By Tenaya Darlington
Forget that you ever heard the phrase “wine and cheese.” It’s 2013 and you’re in the decade of the cocktail. When that Indian summer sun hits your stoop and you pour that first gin’ n tonic, there’s no reason why you can’t pair it with cheese. Martinis? They like cheese too. A French 75? Yes, my darlin’. Break out your highball glasses and prepare to muddle. Your boozy dairy adventure is about to begin.
For the Martini Lover: Pick a firm sheep’s milk cheese, like Pecorino di Pienza (a.k.a. Grand Old Man). It’s all almonds and brine, very refined. Break it into hunks, and serve it with olives, smoked nuts, and a jar of truffle honey.
Pecorino di Pienza is available online at Formaggio Kitchen.
For the Gin Snob: Ginepro, a classy raw sheep’s milk cheese from Emilia-Romagna loves a whiff of quality botanicals. Its dark rind comes from a balsamic vinegar bath bath and a hot spa treatment with juniper berries. It’s compact and citrusy with herbaceous breath. Think of it as a gorgeous brunette.
For Rum Aficionados: Pair an umber rum with a well-aged Gouda. Look for a deeply colored wedge, like Roomano or an extra-aged Prima Donna. You’ll find that these sweet-salty hunks often have a hint of pineapple on the finish, making them a versatile sidekick for daiquiris or punches. Pair them up with peanuts and pretzels for an outdoor gathering.
For She Who Loves a French 75: Pick a triple crème, like Delice de Bourgogne or Vermont’s beautiful Lillé, and crack the classic Champagne pairing with an effervescent cocktail. All you need is a squeeze of lemon, a swirl of sugar, bubbly, and a splash of gin. A French 75 is also a lovely interloper for Loire Valley goat cheese – like the bell-shaped showgirl, Clochette.
Lillé and Clochette are both available at Formaggio Kitchen.
Meet our contributor:
By day, Tenaya Darlington is an English professor at Saint Joseph’s University; by night, she is Madame Fromage (madamefromageblog.com), Philadelphia’s indefatigable cheese blogger. She also writes for Culture Magazine, Grid, Cooking Light, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her latest book is The Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese (Running Press 2013).