Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Event aims to educate Malaysians on wine and cheese

WHILE wine and food events are becoming increasingly popular among locals, cheese and wine pairings are something relatively new to many Malaysian palates.
This is probably because wine and cheese pairing are much more tricky, as the strong flavour and aroma of cheese in general, can easily overpower most wines.
For that reason, most people prefer to have cheese cooked with meals or baked to savour a much more mellow and toned-down flavour.
However, in an effort to bring more people to savour the goodness of cheese on its own, especially when combined with specific wines, Quality Wines and Avid Food Services got together to organise a wine and cheese pairing session recently.
The event was held at the Food Hall at the Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur, and it featured some easy to drink as well as complex wines, from reds and whites to port.
There were also an exciting range of cheese, including Mozarella, Parmesan, goat cheese and Cheddar.
Seven wines were paired with seven types of cheese by Quality Wines managing partner Rober Tan and Avid Food Services sales and marketing manager Sanm Y. Chen.
The first wine was Grand Sud unoaked Chardonnay, which was a fresh, crisp and fruity white, that paired excellently with the mild and smooth Austria Real Farmer young Mozarella.
“Similarly, other unoaked, light and refreshing wines such as the Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Albarino can also be paired with the Mozarella,” Tan said at the event.
Marbled pink and cream, the Singleton semi-aged Cheddar with Port and Stout was an instant favourite with most guests. It was paired with the French, Veuve Alban Sparkling White.
Light and heavy: Thegoat cheese was accompanied by a wooded Chardonnay.
The third cheese was also unique in colour and flavour. The Singleton semi-aged Cheddar with Whisky was attractive in brown and cream, and its flavour was neither too salty nor woody, with a pleasant, slight after-taste on the palate.
It was paired with an easy-to-drink red, which was the Chilean Los Riscos Merlot.
The Alcmaria Pure Goat Cheese probably posed too strong a flavour for most, but those with a preference for stronger flavoured cheese enjoyed it tremendously.
It went perfectly well with the Puerto Viejo wooded Chardonnay, which was full-bodied with fine, moderate acidity.
Tan said the wooded Chardon-nay was creamy and the saltiness in the goat cheese was mellowed down by it.
“So the cream in the wine matches the cheese, which cuts through the salt, giving it a balanced flavour as it brings out the best in the wine and cheese,” he said.
The fifth cheese was a Parmesan — Bella Vera Formaggio Rigatello. The semi-aged Italian cheese was not too pungent and was therefore, best for a someone who is just starting off with Parmesan cheeses. It was paired with the robust Campo Rosso Sangiovese, Superiore Riserva.
Spanish red, Conde de Valdemar was a well-rounded and smooth red, with a moderate level of acidity. It was paired with the nutty-flavoured Dutch Old Alkmaar matured cheese. It was a matured cheddar of 12 months which was salty but not over-powering.
The last wine was a port, which was a sweet finale to the event. The special Julian’s Old Tawny Port from the Barossa Valley in Australia was a limited release. It was matched with the Blue Stilton blue cheese.
The cheese was pungent without being over-powering and tasted lovely on its own. The port, on the other hand, was sweet and creamy, leaving it to the guests to decide if it was the perfect combination for them.

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