Artisanal Cheese Class! The Great Iberian Peninsula: Glorious Cheeses & Wines of Spain and Portugal

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a cheese class at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center.  This class, titled “The Great Iberian Peninsula: The Glorious Cheeses & Wines of Spain and Portugal,” featured wines and cheese from, of course, Spain and Portugal – yum!  I admit I am most familiar with French cheeses, and my knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese cheeses didn’t extend much beyond Manchego.  So I was especially excited to learn more about the cheeses (and wines) from the Iberian peninsula!

Our instructor for the evening was Candela Prol, who was very well versed in both cheese and wine:

We had seven cheeses to sample that night – I was especially excited to see an ooey gooey (technical term) cheese in container – those are my absolute favorite types of cheese.  When Candela mentioned that this cheese was along the lines of Epoisses, I was even more excited to try it!

Starting from the bottom of the cheese wheel (6pm), we sampled Garrotxa, Manchego, Serena, Roncal, Evora, Idiazabal, and Valdeon.

And of course we had to have wine to accompany the cheese:

From left to right, we had Malvar, Verdejo-Viura, Tempranillo, and Tawny Port.  I was pleasantly surprised by the Tempranillo, which paired very well with several of the cheeses.  I’m usually not a big red wine person, so this was great!  You can see the matrix we used to rate each cheese and wine pairing – serious stuff!

And of course the highlight of my evening (besides eating obscene amounts of cheese, of course) – the discovery that the ooey gooey cheese in the tin shared the same name as me!  It also turned out to be my very favorite cheese of the evening. Coincidence? I think not…The class was extremely informative even to an extreme cheese afficionado such as myself.  For example, did you know that Manchego gets is unique cross-hatch rind pattern from the baskets it is made in? Or that Valdeon is wrapped in Sycamore leaves?  Check out the leaf detail in this romantic money-shot:

As ambitions as my goals were, by the end of the class I did have some cheesy leftovers. Not to fear; we were provided special paper to wrap up the rest.  My lunch the next day sure was heavenly!

As with the previous Artisanal cheese class I attended, The Great Iberian Peninsula: The Glorious Cheeses & Wines of Spain and Portugal was smoothly run, highly informative, and fun.  I had such a great time! I hope I have another chance to attend another cheesily educational class and tell you all about it 🙂

Which of the seven cheeses on the clock (click through for their descriptions!) would you like to try?

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Jill
    October 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

    How fun. I love that you got to pair the cheese with different wines. What a great event!

  • Reply
    Heather
    October 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Wow — what an awesome class! Manchego is one of my all-time faves.

  • Reply
    Kim
    October 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I’ll try the “Serena”! I love cheese, and everything here looks amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    Amy
    October 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Valdeon immediately intrigues me but I’d try the Serena cheese too! Yum, how fun!

  • Reply
    Catherine
    October 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I think I’m an Evora kind of girl

  • Reply
    Jessica T
    October 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    How fun! Love that there’s a cheese with your same name. 😉

  • Reply
    gloria
    October 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    How fun! I love cheeses Serena!!!is lovely have your name! gloria

  • Reply
    kimberly michelle
    October 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I adore Tempranillo! It’s becoming quite a buzzed grape in our neighborhood, and the vines are getting much better. Whenever I take friends wine tasting down the road, they end up buying a bottle of Tempranillo because they like it so much and they’ve never tasted it before. 🙂

    What a fun fun class!

  • Reply
    kelsey@mintedlife
    October 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Mmm…a cheese and wine class sounds so wonderful. I can’t wait until I get to eat soft cheeses and drink wine again. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pam
    October 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    This is making me drool. I haven’t met a cheese I didn’t like and this class would be a blast. How fun!

  • Reply
    honeymyheart
    October 27, 2011 at 2:56 am

    how cool to have a cheese with your name 🙂 i may have to research if there are any artisanal cheese classes available in my city.

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