October 2010


Today is Global Champagne Day, organized by wine blog Vintuba to “encourage people pause their hectic schedules, to take time to celebrate their lives, friends, and loved ones by enjoying the wonders of Champagne.” It’s also supported by the Champagne Bureau, which works to promote truth-in-labeling — so make sure you’re celebrating with a real Champagne from the Champagne region of France, okay? Good.

As you can imagine, this is a holiday we’re pretty excited about here at CheeseandChampagne. It’s been pointed out that we give the second half of our title short shrift here on the blog, and I promise you we plan to rectify that. (Not being able to imbibe for 9 months put a temporary damper on our pairings research.) And we’re beginning today, with a quick taste of some French cheeses to pair with France’s other famed export. (As an aside, how is it possible that cheese was omitted from the list of suggested champagne pairings on the event site? I mean, have you been to France?!)


Some of our favorite champagne-appropriate cheeses include Chaource (from the Champagne region, even), St. Marcellin, Comté, and Grès des Vosges. (Click here to see all our French cheese reviews to date.) Now we follow the “what grows together, goes together,” rule quite a bit — but don’t be afraid to branch out. Be a rebel and try some Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill or Nettle Meadow Kunik with your champagne. Any creamy, rich cheese will yield perfectly to the crisp bubbles of your champagne.

I also reached out to local cheesemonger Sebastien Tavel, of Alexandria’s La Fromagerie. While he curates a wonderful selection of local and domestic cheeses at this Old Town cheese shop, he’s also a native Frenchman with a few thoughts on pairing cheese and champagne. When you’re springing for the real deal, you don’t want your cheese to overpower the bubbly. Tavel suggests a creamy Brillat-Savarin, “a wonderful triple creme that is mild and very delicate,” or the “nutty and complex” sheeps-milk Abbaye de Belloc with a rosé champagne.

While French imports to the US have been slowed due to the transportation strikes abroad, Tavel has a full array of French cheeses in stock, including: Brillat-Savarin, Abbaye de Belloc, Brie, Boucheron, Bleu d’Auvergne, St. Agur blue, Morbier, Comte and Raclette. (La Fromagerie is open today until 7pm so stop in to pick up your favorite cheeses to toast with tonight.)

In Minneapolis, Jill reached out to Benjamin Roberts of France 44 Wine & Spirits. His choice with France’s best bubbly? Langres.

What’s your favorite cheese with champagne?

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Hello, cheese friends. As our readers may recall, part of the impetus behind Cheese + Champagne was my coauthor Jill’s move several years ago to Minnesota. We decided to keep in touch through our mutual love of cheese — while sharing our tasting notes with the world. Well, it’s Jill’s birthday today, and as we aren’t able to break bread around a cheese board together, I’m sending her a virtual toast: a festive sparkling Spanish sangria and local Firefly Farm‘s Merry Goat Round. That cute little round is the perfect cheese stand-in for a birthday cake, don’t you think? (And, just last week it was named 1st Runner Up for Best in Show at the American Dairy Goat Association 2010 cheese competition.)

This little blog will be celebrating a birthday of its own next month. While Jill and I have been busy tending to our little human kids, Kunik and Oma (no, not their real names), we’ve also been plotting behind the scenes to bring you all sorts of new cheese deliciousness. Stay tuned!

And in the meantime, tell us what cheese would you celebrate a birthday with?

P.S. Speaking of celebrations, Thursday, October 28, is Champagne Day. There will be tastings at Alexandria’s Whole Foods here in VA, elsewhere follow the hashtag #Champagne on twitter to join in virtually.