Monday, November 29, 2010

A Taste of Europe

Last night at The Travel Group we had a wine and cheese tasting to represent the ports of call on an Oceania Cruise with Jacques Pepin.

We had cheeses from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Morocco prepared by Allison from Les amis du Fromage and matched with BC wines in the European style chosen by Leah from Kensington Square Wines.

We started with Spain and a sparkling wine; the gold winning See Ya Later Ranch Brut. It really worked with my personal favourite, salty potato chips and more to the point a Manchego with cherry compote and Spanish almonds.

Since the cruise spends 2 nights in Bordeaux, France we had a Cedar Creek 2006 Meritage that paired perfectly with a Pierre Robert triple cream and French fig preserve. Based on the number of empties I'd say it was a hit.

Portugal was a whole new experience for us. We tried a Quail's Gate Fortified Vintage Foch with a semi soft sheep milk cheese called Queijos Casa Matias and a cow cheese - Dom Villas. The Quince paste was delightful, especially with the Queijos. The Fortified wine is like a Port. I don't have an appreciation for Port. YET! Sometimes scares me how these things come about and I don't need another wine to love.

Italy was represented by a Sandhill 2007 Small Lots Sangiovese and a Gray Monk 2009 Pinot Gris. For cheese we had a Gorgonzola and Piave Vecchio,a beautiful cheese that I hadn't tried before it was firm and fruity. This one will move onto a regular rotation at The Travel Group's Friday wine down. The sangiovese is a personal favourite.

Finally we had a Fromage frais with honeycomb and pomegranate seeds served with mint tea to represent Morocco. What a combination! It was excellent! I can't wait to try it again. There are leftovers. Always a good thing.

Many thanks to everyone who came, ate, drank on such a dark and dreary night.