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Monday, July 15, 2013

Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Castello Cheese.  All opinions are 100% my own.
Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing |
What does a girl who is totally obsessed with all-things-cheese do when three quarter-wheels of gorgeous Castello Alps Selection cheeses show up at her door?  She squeals like a teenager at a New Kids on the Block (okay, my age is showing - who is it now, One Direction?) concert.  Her heart races.  Tears threaten to spill from her eyes.  Cohesive thoughts elude her, and instead she babbles on about love and marriage and best-day-of-her-life.

She then composes herself as she sees the Fed-Ex man slowly backing away, the desperate look of a trapped animal in his eyes.  The cold, harsh hand of reality grabs her by the arms and shakes her.  Or maybe it's her husband.  Either way, back to being 37 years old.

Her brain carefully starts doing what any mature, sane brain would do.  It formulates a plan to pair those glorious cheeses with food and adult beverages.  She decides to use every day items foods, not specialty items that will cost a lot of money.  Menus and recipes and visions of table settings vie for a front row seat until everything comes together just right.  She invites over a few friends to join in the fruit of her labors.  She enjoys herself thoroughly.

She decides to stop referring to herself in the third person and tell you all about it.
Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing |
Course One
cheese selection: Castello Classic - firm texture, smooth dry consistency, slightly smoky aroma with hints of spicy mountain herbs.  I found Castello Classic to taste very grassy and musky, similar to the flavor of raw milk.

food pairings: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, thinly sliced Prosciutto, freshly baked bread

beverage pairing: Michelob Amber Boch (or another dark lager)

notes: I wanted to cry when I bit into the combination of these items, they were perfection...especially when accompanied by the dark lager.  I can't really elaborate, because perfection doesn't need further explanation.
Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing |
Course Two
cheese selection: Castello Weissbier - very soft and creamy with a smooth buttery consistency, a hint of nuttiness with an almost sweet finish, and a whisper of beer at the end.

food pairings: Two sandwich options...
1. Grilled Veggies: Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper, and Red Onion with a thick slice of creamy Weissbier on a Sourdough Roll.
2. Smoked Ham, creamy Weissbier, and a thick, ripe, juicy tomato slice seasoned with sea salt and black pepper on a Sourdough Roll.

beverage pairing: Barefoot Riesling, chilled (or another Riesling or Gewurztraminer)

notes: Though I served Castello Weissbier on room temperature sandwiches, I think that its creaminess would lend perfectly to a melty, grilled sandwich.  Weissbier is very understated, so I think simple, delicious ingredients like the grilled veggies (simply brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper before grilling), as well as a basic ham and tomato were just right.  The crisp, sweet Riesling on a hot summer's evening washed the whole thing down like an old friend (comfortably).
Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing |
Course Three
cheese selection: Castello Hirten - crumbly texture that reaveals beautiful crystals when shaved, sweet overtones with hints of caramel and pine, rich and strong.

food pairings: Hershey's Symphony Milk Chocolate Bar, Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bar, thinly sliced pear.

beverage pairing: 10 Year Old Laphroaig Scotch Whisky (or choose your favorite "good & peaty" Scotch)

notes: While I usually opt for a bit of dark chocolate, especially after dinner or as a snack, I really recommend trying a good, creamy milk chocolate with Hirten.  The creaminess is the perfect foil for the rich salty shards.  Hirten reminds me a bit of Parmesan in its texture and flavor.  Thin shavings atop a warm apple pie would be bliss.
Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing |
Wrap-Up: Really, I couldn't ask for a better way to spend an evening.  The cheese-lover in me enjoyed each and every single bite.  If forced to rank the three in terms of what I, personally, enjoyed best, I would choose "Classic" as my favorite.  I don't know if it was just that perfect combination of flavors and textures that surrounded the first course or what...and I don't want to think about it.  I only want to remember the glory that it was.

My second favorite is the "Hirten".  Sure, you could eat it with any meal, but I tend to lean towards desserts with this style of cheese. I love challenging its richness with a bold Scotch, but you could easily pair it with a bold red wine.  Also, try it with bolder savory ingredients like raw onions or chiles!

Rounding it out at number three is the "Weissbier".  Don't get me wrong, I loved ALL THREE of the last place doesn't equal a lose here.  I can't wait to make some melty grilled cheese sammies with it this week.  Oh, and mac and cheese is in my very near future, as well.
Castello Moments Cheese Tasting & Pairing |
So yeah, that's what this girl (who is totally obsessed with all-things-cheese) did when three quarter-wheels of gorgeous Castello Alps Selection cheeses showed up at her door.  What would you have done?

Win a Private Cheese Tasting in your own home - enter by clicking on the banner below. Castello Moments and this post is a collaboration between the blogger and Arla Foods USA. 
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