“Wine and cheese are ageless companions”
Last month,my wine and foodie group got together for a French-Themed Dinner. Let me just say I am the luckiest foodie in the world! These monthly dinners are a delightful collection of professional and personal chefs, a pastry chef,local boutique wine lovers and distributors and all around kick-ass passionate foodies and cooks.
THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!
We were to each bring our favorite French-themed culinary creation. I was intrigued by the FROMAGE BLANC; fresh,homemade (white) cheese made by Karin. Fromage Blanc has a fresh and creamy texture and the mild taste creates an endless palette for ingredients and pairing possibilities.
I knew my next challenge was TO MAKE CHEESE!
These pictures are of the cheese I made at home. The cheese was liberally drizzled with rich,fruity olive oil and sprinkled with hand-harvested sea salt (flour de del) from France. The french bread rounds and salty green and black olives along with tart and tangy cornichons (french pickles) also paired well with this creamy,fresh cheese.
My wine choice was easy!
Sancerre from Loire,France. Sancerre is French Sauvignon Blanc.
2009 DOMAINE CHRISTIAN SALMON SANCERRE White Wine Loire,France
If you have never ventured beyond the front door of the wine shop and have never bravely chosen a bottle of French Wine, now is your chance! This IS the perfect pairing for the creamy and Fresh FROMAGE BLANC.
fresh,dry and crisp,essences of lime,peach,white floral notes ~ distinctive chalky minerality from the limestone soils
The Loire Valley in France is famous for producing some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blancs. Well-balanced and refreshing acidity,dry,citrusy (lime and grapefruit kind of acidity) and fruity with a hint of grassiness makes a perfect pairing with this creamy,fresh cheese. Other pairings might include shellfish dishes cooking in garlic and butter or roasted chicken.
My choice for this particular Sauvignon Blanc was easy. The Sauvignon Blanc grape is the queen of acidity.
It produces some of the most refreshing acidic white wine no matter where it is produced. New Zealand and California might be most familiar to you. These wines are great crowd pleasing wines and pair with a variety of foods.
Yet, Old World Wines i.e. wines from France, so eloquently show us their “sense of place.” You can taste the terroir; the land,soil,climate. The wines from this famous area of France with it distinctive and unique minerality most certainly complement the creamy fromage blanc.
My rockin’ homemade FROMAGE BLANC deserved a wine to showcase its uniqueness, incredibly fresh local ingredients and-of course-its “sense of place.”
Below is the recipe and photos of my cheese-making process for Fromage blanc.
- Fresh, local whole milk (1 quart)
- Active-culture buttermilk (1 cup)
- Lemon juice or white vinegar (2 tsp, or more if needed)
- Salt (3/4 tsp, or to taste)
- Measuring cups
- Heavy-bottomed sauce pan
- Stock pot
- Wooden spoon
- Stirring spoons
- Add milk to sauce pan on low heat.
- Stir regularly and bring the temperature up to 175 degrees.
- Use a heat proof thermometer to correctly determine temperature.
- The milk will be just slightly simmering and bubbles beginning to form.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour Buttermilk and lemon juice and stir slowly.
- Curds will begin to form and separate from the whey.
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth.
- Gently scoop the curds into the cheesecloth. Discard the whey.
- Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth;tie this to a wooden spoon handle.
- Let the cheese drain for about 30 minutes.
- The longer you drain it the dryer the cheese will be.
- Once drained,cut open the cheese cloth a place cheese in a bowl.
- Incorporate the salt into the cheese with a wooden spoon.
- Place the cheese in a 4 ounce ramekin or crock.
- Enjoy the cheese now or let it set overnight.
Nashville is abundant with local products such as local milk and local meats and produce. Be sure to use as many local ingredients as you can in your recipes. WE LOVE HATCHER DAIRY MILK and all of their products!
The ingredients include the creamy WHOLE MILK from Hatcher Dairy Family Farms and the WHOLE BUTTERMILK.
Using the whole milk and whole buttermilk adds to the creamy richness of the finished product.
Getting close to 175 degrees
The cheese curds have formed
Drain the excess moisture from the curds
Isn’t this pretty and rustic? Image yourself in a quaint little cottage near the vineyards in France.
I am now obsessed with making cheese.
Incorporate the salt for flavor
That’s French for THERE YOU HAVE IT! Your very own home-made cheese!
***inspired by the Wonder How To Videos and my FOODIE FRIENDS!