Epcot's
Food & Wine Festival

Cheese and Wine Pairing Workshop
Attended by Deb Wills

September 30, 2006

5 Artisian Cheese and 2 Wines

Pierre Robert
President Madrigal
Istara Ossau Iraty
Valbresso Feta
Societe Roquefort

New for 2006, this was the first Cheese and Wine Pairing Workshop of the Festival. Ariel's, located at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, was our home as we learned all about cheese and wine.

The session was outstanding, in large part due to our speaker Waldemar Albrecht. He truly approached the session to impart his love and knowledge of artisan cheeses to all attendees.

Tables were arranged in small groups and each place setting was meticulously arranged with crackers, glasses, cheese and printed information.

Waldemar began with the history of cheese and progressed into ways of making cheese. We learned about the types of cheeses, how to pair wine and cheese, and why some pairings work so well and others don't. A fairly indepth discussion followed about the 6 types of cheeses (whey, stretched curd, soft ripen, semi-soft, washed rine and hard cheese).

He explained that cheese stays on the palet for a while, so best to taste the wine first, and then the wine and cheese together. The white wine was Red Bicycletter, 2004 Chardonay. Alone you could taste the apples, pears, and almost a stone/mineral flavor. The red was the Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2003, ruby red with dark berries and a medium body.

Waldemar explained to us to have a bite of cheese and chew it a couple times, then drink the wine. When your swallow is complete you should have equal flavors of the wine and cheese lingering - then you know you have a great pairing! After tasting the wines, we then tasted each cheese first with the white wine and then with the red wine. Overall the red wine paired better with the selection of cheeses than the white did.

Three important factors to keep in mind when pairing cheese and wine. Concept - those made in the same region work well together. Acidity Levels - tend to compliment each other. Level of salt and sweetness - with a hardy salty blue cheese a dessert style wine pairs best. The one thing he did stress is that ultimately, it is up to the taster what cheese go well with what wines.

After the 90 minutes, I wanted to try more cheese and wine, but it was time to go. I felt this event was well worth the $45 and hope your instructor is as enthusiastic as Waldemar Albrecht! As I said in the beginning, this was a wonderful seminar made extra special by Waldemar's approach to passing on his love of cheese with each one of us.