Along came a snifter

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We didn't originally mean it to be a substitute for our Valentine's Day jazz-and-wine date. It just worked out that way, since I was stuck in Dallas all day on the 14th trying to get home to New York. (And unable to post to LiveJournal from a Neptune Networks kiosk, because for some unfathomable reason they consider this LiveJournal page to contain adult content. Not all of LiveJournal, mind you. Just the posting page. But that adventure is another story.)

So on Monday night, Laura and I ended up doing two things we've always wanted to do, and got them both done at the same time: taking a cheese class from Artisanal, and taking a spirits class from Brandy Library. The two birds were killed with a single stone called "Scotch Whiskey & Whey" at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center at Tenth Avenue and 37th Street.

The instructors were Jon Lundbom from Artisanal and Ethan Kelley from Brandy Library. They were both excellent, engaging teachers, and they had selected a set of six pairings of scotch and cheese for us each to sample at our little benches. For some of you, reading this list will make your eyes glaze over; for the rest of you, reading this list will make your eyes glaze over, if you know what I mean.

  1. Berkswell, Great Britain, sheep's milk
    Balblair 16 yr., Northern Highlands
  2. Livarot, France, cow's milk
    Bunnahabhain 12 yr., Islay
  3. Gouda, Netherlands, cow's milk
    Bruichladdich 15 yr., Sauterne cask, Islay
  4. Isle of Mull Cheddar, Scotland, cow's milk
    Ledaig Sherry Cask, Isle of Mull (probably 4 yr.)
  5. Valdeon, Spain, mixed milk (cow/goat)
    Cragganmore 13 yr., Distiller's Edition, Port Pipe Finish, Speyside
  6. Bayley Hazen Blue, Vermont, cow's milk
    Ardbeg Uigeadail, Cask Strength, Islay (probably 8 yr.)

All the pairings were interesting at the very least, and it would not be hyperbole to call some of them revelatory. Looking over my notes, it seems that my favorite pairing was #5, though with the port finish that makes me feel uncomfortably close to a wine-and-cheese taster. #3 was a terrific pairing too.

Some of you know that Ardbeg Uigeadail is my very favorite scotch, so I was amused when Mr. Kelley warned everyone how violent the final pairing would be. According to my notes, when I went to record my impression of pairing #6, I couldn't even remember what the cheese tasted like. This may be because the Ardbeg was so powerful. It might also be because it was my sixth taste of whisky.

But we had a terrific time at the class, and we'd strongly urge you to save your pennies and try a class at either or both establishment. (And for our bourbon-drinking friends, we'll note that Artisanal has an "American Whiskey & Artisanal Cheese" class coming up at the end of May.)

I know I was only recently urging you to visit St. Andrews near Times Square, but now you will be as likely to find us lapping up knowledge at the feet (literally) of Ethan Kelley at Brandy Library. Possibly even at their upcoming calvados class! (Mmmm, calvados!)

[ original post:  http://shunn.livejournal.com/371610.html ]

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on February 23, 2007 5:25 PM.

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