How to Pair Cheese and Salami with Rosé
This spring, we’re here to help you to brush up on your pairing skills so that you can best enjoy the marriage of cheese, salami and Rosé on those beautiful, sun-filled days!
For eleven years, the California Artisan Cheese Festival has been bringing cheese experts to Northern California by way of farm tours, lunches, dinners, seminars and tastings. During this year’s festival, we popped into their ‘Perfect Pairing’ seminar that focused on the art of pairing cheese with salami (and Rosé!) to learn a thing or two from the cheese professionals about how it’s done.
Experts Vanessa Chang and Laura Werlin hosted the seminar, bringing with them their overflowing wealth of cheese knowledge and dishing up tips for pairing. Vanessa Chang is a Certified Cheese Professional and currently works for Creminelli Fine Meats, one of America’s top artisan salami producers. Laura Werlin is another top authority in the cheese biz, penning six books on the subject and traveling the globe to share her passion for cheese with the world.
During the seminar, Chang and Werlin shared with us several cheese and salami pairings, and offered various styles of Rosé, as well, to pair alongside. Who doesn’t love a little Rosé with their cheese and salami? We sure do! These were our favorites and we hope you enjoy them, too...
Nicasio Valley Cheese is “California's only organic farmstead cheese operation,” Werlin says, and the pure goodness of this cheese is undoubtable. Tender and firm in texture with a mild mushroom and subtle nutty flavor profile, the Tomino pairs beautifully with the Creminelli Tartufo Salami. “Tartufo [truffle in Italian] is extremely cheese-friendly,” Chang says, “especially for something cow’s milk-based.” This combination works well together with a fuller-bodied Rosé, so look for one like the 2016 Malene Wines Rosé, which spends a bit of time on the lees before bottling, and is made with Grenache, Cinsault, Vermentino, Mourvèdre and Counoise.
Central Coast Creamery’s Bishop’s Peak is made in an “Alpine mountain-style with a California twist,” Chang says. “Mountain cheeses have a nuttiness, a brown-butter flavor and are kind of savory,” Werlin furthers. "It’s big, bold and rich, so you need to pair a meat to match that,” Chang states. The Creminelli Finocchio is made from pork belly with wild fennel, garlic and sea salt, and those fennel notes really highlight the nuttiness of the cheese. The two play well together when paired with a fresh, crisp and spice-driven Rosé like the 2015 Pennyroyal Rosé made with Pinot Noir. Find a crisp and spice-driven Rosé like this to match the wild fennel flavor, and enjoy the textural contrast between the acid of the wine and the creaminess of the cheese.
Having studied cheese in France, Laura Chenel knows a thing or two about it. And in fact, it was the venerable chef Alice Waters (of Chez Panisse in Berkeley) who first crafted a warm goat cheese salad with Chenel’s cheese that brought her name into the spotlight. The Taupinière is an aged goat cheese with a soft, creamy texture, lots of body and salty umami flavor. The Creminelli Sopressata Barolo is made with pork belly and tastes bright, almost fruity and salty; paired with the Taupinière, the fatty, creamy richness of both make for textural delight on the palate. Add the 2016 Benovia Winery Rosé into the mix and the pairing brings more body and richness to the wine, making for a decadent and delicious trio.
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