Enjoying a beautifully crafted cheese with a fine libation is one of life’s true pleasures. This combination can help take your cares away and bring relaxation into your evening. I’ve been pairing artisanal cheeses with all kinds of spirits served neat and in cocktails. Students in my seminars are totally surprised at how delicious these combinations can be. I even see my student’s heads fly back with joy! I thought it would be interesting to focus on several expressions of Tennessee whiskey paired with a single raw milk flavored cow’s milk Gouda from the pristine terrior of Wisconsin. Now, I can share this delight with you so you can duplicate this culinary concept with your friends and family.
I chose a new cheese by a Wisconsin cheesemaker, Marieke Penterman who makes a stunning collection of raw cow’s milk Gouda. The cheese I loved in this pairing with Tennessee whiskies was Marieke Holland’s Family Cheese Honey Clover Raw Milk Gouda. This is a Gouda you’ll want to pair with loads of libations. It is her rich full-bodied Gouda with an additional ingredient. Organic honey clover herb is added to deliver surprisingly not a honey taste but a sweet grass flavor to this extremely rich rich cow’s milk cheese. I’ve been a big fan of Marieke’s ever since she started making cheese in our country.
Marieke and her family moved from Holland to the grasslands of Wisconsin to make authentic Gouda cheese. Marieke’s cheeses are considered farmstead cheeses because she and her husband, Rolf own their own herd of cows. They also make only raw milk cheese. They decided on using raw milk because more of the flavors and good microbes are still a part of their cheese. You can actually taste the difference between raw milk and pasteurized cheese. In the United States, raw milk cheese must be aged a minimum of 60 days to be sold. Marieke ages her cheeses in her special curing room on Dutch pine planks for even more flavor.
Tennessee Whiskey Pairings
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey – ABV 47%
Master Distiller: Jeff Arnet
Deep amber in color and deep layers of taste. With the first sip (neat please) you’ll experience vanilla and fruit with a long caramel and spice finish. This high alcohol bottling at 94 proof actually is easy going into your mouth. Not hot but full of complex flavors. The barrels are hand selected for best quality by Jack Daniel’s to bring you maximum complex flavors. The each barrel is numbered and bottled separately; in fact the number is on each bottle from that particular barrel. The Gouda brings out more of the sweeter notes in the whiskey and the whiskey rides The Cheese Highway of the creaminess and layers of flavor from the Honey Clover Gouda.
Benjamin Prichard’s Double Chocolate Bourbon Whiskey –ABV 45%
Master Distiller: Phil Prichard
This libation is a stellar creative accomplishment by Phil Prichard. I was expecting a sugary sweet chocolaty flavor and quite the contrary, Prichard’s Double Chocolate Bourbon Whiskey brought me the depth of flavors Tennessee whiskey is known for as well as an almost essence of cocoa bean. I’m told Prichard’s works with the well loved, Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company out of Nashville. Their natural chocolate is combined with Prichard’s exceptional Double Barreled Bourbon in Phil’s proprietary method. The pairing with the Gouda brought out the hint of cocoa as well as the caramel, vanilla and some baking spices in the whiskey. The whiskey carried the richness and complexity of the raw milk along with the sweetness of the honey clover herb right onto your palate. As a celebration with friends and family, this is a pairing people will love and appreciate the artistry in each of these delights.
Now for something completely different!
Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream Liqueur – ABV
Creators: Jeff and Jenny Pennington
Jeff and Jenny Pennington of the artisanal Speakeasy Spirits in Nashville put years of creativity into making Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream. Made from rich high quality Wisconsin cream and an artisanal charcoal mellowed Tennessee whiskey along with Whisper Creek’s secret ingredients, this liquid really delivers the whiskey flavors. The high alcohol bottling at 40 proof while other cream liqueurs are about 34 proof is simply more of a good thing. Whisper Creek says it is “the only cream-based whiskey in the world that can call itself a Tennessee Sipping Cream.” The pairing with the Honey Clover Gouda ‘s richness and the rich whiskey flavors from the Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream an elegant pairing I’d serve as a dessert. Amazing! Enjoy!
The Cheese Impresario’s educational and entertaining show, CHEESE RULES, hosted by Barrie Lynn – The Cheese Impresario, is dedicated to increasing pleasure by educating viewers on all things cheese including entertaining, cooking and pairings with wine, beer, fine sake, spirits and cocktails.
Barrie Lynn – The Cheese Impresario produces and stages cheese events at unique venues and festivals throughout the country.
More information can be found at her website: http://www.thecheeseimpresario.com/