A few years ago while working at Formaggio Kitchen, Robert Aguilera and I came up with a ridiculous plan to make a beer and a cheese that don't normally work together, work. We forged an unholy union between classic brie and Allagash Brewing Company's Curieux. A fatty buttery cheese with a soft edged barrel aged tripel. Normally you would rely on alpha acids in the hops or carbonation in the beer to work on a fatty cheese. But since this beer had the soft edges from the barrel aging, they become ill-matched.
We forged this union by adding, sliced bresola (salty Italian cured meat), fresh strawberries (acidic and tangy), fruits of the forest jam (sweet and tangy), a fresh baguette, and of course the cheese and the beer. It was incredible! It was a complete meal. My husband and I dined on it all summer long.
We even upped the ante with the second picnic. This time we took Allagash's Odyssey. A very raisin-y dark Belgian-style wheat beer also oak-aged. Huge 10%, sticky beer with bold dark fruits and funky, spicy wheat aromas. We paired this beer with a fresh baguette, sliced speck (smoky Italian cured meat), Monte Enebro (a very briney and salty Spanish goat cheese), prune preserve, and dried Mojave Desert raisins. My eyes pretty much just rolled in the back of my head just remember how good this pairing was.
By now you should know, that Robert is a master at these combinations. I bring him the beer, and he gives me the world. This was just for shits and giggles too. These pairings weren't featured in any class I ever taught Formaggio Kitchen, or in any dinner I ever hosted. Rob Tod wanted to post it on Allagash's website. I forgot to give him the details. I think my subconscious wanted to selfishly keep it to myself.
So, following this vein, I had ordered Foietella from Xocolatl de David. Literally it is foie gras and chocolate blended together in a spread. Yes, that feeling is your arteries slowing down just for reading those words. Cream, foie, and chocolate. Done. Flat line......
I wasn't sure what to put with the Foietella. David Briggs, the creator suggested rhubarb jam. I understand that now after tasting it. It needs an acidic or tart balance to all that fat! I decided to put together a little platter, this time paired with an Italian Barbera, of cheese, foietella, fresh strawberries, baguette, pecans, fruits of the forrest jam, and some left over scraps of Xocolatl de David's Country Ham bar (chocolate bar with Benton's ham), and the Iberico bar which is basically a chocolate bar with lardo (pork fat) blended in. Yes, that was your heart now in full A-fib.
This post is pretty much an excuse to brag and post glorious pics of this summer picnic. A couple of high resolution images and some iPhone pics. I had to take those so I could quickly put them up on Twitter and show off.