Monday, January 12, 2009

A New Column: Cheese! St. Andre

Yes, this is Pacific BREW News, but given that many of us who like a good brew also have the capacity to take a moment to enjoy better food, I figured you wouldn't mind a diversion now and then. With that in mind we'll start doing some foodie items from time to time, with cheese reviews based on items sold by our local cheese monger - the thought is to cover one cheese a week until they've all been covered. Hopefully we'll be able to tie in a beer suggestion with each cheese and if you like the sounds of something, please try it and let us know what you think. Onto the cheese!

Saint-AndréThis is not a new cheese to us, having been introduced to it a while back with good friends of ours. The cheese has a pale, buttery appearance that is wrapped with a papery, grayish-white rind.The first taste is as sensuous as it is pungent, with grassy and mossy flavors that complement the tangy, bright tastes on the sides of the mouth. You cannot escape the buttery qualities of this cheese, from the look to the flavors and even the texture - this is fantastic smothered on crusty bread. Allowing this cheese to warm to room temperature changes the cheese substantially. As it softens the acidic and zesty notes become more pronounced. I'd go as far as to say the cheese vastly improves as it softens and warms, the aromas becoming more obvious.Now, we all know that pairing a good cheese with a good beer is divine, but choosing the right beer to go with the right cheese is challenging. Trying this made me long for a Belgian dubbel or even an aged barleywine. Oh, and I doubt you'd be unhappy with a bier de garde.
Finally, I just have to put this somewhere. In our tasting tonight Tracy mentioned that this cheese was the "duck of cheeses". She was talking about the fatty texture and overall richness of flavors and the more I thought about it, the more I agreed.

About the Cheese
Made in France
Uses cows milk with 75% butter fat