Friday, February 09, 2007

Very Shi-Shi...

Last night I went out with a wonderful group of women from the pottery studio to a place known as the 'Fair Hill Inn'... Perhaps you've been to this type of place... Historic stone house, several 'rooms' each with well appointed period decor, low lighting and candles to provide ambiance.

Our entertainment and dinner for the night was a wine and cheese tasting. We had an uproarious time together and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening but I'd like to share with you my perspective of a very shi-shi event known as a Wine & Cheese Party.

We were seated in a lovely room at the back of the house with deep stone walls and a nearby bar. On the bar were several glasses, several wines and several plates of cheeses with crackers and compotes to accompany the latter.

Now here's something interesting... I don't drink wine, I'm not much of a cheese person but I am a participator so I was IN! After we were seated at a series of very small tables we pulled our chairs around into a circle and chatted. Then we were presented with a menu of the various wines and cheeses we would be sampling...

Tell me, who could turn down a cheese with THIS description:
A very dense and chewy texture. Fresh citrus notes and a buttery finish. A light mold on the exterior with little effect on the paste.
You had me until the 'mold'.

Then there was THIS:
A wonderful introduction to an artisan washed rind cheese. It displays a buttery interior with a mild pungency. Very approachable and surprisingly tame for the style.
Am I going to EAT it or ask it out for Valentine's Day?

Some of the wines were 'Very Expressive' or 'Interesting' another was 'Always fruit driven with a smack of tropical pineapple, kiwi an mango'... Oh and then there was 'Peppery'... Peppery? I like pepper to season my food but I don't want to drink it! And BELIEVE me, YOU could taste the pepper! But like I said, I'm just not into wine.

I was proud of myself though, I swished the wine around the glass... Sniffed the 'delicate bouquets' and sipped very small amounts but frankly, I just don't GET the whole wine thing??? If I found something in my fridge that tasted like some of last nights wines, I would conisder it past its expiration date and toss it.

Now the cheese, that was more interesting. The chef of the inn came out and gave us a run-down of each style of cheese... (These cheeses shouldn't be considered 'types' but 'styles' because I'm quite sure they were shipped to the inn riding in their very own limos and their little fur coats were hanging in the entry-hall coat rack.) The chef explained to us exactly HOW to eat each 'style' of cheese... As in, "Try this cheese alone, without the cracker... Then taste the wine and note how well the two compliment each other." There was one type of cheese we were told, "You may not want to eat the rind of this cheese as it's very pungent... So you may remove the rind before sampling." Problem is, by the time we made our way down the bar, trying each different wine and each teeny-tiny wedge of cheese, I wasn't quite sure which one I was supposed to eat on the cracker, with the rind, without the rind, beside the compote or whatever else we'd been instructed to do. I DO know that I was VERY hungry so I pretty much loaded as much of each compote along with as much teeny-tiny cheese slice as I felt was my due. I tried them all on as many crackers as I could get ahold of. I think the whole idea of savoring 'bouquets' and 'pleasant tangs' is beyond someone with my appetite.

There was one particular cheese... This was THE cheese that stood out for me... It was creamy in texture (I believe it was the one the we were advised to remove the rind.) I carefully put it on my plate. Delicately carried the companion wine with it back to my seat. When I sat down I also leaned into my plate slightly and caught a wiff of a smell that instantly took me back to a distant memory. Perhaps you're familiar with this particular odor? You know when you switch a newborn baby from breast-milk to formula and the result is a definite change in the smell of their diapers? OH MY GOSH! I kid you not! That's EXACTLY what this cheese smelled like. It's a difficult thing to put something that smells like that in your mouth... But I did it... And you know what? It tasted exactly like it smelled! But when 15 little pieces of cheese are what make up your dinner... You discover that you really can't taste the cheese if you put it on a cracker smothered with fruit compote... And that accompanied my iced tea quite nicely.

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Blogger lime said...

ok, now i want you to go to another one of these just so i can go with you. you do realize we coudl just chew them up and spit them out with our whoel take on these things. you are a hoot girl!

2:27 PM, February 10, 2007  
Blogger Margie Blystone said...

Okay Lime, You're ON! I'm sure if you're along for the ride then both of us will end up snorting sipped wine through our noses... Ouch! and Ugh!

8:27 PM, February 12, 2007  
Blogger lime said...


8:26 AM, February 13, 2007  

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