Sunday evening gatherings have become a regular event with my group of foodie friends. It all started with TRUE BLOOD Sunday’s and even though we have to wait until next season to find out the fate of Tara and who Sookie will be involved with next, we discovered that we were having so much fun coming up with dishes to cook and fun wines, we just kept it up.
I recently attended the first-ever Southern Artisan Cheese Festival hosted by the Nashville Farmer’s Market. I was overwhelmed by the Artisan selections Nashville and the surrounding areas had to offer. I LOVE goat cheese! So, when I discovered STONE HOLLOW FARMSTEAD Marinated Goat cheese, a very unique artisan cheese product, I just knew this would be perfect to serve at one of our gatherings. They offer many varieties including FIG,HONEY PECAN,BLACKBERRY WINE,VIDALIA ONION,KALAMATA OLIVE and Garlic to name a few. The cheese is chemical,antibiotic and additive free and will last for a year unopened in the refrigerator and 3 days once opened. Herbed oils are used as the preservative. You can either pour off some of the oil,stir it in or use it in salad dressings or other marinades. Be sure to check out there website for all of the delicious and unique flavors and how to order.
We enjoyed the Fig,Vidalia,Blackberry,Kalamata Olive. Serving a variety of sweet and savory was a good match for the other food served that night and really paired well with the wine choices.
You can’t have wine and cheese without olives! That’s my theory! I LOVE Olives. As far back as I can remember we always had big jars of Italian and Greek Olives from Central Grocery in New Orleans in our kitchen. Thank goodness for Whole Foods. They offer a great variety of olives for any palate.
I included my favorites: Olive Oil and Herb cured, this shriveled olive is intense in flavor and is a perfect match with the cheeses. The intense purple Alfonso olive, the bright green and dark black Sicilian olives are also my favorites. They are meaty,briny,savory,intensely flavored and bold in colors which is perfect for adding to the rustic beauty of the meal.
Vouvray (chenin blanc varietal) is a delicious off dry,medium-bodied white wine from the Loire Valley in France. It is perfect for cured meats and cheese. The rich, full flavors of peach,hazelnut and peaches are balanced with lively minerality which is characteristic of the wines from this area of France. This lovely wine is Doulce France Vouvray 2009, if you cannot find this one,there are several delicious Vouvrays available in many wine shops.
The Charcuterie Board was a hit! Not only did I serve imported Prosciutto and Soppressata, I also included Local (Atlanta,GA) Artisan Cured Meats that I found at Artisan Cheese Festival from Pine Street Market a few weeks ago. Pine Street’s garlicy,peppery Dry-cured Coppa and smokey,salty,creamy Beechwood Smoked Speck. Check out their website. They many varieties of smoked meats and you will want to order some for yourself.
Merlot from Bordeaux ROCKS! Chateau Montet 2008 is a medium-bodied,easy-drinking French wine from the Entre Deux region of Bordeaux. This area is known for it’s great wines for great values and this is a wonderful example. I was intrigued by the soft tannins,fresh floral bouquet and black cherry and plum flavors. This was a great wine to pair with the meats and cheeses.
Speaking of cheeses, since we had the creamy, tangy and fresh goat cheeses, I also included a few of my favorite varieties of full-bodied Artisan cheeses. Paolo Sartori Limited Edition cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese was creamy,nutty and hand-dusted with paprika for a sweet,cool,smoky finish. Agour Ossau Iraty Cheese from France was deliciously dry,creamy,nutty and buttery. And the third cheese, Gabietou Herve Mons from France is probably one of my favorites. I can’t get enough of its creamy,sweet and nutty flavors and textures. Again, Whole Foods has an incredible selection of cheeses from around the globe. Try these the next time you have a wine and cheese party.
Everyone loved the Middle Eastern Style Lamb Meatballs with yogurt dip.
As you can probably tell by now, I am a lover of strong, intensely flavored and seasoned
foods. I mixed 3 pounds of freshly ground lamb with chopped fresh cilantro, sauteed onions and garlic and Vadouvan, a spice mix from Williams Sonoma.It includes curry,coriander,cumin, fenugreek,turmeric,pepper,cardamom and cayenne. I also added extra cumin and coriander because I love that extra intense flavor. The savory cumin,olive oil and garlic yogurt dip was a cool
contrast to the warm meatballs.
Cult Wine. Get it if you can! This trendy,hard to find Cabernet from Napa is a a mouthful of toasted oak,concentrated cherry,blackberry,spice and chocolate. It is a bold wine with a fruity nose and big finish characteristic of Napa Cabs and it is surprisingly wonderful.
It’s a small production,non-vintage wine and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, you are the lucky one! This Napa Cab was a perfect pairing with the the lamb meatballs.
Have fun with trendy, hip wines, great food and wonderful friends!