Well, I’m so proud to say that Rogue Creamery in my home state of Oregon can claim the title of making the ‘Best Cheese in the World’ for 2019 and I’m even happier to say that I managed to get my little hands on a slice of this blue veined marvel here in London. After several calls and feeling a bit skeptical that I would even get a chance to try this amazing cheese, La Fromagerie in Marylebone came to my rescue.
It was a cool, crisp December morning when I embarked on my ‘best cheese in the world’ buying mission. I was convinced that everyone in London would also be rushing to La Fromagerie in Marylebone at exactly the same time as me to buy this cheese. In order to pacify my anxieties, I had spoken with Josh, one of the cheese mongers, the day before and kindly asked him to save a 500g slice of heaven for me. He agreed and said that it would be awaiting my arrival in all its glory!
I was there at precisely 10am. I would have been there earlier, but dropping five kids off at school slowed me down a bit. Needless to say, I arrived a bit breathless from rushing and generally, embodying an overall state of worry. Please note, this is my normal self I’m describing. So, nothing out of the norm here, really.
Despite its small unassuming facade, La Fromagerie is a mecca for cheese. I even took a picture of the cheese room. It reminded me of a rather smelly, refrigerated library!
I waited patiently while Josh found my 500g ‘best cheese in the world’ slice. He carefully unwrapped it and showed off the beautiful Syrah grape leaves that protected the rind while revealing a beautiful cream colored cheese that displayed subtle blue streaks meandering through it. Eureka! I found it! Quickly, I purchased my newfound treasure and headed home to begin exploring the perfect wine to pair with it.
While back at home, I ensured that my ‘best cheese in the world’ was carefully wrapped and stored at the back of my refrigerator, ready and waiting for Christmas day festivities! Meanwhile, my big decision was what wine to pair with it. The cheese itself is made from cows milk cultured with local bacteria from Southern Oregon. The milk comes from the cows while they are actively grazing before the first frost. As a result, flavors of the local terroir are prominent such as Oregon truffle and huckelberry. Other flavors such as milk chocolate, vanilla and subtle hints of pepper are also evident. Additionally, the cheese is soaked in a locally made pear spirit, which enriches the flavor and adds even more depth. Finally, the real kicker is that this is the first unpasturized cheese to leave the USA. This is huge accomplishment and required special certification from the USDA. Needless to say, this cheese embodies a new era of cheese making for Americans.
After much research and deliberation, I decided to pair this blue beauty with a Gewurtztraminer, which was a bit of a shock to some family members!!! I love Gewurtztraminer wines and I think this compliments the flavors of the cheese because the cheese itself was rather high in umami flavors and not as high on salt, thus calling for a slightly off-dry wine. If the cheese was higher in salt, then I would probably have gone for a wine slightly higher in acidity.
Needless, to say, despite initial apprehensions from some family members, my best cheese in the world and Gewurztraminer pairing were a real hit! The wine I chose in the end was a 2018 Franz Haas Gerwurztraminer. Other suggested pairings can be found in the Oregon Wine Press article. Cheers!!