Cheese Clock, which is a guide for selecting, presenting and eating cheeses. We learned about how to taste wines and cheese together, which combinations might work better and why (A general rule of thumb: “Sheep’s milk cheese loves red wine”) and how to eat cheese (from mild to strong) so no cheese overpowers another.
Starting at 6 o’clock on the cheese clock, the cheeses we sampled that night were:
Since this was a class, we learned some interesting facts – for example, did you know that cheeses are always cut in those gorgeous triangles you see above because the cheese tastes different as you approach the rind, and this way you get the whole taste experience? Or that Italian cheeses especially are very specific to location, and the cheeses you find in one part of Italy can be completely different from those found in another region? Kinda makes you want to eat your cheesy way through Italy doesn’t it? I sure want to now!
Along with our seven cheese varieties, we sampled the following wines:
I’m a bit of a wine novice, and I admit I’m not the biggest fan of reds (the tannins really throw me off), but in the class I learned how to pair certain cheeses with particular wines, and that really enhanced the flavor of each! Hey, if all classes are about sipping wine and eating cheese, sign me up!
The mouthwatering evening culminated with some paper to wrap up cheese leftovers – I’m sure you can guess what I had for breakfast the next day!
Artisanal‘s cheese class was extremely well-run, educational, delicious and low key. I was so impressed by the class that I’ve signed up for another of their classes: The Great Iberian Peninsula: Spain, Portugal, Wine, & Cheese. I can’t wait! Stay tuned for a write-up of the class next month!
Which of the seven cheeses on the clock (click through for their descriptions!) would you like to try?